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Thread: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Exclamation Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    I have a few major problems I am facing right now and I need help and advice. I am sorry this is so long but please understand...

    Almost 2 weeks ago I found out I had an respiratory infection and my doctors gave me meds that were safe for my baby while nursing. I went back in this morning because I am not much better. They gave me stronger antibiotics, steroids and decongestants. However, these meds are not safe for my LO to nurse. They insist that I need to take the stronger meds because in the past I have ended up with pneumonia so easily. The unsafe meds last only 8 days and the antibiotics I will be on for 14 days (but they are safe-ish cat. 2).

    I do have a freezer stash that I started for them I return to work in Jan that I can use but is there anything else special you would recommend to help me maintain my supply? I will pump as much as possible but I am exhausted and I'm not sure I can keep it up ever 2 hours which is when my LO normally feeds. Also, when I pump I do not get as much milk out as my LO seems to when she nurses. Add to that, my doctor told me the meds I am on may make my milk dry up. Please tell me there is something I can do to prevent this from happening.

    One last major problem....My LO was a very sleepy baby (still is somewhat) and had weight gain problems early on and is now finally gaining weight. She is just over 10 pounds at 2 months. She has been taking bottles fine in the past but it has only been 1-2 bottles per day since about week 4 (so my DH can feed and help me out). Today when I started taking the meds and giving her stored EBM from bottles she was fine with it for the first feeding. Since the first feeding she is fighting me and will only take 30mL (1 ounce) before refusing to eat and she will only eat once every 2 hours or so. She clamps her jaw shut and there is no way to get it open. I have tried to wait until she yawns or cries to put the nipple in by she refuses to drink from it. I just tried a cup and oral syringe (we used both successfully in the beginning) and now she spits out every bit of the milk and will not swallow anything after the first ounce!

    We have had such a rough time in the beginning getting my LO to latch and nurse (did not start nursing until 3 weeks and is now 8 weeks and finally has the latch almost perfect). What do I do? I am afraid of some many things - her not eating enough, making her sick, loosing my milk...any advice?
    Samantha: born 3 1/2 weeks early on Sept 2006 6lbs 4 oz 18 inches long with situs inversus totalis. Now a strong healthy little girl that wants to be a NICU doctor, loves her little sister and breastfeeds her dolls!
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 2,200 oz
    Alexandra: born 3 weeks early on July 2010 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches long.
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 1,200


    For information on becoming a Breastmilk Donor http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    Sounds to me like you'll have to tough it out till the meds are gone after the 8 days. In the meantime, to keep your supply up, I'd imagine that you'll have to pump quite frequently. As far as the bottle is concerned, my son wouldn't take one from me-he wanted it from the source, and it took a lot of crying on both our parts for him to do it finally.
    I'm so sorry that you're going thru this..............

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    I feel for you....sounds like you've already had a rough road, and just when things are settling down, you get this curveball.

    I may be stating the obvious, but maybe a lactation consultant or LLL leader could help with some expert advice? Sounds like your issues are complex (especially with the pumping issues), and your desire to continue bfing are certainly strong.

    I certainly hope you get to feeling better and that you're quickly back in the swing of things!

    Lisa

  4. #4
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    Angry Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    Thanks jen123 and ljgrile for your support - I really needed it.

    Although it is not good news I wanted to give you an update of my day thus far. It is 6pm where I live and my LO has taken about 5 oz since 8am when my DH left for work. How long can an 8 week old go before she is hurt by the lack of food? She is normally pretty alert for about 3 hours in the middle of the day but she has slept all day (maybe lack of energy b/c no food). I pumped twice but then in my stupid sleepy state I knocked the breastshield (funnel looking thing) off the counter and did not notice it until 2 hours later when one of my dogs had decided the smell of milk was too good to pass up and he ate most of both shields. After a rush to the vet (where he currently still is) I came home and realized that now I can't pump at all. There are not any stores near where I live to buy a new breastshield either and there is no way I would put my LO in a car with me and drive into the city as tired as I am. I called my DH b/c I am a mess and crying so he just left work and is on his way across town to a babiesrus to buy new parts. I'm now engourged and have been trying to milk myself like a cow but it is not as easy as I had hoped.

    I know my DH has a meeting he can't miss tomorrow and I hate to admit I just can't handle things on my own but I think I may need to tell him he has to find a way to stay home tomorrow so she can eat. I just can't handle it on my own and I do not want to starve my baby.

    One last thing, my DH just called and asked how am I testing the milk for freshness. I for some reason have never been able to smell or taste the sour smell of spoiled or bad milk (who knows why). I have put rancid milk on my cereal in the past only to have my hubby start eating his and tell me it is spoiled but it tasted fine to me. Is there any way to test breastmilk for freshness other than smell or taste?
    Last edited by @llli*mary.mud; November 28th, 2006 at 05:26 PM. Reason: add milk question
    Samantha: born 3 1/2 weeks early on Sept 2006 6lbs 4 oz 18 inches long with situs inversus totalis. Now a strong healthy little girl that wants to be a NICU doctor, loves her little sister and breastfeeds her dolls!
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 2,200 oz
    Alexandra: born 3 weeks early on July 2010 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches long.
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 1,200


    For information on becoming a Breastmilk Donor http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    562

    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    Quickly, since your dog ate the breastpump -- here are some links on a non-LLL website to information about how to manually express milk:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/b...ps.html#manual

    You are clearly very concerned about your daughter's reduced milk intake today. The thing to watch for is dehydration -- that will cause problems long before lack of calories has any effect. Watch her diapers, and trust that she will not starve herself. She is probably upset and off kilter because she doesn't have access to your breast; it may be a rough transition, but if she is a basically healthy baby, she won't starve herself long-term and will eventually accept nourishment in the best form you can offer it right now -- your EBM in a bottle.

    I will post this quickly and will try to come back with some ideas for how to handle your medication and pumping concerns. For now, just remember that the number one thing your baby needs is a healthy and happy mother -- it is okay to take care of yourself and it is important that you recover from your illness. Hang in there.

  6. #6
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    Unhappy Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    Thanks Rebbecca! I tried the manual expression and it did help! It took a bit longer than the pump but I got the milk out so I am very thankful. Also, my DH picked up the parts for my pump and just got home. I never really thought about how important it would be to know how to manually express milk until this happened.

    My DH also purchased every single bottle they sell at babiesrus and we are trying each of them to see what she likes! My husband is feeding her right now and she was happy to feed from him. I guess she looks at me as a breast feeding source and not a bottle feeding source? Anyway, she is eating and I am not crying for the first time all day!

    I have another question to add to my problems. I scratched my breast on the nipple - not at the tip but 1/2 way between the tip and areola and it bled. Should I put neosporin on it or something?

    Thanks for the help - I can't believe how hard things can be when worrying about how to protect my baby.
    Samantha: born 3 1/2 weeks early on Sept 2006 6lbs 4 oz 18 inches long with situs inversus totalis. Now a strong healthy little girl that wants to be a NICU doctor, loves her little sister and breastfeeds her dolls!
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 2,200 oz
    Alexandra: born 3 weeks early on July 2010 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches long.
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 1,200


    For information on becoming a Breastmilk Donor http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    562

    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    Glad to hear things are looking up -- WTG with the manual expression -- it is a skill that every lactating woman should know, for precisely this kind of crisis. Kudos to your DH for running the necessary errands and helping with the bottle feeding. Yes, many breastfed babies will happily take a bottle from anyone except momma -- they know where the good stuff is, and they know how to voice their opinions. But if you persist patiently and keep experimenting with various bottles/nipples, different positions and locations, etc etc., she will surely cooperate eventually ... when she gets hungry or thirsty enough.

    You mentioned a concern that you might be unable to distinguish between fresh and rancid EBM. Could you say some more about your freezer stash -- how old it is, where it has been placed in the freezer, etc.? If it has been stored properly and not past the recommended time, then there is no reason to think that any of it will be spoiled, unless you've had some unusual problem like a long-term power outage?

    Anyway -- if by chance some milk has gone bad, then surely it will taste nasty and your baby will resist drinking it. That may not be reassuring to you right now, since she was resisting for different reasons earlier today.

    About the scratch on your nipple -- here's a link (at a non-LLL resource) to caring for and healing broken skin on nipples:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...lehealing.html

    About your meds -- I gather that your docs did consult Dr. Hale's Medications and Mothers' Milk to evaluate their likely impact on your breastfeeding relationship. If not, feel free to post the names of the specific medications here, and I or someone else can look them up for you. You could also call a local IBCLC to discuss the situation; they may have some helpful ideas or information for your quite complex circumstances.

    I mainly want to reassure you that you can get through 8 days of not nursing, even 8 days of a medication that may reduce your milk supply, and then resume the journey of your breastfeeding relationship. For now, pump as often as you can manage it without compromising your recovery (you need to rest!) Even if your milk supply is drastically reduced, frequent nursing and pumping when you get the all-clear will soon bring it back up. Our breasts are so geared towards milk-making that even women who have never been pregnant can induce lactation by pumping.

    If a personal story of a similar hurdle overcome will reassure you ... I went through a medical crisis when my son was 6 months old. He was exclusively breastfed and had a history of refusing bottles; I suffered a bad allergic reaction to a medication and, between the severe hives on my breasts and the antihistimines, my milk supply dwindled almost to nothing over less than 3 days. He became dehydrated and we had to supplement with formula. (Foolishly, I had not bothered to build a freezer stash like you have!) To make matters worse, the steroid my doctor prescribed me, for the first several days at highest dosage, made nursing unsafe for four hours after the daily dose, so my son was not permitted to nurse down for his morning nap for the first time in his life.

    He cried more in that first week than he had in his entire life up to that point -- and I was a complete mess as well, between my physical misery and my worry for him. I rented a hospital breastpump (the best for rebuilding supply -- even if you own a double-electric pump, you might consider renting one by the week until your supply is re-established), and it took about two weeks of formula supplements and pumping as often as I could manage it, but we did it, and he was again fully breastfed. We got through it, and you and your nursling will get through this. Just keep on keeping on, and arm yourself with information and resources.

    I've got to run -- keep us posted; I'll check back for updates tomorrow.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    My heart is breaking for you,you sound so sad. I just want to say good luck, I'm sure it will all work out for you in the end!
    Lynda
    Tree-hugging, queer-loving, liberal, feminist Mommy to L August 2006


  9. #9
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    Bluebird and Rebbecca,
    Thanks you very much for the help and support. I will try the idea in the cracked nipple article you provided the link for. My little girl just took a bottle from my DH and is down for some sleep. Oddly enough, when I walked in the room she spit out the bottle nipple and started to scream. When I picked her up she quited down and began rooting on my shirt. I felt so bad that I could not give her what she wanted but at least she is still getting breast milk.

    The oldest of my milk stash is now one month and 3 days old. I have been freezing 4 ounces once a day and sometimes twice a day. It has been stored in plastic Laniosh (sp?) milk freezing bags that I then placed in a Tupperware bin in my freezer. My freezer is a fridge top freezer not a deep chest freezer. The milk is frozen as soon as I pump it. I am defrosting a few in the fridge at a time and heating the milk (once thawed) in a bottle warmer. I guess it should be OK since we have not found any bad packs yet.

    The meds I am taking are:
    Hexaful (dexchlorpheniramine maleate 2mg, pseudoephedrine HCL 45mh, and acetaminophen 650mg). 3x per day
    Clarithromycine (500mg) 2x per day
    Methlyprednisolone (4mg tablets) 2 tablets 4x a day and reducing it by one table each day for 8 days.
    I was also given a streoid injection but I do not know the name of what they injected other than it was a steroid (and they used a big needle).
    I am still taking my pre/post natal vitamin and a slow release iron tablet b/c my iron is low.
    Should I be taking probiotics too to avoid thrush?

    Oh, I just had a good sign, I am leaking milk. I am going to go express some more milk now to help keep my supply up. Now that I have the great directions on hand expressing (and it worked!) I think I will try that method again to get better at it. I can use the pump tonight when I am too sleepy!

    Thanks again for all of you help with this. If it were not for these boards and people like you I would be going crazy!
    Last edited by @llli*mary.mud; November 29th, 2006 at 03:57 AM. Reason: clarity
    Samantha: born 3 1/2 weeks early on Sept 2006 6lbs 4 oz 18 inches long with situs inversus totalis. Now a strong healthy little girl that wants to be a NICU doctor, loves her little sister and breastfeeds her dolls!
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 2,200 oz
    Alexandra: born 3 weeks early on July 2010 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches long.
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 1,200


    For information on becoming a Breastmilk Donor http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Can't nurse - respiratory infection is worse

    OMG-what a day you had!!! I have a dog that eats everything too, so that can be bad!! Anyhow, I'm glad that you're doing a bit better. I wanted to mention one thing- maybe you could also get a manual pump just in case you have the dog issue again. I have one that I have used a dozen times, mainly in the beginning since I had a problem with my nipples, and I actually liked it better than the electric ones.

    Anyhow, sorry for the ramble-hope you and baby are doing ok............

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