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Thread: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    My friend, Amy and I had a long heart to heart talk yesterday (See this thread for brief history) It was a good call and we both cried.

    So here's where we're at...

    She STILL wants to breastfeed!! Problem is her supply is about gone!! And it gets worse.. she was pumping so much before that now her areolas are all broken out with her psoriasis. She said it's not just minor patches, it's an all out flare up. Her whole areola and even under her breast where she was constantly holding it up.

    The lactation consultant at the hospital where she gave birth has told her she has to stop pumping. We don't know what she should do!!! It's a catch 22... even if she started using nipple sheilds.. it would still irritate her psoriasis and it won't go away... Maya can't nurse with the psoriasis there either... and she can't even pump in the mean time to keep her supply. She obviously can't go back on her Enbrel injections.. (Amy has psoriasis over 70% of her body.)

    Even I'm starting to think that for health reasons, she's going to have to give up nursing. Amy is very emotional about it all.. she wants nothing more than to be able to breastfeed Maya. She feels as if her body has failed her. That once again, her psoriasis has come in the way of something important to her.

    I'm currently getting in contact with an IBCLC to do a home visit for her. And she's sending her husband out to get some fenugreek and blessed thistle.

    Any thoughts?? Anyone who's breastfed with psoriasis??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    Sorry about your friend, I have psoriasis but not as much or on my chest. I wonder if there is anything natural that would help. I haven't found anything yet. Coconut oil was suggested.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Unhappy Re: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    I know how she's feeling, my father got severe Psoriasis since his 30's. He is very often in and out of hospital with it for treatment. He had light treatment as well. He also to have regular blood tests done to ensure there's no liver damage due to the drugs he takes for Psoriasis. My father been told that he now can't have any more 'light' treatment, because he had his life max of light or otherwise he will be at risk of developing skin cancer. His skin 'can't breathe' if it covers a percentage of the body, it can be quite serious, there's no cure.

    Psoriasis is a horrible disabling condition. My father had now moved to the warmer sunny climes, but his condition still hadn't improved. I have seen it all, stinky tar-tar baths, shampoos, creams and my poor late mother used to 'do his head' every single night. Blood in his bed and clothes. Flaky bits of skin everywhere including the car!

    My thoughts are with your friend. Give her a huggy! They often say the condition is related to stress and the condition is the disease of the immune system, it does not recognize the second layer of skin on the body, so as a result it's constantly rejected. My father had considered all types of treatment, one of them includes going into a pool full of nibbling fish!! It is thought to run in families, but no one else in my family had got it, including me.

    Lots of people are narrow-minded about the condition, for example such as my MIL she thinks it's eczema! I hope your friend's condition improves.
    Last edited by Milkmaid; January 4th, 2008 at 08:02 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    I don't know anything about psoriasis, but I have a couple of ideas.

    If pumping is not possible due to irritation/damage from the pump flanges, would manual expression be more skin-friendly? Here is a good (but non-LLL-created) site that explains the Marmet technique for hand expression of breastmilk. This technique takes more practice than a pump does, but it has been found to be effective at expressing milk and establishing a good milk supply.

    Your friend is not the first mother to deal with psoriasis while nursing; there are medical guidelines and recommendations for how to handle an outbreak while protecting the breastfeeding relationship. Here is a passage from an LLL webpage that may be useful:

    Eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and neurodermatitis may occur on the skin of the breast or areola.

    Breastfeeding may cause irritation of the nipple and areolar skin leading to outbreaks of these dermatoses in susceptible women. Topical agents can lead to contact dermatitis. Maternal allergy to foods or cow’s milk or soy formula consumed by the nursling and still in the mouth during breastfeeding can also contribute.

    Treatment with careful hygiene, gentle washing after feeding, adequate drying, and topical corticosteroids may relieve the symptoms. Steroid creams should be gently wiped from the nipple to avoid excessive exposure for the baby. Persistent inflammatory lesions may be superinfected with bacteria or yeast, or may represent inflammatory cancer.
    Your friend's local LLL Leaders should be able to put her in touch with an LLL Professional Liaison representative -- a Leader who is especially knowledgeable about finding solutions and reliable medical information for complex problems like this one. Often the challenge is in getting the right medical research evidence into the hands of the mother's healthcare provider. So if you can help your friend connect with her local LLL network of information and support, that might be very helpful.

    In the meantime, I would like to reassure your friend that mothers can and have nursed through many very challenging medical conditions. The first rule is to feed the baby, by whatever means necessary. The second rule is to do whatever can be done to protect her milk supply. However, as her psoriasis is complicating that 2nd rule, I suspect she would be wise to deal aggressively with getting this outbreak under control first, hopefully in consultation with a doctor who understands the need to find medications that will be compatible with breastfeeding.

    One more option to toss onto the table, as you mentioned above that a driving concern for your friend is that her baby get breastmilk in order to lower the risk of developing the illnesses she herself has suffered from -- donor breastmilk may be available, and if she can provide this to her baby while she works through this psoriasis outbreak, she may feel much better about the situation. Ask if you need more information about how to find donor milk.

    Like I said above, I don't know anything about psoriasis. But I do know that immune-system stuff in mothers can be especially complicating when it comes to breastfeeding. I urge your friend to be aggressive in caring for her health and in seeking out reliable medical information for how to treat her condition while also lactating/breastfeeding. But at the end of the day, I want YOU to understand -- and to convey to your friend -- that this is HER body, her relationship, her life. She gets to -- has to -- make the decisions about how to move forward through these problems. I'm very sorry that she is going through such serious problems, and I wish it could be easier for her.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Talking Re: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    The "sunlight" always works temporarily for my father, perhaps she could sit in a bit of sunshine on her chest/breasts. It's chemical free and it DOES improve things for a while, cause the skin behaviour changes to activating it's pigments.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    I have psoraisis and had a bad flareup after i delivered my son.... my whole body, inclusing my nipples were cracked. I went for light therapy, used lots of nipple ointments and successfully exclusively breastfed until my son was 12 months... now hw is breastfed and given reg whole milk.

    Please PM me with any questions, or you can have her PM me... It is possible, but takes alot of dedication as it can be painful, very painful at times....
    Proud Mommy to Michael who is 3 now! Michael was nurseynursed for 2 years!!
    I did not make up this persona, but if I did, I would make myself 50 pounds lighter and 5 years younger!!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Psoriasis

    I actually got stressed induced Psoriasis from my son twiddling while nursing. As in I never had it before and he brought it on by always pinching and pulling and causing severe trauma to my breasts. It was awful, ugly and painful. My breast were in bad shape for months. But it went away and with the use of some steroid cream and I can feel it when it's trying to come back....I get these hard dry balls of goose flesh that if played with will open into patches of dry skin and spread and bleed. I just don't touch it at all. I also got him a nursing necklace and at some point the twiddling stopped. The doctors told me to stop nursing him, so I could take stronger cream. but I didn't. Not nursing wasn't an option for me. I'm not sure if my story helps but I just wanted you to know that I have it and I actually got it from nursing and we got through it.

    Way too lazy for formula

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