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Thread: Weaning to Take Medication

  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Weaning to Take Medication

    I am still nursing my 23 month daughter but found out today that I have to take a medication for the next 7 days that is not compatible with breastfeeding. I was thinking about trying to wean my daughter at 2 years anyway but am concerned about the impact of stopping suddenly. She's been nursing once or twice a day and is very vocal about wanting to do so. Should I pump and dump over the next week while I'm taking the medication? I'm feeling pretty confused and conflicted about the whole thing.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    Hi Carie,
    How stressful for you! Mind if I ask a few questions?
    Do you have any other options for medication? For postponing? Are you sure the medicine is truly contraindicated for breastfeeding?
    LLL recommends weaning gradually for both the mother and child's sakes. Temporary weaning is stressful for both of you but is sometimes unaviodable.
    How much time do you have to decide what to do?
    Do you have a local Leader to call on for support?

    Mary

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    Mary,

    Thanks for your note. I have shingles and am supposed to start taking the medication (an anti-viral called Famvir) today -- though I haven't taken any yet. My doctor said I should check with our pediatrician but I wasn't able to reach anyone there today.The medication info explicitly says "do not breast-feed while taking this medication." I attended only a few La Leche meetings early on and am not familiar with a local leader.

    --Carie

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    From my experience I would pump and dump... if you still want to nurse
    but it is going to be hard as she will fuss I am sure.. but she may wean during this 7 day cycle... or soon after... It was suggested to me that not to let her see me undress at any time as then they want it, also during the time that is her normal times to nurse it was recommended that someone else take the child... or distract her somehow.. don't sit down as that will signal to her to nurse.. it is tough those first few days.. when I weaned Madison, DH put her to bed... and I was out of site... you may have to go to a friends house during that time. Madison weaned at 2 due to similar circumstances regarding medicine.
    I then told her it was all gone and that she drank it all to make her healthy and strong.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    Hi again, Carie,
    La Leche League Leaders are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice or tell you what is safe or not to take. I can give you some questions to ask your HCP and cite information from published sources that you may use to talk with your HCP about your options.

    The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has not reviewed this medication. In Thomas Hale’s book, Medications and Mothers’ Milk 2004, he lists Famvir as “L2 – Safer”. (The scale goes from L1 – Safest to L5 – Contraindicated.)

    According to this book, Famvir is similar to Acyclovir, which would probably be preferred in a nursing mother, although the side-effect profile is still minimal with this product. Only a HCP would be able to tell you for sure if there are acceptable alternatives for you.

    Thomas Hale goes on to say that the half-life of this medication is relatively short, 2-3 hours. This type of information can be helpful to determine if you might have the option of breastfeeding first and then taking the medication. The peak levels of this medication in your system occur at 0.9 hours from administering the drug.

    You said that your daughter only nurses once or twice per day. Perhaps you could talk with your doctor about timing one or two nursings around taking your medication. If that is not an option, you may need to pump to maintain your supply while doing your best to comfort and distract your daughter for the next 7 days. Temporary weaning is stressful for both of you. The stress can be compounded when the situation comes on suddenly like this. You know your daughter best. Leaving her may add to the stress involved if she is unable to nurse. Extra attention and physical affection may help to reassure your daughter during this difficult time for both of you.

    I hope you are able to find a HCP to discuss your options soon.

    Warmly,
    Mary

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    You can also go to the website www.thebirthden.com/Newman.html and email Dr. Jack Newman with your medicine questions. He usually writes back instantaneously.

    As for sudden weaning, I have heard that the only time when you truly have to wean is with chemotherapy drugs. Considering that the drug is L2 in Hale's book, I might consider what Mary said and try to use it around the nursing schedule.

    Leave a message with your ped's calling service and ask for someone to return your call urgently since you have to start the meds soon.

    Sudden weaning can be traumatic and painful, if you do have to do it make sure you pump to relieve engorgment so you don't get mastitis on top of shingles. That stinks! I am sorry.

    Please keep us updated.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Thumbs up Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    Thanks so very much to all who replied to my posting! Last night I nursed my daughter for what I feared would be the last time and then had myself a good cry.

    Then I went online and found your words of encouragement and advice and was prompted to investigate further. Today I spoke with my pediatrician's office and a lactation consultant at the hospital where my daughter was born and corresponded via email with Dr. Newman. All encouraged me to take the medication and continue nursing. What a relief! My daughter and I can't thank you enough!

    Many thanks,
    Carie

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    Phew!
    Thanks for letting us know how it turned out for you! I'm glad you got the information you needed.
    Best,
    Mary

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    Quite a lot of drugs carry disclaimers about nursing, but I think it's mainly for liability reasons. I'd trust Hale's opinion myself. I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV, but that's my 2 cents' worth.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    30

    Default Re: Weaning to Take Medication

    my son is nearly 12mths old and i have to wean him before he is 14mths because the doc wants to put me on strong meds to help clear my ance on my face, but im on antiboictics (ones that u can take while still breastfeeding) for my eye, its been playing up. anyway my face is looking really good!!!! antibotics seem to be helping my face
    so im gnna sugguest to the doc some antiboitics for my face, and not istone, it will affect my pancres and i get pregnancy diabetes when pregnant so i dnt really want my pancres hurt.

    i proply will have to wean round 14mths, but im quite pleased with my self for breastfeeing this long

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