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Thread: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medical)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Colorado
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    3

    Default Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medical)

    Help! I've recently learned I have invasive breast cancer and have been told I must wean my 7 month old daughter. I'm heartbroken and not ready. My daughter has
    never taken a bottle, I don't even know where to start with the weaning process!
    I've been to 2 different doctors in the hopes that one of them might be more in line with my hopes to continue bf'ing, even on one breast. They've both said I must
    wean before an MRI can be done; not to mention I absolutely cannot bf during
    chemo.
    How do I get through this? How do I feed and comfort my little girl when all she's
    ever known is breastfeeding? I don't want this to be traumatic for her, but I don't
    know how to avoid it. They want to do surgery in 3 weeks, so I essentially have
    about 2 weeks to wean.
    This is awful.
    Any help is appreciated!
    *Do your breast self-exams regularly!!!!*

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,564

    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    I'm so sorry Mama. You can "bottle-nurse", I know it's not the same. Have you tried bottles with her at all?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    Call infant risk. I think MRIs depend on the contrast agent. Infant risk can give you details. You might be able to buy yourself just a hair more breathing room.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    19,889

    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    I'm so sorry, mama. What an awful double blow. Is the deal that the docs can't get an usable MRI picture on a lactating breast? Or is the issue that they ate going to be using some sort of contrast medium that is incompatible with breastfeeding?

    I suggest contacting Dr. Jack Newman- http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/- and also talk to Infant Risk- http://www.infantrisk.com/- about the chemo drugs you must take. They should be able o provide an authoritative answer on safety, and possibly a more nuanced one as well.

    If you must wean the best way to do so is slowly. Start by cutting out a single feeding, waiting a day or two, and then dropping another feeding. This will allow your milk supply to decrease at a slow but steady pace, reducing the risk of you getting engorged or winding up with plugged ducts or mastitis. Ordinarily I would tell a weaning mom to wait at least several days between dropped sessions, but it sounds like you may not have the luxury of time.

    I suggest having someone other than you give your baby her bottles. Babies generally do not want to take bottles from mom because they know that she has the "real thing". It may be very hard to get your LO to accept a bottle. My mom had to wean my sister at 3 months of age due to medical issues, and my dad had to give her the bottle, and to this day he says it was one of the hardest things he ever had to do because my sis wanted nothing to do with the bottle or the formula. However, there's a kernel of hope in that story, because after 3 months my mom was given the go-ahead to nurse again, and she managed to relactate and nurse my sis until 18 months.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Mar 2010
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    Northern Cal.
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    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    You've gotten good advice here, but I just wanted to say I'm just so sorry about this news! Of course the most important thing is that you get healthy as soon as possible, and if that requires weaning, it's the right thing to do, for you and your child. But I also know I would be so heartbroken to lose my breastfeeding relationship this way.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    good advice from all pp. i just wanted to say, get well and stay tough! you've worked hard for 7 months to bf her and you've given her an enormous gift. now you much work harder and get well. you can do it!!!!!
    mom to ds daniel 12/16/09 and ben 2/27/11

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    i am so sorry, mama. that is tough. there is a post here in the breastfeeding news forum on bf and cancer with two helpful links. i think you will find this article particularly useful:

    http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/...3#/45a53a63/20

    my heart goes out to you. i hope you will heal soon. s
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Colorado
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    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    Thank you! Empathy from those who understand goes a long way right now. I haven't tried "bottle-nursing," what is that? She has tried bottles, but it's hit or miss--she's not much of a fan. We've been playing with sippy cups with some success...
    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    I would consider bottle nursing to basically be the same as nursing, but with a bottle. Feed on demand, always hold her when she's drinking the bottle, etc. A friend of mine can't nurse and that is how she feeds her daughter. I've never seen her give an 8 ounce bottle of formula, and her kids don't walk around with a bottle in their hands.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Colorado
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    Default Re: Sudden weaning of 7 month old (medic

    Again, thank all of you for your kind words. Your understanding and knowledge of the breastfeeding relationship is immensely comforting. This is undoubtedly the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I am mourning the loss of nursing much like a death. I'm sure there are some who think I'm nuts.
    That said, I've read the articles and discussed the possibility of weaning on one side with my doctors. The concern is the contrast being unsafe for nursing, plus they want to be sure they can get a good picture. So, they've told me I must wean, on both sides. I've rebelled. Yet even if I were given the go-ahead to only wean on one side, I'm only buying myself a few weeks at best, because post surgery I will have to do both chemo and radiation,
    which are clearly contraindicated. In addition, this type of cancer is estrogen-receptor positive, which means it is "fed" by estrogen...it is likely in my best interest to wean. Time is a luxury I do not have.
    In spite of my feeling otherwise, I have come to the conclusion that I simply must follow the doctors' orders. This has not been an easy conclusion to come to. I have begun to eliminate feedings slowly, beginning with taking out one for a couple days, now we're cutting out two, then we'll move on to three in a day or so. I expect it will only get much harder and I hope that my precious girl will not suffer too terribly for it. I keep telling myself
    that seven months is a wonderful period of time, and we have come so far.
    This process has brought to the forefront some of the problems with our healthcare system and the tendency of doctors to dismiss patient's desires in favor of a precautionary approach and a fear of lawsuits. I hope that nursing mothers in the future who are facing the same diagnosis are not faced with the same dilemma.
    In the meantime, I am cherishing every single one of our last nursing sessions. I have gone from saying that I "have" to go feed the baby to saying I "get" to go feed the baby. To all my fellow nursing moms out there, don't take a minute for granted. And don't forget to do your breast self-exams!
    Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words.

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