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Thread: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    i had to have an xray taken today b/c i fell and hurt myself.... (sprain, not a broken bone, thankfully!) and the dr's office told me my bones looked very thin on xray. my LO is 6 mos old. they are advising i stop bf'ing at 1 year (or sooner) and i was planning to BF until at least 2 years.... they are concerned that nursing is making my bones thin. they said my bones look as thin as someone who is 70 years old. i am very scared. i'm going to increase my calcium intake. i had not been taking special calcium supps but am going to start. how much do i take? should i take vit d too? is extra vit d okay while bf'ing?

    i am also dairy free b/c my baby is milk intolerant. so i feel like i'm stuck right now and just want to cry..... i don't want to ruin my bones but i don't want to stop bf'ing b/c of the health benefits it provides. our oldest child will be going to preschool this year which i know means more sickness, and our baby will need all the extra immunity protection he can get from breastmilk...

    so again i feel like i'm stuck. they want me to stop bf'ing and i'm scared! also the history of osteoporosis in my family is unknown, so that is of little help.

    one more thing - i bf our first child for 2 years. i had to stop because milk basically ran out during pregnancy and i had low progesterone levels. then immediately after pregnancy i started bf'ing again. so i've been pregnant and/or bf'ing for about 4 years "non-stop" now which apparently isn't helping my bone strength...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    I am going to go and find the link, but I was reading that while your bone calcium goes down while you are breastfeeding it goes up afterward and it actually goes higher. I know that a number of studies have shown that breeastfeeding protects you against osteoporosis. (I have a family history)

    I will find some links and come back. What kind of doctor were you talking to?

    Someone else will come by with information about calcium for the dairy intolerant or you could head over to the allergies subforums.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

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    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    My searching skills are not at their best when I have two kids fighting for possession of my lap and Thomas the Tank Engine trains, but I have found quite a bit about it coming right back up. Not so much (only references not the studies) about it protecting.

    JAMA article
    UMass Dissertation which seems to have found that higher intensity nursing helps with bone loss.

    here is LLL's bibliography about Lactation and Osteoporosis
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    did they also look at your Vit D levels?

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vit...tient-vitamind

    In adults, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, which results in muscular weakness in addition to weak bones.
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    They may be concerned that nursing is making your bones thin, but it doesn't sound like they have any proof, KWIM? My understanding is that x-rays are not an accurate way to measure bone density, any more than looking at a 2-D photo of a person is an accurate way to measure weight. You may be able to guesstimate, but that's not enough for a diagnosis.

    I think you're on the right track with the calcium supplements and Vit D. In addition, I would add some exercise- it's really effective!

    Don't get too freaked out, Mama.
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    I don't know anything about breastfeeding contributing to loss of bone mass, however I have read that there is a period after giving birth during which bone mass builds at an increased rate - a great opportunity to strengthen our bones! Generally, most of us reach peak bone mass at age 30. You should definitely take calcium (the citrate form is best absorbed) and vitamin D supplements, especially since you've eliminated dairy. There's a lot of research suggesting that the current RDA for vitamin D (400 IU) is not enough, since we are so careful with sun exposure these days. You can take several times this amount and it will still be safe. Vit D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it needs fat to be absorbed - make sure you take your supplement with a meal or small snack with at least a little fat in it.

    If you're looking for calcium-rich non-dairy foods, try cruciferous veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli), almonds, calcium-fortified OJ, or canned salmon with the tiny bones in it (if you mash it up really well, you barely notice they're there). Also make sure that whatever you're using in place of cows milk (rice, soy, almond milk) is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    You've got great advice from the pps, but I'd also just add that before you take any steps toward weaning sooner than you'd planned I would definitely suggest getting a second opinion.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  8. #8
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    How much vitamin D is safe to take while BF'ing? Also, how much calcium should I be taking?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    The current "Adequate Intake" (AI) for lactation is 200 IU. AIs are established when there is not enough evidence to establish an RDA (the amount that meeds the needs of 97% of healthy individuals). The AI for vitamin D represents a daily intake that is sufficient to maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism in healthy people. However, since the AI has been established, a lot of research suggests that we actually need more than this. The Upper Limit (UL) for vitamin D, although not specific to lactation, is 2000 IU. I would think that taking 800-1000 IU daily would be safe. Your doctor can take your vit D level to determine if you are deficient (most of us are at least a little) and recommend a supplement dose based on that and your individual health status.

    The AI for calcium for lactation is 1000 mg. Research about calcium is more definitive, so this is probably the amount you should take (from foods and supplements) unless your doc recommends more. The UL for adults is 2500 mg.

    Definitely talk to your doctor about supplements... and get a 2nd opinion about breastfeeding before you quit! good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: need to stop nursing b/c of possible osteoporosis? i'm scared!?!?

    Before taking mega-supplements, please ask your docs to run blood work on your Vit D levels.

    I take a prescription Vit D supplement - and am monitored by an endocrinologist.

    When I was found to be Vit D deficient, they also ran some lab work to check on something related to bones. I can't remember the name of the test - osteo something.

    For mega calcium supplements, please also check with your docs.
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

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