Sunday, April 8, 2012

Medications and Breastfeeding

I want to share with you an invaluable resource for moms, especially breastfeeding moms. Kelly Mom has time and again answered questions for me that my doctors couldn't. Believe it or not, ladies, a lot of doctors don't know a whole heck of a lot about breastfeeding. In fairness, for most doctors, it's not their specialty. But every time I've had to go into a doctor's office and have required a prescription over the last two years, I've needed to ask if the medication is safe to take while breastfeeding. Cue the blank stare and the overly-cautious "no".

For example, I am getting my wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. I had a consult with the oral surgeon last week and he gave me a list of prescriptions. I immediately asked if they were safe to take while breastfeeding. He said no, and that I should plan on pumping and dumping for an additional 3-4 days after I stopped taking the medication. He said the narcotics transfer into breast milk and that's bad for the itty-bitty guys. I told him my nursling wasn't itty-bitty, and that he was going to be two. He had a look of undisguised shock, and stuck to his original answer. I tried to get additional details out of him, but he was in a rush and headed out.

Okay then, time to turn to the wisdom of the internet. I took the list of medications prescribed to me and looked them up on Kelly Mom. All of them were rated as relatively safe. In fact, all but one were rated as completely safe to take while breastfeeding. The narcotic prescribed was rated as "moderately safe". This is where you need to make a judgement call and decide how much you trust your doctor. Honestly, I don't know my oral surgeon. I've spent a grand total of about five minutes with him. I'm far more willing to put my trust in the collective wisdom of Kelly Mom than I am in him. Maybe I'm being stupid, but I've not been steered wrong by Kelly Mom yet. And due to bad experiences and advice I've received in the past from various doctors in regards to breastfeeding, I hesitate to take them at their word. I will likely take a day or two off from breastfeeding and hope that I don't need the narcotics any longer than that. But I doubt I will wait the full 3-4 days after I stop taking them to start breastfeeding again. I haven't had to pump in a really long time and I'm not keen on dusting the old breast pump off now.

Before you start to feel hopeless about finding a good doctor, I would like to say that my GP has been awesome. I found him about a year ago, after having gone through multiple doctors, and he has been unbelievably supportive. He has told me multiple times how wonderful he thinks it is that I'm still breastfeeding my son and always relays stories of how his wife is still breastfeeding their child, who is of a similar age to the Eskimo. He has always been knowledgable and has gone the extra mile to find medications that are safe for lactating mothers.

The point of this post is not to convince you that you shouldn't listen to your doctors. You should. But you should also be an advocate for yourself and your child. Ask LOTS of questions. And if they can't answer them, do some research and come back and ask again. I plan on talking with the oral surgeon again when I go in on Tuesday. If nothing else, maybe I can convince him that he should offer alternative pain relief for lactating moms. Maybe the next one who comes through won't have to go through all of this. :)

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