Breastfeeding and Migraines. - Washougal,WA

Updated on November 04, 2010
L.M. asks from Washougal, WA
12 answers

My husband and I are going to start trying for baby number two in January. I am planning on breastfeeding, but I am scared because of my experience breastfeeding my son. After two days of breastfeeding him, I started to get severe migraines. I tried to ignore it and kept trying. My son and I picked up on breastfeeding from day one and did great! But around two weeks the migraines got worse and I actually passed out from them a few times. At that point I switched to formula because I was so scared.I regret not trying to get more help on the matter, but I did what I thought was right.

Now that I'm trying for number 2, I want to be prepared. Did anyone else get severe migraines while breastfeeding? Did anything help? If you had another baby, did it happen again?
Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to be prepared this time. Especially if I'm going to end up having to use formula (which I'd really rather not) I'd like to save more money now for the cost of it.

UPDATE: Yes, I used to get migraines a lot as a teenager. but they stopped when I was 16. I had a couple bad headaches while pregnant, but I had never experienced such migraine pain as when I was breastfeeding. I didn't vomit, but the pain would literally knock me out. That happened twice before I switched to formula. (Luckily both times that happened to me, my husband was around to help). If I remember right, I was eating healthy and my posture was fine. I wasn't getting enough sleep, because I had a newborn.

Thank you all for your responses. I will talk to my doctor about it, and give breastfeeding my best shot with my next baby. I pray that it goes well :)

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answers from Lakeland on

Hi L.,
Unfortunately, I too had migraines while trying to breastfeed my first son. The pain would be so severe that I would throw up. It was not fun trying to hold my son in one hand, breastfeed, and then hold a bucket in the other hand. I would get severely dehydrated and I eventually had to switch to formula. And let me just say that the lactation nurse at the hospital thought I was being too "dramatic" about it!! I ended up having some choice words for her before I left the hospital. I was really upset about the whole thing, especially since I had never had migraines before. When I got pregnant with our second son, I talked to my OB about the migraines happening again. He told me that it could be a totally different situation. Unfortunately I got migraines again when I tried breastfeeding. I took it all with a grain of salt and started formula. Both of my boys are super healthy and I feel fine with them both having to be on formula. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I totally get how you feel. Just try to stay hydrated and eat! I wish you good luck!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Not normal, sorry. I think that you might have been severely dehydrated or malnourished. Breastfeeding can drain you so much...I eat more than I did when I was pregnant to keep up with the amount that he takes from me by nursing! Coconut milk, lots of recharge, & eat tons! Good luck....see Dr. Palmeri ###-###-####, she helped out alot after I had my son. She's into natural stuff & it helped a lot. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Every situation is different, so you may not have the same problem with migraines this time around. With the birth of both of my kiddos, I expected migraines to come because of breastfeeding and other hormonal changes. And, they did come unfortunately! I really wish I had known about the supplement I've been taking since March back when my little ones were born. It has helped me greatly with my migraines. It is safe for pregnant and/or nursing moms to take-- my daughter was still nursing when I started on it, actually. You may want to consider that as an option. Let me know if you'd like more info. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I had migraines with my period prior to becoming pregnant. Nothing too severe though. After having my son, I became very ill, I couldn't keep food down, dizzy, etc for about 3-4 weeks. I nursed through it, but had to supplement too. I've kept nursing (now 22 months) but I do suffer horrible migraines now. My doctor told me that post pregnancy migraines are VERY common, birth control can contribute and so can breastfeeding. Unfortunately there's not much you can take while nursing. I do hot/cold rice bags, aromatherapy, ibuprofen, and sleep. My doctor did prescribe something called bu-pap, but I never tried it because it can speed up heart rate which concerned me. Also toyed with diet to eliminate food triggers which has helped a lot.

Something I became aware of about 8 months into nursing is that when I get full or need to nurse or pump, I get nauseated and headache y. Nursing for a while actually helps it. I had to listen to my body to figure this out though, they don't tell you this kind of stuff!

I hope you find a way through it because breastfeeding is a great experience!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have had so many migraines for so many different reasons, that I hope I can help you. I find for myself migraines can be caused by a lack of certain vitamins, as well as foods that your digestion doesn't agree with (mine is dairy). You may have developed some food allergies as well, when you were pregnant with your son that you weren't aware of. I noticed myself the first time I got pregnant, my digestion was AWFUL and the doctors weren't smart enough to tell me to eat digestive enzymes for the acid reflux problem I was having while pregnant.

Also, work with a great naturopath. They can help you so much. MD's really don't know very much about cause and effect. It's more about drugs to mask symptoms.

Here are MY recommendations:

1) Make sure you have enough Magnesium in your diet - lack of this can cause migraines.

2) Make sure you are eating enough healthy foods - fruits, veggies, meats, potatoes, etc, so that when baby is feeding, he/she is not robbing you of vitamins YOU need to function.

3) Eat more often, and eat more than you did when you were pregnant. Include with that - drink LOTS of fluids. Make yourself smoothies. They're great - full of nutrition if you use fresh or frozen fruit. Lack of fluids have also cause me to have migraines.

4) Avoid Processed foods that are low in nutrition and high in salt and calories, and don't help you with the higher amount of vitamins you will need for yourself.

5) Make sure you are eating a lot of uncooked foods (pineapple, apples, salads) so that you have all the digestive enzymes you need to digest properly.

6) Take a GOOD live-food nutritional supplement - but make sure it isn't overloaded with vitamin A. Also, make sure it has lots of B6 and B12 in it. I'm convinced that the RDA amounts for these vitamins are much lower than what we really need.

7) Take a good probiotic (good bacteria).

Whatever nutrition we AREN'T getting, babies steal from our bodies. After my first child, I realized I didn't have enough calcium in my diet and I ended up with 7 cavities. The other two I had, I was clued in, so I had zero because I took a great calcium supplement. Same principle applies to your migraines.

For me, acupuncture for migraines didn't work, but other people say it's worked for them.

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answers from Portland on

i never suffered from migraines while breastfeeding so i can't help you there. but, i would suggest that if you do get them again this time around to see if an acupuncturist can help. i know of a few people who had success getting rid of their regular migraines this way. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had problems with migraines while breastfeeding my daughter. And I found I wasnt eating enough, and with breastfeeding you should be eating extra calories. SOO I had to make sure I ate enough, and also drank enough water. I do remember some days were my husband had to stay home from work bc they were so bad and I could talk was tylenol which didnt do a thing! I stuck with the nursing and just had to remember to take care of myself first and then baby!
Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I got migraines with breastfeeding son #2. I was hydrated, well fed, avoided trigger foods, didn't slouch or any other suggestion that was given. Some women just get hormonal migraines which are affected by breastfeeding. This was 9.5 years ago so I was told to suck it up or quit breastfeeding. I opted to be able to care for my child and switched to formula. Hopefully medication now is safe and it works for you. Just remember to do what is best for you and your family. The right choice for one person is not going to be the same choice for everyone else. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Talk to your regular doctor and get a referral to a neurologist. This is an unusual reaction. If you want to breast feed and the baby latches on so successfully you should be able to without having a migraine. I might mean that you will have migraines in the future.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

do you normally get migraines? have you researched with la leche league or online in general? i get migraines... not necessarily from breastfeeding. but, i am lucky and if i "catch it in time" with some excederin, they don't blossom (i usually end up vomiting if they do)... i would say: do some research. breast is best :)

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answers from Pocatello on

I have never heard of breast feeding causing migraines but if I were you I would talk to your doctor about it before hand. Find out if there are safe meds you can take for migraines while breastfeeding incase it happens again. Also you could look into seeing a chiropractor. My sister used to have horrible migraines and the chiropractor really helped. She only had to go in once every 3 months for an adjustment.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I would look into your calorie and water intake. Also, your posture. I was getting severe headaches (not migraines) because I was all slouched over and it was putting a lot of pressure and stress on my neck. You can also try acupuncture. Good luck.

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