January 15, 2011,
N.E. asks from Palm Coast, FL on February 12, 2008
Breastfeeding with Crohn's
Hi, I am curious if anyone breastfed while having Crohn's disease. My OBGYN/Peditrican think it isn't a good idea b/c of the medication that I am taking. Supposably it is okay to take Lialda while pregnant but not breastfeeding. I was just curious if anyone did and the name of the doctor that ok'd it.
B.M. answers from Orlando on February 13, 2008
Consider getting in touch with your local La Leche League. They are mothers who help you get in touch with the right reasources for breastfeeding as well as a support system. I don't have Crohn's, but I am on other medications for high blood pressure. I was on diff. meds during pregnancy, but it didn't control well enough after I gave birth. I was very concerned since the stuff I take now I wasn't supposed to take while pregnant. The doctor ok'd the meds, but my husband and I were very nervous about the effects on our baby. The La Leche League leader in my area helped me find resources to make an informed decision that made me feel comfortable for my baby's well-being even after my doctor ok'd the meds.
J.I. answers from Gainesville on February 13, 2008
Dear N., congratulations on your pregnancy and desire to breastfeed. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about breastfeeding and medications. I have had clients who were told they could not nurse when taking medications that are safe for use by the infants themselves! Many times health care professional mistakenly tell moms they cannot breastfeed when taking a particular medication. This is partially due to a global lack of understanding and appreciation for all the benefits of nursing to both mom and baby. There are many risks with formula feeding of infants. Most drugs pass through breast milk only in very small amounts.
Contacting your local LLL group was an excellent suggestion. LLL has professional liaisons, who are leaders trained to address and research medical and legal issues. A good resource book for any health professional to use when considering medication issues is by Thomas Hale. It is called Medications and Mother's Milk and actually cites studies on individual drugs, not just inserts from pharmaceutical companies (which is what is published in the Physicians Desk reference (PDR) and used by most doctors). If your doctors say certain medications are contraindicated, ask them what sources they are using to support their opinion.
I am a lactation consultant, not a doctor, so can't really comment on your meds. According to Hale, prednisone is acceptable. I can't lay my hands on my copy of Hale now, so can;t share information on Lialda. But your LLL leader will be able to find the information for you. Another possible source is the lactation consultant where you plan to give birth. make sure she is an IBCLC, the highest credential in the field.
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A.M. answers from Daytona Beach on February 13, 2008
I am an advicate of breastfeeding ~ It is the best for the baby. But in your case I would not recommend breastfeeding while on medications. Anything you put into your body goes into your breastmilk and can directly affect your child. My best advice ~ If a doctor would not prescribe the medication you are taking to your newborn I would use formula. Ask the doctors what side effects this medication would have on an infant.
I understand the desire to breast feed. My son was breastfed/bottle feed at first because I could not produce enough milk for him but 7 weeks post I had a gallbladder attack that required me to have it surgery. I tried "pumping and dumping" because I wanted to be able to breastfeed again once off the medication and this would help me maintain my supply. If you haven't heard this term before ~ You simply use a pumping machine to extract the milk (fooling your body so it will continue producing milk) but because the milk is not safe for the infant to consume you "dump" it (down the sink).
The best advice is to get thoroughly informed about the medication you are taking, side effects, and the WHY your doctors do not recommend you breastfeeding and then make an informed decision yourself.
Maybe see if there is an herbal supplement that would do the same thing as the medication and not have the effects on the baby - contact a health store or holistic company.
M.J. answers from Jacksonville on February 14, 2008
I would talk to a IBCLC (International Board Certified Lacation Consultant) about this. Your primary dr or OB usually aren't the experts on breast feeding. I'm sure if it's dangerous in BF, you can take something else.
I did find this: Nursing Mothers: Low concentrations of mesalamine and higher concentrations of its N-acetyl metabolite have been detected in human breast milk. While there is limited experience of lactating women using mesalamine, caution should be exercised if LIALDA is administered to a nursing mother, and used only if the benefits outweigh the risks.
M.M. answers from Daytona Beach on February 12, 2008
u r due 2 days after my lil guys 2nd birthday. i honestly do not think it would be a great idea. any kind of medication is not good to breast feed. i personally do not have crohns but my mother n law does. im sorry and i hope this helps and congrats on ur soon to be arrival.
R.M. answers from Orlando on February 28, 2008
Lialda is a newer medication so there may not be as much research available. It is a category B for pregnancy which means "presumed safety based on animal studies". However, it is a " question mark" category for breastfeeding which is regarded as safety unknown or controversial. Olsalazine and sulfasalazine are considered to be unsafe in terms of breastfeeding. Hope this helps.
M.H. answers from Fort Walton Beach on February 12, 2008
Have you thought about treating your Crohn's naturally? I don't have it, but HAVE HEALED MY ULCERATIVE COLITIS OF 34 YEARS DESPITE MY DOCTORS and I have a friend who NO LONGER has Crohn's disease because she treated it naturally as well.
Medication is dangerous to a baby whether you are pregnant or nursing. In a document published by the Breast Cancer Fund, they found an average of 40 toxic chemicals passed from mother to child in umbilical cords studied. As long as you are on medication I would not breast feed. If you could come of the medication it would be good for you and baby :). If you'd like to talk feel free to call my cell ###-###-####(verizon).
S.B. answers from Orlando on February 13, 2008
I have ulcerative colitis, but I take the same meds as someone with Crohn's. I was on Asacol the entire time I was pregnant and breast feeding; I breast fed for a year. I switched to Lialda about a year ago, and was told it was the same as Asacol but a larger dose so I only had to take them once a day. My advice to you would be to ask your gastroenterologist (sp?) the breastfeeding/meds question, becuase he or she would know more about the medicine and its effects than your Ob or the Ped. My gastroenterologist is Dr. Harry Shepherd with Digestive Disease Consultants. I would highly recommend him, I had to switch to another doc when I found out I was pregnant and he is one of the only ones who will take pregnant women. He is fantastic! Hope this helps, and good luck with everything!
Ps: I would like to point out that since I started a workout regimen and a healthier lifestyle I haven't taken the Lialda or any other meds. Its been 4 months since I've had to take anything for my colitis. I would however also like to point out that I am not pregnant, and pregnancy can do crazy things to your body. Now would not be the time to stop taking your meds! Talk to your doctor about your options before you do anything!