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Breastfeeding and Lyme Disease
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Breastfeeding and Lyme Disease

Hi I know I have been gone so long. I have had a roller coaster of a time lately. I am 9 months pregnant and I have experienced Hyperemesis gravardium my whole pregnancy (this is a horrid condition of severe nausea and vomiting) which has led me to receive IV fluids, home care, and in and out of the hospital. Amazingly enough the baby is healthy and actually a little big. I have a daughter who is 3 and is Lyme negative. I have had Lymes now since 1988. Some of you may remember from last year.

So I really want to hear Lyme mommies or anyone who can give me the truth on this subject. Lyme disease and is it really safe to breastfeed. I ask this because I have been told 2 completely different answers. I know that breastfeeding is now very much pushed in our society that I am afraid some doctors and others do not want to discourage breastfeeding and not give us straight answers Here is what I have been told to do: Send my breastmilk in for testing. Problem: not producing milk right now so I can't send it in and have it tested. If I can't test it till after the baby is born that is almost pointless. I could also take abx which I will of course anyways and my breastmilk will less likely pass Lyme onto the baby. But won't the abx be a problem since it will be in my breastmilk? Not because of Lyme or not, but when it goes into the baby's intestinal tract it could deplete good bacteria, no?

So does anybody have experience with this?

Nice to be back here again too. I missed you all.
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I tested positive for a number of co-infections related to Lyme and also believe I have Lyme. I recently had a baby and so far he is very healthy. I decided not to take the chance and breastfeed because I hear it can be spread by breastmilk. I also take a ton of supplements and I am on antibiotics, so breastfeeding just would not be an option for me. I think it is a good idea to get it tested, if the testing is reliable. To me, it's just not worth the risk, but to someone else breastfeeding might be very important. I wish I could be of more help to you. Good luck.
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Good to hear from you!  Congratulations on your new baby.

Milk will come in shortly after the baby is born, if I remember correctly (?), and you can get it tested right away, perhaps using formula for a few days till the test result is back?  Not ideal, but maybe a compromise.  What is your LLMD's point of view?
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I am not sure when I was infected, but I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding for just under 4 years.

I am assuming if I was infected before or during pregnany, my lack of immune system would have been a great opportunity for symptoms to surface.

I for sure breastfed while I was infected because for the better part of the last year I thought I had MS.... You can't pass that on... So I confined to nurse.

Once I figured out what was going on -and MS was ruled out.... I stopped. So far neither of my children are symptomatic .... Though I am always kind of on edge about it. I freaked out one time when my daughter was limping, it turns out she twisted her ankle at the park. Duh.

It's a risk-benefit thing and a big decision either way. Sorry I can't be more helpful, because there isn't a lot of evidence either way, it might end up being a personal decision in the end. Let me know If you find out more.

I like Jackie's idea. Let me know if you find out where they test breastmilk.
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With my first I had a lot of breastfeeding problems so I don't look forward to it, but I feel like if I can, to at least give colostrum to the new baby. I would also feel like I missed out on something if I never gave it another try. I had double re-occurrent mastitis the first time and the LLMD said it was a blessing in disguise because I had to keep being on abx so I only breastfed for 6 weeks. I was happy I ended that soon for many reasons, but later on that year I found out I had Lymes. Yes, I had Lymes for 20 years and never knew about it. So I will try to pump milk again next week and see if I have any luck.

@Ness78 -IGENEX will actually test breastmilk. I am just not sure how long it takes. I don't need very much to send in fortunately.

I suppose if I come back positive then the answer will be simple and to go directly to formula. But say if I test negative I will still go on abx since it is not 100% reliable testing, correct? I guess my concern is what if the abx messes up the baby's digestive system? I am not sure if it does, but it would concern me nevertheless.
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Hey, I missed you! How are you doing? You know the LLMD's suggestion is just to remain on abx, but reminded me that nothing is 100% reliable. So I am still kind of in limbo here.
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Hey back at you!  I'm doing fine.

fwiw, I had a very hard time breastfeeding and just gave up and went to bottle because the baby was not gaining weight properly ... and in fact she looks like a prune in those early photos about 3 weeks after birth.  I was so addled by not sleeping (and was not sleeping because the baby was crying to eat) that I was too tired to make milk, and round and round the whole circle went.  It was awful.  

I remember sobbing in the pediatrician's office, my shriveled little child gnawing hungrily on her tiny fist, and the doc turned around without a word and brought back a can of formula and handed it to me.  Even he was throwing in the towel.  My mother didn't have much milk either, so maybe it was genetic.  Who knows.

From there, we never looked back, and my baby is now all grown up and just fine in every way possible.  She doesn't have allergies or anything, and has been quite healthy.  So ... formula isn't the worst alternative.  I wish I could have breastfed, but no regrets overall.

All we can do is the best we can, and sometimes it's through means we would not prefer.  Don't be hard on yourself, just take care!  Stay in touch, okay?
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As an aside, I detest the breastfeeding cult.  I have had too many friends beat themselves up when it didn't work...as it often doesn't...I detest the way it makes mother's feel.  The better you feel about yourself as a mom, the better mom you'll be...

Sorry for the rant, I think the whole craze is ridiculous.  As often happens in medicine, one's emotional well-being is discounted.

If you are looking for an alternative to powder formula, some naturopaths have great recipes Sometimes they use a goat milk base since it closest to human mild.  You can add fish oil and all sorts of stuff.  My girlfriend is a naturopath who adopted her babies, she concocted something that was a close to breastmilk as she could get.   Her babies had a rough start with their birthmom, but now they are thriving.  

My mom was fed carnation can milk, and 60 years later she is looking great! I think we do the best we can as moms, and that is perfectly enough.  
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Thanks ladies, You all made my day because I cannot begin to tell how many people IRL and online criticized me for stopping breastfeeding. It also doesn't help that I live in a pro-bfing area. I remember when I first had my daughter in the hospital and an LC came in and chewed me out for giving my daughter formula. I did both and made the decision beforehand, but that wasn't good enough for the LC or pediatricians. I guess that's when I hit my downward spiral. I was told all these horrible things would happen to my daughter and even other mothers would walk away from me because of not bfing.

Well long story short I want to try bfing again because I do believe there are benefits, but I have no qualms with baby formula either. My daughter is 3 and has never had an ear infection or infectious diarrhea and I was privately told by her preschool teacher that is a top performing student. And many people were fed formula and are actually doing really, well so I agree with you all. Fortunately, I am at point now where I don't care what other parents think and hopefully I will be able to stick up for myself better in the hospital. We hopefully my breastmilk can get tested right away and I will have my answers, but since Lyme is debilatating for me I know I need to do both combo feeding in order to get by.

Funny thing is as pregnant all my Lyme symptoms go away, but they did come back 3 months after having a baby in full force so I know how it goes.

Totally agree though a happy/healthy mom is a happy/healthy baby. I saw the results for myself!
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