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perimenopause and extended breastfeeding

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm wondering if there are any other moms out there in my rather unique position.  I was very lucky to get pregnant (with the aid of IVF) and had a baby 4 days after my 43rd birthday.  Now at 47 I am still nursing my wonderful, sweet, and sensitive boy and do not want to wean until he is ready.  Meanwhile, I find that perimenopause has definitely arrived and I'm having more and more troubling symptoms, the worst of which are mood swings and sleep issues.  The symptoms are bad enough that I would like to get help for them, but so far I seem to be perplexing the doctors I've called.  I am an oddity in too many ways---practicing extended nursing at such an "advanced age."  So far all have said they can't help me unless I"m willing to wean since anti-depressants, even herbal ones, are not compatible with breastfeeding.  One suggested that the breastfeeding itself might be "confusing" my body and extending the perimenopausal period!!!  So, I'm just wondering if there are any other older---really older---breastfeeding moms out there who can offer advice or at least commiserate.

post #2 of 15

No advice, but I can commiserate!  I'm 46 and breastfeeding my two year old.  I also have an almost six year old and an almost 14 year old.  My periods really have changed and I'm definitely more moody - but I just thought that was because I have three kids now :)


Hang in there!  I have to remind myself constantly that bfeeding is a relationship and has to be good for both partners.  Many days I want to quit, but then my boy asks for "sides" and I hold him close and everything seems OK.  I try to just get through it one nursing at a time.  I will say, however, that he is nightweaned and I'm considering eliminating the 5:00 am nursing, just because that one can be uncomfortable. 

post #3 of 15

Antidepressents are not contraindicated while breastfeeding, especially with an older nursling. Check out the infant risk center .

post #4 of 15

Congratulations! I too am nursing later in life... I will be 47 in a week so I can commiserate.


I have been taking domperidone and it helps with these symptoms. I got af back at 4 m pp and my supply started to drop, and I had symptoms you described. When I started the dom, my period disappeared and I've been fine since. Who knows if it would work for you, but it's worth a try, it's done wonders for me. Supposedly the dom raises your prolactin level back to levels that won't leave your body "confused" by perimenopause. Of course my dd is only a year so I haven't been taking it that long.


Good luck.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your replies!

post #6 of 15

I just wanted to say, you're such great mommy, and hang in there hug2.gif

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your encouragement

post #8 of 15

Try acupuncture. I have bipolar disorder, and didn't want to be on my regular meds while nursing.  I found there were points they did that kept me stable AND increased my milk supply.  Good luck and way to go!

post #9 of 15

I can relate on many levels.  I am having a "weaning party" for my 3 1/2 yo tomorrow, three days before my 45th birthday.  One reason I decided to "wean by contract" is that I am just so exhausted and I want to tease out what's causing it--age, perimenopause, the physical act nursing itself, or the interrupted sleep (he creeps into bed for an early morning nurse anytime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. most nights).  I  have gotten some gentle push-back from the doctor who prescribes my antidepressant about extended nursing, not because of the effects of the med, but because he thinks it's too demanding on me physically and, I suspect, because it's just "weird" to him that a 3 y.o. is nursing.  (Doctors are people, too, with their own prejudices and preconceptions.)  Anyway, I am weaning because I am really ready (albeit a little sad and wistful) and I know my little guy is at an age where he can understand. 


But to your question, if you are committed to continuing nursing (and there is no reason you shouldn't be!), you should work on finding a doc that can support you in feeling better while you are doing so.  It might not be easy, though. Maybe try someone more open to complementary or alternative medicine.


It's good to know I'm not the only 40-something mom out there nursing an older child (at least for another day!). 

Good luck to you,


post #10 of 15

Hi, I can totally relate and am struggling with similar issues. I had premature ovarian failure (I am now 42) and was on HRT and hadn't had a period at all in two years when I got pregnant...surprise!  And an extremely happy and blessed one...thing is now that she is almost four months the insomnia and hot flashes are coming back and getting uncomfortable. I am having supply issues too, I thought it was just cause I had gone back to work but maybe it's related to the endocrine issues? Anyhow...I felt SO much better on estrogen...I did placenta encapsulation and that does seem to help a bit but you can't take the capsules when you have even the teeniest infection or it really causes a flare up so not taking them right now. Anyhow I am struggling with how much longer I can nurse. I am hoping to make it to six months but the sad thing is the Doc told me she has to be completely weaned before I can go back on HRT...

post #11 of 15

I also can relate and would love to commiserate or find/ provide support for extended breastfeeding as an advanced maternal age nurser. I am 46 and nursing 4-yr-old twins( also born using IVF )...and am definitely experiencing mood issues and mixed feelings about how /when to wean...though my loose plan is sometime this year!! I'd be interested in what meds people have found their healthcare providers have been willing to prescribe. I'm just glad to hear there are other older nursing moms out there.

post #12 of 15

I am using Vagifem (vaginal estrogen). So that does help with some issues...I've heard of the eating soy thing and done it but don't really notice a difference there. 

post #13 of 15

I'm a 'young' 37 still nursing my almost 2 year old.  I'm in perimenopause and I was taking progesterone to help with the all month spotting.  We got that under control, and now I'm having increased mood swings and insomnia followed by bouts of sleeping non stop and still being tired.  My periods are all over the place.  I read that fenugreek is used to help aid in perimenopause, so I'm taking that this month.  I don't feel as tired, my bowels are definitely more clean :)  and I'm making more milk!  Good luck ladies!  I'll be a GRANDMOTHER in less than 3 months!

post #14 of 15
I am 47 and breast feeding my 2 yr old. I had been having major mood swings, impatience, and hot flashes that were causing problems sleeping. I had been taking vitamins and had stopped for about 4 months. Decided to start again. Prenatal vit, d3, b12, and dha. Hot flashes stopped and mood got better. Went to naturopathic doctor and she said the dha could have been what my body responded to. I also was thinking of taking evening primrose oil and the doctor said she thought that would be good for me. Also something to support adrenals. Haven't yet started these other items, but already feeling better.
I highly recommend dha and seeing a naturopathic doctor if you can.
Good luck
And I am also glad to see that there are so many other women in their 40's and breast feeding. Not a lot of research on things to take for menopausal symptoms while breast feeding. But maybe as the number of our "group" goes up, there will be more information out there.
post #15 of 15

evening primrose oil works well! there are studies supporting it's effect. 

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