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Extended Breastfeeding, Estrogen Deficiency, and Hormone Replacement Therapy

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello, all. I'm in quite a pickle and don't know what to do for myself. I've been pregnant or nursing since 2006 and it seems to be taking its toll on my body. I've been having some pretty awful symptoms for some time and finally went in for blood work. I was diagnosed with severe estrogen deficiency and prescribed estrogen patches. Now, I know that HRT can dramatically affect milk supply so of course I'm quite leery as I still have a VERY thirsty 2.5 year old. BUT I've lost 70% of my hair, can't have intercourse with my husband, horrible memory loss, severe anxiety and mood changes, and just an all around decreased quality of life. My doctor and I compromised on the absolute lowest dose patch available and I've been using it for a month. While there's no obvious impact on my milk, there's no impact on my symptoms either.

 

My question is this: Has anyone successfully continued nursing while on HRT? Do I slowly up my dose and pray for the best or just wait and see if I get better whenever my daughter weans? I just don't know how much more my relationships and mental well-being can take. :( 

 

Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 3

I'm looking forward to some replies too.  I'm facing having to go on HRT for my osteoporosis now I'm in menopause and I don't want to finish feeding my just turned 3 yr old.

post #3 of 3
I'm not in the same boat but want to add some food for thought. A lot of dedicated nurslings still maintain their sessions (or cut back a bit but continue nursing) despite a very low milk supply. I'm 15 weeks pregnant and my supply is minimal. 22 month old DD has cut back to naptime, bedtime and 1-3 times overnight. it takes me minutes of hand expression just to get a tiny drop of milk on my nipple. DD can nurse for an hour and I'll only see 2 or 3 swallows. Despite the meager milk supply, she is very attached to these sessions and shows no sign of letting any go. I know my situation is different and temporary but it still involves a low supply and a toddler who's going strong despite that. Since the low estrogen is affecting your health, ladies, I would absolutely go ahead with the HRT. Your kids need you healthy and strong and that is worth trading some of the milk. Yes, there may be some dropped session but at 2.5 or 3 years old, hopefully most nutritional needs are met with food and nursing is a supplement to that. You will still retain the immune benefits (which get more concentrated as toddler nurses less) and the comfort aspects. Of course you are the best judge of what's right for your family but I would make your health a high priority because parenting is about being there for your kids in the long run. I would start with a low dose and increase slowly until you find a dose that helps. The kiddos will adjust and will most likely continue to nurse for a long time to come.
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