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increased illnesses in mom while nursing

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm nursing both my 4 year old and my 9 month old baby. This past winter, I have been sick constantly. I think my immune system must be rather weak because I have had many more than the 2 or 3 illnesses that is expected of a healthy adult. It seems like I catch something new every couple of weeks. There is no reason for my immune system to be compromised besides the stress of caring for an infant and a young child at the same time and tandem nursing. I live in a very unfriendly breastfeeding country and I don't know how much that is weighing in on my reasoning on putting tandem nursing in as a possible reason. Almost everyone here gives up nursing before 6 months, saying that they were too tired. Maybe I'm hearing that too often and starting to wonder if tandem nursing is too hard on my body and compromising my immune system. I do find trying to meet the needs of both of my children at the same time stressful and I know that stress can compromise the immune system.

So, I'm wondering if anyone here who has tandem nursed got sick a lot more. I'm sort of hoping to have people tell me that it is not tandem nursing but just going from one to two. Because I am almost considering weaning my older child to see if I get healthier. I have really wanted to have him self-wean, but he seems to have the desire to nurse as often as my daughter still.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Bumped because I really need some advice and help.
post #3 of 10
It sounds like you need to supplement -- are you taking a good multivitamin? How about echinacea? I would also highly recommend a probiotic supplement -- up to 70% of immune response is in the gut. Feel better!
post #4 of 10
I did not tandem nurse, but i was always sick when i nursed. Flus, colds, stomach bugs, you name it. especially with my first baby. Lets not talk about how many times i had mastitis :

I dont have advice, except that i took my prenatal vitamins for like 5 years, and still take them now, and my youngest is 7.

I think, that for some, tandem or breastfeeding one, takes alot out of them, leaving them vulnerable to pesky illnesses.
post #5 of 10
I have the opposite experience. I am sick much less than I ever was before I breastfed. I always figured my body is in overdrive to produce the antibodies that go in my milk. Now that DD1 is four, though, I am around other kids a lot more, and we catch germs from them a lot more than we did when she was younger and before her friends started preschool.
post #6 of 10
Madrone, I'm so sorry you've been so sick! I've been wondering the same thing myself this past winter, although I'm only nursing one preschooler. I don't think we went 10 days without either my DD or me being sick since Christmas! I thought EBF was supposed to at least protect *her* from getting sick! :

I'm curious to hear other peoples' experiences. DD's ped says it's just because she's around other kids. She picks up bugs and brings them home. My DH is one of those people who's *never* sick, but he caught many colds from DD this winter. My brother's family has had the same problems ever since their oldest started kindergarten. Nobody's nursing at their house, but they're all sick from September-May!

This could be the case with your family. After all, you said most families there wean around 6 months, so it's possible the kids there are sicker and exposing your DD to more germs??? But I know it's absolutely no fun taking care of little ones while you're sick.

I'll be watching this thread with interest. Please feel better soon!

mom to Marlena born April 2002
post #7 of 10
Very sorry to hear that you have been so sick. I wonder if it is possible that you get sick about as often as other moms who are NOT nursing? I believe that it is likely that just about any new mom could possibly get sick more often that other healthy adults because of the general stressors of being a parent: less sleep, interrupted sleep, difficulty finding time and opportunity to prepare and/or eat healthy meals, being exposed to many more germs that older children bring home from school, the great difficulty of findiing any time to exercise or do any kind of caring for oneself, etc. Is it possible that if you took extra steps to try to remedy some of these things? You may also want to consider that the possibility does exist that in weaning your older child, you may expose yourself to more germs and viruses if the weaning makes your child more susceptible herself because she end up being sick more often. Sounds like a difficult and exhausting situation and I wish you the best.
post #8 of 10
Sorry you've been so sick. I'm a wohm so I just assumed it was b/c I had a small child at daycare was the reason I was getting sick more often. It helps to know that most of the other children in dd's class have been sicker than she has.

You have a preschooler who's going to pick up more germs while they're developing their immune system. You're tired and being exposed to extra germs, of course you're going to get sick more often. And since you probably won't stop hugging and kissing your children, weaning wouldn't help either and might actually make your preschooler more apt to get sick. I would make sure you're eating well, getting as much sleep as you can and taking a vitamin. Pretty soon all of you will have super immune systems.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so very much for responding. After I bumped this thread yesterday, I started reading some other frontpage bfing threads and went to Kellymom from there. I don't think that I am meeting the nutritional demands that nursing in tandem requires for someone like me. I had thought that I was doing pretty good, but now I think I'm really not getting enough. Even though I hate taking vitamins, I'm going to start taking them. I have some magnesium tablets that the doctor gave me the last time I was there (after a whole two weeks) and decided I would be taking them as of this morning. I also have some lactobacillus, which I think is basically what pro-biotics are, which I will start taking after reading Reader's post. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up some pre-natals for something more complete this week-end.

You all are right about DS getting sick more often if it wasn't for breastmilk. I have been sick a LOT more often than him this year as it currently stands. Maybe I would be sick just as often if I weaned him because I will be in close proximity to him. And I don't want him to suffer from illnesses. He wants to nurse as often as my baby though. And I have multiple sclerosis which is affected by me getting sick. Normally, I have one exacerbation each year that is triggered by the heat of the summer. This winter, I have had two exacerbations triggered by illnesses. Having two in one year scares me and the thought of if I have one this summer is terrifying. I don't want to be disabled when I am older because of getting colds all the time. How many times per day does a child need to nurse in order to get the benefits of the antibodies? For the past two nights, I have been keeping my son from nursing during the night, only nursing him to sleep and for waking up. Normally, he wants to sleep with a nipple in his mouth. Which that means I'm producing milk almost all night. I'm not sure that I will ever be able to meet the nutritional demands of my current production rate. But maybe I could if his nursing was reduced some. He's such a wonderful little guy and I feel terrible about this.
post #10 of 10
Hey madrone - I wouldn't say I have been really ill all the time since BF, but definately more minor stuff: little rashes, eye infection, etc. Also I got my first serious in-bed-for- a -couple-days cold since i was a kid myself.

You may be right about not meeting your nutritional demands. I have found it a huge challenge to eat right, and to eat -enough- throughout the day. I would wake up at night really ravenous.

It has helped me to do ALOT of healthy snacking. And to plan for 2 lunches, basically. I had to mentally put myself back into "pregnancy eating" mode. for me this meant "you are doing precious work here. indulge in scrumption good stuff"

Also, it may very well be the the un-supportive atmosphere is affecting your immune system. that kind of stuff can really eat away at you (pun intended). so i hope you can find someone in real life to give you the kudos you deserve. be kind to yourself! good eats (and drinking lots of water too) is a huge part of that. a way to baby you so you can baby your baby!
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