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lithium effects on breastmilk

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi,

Looks like I'll be starting lithium or something similar soon. Anyone have good information about what the effects are on breastmilk and the baby?

Thanks!

Lori
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
finding links:

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/...edication.html
post #3 of 6
Hi --

I am a doula and a midwife's assistant. I have a client who is currently on lithium and have been researching options for her. This is what I have found. The most comprehensive, readable source for info that you can get is Hale's "Medications and Mother's Milk". Make sure to get the 2002 edition. There is a chapter on lithium there that says essentially this:

Many health care providers say that breastfeeding while on lithium is absolutely contraindicated, however, each baby will metabolize lithium differently and some will show effects of lithium toxicity, including heart, thyroid and kidney problems. Most of these problems can be remedied if the baby is exposed to less lithium. Lithium does pass easily into breastmilk. If you choose to breastfeed while taking lithium, you will need to take the baby to have blood drawn to check for lithium levels frequently (every 1-4 weeks).

If you have not selected a medication yet, you may look at some of the alternatives to lithium. My research indicates that lithium is one of the safer choices in pregnancy itself (though not without risks) but that once the baby is born, carbamazepine or valproic acid may be safer.

(Disclaimer)I am not a physician, just someone capable of reading medical lit, so you will want to do your own research. Hale's book is a great place to start and is a good resource for any nursing mom.

Good luck!
post #4 of 6
that was good info from the last poster!

just wanted to say that it is so good to see a mama who isn't going to wean just because she needs meds. so many moms wean prematurly, and w/o nessesity. good for you!
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by mama_kass
that was good info from the last poster!

just wanted to say that it is so good to see a mama who isn't going to wean just because she needs meds. so many moms wean prematurly, and w/o nessesity. good for you!
thanks, i'm bound and determined to breastfeed. i'm not enjoying pumping, but it's working. i've discovered quite a few things about my breasts and milk production, so it's been enlightening, nontheless
post #6 of 6
Jack Newman's book "The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers" talks about this also. He's the BF guru Dr. He says the same thing as Hale - get baby monitored while on lithium. His philosophy seems to be BF is too important just to stop because baby will get a small amount of medication. I hope your Dr's are supportive of BF - I think it's just easier and legally safer for them to tell you to wean. BTW I'm impressed you can realise when you need medication. Good on you!
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