Nursing a baby with cancer - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-16-2003, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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My 9 month old DD just finished up Chemotherapy for Leukemia. Now that we're done with treatment, the anxiety is about to overwhelm me and I was wondering what I can take to help me get a hold of it. Since she's exclusively breastfed, i have to be careful with any medicines I take, because they may interact with her treatment meds. For example, I cannot take ibuprofin because it could interfer with her blood clotting ability.
Currently, i'm using Calms Forte and Rescue Remedy. Valerian tincture usually works better for me, but i didn't know if it was safe for BFing. If anyone out there has any resourses that know about bfing a babe through cancer treatment, I would be very appreciative! I seem to be the only one who has done this!
Thank you,
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#2 of 6 Old 07-16-2003, 09:56 AM
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I feel for you. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to see your baby going through cancer and chemo. has some good info on herbs and BF - read
It doesn't look good for valerian.

This is a tricky one because I guess you need to know how much of what you take gets into your BM and then does that interact with your dd's meds. This is really a question for the experts. I wonder if you could get your dd's doctors to take a look at Medications and Mothers' Milk by Thomas W. Hale or even contact him about this. Some doctors don't seem to know about this book. It should be very important to them that BF can continue, especially after your dd's chemo, given the immune strengthening ability of BM. And to do that you need to be able to look after your own needs as well.

Also Dr. Hale has a website where health professionals can ask questions. You could get your doctor or an LC to ask a question.

I'm sorry I don't know anything about BF a baby through cancer treatment but hopefull someone else here might know something else.
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#3 of 6 Old 07-16-2003, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you

Her Doctors have been extremely supportive of bfing during this. They actually said what I already knew, that she's lucky to have the BM for its infection fighting abilties. We've been through many hospitalizations, surgeries, etc and that was our first and only goal is to continue BFing...well, along with getting and keeping her into remission.
Even the nursing staff have been very supportive of bfing and our cosleeping. They ask if I need a crib or a big bed and don't even think twice if she sleeps with me on the window seat where the parent who stays is expected to sleep. I'm sure the rest of the hospital isn't as supportive, but things change when your child has cancer. I've been with her everyday and have never left her side, except for when I caught a cold and couldn't be anywhere near her.
i've tried to contact Dr. Andrew Weil, but have heard nothing. I was really hoping that he would answer my email. I should have posted this question eariler, but i didn't need the extra help that herbs could give me.
Does Peggy O'mara have any contacts to people who might be in the know??
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#4 of 6 Old 07-16-2003, 02:05 PM
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It's so wonderful that you've been able to breastfeed your baby through this traumatic time! What a great gift you've given her.

I second wombat's idea to contact Dr. Thomas Hale. I would also try contacting the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center (see this link for contact information) and possibly Dr. Jack Newman who runs breastfeeding clinics up in Canadalink with phone numbers. You could also try finding an board certified lactation consultant in your area at this link and ask her to help you track this information down, although she will charge for her services, obviously.

What about other treatments to help you reduce your stress levels, like massage therapy, that wouldn't affect breastfeeding? Or homeopathy?

I hope your baby is well on the road to recovery, and take care of yourself, too, mama!

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#5 of 6 Old 07-16-2003, 08:16 PM
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no answers, other than ditto the above, just some (((((((((((((((huugs))))))))))))))))))))) for you.

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#6 of 6 Old 07-18-2003, 03:49 PM
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Good for you keeping the bfing going thru such a hard time! I'm sure it has helped your baby remain as healthy as possible.

If you are really getting depressed or anxious with this situation, I believe Hale's book assures us that meds like Zoloft and Paxil are not contra-indicated during bfing, should you decide to go that route. If your Dr does not have this book, most IBCLCs should.

Blessings and hope for full recovery for your baby, and soon.
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