PCOS and breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-27-2009, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I just found out I am pregnant with #2 and I am absolutely over the moon exited: but already starting to worry about breastfeeding. With ds, I had some breastfeeding issues and he didn't receive my milk for very long. I am really determined to make it work this time and looking for any advice that might help me.

I have just been diagnosed with PCOS. i have had extremely irregular periods all my life and when I had my bloodwork done, my androgen level was slightly elevated. Luckily, after starting on metformin, I was able to get pregnant within a month. I am wondering if PCOS is what caused the issues with bf ds? It is really hard to say if what happened with was a result of "mismanagement" or true low supply. Ds seemed hungry all the time, never satisfied after a feed and was constantly on the breast yet not gaining enough weight. At one point when I went to teh LC I remember he got almost 2 ounces at the feeding and the LC told me everything was going fine but after that visit we began to have problems. Part of it was problem's on the baby's end, he just refused to latch on all of a sudden but I think part of it was my supply. I do remember leaking and spraying a bit of milk at some point, which would seem to indicate my supply was fine, right? Also, I remember, both in pumping and in feeding ds, one breast had less milk than the other. it is slightly bigger and a bit droopier than my other breast, could it be that it is hypoplastic (sp?)

I have been doing some research and found there's some anecdotal evidence that metformin might help build up a supply. I was going to ask the doctor if I could continue it throughout pregnancy ( i am supposed to take it through the first trimester) but am kind of unsure. I want to bf and try anything that might help, but I am worried that the met might hurt the baby in the process. It seems like most studies say it is safe, but I just don't know.

Has anyone on here tried met through pregnancy for bf, did it help you?
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#2 of 6 Old 05-27-2009, 11:16 AM
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The PCOS/breastfeeding thing is tricky...

A. A lot of women have PCOS.

B. A lot of women have supply issues.

Sometimes A and B will overlap and you will get C. But is B because of A or just happening along side it?

Now some say PCOS can result in a certain breast type - tuberous? Tubular? Which can mean "insufficient glandular tissue." Which could mean not enough of the right parts to make milk. BUT - is a woman with really big tuberous breasts really less able to breastfeed than a woman with really small "normal" breasts?

Doesn't make sense to me.

I think some women have PCOS. Some women with PCOS have tuberous breasts. But - not all do!!! Some women with PCOS have trouble making milk - but not all do!!! (And not all women with tuberous breasts have PCOS) Basically there's some overlap but... I don't know if you can really prove one causes the other... you know?

As for me, I have PCOS. I have what I believe to be tuberous breasts - they kinda hang, not too developed in the lower half, not those nice big pear shaped boobs like you'd seen in an 80s slasher film (where none of the girls ever seemed to wear bras, what is up with that??) My boobs are on the small side, B cups.

I had NO trouble breastfeeding my son.

I had IMMENSE trouble breastfeeding my girls.

Now with my girls I also had serious depression, a c/s, pre-eclampsia, one baby in NICU and neither baby terrible alert/awake/interested in nursing early on. What caused my problems? Who can say.

I do know my experience proved the whole supply/demand thing to not always be true. Ie I did NOT make what I needed. My babies were nursing at empty boobs and starved for a few months because I got my head out of my butt and gave them formula.

Things I tried - goat's rue, more milk plus tincture, domperidone, beer, oatmeal, pumping a TON. What I think helped - the more milk plus tincture, to an extent, but not enough... I was also on met... but half heartedly...

Metformin and goat's rue are related in some way. I think met is derived from goat's rue?
I have heard of women with PCOS having great success with goat's rue in upping their supply.

I have also heard of women having more milk while on met.

I don't know if the met matters while pregnant, from a milk standpoint, but some say it prevents miscarriage and wards off GD.

I took met my whole pregnancy with my son, and while nursing.

With the girls - like I said it was half hearted.

Maybe there was a connection? Who knows.

It is safe to take while preg and nursing. It might help with the milk. It won't hurt!

But as for what the real reason was you didn't make enough milk? Who knows.

Good luck with your pregnancy and nursing! Just try your hardest... don't assume it won't work again... fwiw I have read of women with PCOS having not enough milk one time, and plenty the next, so...

DS T 11/16/03 DDs K & E 3/28/08
nak DS S 4/1/11
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#3 of 6 Old 05-27-2009, 11:22 AM
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I have suspected mild PCOS, some sx but not the major ones and slight IGT I think. I had problems bfing my first 3 kids. I worked hard w/ this one, took Saw Palmetto Berry and Milk Thistle and pumped and fed and I'm ebfing my 4th w/ no herbs at this time! You might check out the book Making More Milk I thought it was helpful and very informative on all things bfing and problems and herbs to try etc.

Jennifer, LPN and nursing student, Doula, CPST, and VBAC mama x3 to
AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)

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#4 of 6 Old 05-28-2009, 12:16 AM
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I would definitely stay on the met throughout your pregnancy. The most recent research indicates that, not only does it help reduce the rate of m/c, it also reduces the rate of GD, pre-e and IUGR. There is some evidence that it may help with milk supply, but that much is not conclusive. The statistic I read was that approximately 30% of women with PCOS have low supply, which I would wager is higher than the general population. So, I think that it is safe to say that the hormonal imbalances typical of PCOS patients are playing at least some role in the supply problems.

Definitely stay on the met. It can only help. I would also recommend having some More Milk Plus Special Blend (it contains Goats Rue) and possibly Domperidone at the ready. Pump after feeds to encourage a strong supply.

I have PCOS and did have supply issues. Everything I tried had only a modest improvement, but I believe I am in the minority in that regard.
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#5 of 6 Old 05-28-2009, 12:25 AM
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i have pcos, it took me 12 months and losing 50 lbs to conceive. bfing is going well so far

i think the biggest thing for pcosers is general health and especially weight! so just stay on the met and keep yourself healthy!

I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
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#6 of 6 Old 05-28-2009, 01:04 AM
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First of all, congratulations!!!

We definitely have a lot of similarities. First of all, I have PCOS with only slightly elevated male hormones. I don't have the classic "look" of a PCOS girl, but I also really enjoy exercise and eating well. Don't know if maybe that has helped. That being said, I do not ovulate on my own. Period. For my first LO, I used Clomid and got pregnant the first cycle. For my newest LO, I was on Metformin for a few months and got pregnant without even trying. We use NFP and it was obvious a couple months after starting that I was ovulating.

With my son, we had breastfeeding h-e-double hockey sticks for the first two months. My nipples were "too big" for him to latch around, I got terrible sores and had to exclusively pump and bottle. I never made enough milk even with Domeridone, but I never went up to the maximum dose. The Dom definitely helped and I was just happy to get him back to breast at 2 months.

I don't know if I have hypoplasmic breasts. I go back and forth from day to day. I definitely don't have the roundness that I think maybe they should have and I again have had supply issues with this LO. I am on 90 ml of Domeridone and some other herbs (that I don't know if that have made a difference). The Domeridone has made all the difference in the world. With this one, due to a series of problems, I am having to do pump and give her a chaser bottle after I BF her, but I have enough milk and actually have some in the freezer this time. Last time, I never had a drop to spare.

I was on Metformin for the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy and stopped when my doctor told me I could. I wonder if my supply out of the gate would have been better if i stayed on it? Metformin is the next step for me if the Domperidone doesn't continue to do its job for some reason.

I really hope you don't have a replay of how things went last time. The first paragraph of your post sounds exactly like what I said when I was pregnant! I don't want to say anything negative, but my one piece of advice for you is to just be prepared for what may be to come. Many people said to not believe that we were going to have problems again and just go forward confidently. I would definitely say that you should do that, but the best thing you can do is be proactive. I would get yourself set up with a great LC to start with and see her in the first few days after birth, even if things seem like they are going swimmingly. This time, I did think positively and see my LC right away and we still have had problems. The positive is that they didn't escalate to the same level (with soreness/sores). Still working through all this, though.

Anyway, I don't have any personal experience with met in pregnancy, but just wanted to contribute my thoughts ...

Congrats again!
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