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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 37 weeks pregnant and was just diagnosed with pernicious anemia (It's an auto-immune thing that prevents me from absorbing B-12 from diet/vitamins).
I am now receiving weekly B-12 shots. I thought the problem was fixed. But now my MD is suggesting that I not nurse and offer formula instead.

But I don't understand, if I am now getting adequate B-12 from the shots, wouldn't my milk have adequate B-12 too?
My MD said it would be best just to be safe and do the formula route. But I can't imagine not breastfeeding my daughter. Does anyone have any experience with this? I can't find info anywhere!!

409 Posts
You should absolutely still bf if that's your plan.

I have been dealing with this.

It's really confusing, just be sure and make it to the all works out.

My daughter was diagnosed at 11.5mo with a severe vitamin b12 deficiency.
She was completely breastfed up until that point because the deficiency had left her with impaired motor neurone functions. She actually could not do anything BUT bf at that point. She couldn't physically adjust to sucking from a bottle, cup, spoon, anything really, and a sns didn't work for us either (flowed too fast or something).

The doctors at the time put it down to my diet (vegetarian - 10years), and the fact that I was pregnant again and my milk pretty much dried up after 8wks or so.
Ella was on the breast constantly, because it seemed there was nothing else I could do while I waited and waited for her pediatrician appts to come up (they're hard to get into here, and no-one was listening to me).

Anyway, when we finally got listened to and jumped the queue to see the pediatrician she was admitted into hospital immediately. She had to have a nasal-gastric tube for immediate nutrition and we were in hospital for 7wks while she learned to suck on a bottle (all formula and any droplets of milk that I could pump) and eat some solids. We went home with the tube too finally and she had that for about 4 more weeks.
She also had a 2 week course of B12 injections (every second day) which got her levels way up.
Formula contains high doses of B12 and after a week or so of formula, she started to shake uncontrollably, which is just what happenswhen the body has been deprived of b12 and then starts to regenerate itself when it gets some. That lasted about 2 wks.

She regained all her skills that she had, ie, the ability to sit up solo for more than 2 minutes at a time, interact with us, etc. Worst case scenario is that she would never improve from her lowest point, but she has and now at 20months she is completely caught up to her peers in every way.

Ella seemed perfect at birth, and we anxiously awaited those first smiles from around 6wks and all that but they never came. She was very easygoing, never really crying (not that we really gave her a chance), but from about 3 months old I knew she was not quite right. She did roll and sit up at developementally appropriate times, but interaction-wise she was really not into it.

It can take about 6 months before b12 deficiency can become apparant. So we don't know if she was born with low b12 or whether she just couldn't absorb any that was in my milk (my levels were low but not dangerously so, not unusual for a pregnant breastfeeding vegetarian that didn't supplement), or what.
Anyway, we're still in the process of seeing if her levels do sustain themselves over a lengthy period of time, same with myself.

I have tested my b12 again just this week so see if i need any more injections, or if the ones I had were enough of a pick-up.

Despite the drama's with my first child, i have not really ever wavered on whether or not I would bf my second child. It's not a question for me really.
The question instead is, what will I do to ensure that this does not happen again?

And my answer (plan) to that was:

Make sure I have good b12 levels by having it injected 3 monthly.

If I suspect any deficiency in my child i will have it tested immediately, and will also have him injected with a supplement if need be.

From my understanding, if your levels are good and your child can not absorb the b12 in your milk, it won't be able to absorb it from formula either and will need injections anyway.

As it is, my 2nd child is a happy smily big boy at 9wks, I don't suspect he has a problem at all.

Formula the safe route....rarely. and not in this instance!
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