If you’re like me, you want all of your pregnancy decisions to be no brainers. Our treatment courses are so individualized as it is, and we’re often confused and not sure if we’re improving, declining, or doomed to live forever in the purgatory better known as, “I’m able to function, but I feel like crap all the time.” Choices become even harder when we factor in the future of a developing baby.
That said, I don’t mean to further confuse you with the following breastfeeding update:
My intent for this blog is to provide as much Lyme pregnancy info as I can, and I understand that just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for others.
I’ve posted a couple of times on breastfeeding, and in the end, I made my own list of pros and cons and decided against it. My LLMD agreed and encouraged formula feeding. For those of you not interested in formula, I have some interesting news:
I recently received and email from my friend and fellow pregnant Lymie. She spoke with her LLMD about breastfeeding, and her doctor highly encouraged it. She is going to give it a try, and I think that’s great news! (Just goes to show you that LLMDs’ opinions differ greatly.) According to her doctor, “there is no evidence of passing lyme through breast milk. However, even if there are bacteria in the breast milk, it may be digested by the stomach acid. Also, if you take antibiotics while breastfeeding, you pass on the antibiotic protection to the baby.” I don’t know why I never thought about it from that angle, but it makes sense...in the off chance some spirochetes make their way into the milk, it would be nearly impossible to survive our harsh stomach acid. Much different than passing it through the blood.
She also told me that she plans on getting her breastmilk tested. Until now, I had no idea that this was an option, though it seems obvious and I wonder why I didn’t think of it while I was pregnant. (As soon as I get more details on the testing, I will post them.)
As I watch my own son struggle with formula (it took us the better part of three months to find a formula that didn’t bother his sensitive tummy), I sometimes wonder if I should have taken the chance and gone the natural route. (The “what-if” mentality will do nothing but drive you nuts, btw.)
I should point out that even though she still experiences some symptoms, my friend is mobile and on the mend, and therefore isn’t anticipating any aggressive not-safe-for-baby treatments after delivery. This makes breastfeeding a viable option.
She also mentioned that she plans on pumping. She’s doing it for personal reasons that are not Lyme related, but I’d like to add that it’s a fantastic way to give your baby the good stuff, yet till have the freedom to take a nap and let your partner take over if you’re not feeling well. (Trust me, there will be days where you’ll need extra sleep.)
Again, I’ll stick with what I’ve believed since the beginning: I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to any of this, because we just don’t know enough about the disease yet.
We do the best we can, and we do what feels right. No matter the decision, these babies will be well loved and cared for.
Thank you, L, for sharing this information with us. Please update us and let us know how it goes for you. *Stay tuned for info on breastmilk testing.
I am a mother and writer with Chronic Lyme, on the road to acceptance and recovery. I was bitten in 1996, diagnosed 2008. I am living proof that it is possible to live meaningfully and have happy, healthy children while battling this terrible disease.