08-25-2011, 09:43 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2011
Location: ASHFORD KENT, United Kingdom
Breast feeding with chrons???

Hello All
I am starting to put thought into if I want to bottle or breast feed my first baby. I know all the information and that "Breast is Best" and everything. However I have read different information regarding breast feeding and crohns, some say that it helps protect the child from getting crohns and some information I have read says it may lead to the child getting crohns. The genral idea behind this is that breast feeding passes on protection from various illnesses the mother has had and gives the baby antibodies. Well as crohns is to do with the immune system and may have been caused by a virus at some point it is not so good to pass these antibodies on. Now i know the internet is full of 'weird and odd things' and am not sure if this is just more of the wrong information you can find and worry yourself with.

I was very ill at the start of my pregancy (im 18 weeks at the moment) at 9 weeks my crohns was so bad I went into hospital for 10 nights. (im ok now). I have also read that after birth due to the sudden decrease in hormones a flare up is possiable. If I do have a flare up, even a small one im worried I will be too ill to breastfeed and look after the baby. I dont want to prepear myself to breast feed then not be able to and have no bottles or equipment ready. I know I need to do what is beat for the baby but also need to take my helth into account, I worried I wont be able to look after my baby if im ill and my boyfriend may need to take over feeding at times im ill.

I know this is all what ifs but I just dont know what is best to do, want to do the right thing.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiance on this. I could really use some advice.XXX
08-25-2011, 11:00 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
So far the studies that I have read say it can prevent both crohns and colitis. I think there are a few other theories out there, but they are not solid studies. Breastmilk is easiest to digest and it encourages a healthy pH in the gut so that good probiotic bacteria can grow, which I think sets the child up for a healthy digestive system.

I breastfed my daughter for 2 years, and she is one of the most healthy children I know. She rarely gets sick and when she does she is better in about 3 days. No allergies, or chronic conditions at all. My brothers were all breastfed over a year and they dont have crohns, I was breastfed only 6 months and I do. Thats my anecdote.

You should pop into a La Leche League meeting. Pregnant women are always welcome and you can ask an accredited LLL Leader for more information.

Even without crohns there are so many reasons to breastfeed. Here are 101 reasons.

Whatever your choice, as long as its an informed one, you should feel good about it.

I wasnt on any meds when I had my daughter, but we want another baby and I will likely be on imuran throughout my pregnancy, and I also plan to breastfeed even on imuran. Its that important to me, but I am a bit biased.
08-25-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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tiloah's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle, Washington

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I would say go with whatever you would want to do if Crohn's weren't in the picture. This disease makes us doubt ourselves enough already.
08-31-2011, 03:31 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2010
I wasn't diagnosed until after I had my babies (I have twins) but I was way too sick after they were born to breastfeed, I wouldn't produce more than an ounce at a time.

That was with a lot of pumping (and crying and beating myself up...) so a friend of mine took the breast pump home with her and basically said "feed them formula, stop wasting time worrying about breastfeeding when you obviously can't do it" and I never looked back. They were on an extra-calorie formula for preemies until they were a few months old, then on regular enfamil.

Other than my son having ear issues (inherited); they are now 10 and are perfectly healthy, happy, strong and smart. They've had their share of colds, but never anything worse than that. I say, do what is right for *you*; a happy and healthy mommy is MUCH better for your baby than anything else!! Babies can thrive and be perfectly healthy children on formula. It's not poison
Crohn's diagnosed in 2001
Gallbladder removed May 2005
Appendectomy January 2011
Humira 40 mg; also Flexeril, Wellbutrin XL, Klonopin, Salagen, vitamin D,
co-Q-10, DMAE, biotin, acai, multivitamin with ginger
09-01-2011, 09:20 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2011
Location: ASHFORD KENT, United Kingdom
Thanks to everyone for their advice. I Think I will just try and stop stressing about it and deal with it when the time comes and just do what feels right. I think I am over thinking it too much, I like to be organised and am already worried that I have not got everything I need yet, and im only 19 weeks! So I think i need to take a "chill pill" along with my other medication and just enjoy my pregnancy as much as I can (although not sure I like how big my boobs have already got!!!) Dont want to stress myself and make myself ill, not feeling to good today but I think thats more to do with the onions I OD on last night at tea then stress.
Thanks again to all, I think I can see that crohns should not effect my choice.
Claire XX
09-09-2011, 05:55 AM   #6
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FruitLoop's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Crewe, United Kingdom
Hi - i was diagnosed when pregnant with my 2nd child and was on steroids for the first half of the pregnancy.

I then had a flare up when she was 3 months old - thats the post-natal hormone surge you mentioned.

TBH i wasnt as ill with that flare up as i knew what was happening so got onto steroids really quickly.

I didn't BF but i was never too ill to look after her (i had a 12 month old as well at the time) - i do recall her lying on her changing mat on the bathroom floor whilst i spent half an hour on the toilet!!

Interestingly i was told that the iller you are with Crohn's when pregnant can indicate the sex of the baby - carrying a girl increases oestrogen and makes flare ups worse - apparantly there was research done into this!

I have 2 boys and a girl and my Crohn's was not too bad when i was pregnant with the boys but was awful when pregnant with my little girl.

Try not to worry about what the Crohn's will or wont do but do ask for help sooner rather than later.
09-09-2011, 06:34 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Victoria, Australia

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I have crohn's and had some issues whilst I pregnant with my twins. I managed to breastfeed for 8 weeks before switching to formula. I am glad I breastfed for as long as I could but in the end feeding 2 kids at different times wore me out (the smaller twin needed feeding more often than larger twin).

Don't stress yourself over it. You can always plan to breastfeed and have some bottles on hand in case you find you can't or decide not to.

Enjoy your pregnancy.
09-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Waverly, Iowa

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Both my children were breastfed till I went back to work (6 & 12 weeks) then they went on formula. They are 15 and 19 now and have no signs of Crohn's. (Thank God!)
09-11-2011, 11:21 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: leeds, United Kingdom
Hi I breastfed both my daughters for 7 and 5 months, they are 13 and 10 now and show no signs of chrohns and are very healthy girls x
09-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #10
Gwen pippy
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ireland
Nice to hear your storys ladies, I breastfed both my girls for 8 weeks each age 3 and 1, had to stop as I was disappearing fast, not from the big D but I couldn't keep up with my hungry babies, was verging on becoming a pile of dust (doesn't help when your only 8 stone fully pregnant) hahaha but lovely to hear that your children are doing well years later.
Gwen xxx
09-20-2011, 07:21 AM   #11
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Location: San Diego, California

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Hi there!

I feel your stress over this decision!! I have a baby 5 1/2 months ago and I struggled with the decision too. I ended up having the baby 3 weeks early because I became so sick. I was in a fairly bad flare the whole pregnancy, and then towards the end I ended up with pancreatitis and Cholangitis. I was so extremely ill. I decided not to breast feed, I'm not even sure that my milk ever even came in, i never got engorged or leaked or anything! My baby is so very healthy. She's gaining weight and growing like she should, and she hasn't been sick at all.

I know everyone says that its best for baby. however, you really have to do what is best for you AND baby.
Diagnosed with CD in 1999 at 15.

Sadie turns 2, 4/5/13!
09-20-2011, 08:55 AM   #12
Senior Member
AshleyElaine87's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Olathe, Kansas
I was in a bad flare when I was pregnant with my daughter. I didn't know I had Crohn's at the time. I was able to breastfeed until she was 6 weeks old, than I went into the hospital for 4 months, so I stopped breastfeeding and we switched to formula.

I am now pregnant with our second child, and I feel a lot better at the beginning of this pregnancy than with the first, and I think I am going to try to breastfeed again for as long as I can.

Like others have said; try not to beat yourself up about it. Do what's best for your body and enjoy your baby!
09-20-2011, 10:37 AM   #13
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames, United Kingdom
I was on prednisone during my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies, and weaned off after they were born. I breastfed my first for a year, my second for a year and a half and my third for a year. I loved breastfeeding. If you can stick it out for the first few weeks, it gets much better and easier. I swear the hormones during breastfeeding kept me from getting a flare up. I never experienced flare ups while I was nursing full time, and I always got a flare up when the babies weaned.

Also, if the GI docs tell you not to breastfeed because of the meds, you should do your own research, because the GI docs actually don't have a clue as to whether or not the medication is safe for breastfeeding, and when in doubt, they will just tell you not to. I learned this the hard way.

The absolute authority on this is Dr. Thomas Hale, author of "Medications and Mother's Milk" You can find the book on amazon.

Most La Leche League leaders seem to have this book on hand, but it may not be the 2010 edition.

Dr Hale opened the InfantRisk center this year. There is a website and a call centre that is staffed by medical professionals who can talk to you about meds.

Dr Hale's old webforum also includes a lot of info about medications and breastfeeding.

I'm sorry, I am a new member so I can't post URLs to any of these sites, but if you Google Thomas Hale Medications Breastfeeding that should put you on the right track!
10-28-2011, 10:56 AM   #14
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Oregon
From everything I have read (and I am very much a "planner" like you so I read a lot) the benefits outweigh the risks. I BF my daughter for 14 months and while I was ready to wean her when the time came I was so glad I made it to a year. Part of the reason I didn't want her to have formula was because I am sensitive to soy and milk so I didn't want to deal with figuring out which formula to give her. I figured we are made to provide the ideal milk for our baby and though we do tend to feel "defective" when we get a chronic illness, we still should assume other parts of us might be functioning just fine. Check the library for the current La Leche League book and read it all before you decide. My friend is a doula and she recommended that book. I was so glad I read it.
10-28-2011, 12:09 PM   #15
stupidbody!'s Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Billings, Montana
I'm all for breastfeeding. A lot of people who have crohn's and/or babies can tell you that anything can happen. Anything can happen with your crohn's, anything can happen in pregnancy and labor. I hope you give breastfeeding a try for at least a couple weeks. I felt horrible for a month after a c-section. I don't think I would have wanted to have anything to do with my daughter during that time if I hadn't been breastfeeding (thankfully it came easily for me). I had to wean her at 6-7 months with my first bad flare when I hadn't been properly diagnosed yet. I wish I could have had longer. Hopefully your doctor can nip the post pregnancy flare in the bud. Enjoy this time! I loved feeling my baby move inside of me!

Oh, I was pretty sick before I couldn't take care of my baby anymore and not being able to take care of myself quickly followed - all before being properly diagnosed. It took 2 months of symptoms to progress to that level. With already knowing you have crohn's your dr. should be able to take care of it before you get that bad.

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