Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Formula Broke my Heart

When Tyler was very little, I was home alone with her when I got this terribly horrid pain in my chest. It was making my salivate. You know, in that way that says "you're about to vomit." (Note: I do not vomit!)

I felt I couldn't care for my baby in this condition, aside from being absolutely terrified! I honestly thought I might be having a heart attack. I called my mother, I called my husband, and I waited. My mother arrived just before my husband. Tyler was loaded in with her Poppa while I got into my mother's van. We headed for the clinic, fast.

Once there, I answered a slew of questions and was given a "GI Cocktail" (something like Mylanta or containing it). It didn't help. I was told that my problem was either heartburn... or food poisoning. I was given a prescription for Tagamet and told to "pump & dump" my breastmilk for 24 hours, just in case.

Tyler's First SwingTyler's First Swing

What? I had NO MILK stored. It hadn't been an issue since I was a Work At Home Mom. I was always there! We got the prescription... and some formula. I worried that she wouldn't take it. We got home and I took the Tagamet. It fixed my problem, absolutely. I was no longer in any pain. I had never experienced heartburn before in my life and it was apparently a pretty darn good case of it! (From leftover quiche with onions, by the way, which I was then terrified to ever eat again!)

Then came the next big problem... now that I knew it was not food poisoning, I still didn't know if it was safe to nurse with this medication. The clinic was closed and I couldn't seem to get a definitive answer from anyone! And so... we gave a bottle of formula to our baby for the first time ever. And what was even more heart-breaking? She loved it! She took that first bottle with absolute vigor!

And me? I cried. The rest of that night was very rough. She loved that first bottle, but she knew that she was supposed to get to suckle at my breast. The novelty of formula was lost after just one bottle. It broke my heart to not let her! Strangely, the only way I could find to get her to sleep was to have the breast pump on (great whoosh, whoosh sound) and rock her in a baby carrier on the floor.

Thankfully, and luckily, our nursing relationship picked right back up where we left it. What would I tell other women? I guess to just to get very complete information! I think pharmacists are a lot better about answering drug questions these days, even for breastfeeding and/or pregnant women. And really, if you don't get the answer you want from the first resource, don't be afraid to contact others and ask the same question. Even asking several different pharmacists until you get a general consensus.



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  1. I'm so glad she came back to the breast. It would make me sad too if i had to do that, but you had to get yourself well!

  2. That sounds so hard! Heartburn can be insanely painful. Glad everything got back to normal! :)

  3. Great advice! While I was pregnant, I had two Web sites I went to for safe medication-related info. One of them also included drug safety for breastfeeding. When my little one was just 2 days old, I had a double-whammy: a really bad UTI AND one of my molars cracked while I was clenching my teeth during pushing and had become infected (remember the movie Mask? That was me!) My OB-GYN was closed that day, so I had to resort to the clinic - you know, the kind where they write Rx's for oxycontin and vicodin to anyone with enough money? I told the guy (can't really be sure he was a real doctor) repeatedly that I'd just had a baby and was breastfeeding. He prescribed Cipro. I looked it up when I got home and found that it's like the #1 NO-NO antibiotic for BFing moms. I am SO GLAD I had that site! Here it is for anyone who might need it:

  4. 8-O
    Sorry about the novel I wrote, up there!

  5. Very important message to get out about finding someone who actually KNOWS something about medications and breastmilk. Thomas Hale's book, Medications and Mothers' Milk, is considered by many to be the definitive resource, and I believe he even has an online forum where he'll answer medical professionals' (not laypeople's) questions about compatibilities with breastfeeding. I feel like every doctor or pharmacy that interacts with breastfeeding mothers should have a copy on hand. Here's a site with more info: http://www.massbfc.org/meds/

    I felt the same way about seeing my baby (Mikko) chug a bottle of formula. :( It's such a hard thing when you're really not sure it's the right choice.

    P.S. Oh, my goodness, there's an app for that! http://www.infantrisk.com/ — I think this is Thomas Hale's current site, and he's got an app for health professionals. So now there's really no excuse for them to give out outdated or incomplete information! ;) And this is the forum I was talking about: http://www.infantrisk.com/forum/forum.php


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