Health Matters: Nursing with Medical Conditions and the Benefits of Breast Milk (New Post Series)
Very little can deter a beautiful adult nursing relationship; it is comforting for both the nursing woman and her partner to know that in most cases, a woman who has been diagnosed with a specific medical condition, and is currently undergoing treatment, can still safely induce lactation and breastfeed.
From a personal standpoint, I understand these common concerns. I have always struggled with anemia. I was anemic during all three of my pregnancies, and was concerned that this would negatively affect my breastfeeding relationship(s) and my milk supply, but with the help of my wonderful doctors and fantastic lactation consultants, I was able to enjoy nursing and good health. I am still prone to anemia, but am managing my condition with a vitamin, mineral, and nutrient-enriched diet and plenty of exercise while producing and maintaining a full supply of non-maternal breast milk.
Breast milk is nature’s finest super food, and knowing the benefits offered by this lovely liquid gold, we breastfeed our little ones so that we can give them the best start to life as possible, but often, when that same milk is served in a cup, or consumed by someone who is considered “too old to be drinking breast milk”, opinions change. Suddenly, breast milk is no longer food with benefits, but the equivalent of human waste. In reality, breast milk is food, regardless of the manner in which it is produced, how it is “served”, or who consumes it. Breast milk provides just as many vital nutrients to adults as it does to children; as a matter of fact, a recent study conclusively proved that an adult cannot only survive, but also thrive on a diet consisting of nothing more than human breast milk. In some instances, adult nursers turn to the health benefits provided by breast milk as a form of alternative medicine.
Because I receive many questions about these two topics, I decided to write a new series of “Health Matters” posts that explore, among other things, nursing with thyroid disease, high blood pressure, and anemia, how breastfeeding has been shown to help with depression, PTSD, arthritis, and other medical conditions, and in doing so, I turned to Dr. H.Z., OB/GYN, a second-generation and 30-year veteran in the field of gynecology and obstetrics, my personal doctor (and the incredible man who delivered my youngest child) and my dear friend Rebecca D., IBCLC, who has been a lactation consultant for over a decade, for their professional advice. While I value (and trust) their opinions on these issues, if you suffer from one of the medical conditions discussed in my upcoming articles (or one that is not mentioned), or have further questions or concerns, it is always best to check with your personal physician or other qualified medical professional to be sure that nursing is safe for you.
Take care and warm wishes to you!
Loving Milk Maid