Blog about having premature ovarian failure and trying donor IVF with my sister's eggs

Some breastfeeding women have litres of milk literally frothing at their nipples with which to feed their babies but their babies aren’t very good at latching on and sucking. Others have nipples red raw and bleeding from nursing their little ones. I have apparently perfect nipples for breastfeeding and have thus far nursed my daughter with no pain, grazing or bleeding.

But my milk supply is seriously limited and it’s most likely down to the fact I have gone through early menopause. Bummer. So to begin with each feed consisted of me breastfeeding my daughter for about an hour and then topping up with about 70 ml formula. The whole process of feeding, topping up and settling her back to sleep would take about 3-4 hours by which time it was time to feed the poor tyke again – arrghhh.

Suffice to say we were both exhausted and crying for most of the day.

Since coming into the hospital, things have improved as I am now expressing all my breastmilk and then feeding it to her in a bottle. This has radically cut down the length of feeding time so the poor babe can get back to sleep much faster to regain her energy for her next feed.  It has also cut down the amount of formula I am topping her up to because we now know how much we are feeding her. She therefore has more then halved the number of explosive pooey nappies she was having because we were overfeeding her – poor wee thing.

But my breastmilk may still not be best for my baby. This is because it does not contain the usual levels of hormones that other mum’s breastmilk has, as my oestrogen level in particular is so depleted no that I no longer have the placenta supplying my body with it (or my ovaries which went to sleep years ago). My paediatrician suggested that if this is making me feel like crap it may well be making my baby feel like crap too.

So I’m currently weaning her off my milk which I’m finding a sad process as it was the one thing I seemed to be able to do well even though I couldn’t seem to supply her with enough milk.

So while we may be able to trick our post menopausal bodies into nourishing and carrying a baby, the boobs are not so easily coerced.

At least I am getting a little more rest and my daughter is feeling a little more comfortable now we are on a new feeding regime in hospital. It is certainly one of the things that has contributed to my postnatal depression.

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Comments on: "Breastfeeding after menopause" (8)

  1. HI, dont look at it that you cant feed your baby, you have been feeding her. So many mothers dont even try and the first couple of weeks are the most important, that is when the best breast milk is fed to your baby. I know many women who could but, didnt breast feed, they didnt even attempt it. I also know many women who could not breast feed even though they dearly wanted too. I think you are makeing amazeing progress and you truly are an insparation to many other women out there. I now know that I might not be able to breast feed, I now know to be prpared to put my baby on formula. Thank you, because I wouldnt of understood what was going on, if it wasnt for your bravery in being so open about your journey. Thank you

    • hi heather thanks again for your lovely words and support – they mean a lot.

      apparently there isn’t yet any research around whether breast milk from post menopausal women can cause babies to be unsettled or not. if there’s someone reading this blog who is contemplating further research, perhaps they might want to consider this as their phd topic!

      • No need to thank me, your words have helped me over the last few months in many many ways. I am about to start HRT for a FET and I am an older woman. I was wondering about the breast feeding and it is something that has come up a couple of times. I will give the breast feeding a go and see what happens. I have an older child that I breast fed for 3 months. It is going to be interesting if I can do it again now I am older. Thanks to you I am now prepared if things dont go quite to plan. Enjoy your baby, look into her eyes when you feed her, allow yourself to feel the love and KNOW you are a good mother and will always be a good mother. Never be afraid to ask for help, babies dont come with an instruction book, there is nothing wrong in asling for help. To ask for help when we need it is an act of love for our child, for we love our child enough to have the courage to seek the help we know we need.

  2. Thank you very much for a very informative post and blog. I’m doing a bit of goggling about breastfeeding after fertility issues, in particular POF, and I came across your blog. I’m not personally affected by fertility issues (though I have breast hypoplasia for other unknown reasons and therefore have had supply issues when breastfeeding my son) but I know someone who does, and I wanted to know how I could support her if and when she decides to breastfeed when her baby (conceived through IVF) is born. I think you’re an inspiration and I’ll certainly be following your blog and coming back again, thank you!

    • Hi Ruth
      Sorry to be so tardy with my reply – I’m just revisiting my blog after a very long absence! Do you still need help with how to support your friend with her baby conceived through IVF? I imagine the baby could be quite grown up by now! I’d be interested to hear how she got on with it…

  3. aquacurly said:

    I was diagnosed with pof when I was 25 and nearly 2 years ago at 33 had egg donation which resulted in pregnancy. I was able to breastfeed my little one and as he never wanted to take a bottle I am still breastfeeding now and he’s 14 months. There is hope for us and so glad my body didn’t completely let me down. Take care, hope all is well.

    • hi
      Sorry for my very slow reply. I just got back online after a reeeeally long absence. It’s fantastic to hear you have a good luck story with your babe too. Did you know your donor? x

      • aquacurly said:

        No, it was an anonymous donor. All still going well and still breastfeeding (he’s nearly 16months now). Will probably do it in some form until he’s two.

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