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Breastfeeding with Cancer (Valarie)

Originally posted here on Facebook.

Today my son and I overcame a huge obstacle in my breast cancer journey. Today he breastfed for the first time after chemotherapy. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28 weeks pregnant. My cancer was stage 2, grade 3, and triple negative (very aggressive). So, the doctors decided to start chemotherapy while I was pregnant. After 5 cycles of chemo, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I was told I couldn’t breastfeed for weeks after chemo, so I was not allowed to feed him when he was born, and at first I was even told I wouldn’t be able to pump. The lactation consultant at the hospital wouldn’t even come in to see me. I kept asking questions and found a lactation consultant who was willing to do the research on my chemo meds, and find out how long it would take for each med to leave my milk. We later learned that I could breastfeed 10 days after a dose of chemotherapy. I also found out it was safe to pump. So, for 2 1/2 months I pumped and dumped to keep my milk supply, then when I started a chemotherapy with doses every other week instead of weekly, I got to breastfeed 4 days each cycle. Now, finally, after 4 months of pumping 6 times a day, I am able to breastfeed my son. We still face challenges. Radiation will likely dry up my milk on the effected side, but I feel victorious today. This was like taking the power over my body back. I’m the one in control of this one thing. This is something only I can do for my child, and if something happens to me, this is protection and health I can give him that will last the rest of his life.

Please share my story. I wasn’t able to find any information on breastfeeding with chemotherapy on-line. While every situation is different, I hope this will find some women who have been told they can’t breastfeed, and encourage them to keep looking for answers. Find an expert, and if you have the will, you will find a way.

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in Breast Cancer, Breastfeeding, Mothers with Health Complications, Postpartum, Submissions

5 comments… add one

  • Mina Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 3:17 pm

    Wow, this is incredible. I’m so impressed that you worked so hard to provide your own milk to your little one. All the best to you!

  • Jennifer Thursday, August 11, 2016, 2:09 pm

    What a beautiful story. What a fighter and survivor you are! Still putting your baby first even though you are going through a terrible ordeal! I wish you and your beautiful baby the best in life!

  • Wanda Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 8:55 am

    Such an inspiring story. You have a beatific spirit and message. All the best to you and your little one.

  • Charlotte Saturday, August 27, 2016, 10:13 pm

    You are an amazing mother and one hell of a warrioress, you are inspiring. I sincerely hope that health finds you soon so that you may live a long life for your beautiful child. Please keep us updated, and let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

  • Ashley Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 8:27 pm

    Ugh. Pregnancy hormones got me crying my eyes out at this one. Your strength and determination are beyond admirable. You. Are. Amazing.

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