I’d always wanted children, and being diagnosed with MS didn’t change that. I’d also always wanted to breastfeed. It was important to me for several reasons: the health benefits to my baby, the convenience factor—no mixing bottles, etc.—the benefits to me as a nursing mom (faster postpartum weight loss, delayed hormone crash, possibly delayed return of menstruation and fertility) and the bonding time for both of us.
When I discussed my family plans with my neurologist, he assured me that of course having children would be no problem, and I could go ahead and go back on Rebif afterward. When I mentioned that I planned to breastfeed, he suggested that that would be perfectly appropriate, and—from what I remember him saying—around 3 months or so. (I am not directly quoting but that was the gist of what I remember being said.)
Um….no….I don’t think I’ll be doing that. That doesn’t work for me.
Rebif worked fabulously for me while I took it. For four years, I experienced zero relapses. The first came only after I had stopped Rebif for six months. I have no problem returning to it someday, as I know it worked and the benefits outweigh the annoyance of thrice-weekly shots (as discussed in an earlier post). But right now, for me, nursing my daughter is more important than jumping right back into an MS treatment regimen. I’m planning to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of her life, and would like to continue after the addition of solid food until she’s a year old.
I guess it’s a calculated risk. From prior experience, obviously the chance of another relapse is higher if I stay off the injection. However, breastfeeding and the hormone levels that go along with it continue to offer some protection. And since I’d like to have even more children, if I were to get pregnant again after weaning—which would mean even longer off Rebif—that same hypothetical pregnancy would offer further protection still.
Kira needs her mom; a mom who is not disabled would be preferred. But I’ll be 35 in August of this year, and my fertility window sadly won’t be open forever. And Kira herself will only be this little just this once…let me feed her, doctor. Let me enjoy this closeness as in just these short months of her total dependence only I can feed her. The breast is the best for us.