Hormone imbalances can definitely complicate a breastfeeding mother’s milk supply. But how do you know if your thyroid is really to blame? When are most women diagnosed with a high or low thyroid? What type of tests help determine this condition? And what can a mother do to help manage these levels better?
The Boob Group
How Your Thyroid Can Affect Milk Supply
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Hormone imbalances can cause some pretty complicated situations with the breastfeeding mother’s milk supply. How is a mom to know if her thyroid is the culprit? And what are some symptoms of the thyroid condition for a breastfeeding mother? I am so excited to welcome back today’s expert Lisa Marasco, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and co-author of “The Breast Feeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” Today we are discussing how your thyroid can affect your milk supply. This is the Boob Group, episode 75.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Welcome to the Boob Group broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online on-the-go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I am your host, Robin Kaplan. I am also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center.
Did you know that all of our episodes are now free? Yes, I said it. We have opened up our archives so that our listeners have access to all of our episodes any time anywhere. Just download them from our website, www.theboobgroup.com. Our apps which are found on iTunes and the Amazon market place or subscribe to our podcast through iTunes and have our episodes automatically added to your account each week.
Today we are joined by two lovely panelists in this studio. Ladies, will you please introduce yourselves?
JENNA IKUTA: Hi, there, my name is Jenna Ikuta. I am 24. I work with Children with Special Needs as navy contractor. I have one daughter and she is six months-old.
BARBARA CLARK: Hi, my name is Barbara Clark. I am 44 years-old and I work at a community college and I have six month-old son, Daniel.
ROBIN KAPLAN: And he is here in the studio. So if you hear any coowing or anything like that, we have an adorable little muffin sitting right here to my left that I get to look at. And also I just want to say Hi, to our producer Mj. Mj, you want to say hello to everyone and also tell our listeners about the virtual panelists programme we have going on?
MJ FISHER: Yes, well, I am Mj. I am 37. I am a stay to home mom to Jason who is 27 months-old. Just doing what I love being a caretaker and now I get to have the ability to help mammas with breastfeeding. Thanks to Robin, bringing me on and one of my jobs is to bring the online community into our studio here. So if you are not able be in the studio you can still be a part of the shows, give your opinions, share your experiences wherever you are by being a virtual panelist and we are going to post live updates, give information, we are asking you the same questions that we are asking our in-studio panelists. We may even read your response on the air. And at the end of the day we are going to pick a winner. So if you are contributing to the online conversation you might be able to receive a free month subscription to The Boob Group Club and if you are on twitter, just make sure you use the #boobgroupvp.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Alright, thanks Mj.
MJ FISHER: Thank you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: We will be right back.
Autumn Bonner: Hi, Boob Group. My name is Autumn and I am a pre and postnatal fitness expert from www.mytailoredfitness.com . Did you know that you can safely exercise while breastfeeding, without affecting your milk supply? Studies show that even intense exercise does not change the quality or quantity of a mother’s milk supply. Nor does it affect your baby’s weight gain. But you do need to make sure you are eating enough calories and drinking enough water to replace those nutrients you were using during your workout. Studies show if your daily calories drop below 1500 your milk supply can be affected. So make sure to include healthy nutrient rich snacks into your daily routine. You also need additional water to stay hydrated during and after exercise. To make exercise more comfortable you should buy a supportive sports bra. You may also find it helpful to breastfeed your baby right before you exercise. To learn more about exercising after your baby arrives, check out the blog @mytailoredfitness.com. We have lots of helpful information for this special time of life. And keep listening to The Boob Group for more breastfeeding tips.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Today in The Boob Group we are discussing how your thyroid can affect your milk supply. Our expert, Lisa Marasco is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice and with WIC in Santa Barbara, California. She is also the co-author of “The Breast Feeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” and a contributing editor to the co-curriculum for Lactation Consultants. Thank you so much for joining us, Lisa and welcome back to the show.
LISA MARASCO: Thank you so much. I am excited to be back.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Thank you! So, Lisa, can you explain the role of the thyroid in general and how, what it does during pregnancy and lactation?
LISA MARASCO: So generally speaking, the thyroid kind of has a nick name. We all know the pituitary as a master gland but the thyroid is some kind of called the other master gland. It plays a very important role in driving, especially metabolism, it has influences in all different parts of the body but it really runs our metabolism. So you think of burning, you are burning a lot calories, burning calories slow, you know fast and slow, how quickly your body is metabolizing everything.. That’s really what it does. And so during pregnancy not only are you running your body but you are also actually going to be helping the baby a little bit. So the thyroid works extra hard during pregnancy.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, and any difference during lactation?
LISA MARASCO: Well, that’s, we are not really quite sure. Nobody has really looked and there are some animal studies that see some differences in thyroid function and how actually some of the conversion of the thyroid hormones kind of shifts over and gives preference to the breast during lactation. So I haven’t found any human studies talking about that but that’s what they see in the animal studies. So and there are probably some things going on that were not highly aware of yet.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, and what can cause low or high thyroid in a woman?
LISA MARASCO: Well, that’s kind of a big question because there are a lot of different things if I want to kind of back up and say, men and women, thyroid dysfunction is a lot higher in women than it is in men. And if you just think about it, men, their hormones levels are pretty static during their life time but we have got our menstrual cycles, we are up-we are down. Then we have pregnancy and everything is climbing real high, then we give birth and they drop. We have a lot of changes going on in our body and all the change in demand that we are the constant fluctuations that change in demand, I think kind of make us more vulnerable to developing thyroid dysfunction. So you can have high thyroid which is too much thyroid hormone and a very rapid metabolism. You can have low thyroid hormone which is not enough and it’s a very slow metabolism. These things can be caused just, sometimes just by shift in different things we are going through, like having a baby. They can also be caused by certain medications. Things like cigarette smoking can actually cause hyperthyroidism too much and diabetes can affect it, lack of iodine in the diet, exposure to certain contaminants like Perchloride. So there are a number of different factors that can play into whether if a woman develops high thyroid or low thyroid.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay and when are most women diagnosed with either having a high thyroid or a low thyroid?
LISA MARASCO: Well, you know, I don’t know that there is an answer to that question. You can be, some women are, especially if it runs in the family, it just onsets you know earlier sometimes the first time it ever happens is during the pregnancy. Sometimes the first time it happens is postpartum. Sometimes the first time it happens is later and I am not, I don’t actually know the statistics if there is a one time that it occurs more than another.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, well, and it’s good to know, I mean, they can happen pretty much throughout your entire life time.
LISA MARASCO: Exactly!
ROBIN KAPLAN: So its sometime that’s important to keep checking. Okay. I would love to open this up to our panelists now. So ladies, when were you first diagnosed with either having a low thyroid or high thyroid? Barbara, do you mind going first?
BARBARA CLARK: Sure. I was first diagnosed probably about four years ago. My husband and I have been married for five years and we knew we wanted to immediately start trying to have a baby. And it was one of the screening tests that my regular MD did and then from there I started taking Synthroid when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. So and I worked also with a naturopathic doctor to get some of the other numbers better controlled.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, thank you. How about you Jenna?
JENNA IKUTA: I was first diagnosed probably six years ago and now I think about it and I was going through some different thing, health things, in my life that I was trying to figure and nobody could figure it out and I finally did a thyroid test after about a year of not knowing what was going on. And they found out that I was low, severely low. And then I went and saw also a naturopathic doctor just when I was pregnant. And she told me, well, you know, that thyroid issue you could kind of alleviate some of the issues with going on a glutton-free diet and I also at that time switched from Synthroid to a naturothyroid which is just a different form of it and a more natural form to be absorbed into your blood system and I went on a glutton-free diet.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, and ladies, were you told prenatally when, that having a thyroid condition could possibly affect your milk supply? Barbara, how about you?
BARBARA CLARK: I don’t remember hearing that from anybody, so yeah, no I don’t think so.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, how about you Jenna?
JENNA IKUTA: No.
ROBIN KAPLAN: No? Neither one of you?
JENNA IKUTA: No one ever even breeched that topic.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, Lisa, if a mother knows that she has a thyroid condition, when would you recommend having her levels tested postpartum? I know a lot of people will say wait till six weeks or do you recommend that she does it quick or sooner than that and should she expect to see a big shift in her levels?
LISA MARASCO: Well actually I would like to take that backwards a little bit a little because if you know before you are having your baby that you have got low thyroid, hopefully they are going to be monitoring you pretty closely during the pregnancy but I would really push for that. You know, because thyroid can affect the pregnancy and it can affect the baby. You are giving away thyroid hormone to the baby during the pregnancy. So women who are low thyroid or going to become, may become lower still. So especially for low thyroid women you want to be tracked really closely.
Once you have the baby, you also want to kind of keep an eye and the way I kind of see if I have somebody who had a history before of low thyroid milk supply problems, I am going to be really on top of things. And if there is a slightest hint of problems m you know, I am going to ask for them to check her thyroid hormone now the first week, the first two or three weeks, at the first question mark of problems I would like to know where things were at. If things are going well, then we can let them keep ride. Typically around the six week time is when you are going to recheck it.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay. Should a woman expect to see big shifts in her levels or is it really just very personal?
LISA MARASCO: It is personal! Some women don’t even have a change in their thyroid hormone requirement, and we are talking hypothyroid right now, some don’t have a change, some do and they have to take extra thyroid hormone. One of the things that happen is that so you are, you know as I said you are giving away thyroid hormone during the pregnancy. Once the baby is born you are not giving that extra part away and so the extra that you needed could actually throw you the other direction and make you hyperthyroid. And again that is very personal but I have had cases where the women went from hypo to hyper if she became over treated when the medications didn’t get adjusted fast enough.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, that makes a ton of sense. Ladies, did you notice a shift in your thyroid levels postpartum and when did you have them tested, Jenna?
JENNA IKUTA: I had mine tested two weeks, four weeks and six weeks and I too like Lisa was just saying had that happen where I went hyper at about four weeks and couldn’t so understand what was cutting on. My milk supply was already (unclear) and since that was and I went back and got tested and then we had to reduce my thyroid medication at that time and then about 12 weeks it kind of evened out again and I had to go back on a higher dosage of the thyroid medication that I was on.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, how about you Barbara?
BARBARA CLARK: I had my thyroid checked a few times and I know one of the times was at the four week level and I think at another point, I don’t remember if it was before or after but …..
ROBIN KAPLAN: He is not happy, mama is talking right now.
BARBARA CLARK: Yeah, and I did have to change the dosage of my Synthroid medication, yeah.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay. So, Lisa, you know, our panelists are here. They are talking about how they saw the shift in their thyroid levels and having to get their levels tested postpartum. What exactly can the effects be of having a low thyroid or high thyroid on lactation?
LISA MARASCO: This is a very important question. We have had a general sense for a long time that low thyroid can affect lactation. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of good human research that we kind of understood that. But there is some animal research that has occurred in the last decade looking both at low thyroid and high thyroid and pretty much what they discovered is that with low thyroid you get a sluggish breast growth during your pregnancy if there is low thyroid during the pregnancy and you get kind of sluggish lactation, the prolactin is not working as good and also you get a sluggish milk ejection, the oxitocin is affected a little somewhat.
Then when they looked at hyperthyroid and what they did with some rats is they actually made them hyperthyroid during the pregnancy so they were not well controlled. They wanted to see what happens when it is out of control. They have like very fast breast growth, very rapid growth and the milk came in and lots of it. But it couldn’t come out. And what they realized was again there was a problem with oxitocin and so the women who had high thyroid actually, well now I say women but you know, having high thyroid you can have lots of milk but if its really severe coming out of the pregnancy, it may not come out. And there have been cases where women have had a engorgement could not get the milk out when it dried up.
But there is another aspect to this too, they get synthesis. If a woman has a mild degree hyperthyroidism and especially if she knows that it starts to develop after the baby is born a different tug effect it cause, you know what, you said you get faster metabolism and faster milk making. You can actually get like over supply and sometimes you hear about women talking about how they have overactive milk ejection reflex or they are worried about having foremilk-hindmilk imbalance. And what actually may be behind some of these cases is somebody might have even like a postpartum hyperthyroidism that hasn’t been picked up. That is speeding up that production. So it’s kind of confusing but as you can see it and kind of have different results depending on when that thyroid dysfunction started and how bad it was.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, and that’s so interesting because we, you know, as a lactation consultant obviously I work with both sides of the spectrum. The low supply and at the oversupply and I don’t think anything has ever been brought up with the moms who have this really oversupply that’s become quite a challenge to have their thyroid checked.
LISA MARASCO: Yes, I know. They do. That’s on my list of things. Got to check that when you see that happening.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Now you had mentioned you know, oxitocin and how it, do you feel like it kind of stuns it a little bit is that kind of what’s going on so the milk is there either with both of them , is the oxitocin affected with low thyroid as well?
LISA MARASCO: What their finding is that there is oxitocin release is affected. So that you know, normally when the baby sucks you get a pulse of oxitocin and that was very poor or missing depending on how bad was it. And it was interesting because it goes with both hypo and hyper but my impression is that it’s a bigger deal with hyper. I could be wrong. We need more information that both is that it’s interesting because both prolactin and oxitocin could be affected with both conditions.
ROBIN KAPLAN: And how are the prolactin levels, how are they affected?
LISA MARASCO: They are lowered. They are just, they are kind of, I want to call them sluggish.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Sluggish, that’s a great way of putting it.
LISA MARASCO: Not bad but they are lowered, they are lowered than average.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well and I think a lot of women who have hypothyroid have that sluggish sense anyway. So it kind of it makes a lot of sense that the breasts are kind of sluggish as well.
LISA MARASCO: Yeah.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, well wonderful. We will be right back and we will continue this discussion with Lisa about how a mom’s supply could be affected by her thyroid as well as ways to possibly increase it if it is affected. So we’ll be right back.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well, welcome back to the show we are here with Lisa Marasco, who is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a co-author of ‘The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk”. So Lisa, which test should a mother ask for if she suspects that her thyroid is causing her to have a low milk supply?
LISA MARASCO: So low milk supply or otherwise milk problems with let down or even hyper supply probably you can say all three. It’s just, just you want to go back to your doctor and ask for a check, just a thyroid panel and a lot of people will just do the TSH which is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, because it’s sort of like a barometer for what’s going on with the thyroid gland but because you can have what’s called sub-clinical conditions that just TSH might not pick up. If you have a good reason to be suspicious, I would recommend the TSH, T3, T4, and then there is another one and its thyroid antibodies because if you thyroid antibodies, something is brewing and if you don’t have a full blown problem now it could develop. So those are the four tests I would recommend minimum.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay and where can we find these normal ranges for the thyroid level for all these tests that your recommending is it something you can quote very easily or is that something that we need to look up and is there a difference between that and what the normal ranges are for pregnancy?
LISA MARASCO: So if you have a lab test, the lab results will have ranges printed on them and we generally go by that and I am going to say generally because the thing that’s interesting about lab ranges is that they can vary. So a number that might be inside a range in California might be out of range in Florida at the same number. Again one person could be diagnosed of hypothyroid another person tell, well, you are still in normal. What I would like to say about that is that there is a lot of discussion in the reproductive endocrinology field right now about this. And what they are finding is that the ideal TSH is 1.0. You will see range is, reference range is like may be 0.3-0.4 or something like that and you always take it you know middle is good. But for TSH 1.0 is ideal and they find that there are fewer miscarriages, pregnancies go better when you keep that number real tight so they really try and keep it between about 0.5 and may be 2, may be 2.5 and may be 2-2.5 around there, if it’s kept real tight. So if somebody is on the outer edges of either of those, I am going to be a little more concerned even if the lab reports says they are normal because I know that the reproductive wise the body works better when its in a tighter range.
Now nobody has actually done real research about what, you know, it should have been different during lactation except for there is one study, Alison Stuebe, who is a breastfeeding medicine physician in North Carolina, did look at T4, she looked at free and total T4 and just, she did a pre and post breastfeeding and the numbers were, they didn’t change too much though. I don’t, it doesn’t seem like there is any fluctuations but that was a very small study and we really, that’s a, its an excellent question. Is it normal for thyroid hormone to be different? I can tell you that I ran across a couple of studies in animals that suggest that using more T4 during lactation than they are when you are not lactating. So to be answered still.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, alright! We are going to open this up to our panelists now. So ladies, what did in the beginning your milk supply looked like? What does it look like now? Is it something; is milk supply something that you struggle with? Jenna, do you mind going first?
JENNA IKUTA: Sure, I still struggle with milk supply. In the beginning it was awful and we saw a lactation consultant often and still to this day we still have issues here and there with taking things that are contraindicated for breastfeeding and keeping a good supply. So we still take herbs and we still do a ton of other things to keep my supply up.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, how about you Barbara?
BARBARA CLARK: Well that was one of the things when our pediatrician first came to the hospital the day after Daniel was born and she said she was concerned based on my age and hypothyroidism and she wanted me to pump over the next 24 hours which I did and God, I guess a ton of colostrum so that when she came back the next day she said, “oh, I am worried about you. You don’t need to pump. You have got plenty. No worries.” And then I did not pump and I just breastfed him for a couple of months and about two to three months after he was born we had an issue with his rate of weight gain, really slowing down significantly to the point where the doctor was concerned and said she wanted me to start supplementing with Formula which I was very hesitant to do. But which I still do now and I pump when that happens and I only give one bottle of Formula a day. So, you know, otherwise he is getting all his nutrients from breastfeeding other than that one bottle and he is doing very well.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s great!
BARBARA CLARK: So I think the supply is there now. But I think it did kind of falter at around two or three months.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, Mj, did any of our virtual panelists want to share anything about this?
MJ FISHER: Yeah, you know back to the shift in the thyroid levels Alice Caster says, I was hypothyroid before and well, I didn’t change while I was pregnant. I went crazy after, it finally settled in the last few months that her baby is eleven months-old but asks an interesting question about is the thyroid level likely to change when they wean? So I thought that was?
ROBIN KAPLAN: That is an interesting question! Lisa do you mind answering that? Have you seen any studies that talk about thyroid level changing after the mom weans?
LISA MARASCO: No! I think I going to write that down and look into that though. That’s a great question. There is one thing I did just want to mention there is something called postpartum thyroid dysfunction and I kind of eluded to it earlier but it onsets anywhere from you know, from a couple of weeks after delivery, few months after delivery. The onset can be any time in the first year after delivery. It can start off as hypothyroid and then eventually swing the hyper. Its like the body overcorrects. It can start off as hyper and then it can swing to hypo, again an overcorrection or it can be just hypo or it can be just hyper. And the tough think is you know, for somebody who is hypothyroid sluggish metabolism, they are feeling tired all the time, you know, not of so much of energy. Doesn’t that just seem like a normal new mother?
ROBIN KAPLAN: I know.
LISA MARASCO: So its, that often doesn’t get picked up right away, you know, unless you already have a history and you know what it feels to be high. You know what doesn’t feel right. The hyper side, the higher energy level jitteriness, having trouble sleeping, those types of symptoms, you may or may not, you still may not be aware completely what’s going on that I think it’s a little more obvious. That because everything tends to present so differently a lot of times people don’t really realize that it’s happening. It may or may not get diagnosed and especially then when it goes hyper to hypo it usually doesn’t get diagnosed until you go to hypo.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Lisa, obviously lots of conversations between moms when they are dealing with milk supply about herbs that they can take. And I remember attending a lecture of yours a couple of months ago and you mentioning that there were actually some herbs that moms who have thyroid conditions that they actually shouldn’t take and so do you mind talking about that a little bit?
LISA MARASCO: I would be happy but I would like to step back before I do that and just mention that the first and most important thing if you have low milk supply and you know that there is some thyroid dysfunctioning going on, we need to treat the thyroid dysfunction because throwing herbs or any kind of collective guard added it is not treating a thyroid. So the first thing we want to do is make sure they were treating the thyroid problem whether its high or low and it’s safe to breastfeed and to do that and then on top of that you can add some, you can add stuff like herbs.
It is true that there are some herbs that are reputed to help milk production that when I call thyroid effective, and there are three in particular that have some anti-thyroid activity and one of them that’s very known is fenugreek. The second one is Moloney which is another one of my favorites. There is one study for each of these where they tested on mice and rats and the one thing I do want to say is that I use a lot more than we do. I think I calculated at one point that it was like may be 40 capsules a day, the equivalent of those that they were using, a lot of it, more than we take.
But it did bring down, it reduced the T3 and because of that when I have women with a history of low thyroid and struggling with milk supply, it may or may not affect them but I would rather, you are on the side of caution. Let’s do something else there are lots of other good things out there. Now there are a couple of the go active guarks that actually positive stimulating. So ashwagandh, if you people have heard of that, but it stimulates T3. Milk Thistle improves the T4 to T3 conversion and there is a Red clover, increase the total and free T3 in use and Valerian is considered supportive, nodules is considered supportive. So for low thyroid those are all good choices.
ROBIN KAPLAN: How about for high thyroid?
LISA MARASCO: If you are high thyroid go for that moloney and fenugreek.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s a really good point. And then while moms are taking herbs would you recommend that they have those thyroid levels tested again after they have been on the herbs for a couple of weeks to see if, for example if they were hyper thyroid and they are taking fenugreek or moloney, do you think its worth to have them tested again and then make sure these herbs aren’t actually lowering it too low or anything like that?
LISA MARASCO: Again, I wanted to just mention that in those studies they are using a whole lot more that than we use. My expectation is not that it’s going to have this big impact on somebody but as a research I would love to see people get tested. I would love, love, love to see somebody get tested before and afterwards and see if it had affected it or not. I mean that would awesome information because we don’t even know.
ROBIN KAPLAN: And does it matter at the timing of when the herb is taken and when the thyroid medication is taken?
LISA MARASCO: I would separate them and mostly because well, something for instance like fenugreek, fenugreek if you take the seed it has a lot of fiber in it and fiber can affect the absorption of medication so depending on what, you know, if you have a liquid it doesn’t have all the fiber in it typically but depending on what kind of form, I just recommend generally separating so you just don’t have that effect.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, ladies, in the panel what type of herbs have you taken to increase your supply and do you think any of them worked well? Jenna, we’ll start with you.
JENNA IKUTA: I have taken fenugreek, fennel, milk thistle, ashwagandha I am on currently. I have taken them all. I have gone through this laundry list of all of the different ones that I have tried.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Do you feel like any of them have worked better that the other for you?
JENNA IKUTA: Definitely, ashwagand!. That has totally helped supply and it has helped my energy levels throughout the day and I can sleep at night again.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Do you, Capsule or tincture? How are you taking it?
JENNA IKUTA: Capsule!
ROBIN KAPLAN: Capsule! Okay, alright. How about you, Barbara?
BARBARA CLARK: After working with a naturopathic doctor I started taking fenugreek and she as Lisa suggested, she also suggested that I take it at least four hours after my Synthroid medication. So I take fenugreek in capsule form and also blessed thistle in capsule form.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Mj, what are our virtual panelists saying?
MJ FISHER: We have got a comment from Nicole Debiase Roger. She said that she takes fenugreek as well. She thinks that it works great and her daughter is going to be one coming up soon and she noticed a decrease in milk a few months when she got her period and that it helped immensely.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Alright! Anything Lisa, you want to add about the herbs that the moms were taking or all of it sounds pretty similar to most of the moms that you are working with?
LISA MARASCO: Yeah, you know, the fenugreek is interesting because I have had a couple of women after I started talking about this, who did come back and say, you know, I didn’t feel right when I was taking fenugreek and they actually noticed some effects. So you know, if you are taking it make sure it really is helping you. If there is question mark, there is so many other herbs that you can do out there. It’s not the only herb in the market and I just stay away from it just because it affects if somebody is low thyroid.
I really love that it sounds like both the panelists have worked with naturopaths and I would highly recommend that because we are using therapeutically. I have a strategy, a philosophy of picking the lactoguards that not only have reputation of increasing milk but if they also have, also have a second property that addresses the condition that’s causing the problem in this case, low thyroid and that’s why for instance those once that boosts thyroid. At the same time you know, if you have someone like a naturopath somebody who has studied this in depth to guide you and help you make these choices and monitor you I find that they are wonderful. Just wonderful for really making sure that things are working properly for you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely! Lisa, Jenna mentioned also going on a glutton-free diet to be very helpful with her thyroid condition and so do you find that there are any diets that are helpful with increasing supply for a mom who has a thyroid condition. For example I have heard women who with Hashimoto’s should try glutton-free because that reduces inflammation. Have you heard anything about any other diets or what are your thoughts on it?
LISA MARASCO: You know, that’s a first time that I have heard about that and that’s very interesting. I would like to in to that some more. There are so many different aspects to look at. I just haven’t spent a lot of time on the nutrition side. Anything that is to going to help your thyroid whether I have heard of it or not is anything that brings your thyroid closer in the bounce is going to help optimize your milk supply and that’s the bottom line.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Exactly! Lauren had posted on our facebook page, how are the thyroid and adrenals related and how can not affect supply?
LISA MARASCO: I don’t know the relationship between thyroid and adrenals. I can’t tell you that the adrenal glands produces cortisol and it also produces some DHEAs is one of the androgens and so but I don’t know the direct relationship there.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay, well that’s fine, you given us a lot of fantastic information anyway. Well that actually concludes our interview. So Lisa, thank you so, so much for sharing your vast knowledge with how the thyroid can affect milk supply and I am also super excited just to tease this out a little bit that you have accepted our invitation to return in a few months to discuss insulin resistance in milk supply. So we are really looking forward to that and thank you so much for all of your insight in to this topic.
LISA MARASCO: Absolutely! Thank you for having me.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Sure and thank you to our panelists as well and for our Boob Group club members, our conversation will continue after the end of the show as Lisa will discuss where moms can find literature about thyroid conditions in breastfeeding to provide to their practitioners if their practitioners need that information. For more information about our Boob Group club please visit our website www.theboobgroup.com .
ROBIN KAPLAN: Before we wrap things up here is Wendy Wright talking about breastfeeding tips for the working mom.
Wendy Wright: Hi, Boob Group listeners. I am Wendy Wright, an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the owner of Lactation Navigation in Palo Alto, California. I am here to answer some of your most common questions about returning to work as the breastfeeding mother. Such as, why should I continue to breastfeed after I return to work? This is a great question and one that we get all the time. The primary reason to continue to breastfeeding after returning to work is to provide the best nutrition for your baby. Also by continuing to breastfeed after you return to work and by that I mean pumping while you are at work and then breastfeeding while you are with your infant together, it does make it possible for you to continue to breastfeed on the weekends and evenings. It’s a great way to maintain a special closeness with your baby even when you must be apart for work or for travel.
Another reason to continue breastfeeding after you return to work is to save money. Purchasing a can of Formula every week to provide your infant can get very, very expensive and by pumping your own breast milk while at work, you will definitely see the financial impact for your family. Another nice reason to continue breastfeeding when you return to work is it does help you avoid some of the health risks associated with Formula feeding such as higher incidence of ear infections, higher incidence of respiratory infections and in general this will overall improve health for your infant with breast milk.
And the last reason to continue that I just like to mention is that the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend mothers and babies exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life. In United States the average woman returns to her work about six weeks after delivery of her child and that definitely falls within the first six months of life. So by continuing to breast feed after you are returning to work you are providing the best health for you and your baby. Please remember to visit www.lactationnav.com for more great information about my business Lactation Navigation and be sure to listen to The Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.
ROBIN KAPLAN: This wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group. Don’t forget to check out our sister show Preggie Pals for expecting parents and our show Parent Savers’ for moms and dads with newborns, infants and toddlers.
Thanks for listening to The Boob Group; Your judgment free breastfeeding resource.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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