Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain and fatigue- and that is sometimes exacerbated by pregnancy and giving birth. Having a new baby is enough to cause exhaustion even in otherwise healthy women- having fibromyalgia can be even worse.
When it comes to the research regarding pregnancy and fibromyalgia, the results are inconclusive. Some women say that their symptoms were alleviated when they became pregnant. Others say that their flare-ups became worse. As we know, everyone is different, so it’s hard to determine whether your symptoms will flare or subside during your pregnancy. You should keep in mind though, that it is not hereditary. Your baby will not be born with fibromyalgia.
On the other hand, when it comes to having fibromyalgia and breastfeeding your baby, the results are much clearer. There have been lots of studies done to look at the way fibromyalgia affects breastfeeding. All of these studies do indicate that it can be very difficult to breastfeed if you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
However, that’s not to say that it’s impossible. It is still very possible for you to breastfeed with fibromyalgia syndrome. However, you must make sure that you understand that it will be challenging and why it is challenging- as well as equip yourself with the tools needed to get through these difficulties. Following are some of the tools and techniques you can use to overcome the challenges to breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding with Chronic Pain
Many times, breastfeeding can be difficult for individuals with fibromyalgia due to the joint disorders, chronic pain, and other symptoms that they experience. Additionally, if pregnancy alleviated some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia in an individual, they may find that these symptoms have come back with a vengeance soon after birth. You may notice that your symptoms seem to be much worse than they were before you got pregnant- which can make it challenging to deal with trying to breastfeed.
Tools and Techniques to Help You Breastfeed with Fibromyalgia
Breastfeeding can be quite difficult, even if you don’t have a chronic pain condition to deal with. When you are dealing with a condition such as fibromyalgia, you may think that it will be impossible for you to breastfeed. However, as long as you are patient with yourself, it is very possible for you to breastfeed your new baby.
There are lots of suggestions to help you succeed and be able to breastfeed your baby. You should know that stress can trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up and can therefore keep your milk from coming in- so it is vital for you that you keep your surroundings as stress-free as possible when you’re trying to nurse.
There are many stressful things that come up when it comes to having a new baby. It’s necessary that you approach the idea of breastfeeding with an open mind and a positive attitude and do whatever you can to create a “no-stress” zone for yourself to nurse in.
Consider using pillows to support your body and your head while feeding the baby. Get a sling or a pillow that can help you to comfortably prop the baby up so that you’re not having to support his or her full weight. You may find that you’re better able to nurse lying in the bed with your baby facing you.
Get into a Quiet Area
Find an area that is quiet and peaceful for you to breastfeed your baby. You may want to consider playing soothing music as well as you’re about to nurse. Go into a room, away from everyone- and everything- else. Close the door to block out the stress and the noise of the other areas of the house.
You should always breastfeed your baby in the same spot every time- as long as it is comfortable and conducive to relaxation. If you feel that your baby is having difficulty latching on, you may want to consult a lactation specialist.
Finally, you may want to consider trying aromatherapy, massage, and other such alternative treatments in order to help you relax after giving birth. Consider asking for help- that can only be an asset to you at this time.
Know that You Can’t Fail
You should always keep an open mind- understand and accept- that you can’t fail at this. If you breastfeed your baby for a few days and then decide that it’s just too painful, you have had three days to bond and feed your baby your nutrients. If you are able to breastfeed for two weeks, then two months, then five months- that’s wonderful! Anything you can do is better than doing nothing.
If you do decide that breastfeeding is too painful and frustrating and you just need to stop- you should never feel guilty about it. Baby formula does offer many wonderful nutrients and you will still have the chance to shower your baby with love at feeding time.
Just do what you can within your own personal physical and even emotional limitations. Keep in mind that anything you can do is absolutely wonderful and is always enough.
Whatever you do, just remember to make your environment as quiet, relaxing, and stress-free as possible. It’s stressful enough being a new mom- when you add outside stress on top of suffering from fibromyalgia, it can be more difficult. Take a deep breath, relax, and try your best