Moms Desperate to Breastfeed Are Popping Pills With Serious Side Effects

Mom Moment 38

medicineWhen is breastfeeding just not worth it? If you'd asked me that question before I gave birth to my daughter, I'd have looked at you like you had two heads. "Breastfeeding," I'd have said, "is always worth it."

But here I am seven years postpartum, and as I sat reading the dangerous side effects of the pills moms are taking to try to increase their milk production just so they can breastfeed their babies, my thoughts were quite the opposite. When breastfeeding is bad for your health, Mom, it's not worth it.

The pills the article was talking about are Reglan and Domperidone, medicines that are supposed to help boost prolactin, the hormone that helps with breast milk production. But now doctors are saying the evidence that the pills actually do that is slim, and what's worse, the pills bring with them serious risk for moms. Domperidone isn't even approved by the FDA; so moms are taking a chance by bringing in questionable drug from out of the country. Then there's Reglan which can cause depression and carries the risk of irreversible facial muscle-spasm condition.

All this for something that "might, possibly" help you breastfeed?

Ladies, I feel how desperate you are to do something wonderful for your babies. But back away, I say. Back away now!

I say that as a mom who tried to breastfeed. I tried and I tried and I tried. And then I tried again.

The reasons for my eventual failure are many: low production, no access to lactation consultants, misinformation from a poorly trained maternity ward staff ... I could go on and on. But what really made me throw in the towel was realizing just how deep I'd fallen into the rabbit hole of postpartum depression.

I was on edge because I wanted to breastfeed, and I so badly wanted to get this right. I was frustrated because everything I did turned out wrong. I was crying. Constantly.

Breastfeeding was bad for my health. It was taking from my daughter the mother she needed and leaving an empty shell in her place, a sobbing, miserable, depressed shell.

Sadly in this whole war over bottle vs. breast, the thing that's gotten lost is that what is best for baby is really what's best for baby's mom. Yes, breast milk is ultimately better than formula, but only when producing it doesn't take such a toll on mom that she ceases to function as a good mother. Babies need healthy moms who are there to take the best care of them possible.

If you're taking a pill that presents serious health risks, you're risking your child not having that healthy mom there for them. You have to ask yourself which is more important: that your child has breast milk or that your child have you. Sometimes kids can get both, but sometimes they can't.

Have you attempted something risky to up your milk production? Have you felt "desperate" to breastfeed?


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banan... banana-bear

The most common misconception is that women think they *aren't* producing enough milk to breastfeed and then take these medicines as solution to boost their milk supply up. I can say that my boobs were never bigger than a small B the whole time I BF (well aside from engorgement for the first month my supply was regulating). I produced enough for my child - I nursed on demand and my body knew when she would need to eat. I didn't overproduce so my breasts were not gigantic. Big boobs do not equal sufficient milk. If your baby is having enough wet diapers, there is NO need to raise your milk production.

That being said, if you tried and tried and tried and you just can't BF - that's OKAY!! At least you tried ;o) That's more than a lot of moms do.

Btw, there are natural ways to increase breastmilk - so keep that in mind.

nonmember avatar S

Very much agree with banana-bear

Tripl... TripleC14

Totally agree banana-bear. There's a lot of misinformation out there which is most of the problem IMO.

I've used Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle occasionally though but nothing prescription.

Buffy... Buffymom9

If you are going to trust doctors and their pills for this job then you might as well hand over your health and brain to them too. Sooner or later mothers will need to stop making excuses and take the time they need to take responsibility for themselves. It takes work and effort beyond what nature has given us.

MamaD... MamaDV1012

I had a dip in production at the 6 month mark with my 2nd born.  I tried all the hippie remedies to no avail and did get on Reglan for 2 weeks which worked right away, I had no side effects.  When I went off Reglan it was a gradual decrease, not a sudden stop.  I am still successfully nursing at 10 months.  I am a working mother and was already pumping 3 times a day.  I temporarily increased my pumpings to 5-6 times a day to get my production back up.  So in my case it was totally worth it.  I would do it again.  My biggest problem was sending frozen milk instead of fresh to daycare when I was working.  Now I only send fresh milk and nurse right before we leave the house for daycare/work and daycare does not provide bottles at the end of the day so that baby is hungry when I get home.  All of this did the trick for us.  I am back to pumping 2-3 times a day and still have extra milk some days to freeze. 

nonmember avatar juhmey

I was so desperate to breast feed with my first child that when my supply ran low after returning to work I tried Reglan (after trying and failing with natural remedies) and experienced facial paralysis. I immediately stopped taking it and it went away but it was a rude awakening. I was pressuring myself so much that I risked my health to bf. Being able to realize that sometimes it just doesn't work and that's ok. It's not worth risking your health.

MomLi... MomLily67

As someone has mentiones, there are many naturals ways to increase production. In Mexico, tradition calls for "atole", wich is like thick drink, made of corn flour. I think adding fluids is what does the trick, Also grandmothers recommend eating lots of chicken soup, broths, milk, an occasional beer, beer malt tablets, staying away from spicy and greasy foods, and some rest, and of course, try to get baby top latch on more frequently.  My sister used the malt tablets and they worked great, took them for a couple of weeks, no problems when she stopped.

Some woman are not able to  BF and we should not ever juedge them.


I'm so glad all this judgement wasn't on us mothers back when I gave birth. We didn't have "mommy wars" back then and actually liked our fellow women. If we could we did and if we couldn't we didn't and nobody cared about our business. How I long for some of those old days every now and then.

nonmember avatar MO Mom

There is SO much pressure to breastfeed these days its not even funny. My thoughts are if you try and are unable (or even*OMG *choose NOT to) its OK to say "hey, this isn't the right choice for me and my child " and not have anyone judge you or try to make you feel bad. Ultimately, it is the mother's right to choose what's best for her and her baby.

nonmember avatar Mary's

The thing that is really lost here is your lack of choice about having human milk as opposed to formula as an alternate to your own precious. This is about basic human rights to be given a normal and healthy start to life.wet nursing is virtually non existenct and yet it provides a gold mine more of benefit to the human infant. Donor milk banks are the most precious commodity a baby could need and yet you do not voice your distress at your lack of access to lost this conversation was.

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