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Breast feeding and Thyroid Problems

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Have you ever tried to take a baby with you to one of your doctor’s appointments? It might seem practical. You don’t need a sitter. You don’t have to worry that the baby will get hungry while you’re away…especially if he won’t take a bottle. So I do it all the time. Maybe not one of my smartest moves.
Invariably, there are the steps to drag the stroller up, a narrow examining room and the challenge of keeping the baby from trying to grab the stirrups in the Ob’s office. Lovely. As always, there’s the perfectly timed crying. Just as the doctor prepares to examine you, the screaming starts. And let’s not forget the last time I took The Bear (our now 7 month old) to the doctor with me– a plane crashed into a building a few blocks away. The appointment was cancelled.
So I had pretty low expectations when I went back to the doctor to try the appointment again. I was seeing an endocrinologist because it turns out my thyroid has decided to go haywire after this pregnancy. I have something called Hashimoto’s. Basically it’s an auto-immune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid. This creates hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid. So now I’m taking thyroid replacement medicine.
Of course my questions were: (1) is the thyroid imbalance bad for the baby if I’m breastfeeding? (2) is it ok to take the medication, Synthroid, if I’m breastfeeding? As any good former reporter (or anal mom) would do, I checked multiple sources. I found this link about breastfeeding and thyroid conditions. And per the pediatrician, my general practitioner, my endocrinologist and my gynecologist (oh and a second endocrinologist I saw after The Bortskerini was born), Synthroid is just fine if I’m breastfeeding. In fact, it should make me feel better.
Now to be fair, I didn’t really feel all that bad. Just VERY tired. But then again I have two kids, and a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. So we’ll see if the thyroid medication will help. (Exhaustion and depression are hypothyroid symptoms).
In the meantime, maybe The Bear will start to take pity on us and stop waking up at 4 in the morning…a mere two hours before his big brother, The Bortskerini decides to yell, at the top of his lungs, “HELP!!!”
If you’re concerned about any medication you may be taking while breastfeeding, check here.

7 Responses to “Breast feeding and Thyroid Problems”

Sorry to hear about the thyroid problem! I know many women who take thyroid medication while breastfeeding. Here’s Thomas Hale’s statement from Medications and Mother’s Milk (a book everyone’s doctor should have): “It is important to remember that supplementation with levothyroxine is designed to bring the mother into a euthyroid state, which is equivalent to the normal breastfeeding female. Hence, the risk of using exogenous thyroxine is no different than in a normal euthyroid mother.”
Sometimes (not always) thyroid problems cause low milk supply, so I frequently suggest that women with low supply get their thyroid checked.
- Tanya

So,… yeah,…. just diagnosed today with thyriodidis and my baby is almost 4 mo. old and I am breastfeeding. This is my 4th child and my last so this ‘breastfeeding bit’ is VERY important to me! I breastfed all my other children and never had any milk supply trouble, now with all this thyriod stuff going on I am struggling and stressing over it which I’m sure the stressing isn’t doing me any good. I hear that once I am treated with hormone replacement (synthroid) my supply should go back up,…….meanwhile are there any suggestions or comments. I have not had a milk supply problem until these symptoms of the thyroid started which was about 3 weeks to a month ago. Oh and I have started drinking ‘Mother’s Milk Tea”. Has anyone else out there experienced this and did there milk supply go back to normal?

Krisha, Here is a link on the site about thyroid conditions and breastfeeding. Tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding and want to be able to continue to do so; ask for advice about your milk supply. And maybe contact a lactation consultant near you to get further advice.

I have hyperthyrodism (over active thyroid).It turns out my doctors new less than me in regards to my prescription. My endo told me that she had to medicate me and that I would have to wean my baby. I got in touch with a local La Leche League lactacion consultant who gave me accurate information. My suggestion, find a lactation consultant. You could look it up on the internet or ask in a WIC office near you. (You dont have to qualify for WIC in order to receive her services.)

Fascinatingly enough, my mother had the exact same experience about five years before. Thyroid illnesses do run in family members – my sister is hyperthyroid (found after her first child was born) and my maternal granny has also been.

Help! I was told I have Hypothyroidism by my doctor a week ago. I was so upset when he told me Icould no longer breastfeed as I would need treatment. I really hate the idea of weaning my baby, even though she is 14 months now, I love breastfeeding and want it to eventually come to a natural end, not a forced one now. My symptoms are not extreme, just tiredness and weight gain. I sympathise, sleepless nights don’t help!

Probably a month too late for Siriol, but your dr is an idiot if he told you to stop bfing just because you have hypothyroid. I also have had hypothyroid. When I was diagnosed I was nursing a 1 year old, I continued to nurse him, get pregnant with my 3rd child, nurse both of them and then get pregnant with my 4th and am still nursing him. I have nursed at least one child every single day since I found out I had hypothyroid 5 years ago. The synthroid medication (I take levothyroxin) is perfectly safe. I’d talk to your baby’s pediatrician, a lactation consultant or a new endo if you are still concerned.

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