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Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

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Old 03-29-2006, 11:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1
AZMama HB User
Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

Hey all,

I'm 19w2d pregnant and 32yo. We had a Triple Screen Result of 1:64. I haven't had my Level 2 U/S yet but a regular scan has showed a flat profile. Although they aren't saying that's a marker, they will not say it's insignificant. I don't see the perinatologist till April 6th...that doc will do the Level 2 to look for markers. I have declined amnio regardless.

I'm preparing myself just in case because I want to be prepared...what I am wondering about most is breastfeeding. I've breastfed three children thus far and am wondering if a Down Syndrome child can be breastfed successfully. I've read that there are often feeding difficulties due to poor muscle tone; I would, however, want to breastfeed if possible because I heartily believe in the many benefits of breastmilk. Unfortunately, I am one of the rare women who has never been able to successfully pump.


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Old 03-30-2006, 10:06 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: upstate NY
Posts: 84
Jaber HB User
Re: Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

Hi AZ,
I was successfully able to breastfeed my daughter with DS. She is my only child right now, and I really wanted to breastfeed and wouldn't give up although she had low muscle tone in her jaw, therefore causing latch problems. I have to tell you that it took us 5 long weeks to finally do it successfully, and I used a silicone nipple to get her to latch properly. I'm convinced that after our ordeal, anyone can breastfeed their child if they have the patience and selflessness to work it out. I was not willing to use formula, but there are not a whole lot of people out there like me, I know.

Kudos to you for your interest on this subject and nursing your children successfully!!

Old 03-30-2006, 09:30 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: california
Posts: 213
angelique5 HB User
Re: Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

sounds like you've already done a lot of thinking and research on it... that has prepared you a lot I'm sure!!

my son with down's was hospitalized shortly after I was not able to breastfeed...although I was young, and I didn't feel successful with my first son (i gave up after 6 weeks) with Jared, I pumped while he was hospitalized, and for the first 6 weeks, and that pumping, I tell ya.. EXHAUSTING...pump, feed, pump, feed...your breasts and the baby are rarely on the same schedule!!! ha.

I think patience and endurance will be your best bet!! (as with any child though, of course!! )

Old 04-01-2006, 06:33 AM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 21
mojogal HB User
Re: Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

Hi! I have a daughter who is now almost 9 with DS. She was not able to nurse because of health problems. I did however find a pump..a double pump which I rented until she was just over one year old. She took the breast milk from a bottle. I never had any luck with the single pumps, but had no problem with the double pump.

Old 04-12-2006, 07:29 PM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
motherof3girls HB User
Re: Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

Hi - I have 3 girls - Believe it or not, My middle child(with Downs) was the only one who was able to breast feed correctly and from the very first try - Go figure. So don't let anyone tell you they can't. They have to learn just like any other baby. There are tons of mouth exercises to do that will help. Your therapists will help with that.


Old 05-04-2006, 03:07 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: so. california
Posts: 29
momtofour HB User
Re: Breastfeeding with Down Syndrome?

My fourth daughter has downs and honestly.. I don't know if I could have nursed her if I hadn't had so much practice!! One therpist told me- if you were to put tone on a rating, Sadie is bottom of the barrel. She was like jello it was hard enough to hold her. Luckily she had a good suck and I had a good let down- but her suction was awful. We were making butter everytime she nursed. She also had low endurance, so feedings were about 5 min. long every 1 1/2 hours during the days. I had to wake her at night. But, with patience, perserverance and support it worked. If I were to give any suggestions it would be to see a lacatation nurse right away. Most Dr.'s will tell you that Down's babies are not very successful in nursing (even when there are no medical reasons to prevent them, like heart issues, breathing difficulities, etc.)- but lacatation nurses are eager to prove them different. They were very careful that she wasn't losing weight and always had support and information ready for me. My insurance let me have unlimited visits M-F so we worked out a schedule for 3 times a week. I don't know if we were lucky, if the nursing and pacifier really helped or if the only muscle tone she had was in her mouth because she only hangs her tongue when she is learning a new skill or concentrating really hard - which could be just as much inherited as from the downs (since one of my other girls and I both do it)! Good Luck!

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