Breastfeeding without Domperidone: the drugs do work but I don’t need them anymore

I was cleaning up the kitchen last night when I came across an empty Domperidone box, which I binned. My breastfeeding days with this drug are over. I no longer need it. Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure when I stopped needing it but I found weaning off it slowly the best way to stabilise.

I’d been taking it to increase my milk supply after trying everything else (pumping, compressions, an SNS). It’s actually meant for nausea but as a side effect increases milk supply by blocking dopamine which then raises your prolactin levels. Now that I no longer need it, I’m able to reflect on the eight months of using it.

I worry that some of the talk about Domperidone among breastfeeding mothers portrays it as a catch-all solution rather than a last resort. The problem is that it works and if you’re experiencing low milk supply, you’re desperate for something that does.

There are a few issues here though. For one thing, it doesn’t work for everyone and it’s not a quick fix. You can’t replace the hard work of pumping to increase milk supply with popping pills. Domperidone helped me get there but it didn’t replace the other steps I was taking, though I eventually did not need to pump or use an SNS as Talitha became more efficient at breastfeeding.

Secondly, there’s a reason doctors are hesitant to prescribe it. I know I sound like I’m contradicting things I’ve said earlier when I railed against GPs for not prescribing it and praised one who did but even while I was saying that, I never intended to take this drug indefinitely. In fact, I was focused on weaning off it sooner rather than later.

The thing is, although the research is being done and there are moves being made to re-categorise Domperidone, putting a drug in your body and therefore your baby’s body (artificial or “natural”) is never ideal. Who really knows what the effect of that is on, say, gut health, for instance.

For me, it was a case of looking at all the information and deciding that my breast milk with Domperidone was preferable to formula. But if I could have done without the drug, that would certainly have been better.

I guess one of the reasons I’m writing about this is that since being so open and public about using Domperidone to increase my milk supply over such a long period (though there have been women in Dr Jack Newman’s clinic who have taken it for up to 18 months), I’ve had a lot of people ask me about it.

Having completed my breastfeeding peer support training and just generally having done a lot more reading about maternal and infant health in the past year, I’ve grown really reluctant in my responses, lest anyone take my experience as advice, which it most certainly is not. I am not a medical professional and while I do think other breastfeeding mothers are the most powerful resource most women need, when it comes to drugs, you need to look into the information thoroughly and satisfy yourself.

I am grateful to still be breastfeeding at almost a year. It isn’t the be-all and end-all but I am grateful. And I recognise the part that Domperidone has played in helping me get here. Still, I’m glad to be free of it. It means that I don’t feel like there’s a deadline, we can just let breastfeeding progress normally. I also don’t have any worries about accidentally getting pregnant while on it (the information on this is unclear at best).

Read more about my breastfeeding journey with Domperidone over on Plus 2.4


11 Comments

  1. Annalisa
    May 29, 2012 / 10:30 am

    This is not a ‘contradication’. Just saying πŸ™‚

    There are far too many instances where people sing praises about things that *do* initially work or continously work, yet you rarely ever hear about the LONG TERM effects, results etc…the final say. Especially for things that are important ie. health!

    You may not be a professional, but your honesty is helpful to lots of us!

    Well done chΓ©rie! xxxxxxxxx

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      May 29, 2012 / 10:41 am

      My love, you’re supposed to point out typos privately! πŸ™‚ And thanks.

      • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
        May 29, 2012 / 10:43 am

        Oh the typo is yours not mine. Sorry, I’m a doofus! Thanks for your lovely comment anyhow.

        • Annalisa
          May 29, 2012 / 1:25 pm

          Hehe, no I was commenting on the bit where you said, ‘I know I sound like I’m contradicting things I’ve said earlier when…’

          This post isn’t contradicting anything at all! It’s your epilogue to this specific journey…and very thought provoking…

          LOL…I can’t find my own typo…is it cuz I put contractION and not contraditING in quotes…

          I gave up on correcting you ages ago πŸ˜› You’re a BUSY woman, why would I correct what you’ve done while a babah is climbing you like Snowdonia πŸ˜› xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      May 31, 2012 / 2:12 pm

      Thanks! Hopefully someone finds it helpful.

  2. Aly
    May 29, 2012 / 7:54 pm

    I think your pretty awesome.I was offered domperidone by my HV after having my youngest and she was going to prescribe it to me.But I was a stubborn cow and decided to stick it out.So when my youngest wasn’t still putting on sufficient weight at 4 and 1/2 months I prescribed Nutrimigen formula (we have have high risk allergies)so I could combo feed.I thought I was being defeatest by opting for drugs ( I actually needed intervention with my then 3 yo daughter who was causing me huge stress, hence my low milk supply).If, if I ever have another baby or if someone asks about using domperidone over formula I think I would go for domperidone.I think you’ve had an incredible journey and I know you’ve probably feel you may have let Talitha down but you haven’t.Thank you ever so much for guest posting for me, I’m sure you’ll help lots of mums by sharing what you’ve experienced.
    Aly recently posted..Spiced Blueberry And Peach Jam

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      May 31, 2012 / 2:13 pm

      It’s all about weighing up your options and making the best decisions you can with the info you have, isn’t it? I think you’re pretty awesome too. πŸ™‚

  3. May 31, 2012 / 2:04 pm

    I think we sadly find out more from other mums than we do from medical professionals where breastfeeding is concerned – I wouldn’t have known about Domperidone if it hadn’t been for you. Glad you’re past needing it, and it obviously has its issues, but I’m sure your openness about the drug and the way it helped you will help other mums too.
    Mel (MilkChic Breastfeeding Fashion) recently posted..The Convenience of Modern Dress… Historical Breastfeeding Fashion

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      May 31, 2012 / 2:16 pm

      It would be ideal if health care practitioners got more breastfeeding training, true, but there’ll always be a place for breastfeeding mothers sharing their experiences. I just hope people know that’s all I’m talking about: my experiences and my personal reading. Everyone has to look into things for themselves. Thanks, I hope it does help someone.

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