Breastfeeding with a J-Pouch

Patients living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis know all too well that malnutrition is a common occurrence. Not to mention a nuisance. It is not easy to keep on top of your nutrient intake when your body seems intent on expelling everything you eat as soon as it enters your body. Even our medications make it difficult for our bodies to absorb the nutrients we need.

J-Pouchers and ileostomy patients definitely need to stay on top of things. Without a colon, patients have difficulty not getting enough vitamin D, B12, electrolytes and sodium. Not to mention the risks for dehydration. As if inflammatory bowel disease patients didn’t have enough to worry about, right?!

Prenatal Nutrition

Everyone knows that good habits and nutrition during pregnancy are extremely beneficial for your developing baby. Failing to do so can cause complications for both you and your baby. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I did everything I could to stay on top of my vitamin and water intake. My midwife closely monitored my blood and urine all throughout my pregnancy to ensure both me and baby were healthy.

Postnatal Nutrition



After having my baby, however, I noticed that my nutritional needs were just as important. I knew long before my baby was born that I wanted to nurse her, but I was worried that I might not be able to.

Thankfully, I’ve never had any problems with breastfeeding. My baby is 9 months old now and has been nearly the perfect picture of health. I’ve since learned that your body will provide all the nutrients your baby needs even if it has to take it away from your own stores… in other words, it will often rob you of nutrients to ensure your baby gets the nourishment he or she needs.

While my j-pouch has been treating me more kindly than it did while I was pregnant (curse those pregnancy hormones!), I’ve noticed that I still need to stay on top of my vitamin and water intake.

Hydration

Breastfeeding requires you to maintain a good level of hydration. Dehydration can prevent your body from producing enough milk for your baby. I am always parched and feel like I get thirsty more often than most people (including other nursing mothers). Even at night! I’ll wake up 2-3 times on average feeling like I haven’t had anything to drink in days. Sometimes I’ll wake up coughing because my throat is so dry. It’s such a frustrating problem to have.

Angular Cheilitis

I have also noticed that if I forget to take my vitamins one day, it doesn’t take long before I notice–usually the very next day! When your body is lacking vitamin B, you’ll develop angular cheilitis (sores in the corners of your mouth). And let me tell you, not only does it hurt, but it also looks bad and makes opening your mouth to eat, brush your teeth and yawn painful.

To help keep myself from being malnourished, I have continued to take the highest quality of prenatal vitamins I can afford and there have been times I’ve taken a little extra when I’m feeling particularly drained of energy or when I’m feeling “off.”

Having a baby in your life distracts you and sometimes prevents you from giving yourself proper care.

You will lose sleep. You will have days when you won’t have time to shower. You will also question your own abilities to care for your baby. But whatever you do, please remember to take your vitamins and keep yourself hydrated. Your body and your baby depend on it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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