Managing Bell’s Palsy While Breastfeeding

Sometimes in my private practice, I go into a home of my new mom and meet a mother that inspires me so much that I write a blog about her.  This was the case a few weeks ago when I met a beautiful mom who wanted to breastfeed her baby while going through Bell’s Palsy.  I told her how much she has inspired me and makes it worth every moment of my career to help moms like her learn to breastfeed their baby well.

What is Bell’s Palsy?  Bell’s Palsy is a neurological health problem that affects thousands of women each year.  It is a facial paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side.  It can cause one side of your face to droop.  It comes on suddenly, often getting better within a few weeks.  It can happen when a woman is very stressed out or at times of sicknesses.  The cause of Bell’s Palsey  is unclear although, some link it to a viral infection that may have been dormant in your body.

Further testing may be done, such as blood work, MRI or CT Scan once Bell’s Palsey is diagnosed.  Some doctor’s prescribe prednisone, a corticosteroid medicine for Bell’s Palsy.  Prednisone should be taken in the lowest dose possible while breastfeeding.  As always, consult your doctor while taking this medication and breastfeeding.  Avoid breastfeeding your baby for at least 4 to 6 hours after prednisone intake.  Monitor your baby for signs of adrenal insufficiency, such as infection, oral thrush or viral illnesses.

Viruses that have been linked to Bell’s Palsey include the viruses that cause:  cold sores  and genital herpes,( herpes simplex), chicken pox and shingles, (herpes zoster), mono-nucleosis, (Epstein- Barr), cytomegalovin infections, respiratory illnesses, (adenovirus), german measles, rubella, mumps, mumps virus, flu,( Influenza B), and the hand and mouth disease, (coxsackievirus).

Breastfeeding moms may get concerned for their baby’s health, often wondering if the virus can pass onto their infant.  For most infants, this is not a problem and moms can continue to breastfeed.

In conclusion, breastfeed your baby before you take your medications for Bell’s Palsy.  Bell’s Palsy can leave a women trying to figure out how to juggle her daily routine, her family life, breastfeeding her baby, while dealing with her health.  Consult your doctor as needed.  With the loving support of your family, you will learn to mange Bell’s Palsy well.  To every new mom who is going through Bell’s Palsy while breastfeeding, remember to take life one day at a time and enjoy your special bond of breastfeeding your baby.