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One of the questions that frustrates me is “Can I continue to breastfeed immediately after a VQ scan, they think I may have a clot on my lungs? I’ve been told I have to stop feeding for 12 hours”. Most of these mothers have very young babies – often under 2 weeks so to dump that precious milk for 12 hours is really tough. There hasnt been enough time to build up expressed milk so necessitates the use of formula and a very premature end, against mum’s wishes usually, to exclusive breastfeeding.
The evidence is really hard to find. One option is to request a CT scan after which breastfeeding can continue as normal. The #dontsaystoplookitup poster refers just to CT and MRI scans and not to VQ scans
This information is from my book “Why Mother’s Medication Matters”
I’ve recently had several emails/ Facebook messages that mothers have been advised to pump and dump their breastmilk for a period of time after taking medication in order to minimise / prevent exposure of the baby to the drug. This has often been undertaken when the drug is compatible with breastfeeding and resulted in the unnecessary exposure of the baby to formula milk.
For most drugs taken for more than 3 days the amount in milk is constant across 24 hours. So timing feeds with respect to breastfeeding or dumping of the breastmilk is pointless. The half life of a drug is very important but just one of the factors in determining the compatability with normal breastfeeding. If you want to know more please consider buying “Breastfeeding and Medication”
I was recently asked for input in a guideline on pain relief for new mothers after birth. I was surprised to see it almost seemed to penalise breastfeeding mothers suggesting that if you are breastfeeding you cant have effective pain relief for more than 3 days even if you have had a c section. With a new grandchild due in June I decided to put together this information. It includes pain relief, laxatives, haemorrhoidal treatment and iron supplements
From my aged viewpoint having botox and fillers whilst breastfeeding feels odd. It would never have occurred to me but I’m trying not to sound old fashioned!
There is no published research that I have been able to find and trust on the passage of fillers into milk so I cant say that they are safe or unsafe. I just do not know.
There is some information from one mother who caught botulism from eating fermented salmon eggs. She continued to breastfeed. No botulinum toxin or botulism was found in the breastmilk or the baby. The doses that are used medically are far lower than that which would have caused the mother’s botulism so the amount in breastmilk is assumed to be too low to produce adverse effects.
Both these cosmetic procedures have to be undertaken with this limited information in mind. It is your choice and I am not making any recommendations.
1. Lee KC, Korgavkar K, Dufresne RGJ et al. Safety of cosmetic dermatologic procedures during pregnancy. Dermatol Surg. 2013;39:1573-86.
2. Middaugh J. Botulism and breast milk. N Engl J Med. 1978;298:343.
Breastfeeding specific multi vitamin supplements are expensive and many mothers want to purchase standard multivitamin and mineral supplements. The standard products such as Sanatogen and Centrium are suitable for use. It is important not to take products which claim to be high dose and where the recommended daily amount is reported as in excess of 100% on the label.
The only vitamins needed by breastfeeding mothers are vitamin d 10 mcg/day and folic acid 400mcg/day if no active contraception is being used. Normal diets should provide everything your body needs. Remember babies need vitamin d supplements too according to UK recommendations https://breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/vitamin%20D%20and%20breastfeeding.pdf
However, we do know that as a new mum finding time to eat properly can be a challenge and a multivitamin is a safety net.
AVOID dose of vitamin A above 700 mcg/day and vitamin B6 above 20-50 mcg/day. Iodine can concentrate in breastmilk so do not take levels in excess of 100% RDA.
Omega fatty acids are safe in breastfeeding
Interestingly I am getting more reports of mums who have taken codeine accidentally – having opened the wrong packet, or been given it by supportive partners or relatives and friends. They are terrified that they have to stop breastfeeding and ask for how long they need to pump and dump their milk (such a terrible risk of liquid gold!). Here is the answer!
A brief introduction to the information on the safety of anti epilepsy medication during breastfeeding. It does not include full information but you can find more in my book or by emailing me.
There is no reason why women who have taken anti-epileptic medication throughout their pregnancy should not be encouraged to breastfeed their baby (Veiby 2013). However, women should be counselled on the signs of risk to be aware of, in particular excessive somnolence and poor weight gain. The risks increase with multiple drug regimens.
Just recently I have been contacted by several mothers who were told that they cant breastfeeding during the 24 hour period of bowel prep prior to a colonoscopy or for 24 hours following the procedure under sedation. This is not supported by research and understanding of the pharmacokinetics of the drugs used. It is also a potential risk in that the mother may develop blocked ducts or mastitis necessitating antibiotics if she is unable to express her milk, or in many cases hasn’t been advised to! Not all babies will drink from a bottle so may become dehydrated. Some babies are allergic to cow’s milk protein and may be compromised by 3 days of artificial formula. Hence this fact sheet on the bowel preparations generally used.
It is acceptable to breastfeed as normal during bowel prep. The mother should drink freely of the allowed clear fluids. Someone may be needed to look after the baby during rapid need to evacuate bowels – unless you have taken these products you cant begin to understand the urgency!
The reason I write these factsheets is in response to the questions which are posed to me on social media. I have included the use of midazolam in fact sheets on colonoscopy, endoscopy and dental sedation on information on the Breastfeeding Network but still mothers are told that they need to delay procedures, are only allowed gas and air during the procedure or must stop breastfeeding for 24 hours. The latter is recommended by the manufacturers but since the half life is 3 hours it is all gone from the mother’s body and therefore her milk within 15 hours. Those 9 hours make a massive difference to a breastfeeding dyad which seems to be ignored by the professional
This factsheet contains information taken from my book Breastfeeding and Medication 2018. I hope it helps breastfeeding mums and professionals
It is surprising how often mums manage to take products containing aspirin by mistake – they are given by well meaning partners, friends at the office or just taken quickly for pain. Then the realisation that aspirin is contra indicated in breastfeeding. What to do? How long to express?
The answer is actually simple with one single accidental exposure. The risk is low and I have been unable to find any references associating Reye’s syndrome with the amount of aspirin passing through breastmilk.
Reye’s syndrome This is a rare syndrome, characterised by acute encephalopathy and fatty degeneration of the liver, usually after a viral illness or chickenpox. The incidence is falling but sporadic cases are still reported. It was often associated with the use of aspirin during the prodromal illness. Few cases occur in white children under 1 year although it is more common in black infants in this age group. Many children retrospectively examined show an underlying inborn error of metabolism.
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