Nursing mothers have many questions about the safety of various things during lactation. Following are some of the questions regarding health and medical issues we’ve answered over the past few years.
Allergy shots do not affect breastfeeding.
Per Thomas Hale, PhD, “Allergy testing is carried out by the injection intradermally of small amounts of plant, animal, and other proteins. These substances due to their large molecular weights would not likely pass into human milk, nor would they be absorbed by the baby anyway. Thus allergy testing is not a contraindication to breastfeeding.”
There are conflicting opinions about donating blood while breastfeeding. The US Red Cross okays blood donation for nursing moms after 6 weeks postpartum. Donating blood causes a small loss of blood volume (and therefore a loss of fluid), so there is a theoretical possibility for a short-term temporary reduction in milk supply. Moms with vulnerable supplies may want to avoid donation. In general, women who are not pregnant, have good iron levels (that will be tested before donation), are not taking antibiotics, and are at least 100 pounds are good candidates for blood donation.
Cholesterol levels and breastfeeding
Mother’s cholesterol levels
Higher cholesterol levels when breastfeeding? by Debbi Donovan, IBCLC
High cholesterol levels during breastfeeding and anticholesterol drugs from Tom Hale’s Breastfeeding Pharmacology forum (information from Tom Hale, RPh, PhD and Gillian Arsenault, MD, IBCLC)
Obstet Gynecol 1993 Sep 82(3):451-5. The effect of lactation on glucose and lipid metabolism in women with recent gestational diabetes. Kjos SL, Henry O, Lee RM, Buchanan TA, Mishell DR.
Kallio MJ, Siimes MA, Perheentupa J, Salmenperä L, Miettinen TA. Serum cholesterol and lipoprotein concentrations in mothers during and after prolonged exclusive lactation. Metabolism. 1992 Dec;41(12):1327-30.
Qureshi IA, Xi XR, Limbu YR, Bin HY, Chen MI. Hyperlipidaemia during normal pregnancy, parturition and lactation. Ann Acad Med Singapore 1999 Mar 28(2):217-21.
Jensen RG, Ferris AM, Lammi-Keefe CJ. Cholesterol levels and the breast-feeding mom. JAMA. 1989 Oct 20;262(15):2092-3.
Erkkola R, Viikari J, Irjala K, Solakivi-Jaakkola T. One-year follow-up of lipoprotein metabolism after pregnancy. Biol Res Pregnancy Perinatol 1986 7(2):47-51.
Knopp RH, Bergelin RO, Wahl PW, Walden CE. Effects of pregnancy, postpartum lactation, and oral contraceptive use on the lipoprotein cholesterol/triglyceride ratio. Metabolism 1985 Oct 34(10):893-9.
Knopp RH, Walden CE, Wahl PW, Bergelin R, Chapman M, Irvine S, Albers JJ. Effect of postpartum lactation on lipoprotein lipids and apoproteins. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1985 Mar;60(3):542-7.
Child’s cholesterol levels
Owen CG, Whincup PH, Odoki K, Gilg JA, Cook DG. Infant Feeding and Blood Cholesterol: A Study in Adolescents and a Systematic Review. Pediatrics. 2002 Sep;110(3):597-608.
Dental work (x-rays, local anesthesia)
Breastfeeding is not contraindicated during fertility treatment. However, some of the drugs used for fertility treatment may significantly decrease milk supply. See the book Medications and Mothers’ Milk by Thomas Hale, PhD for more information.