May 25, 2007

Getting an MRI While Breastfeeding

With the caveat that you should always check with your doctor to get advice tailored to your specific situation, here's a little about my experience with getting a MRI while breastfeeding.

Actually, I needed two MRIs. I checked with Tyler's pediatrician and was told it would be fine.

And it was, for the first one.

But for the second MRI, a contrast agent was required. When I told the technologist that I'm breastfeeding, she said that I shouldn't breastfeed for 24 hours after getting the contrast agent because it contains a metal and they don't know how it affects nursing babies. My lactation consultant, Ellen Steinberg, also said I shouldn't breastfeed for 24 hours after getting the contrast agent. So, I had to make sure that I had enough breastmilk stored for 24 hours worth of bottles. Since Tyler weighs about 17 pounds, Ellen said he needed 30 to 40 ounces in a 24-hour period.

We were pretty diligent about giving Alex a bottle regularly but with the general chaos of our lives now, it hasn't been a high priority with Tyler, who's always taken a bottle if he was hungry enough, no matter how infrequently we offered it. And though I worried about whether he'd get enough to eat, he was a champ about taking the bottles, though he kept turning his head toward my chest and breaking my heart. I also frequently use nursing as a comfort/sleep aid (I can't help taking the easy route there) and living without that was hard, though I discovered that Tyler will now take a pacifier again (he'd stopped a couple of months ago).

It ended up being a total of 26 1/2 hours between nursings because I nursed Tyler at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the MRI, but didn't get the contrast agent until about 10:00 (it was injected in the middle of the procedure). I don't know who was happier about being able to nurse again - me or Tyler!

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