X-Rays & Breastfeeding

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2008

My doctor thinks I might have pneumonia and recommended getting an x-ray to look for fluids in the lungs. She said it's okay to get this done while I'm breastfeeding. But she has prescribed medicine before when I was nursing my first child a couple of years ago. Before I went to the pharmacy, I checked with my laction consultant and she advised me to not take it (new medicine and unknown what's transmitted to the baby via breastmilk). So I don't trust my doctor completely when I'm nursing. But I am sick and have been sick for a few weeks. If I wasn't nursing, I'd get the x-ray in a heartbeat but my baby is really young and hasn't had any formula. Has anyone had a chest x-ray when nursing? Did you continue to nurse afterwards? Or pump and dump? sick mama

My doctor told me I'd need to pump, because you don't want to give the baby irradiated milk. I ended up not needing to do that myself, so I'm sorry you have to go through that question. Given your history w/ this doc, if I were you I'd search out another doctor, honestly. She's already made one mistake, and it sounds likely that if you've got pneumonia, you'll need to go on antibiotics asap, and you want to ensure that she prescribes antibiotics that won't damage your baby's developing teeth. Your doctor doesn't sound well informed or sympathetic.

I have an appointment to get my annual dental x-rays taken. I am still breastfeeding. How un/safe is it to get these x-rays done if I am still breastfeeding? What effect do the x-rays have on my breastmilk? Danny

The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 1997, reports that Human milk is not affected by an X-ray, and the mother may safely nurse immediately afterward. Please feel free to call me at (510) 234-1300, if you have any more questions. Lyla W. La Leche League Leader

Sorry I can't remember the precise details, but I can assure you that my LC (Lactation Consultant) said that x-rays are safe to have done while you are breastfeeding. I think she said something about how the level of exposure is low enough to be negligible, especially if they use that bib thing.