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MRI with contrast... what would you do?

Poll Results: Would you continue to breastfeed if having an MRI with contrast done?

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2 Total Votes  
post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm having an MRI done tomorrow morning with contrast dye. The dye agent they are using is gadolinium. I know kellymom says it's a level 2, so it is generally safe. I also called my local breastfeeding center and they agreed it was probably ok to keep breastfeeing my son who is 5 1/2 months old. BUT my doctor and a radiologist I know recommended I wait. One said to wait 48 hours until feeding him and the other said 24 hours. They both want me to pump and dump. I'm really on the fence since I obviously don't want to endanger my baby at all. My husband is emphatic that I give the baby formula tomorrow, which would be fine with me except that I EBF and don't own a pump or have a stash of milk. So it's going to be a problem for me to express a days worth of milk to be "dumped" plus I'm worried I'll mess up my supply if he suddenly stops eating.


If I skip one day of BF will my milk production be ok?

Would you keep BF or wait a day?

Any tips on expressing by hand?

Anyone had an MRI w contrast while BF?



Thanks for any responses. I'm so worried about the procedure, this feeding issue is just making me more anxious. 

post #2 of 11

Can you rent a hospital-grade pump from your local hospital or a local IBCLC?  That would be my first choice.


I had an MRI with contrast when my youngest was 23 months, so I just withheld for a couple of months because I felt like I didn't have a straight answer.  In case they don't tell you: when the contrast dye goes in, you're going to feel like you peed in your pants.  :)

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

thanks, I hadn't considered renting a pump. I'll call and ask in the morning before I go.


I've heard mixed things about the contrast. a friend of mine said it just feels warm for a min... ugh, i don't want to go! but know i should. 

post #4 of 11
Originally Posted by imakecutebabies View Post

thanks, I hadn't considered renting a pump. I'll call and ask in the morning before I go.


I've heard mixed things about the contrast. a friend of mine said it just feels warm for a min... ugh, i don't want to go! but know i should. 


Good luck!  Mine really wasn't that bad.  Getting the IV put in was the worst part for me, because of tremendous anxiety from weeks on hospital bedrest.  


Try not to worry about it - it's really not that bad, and you know it will be over before long.  In your shoes with the feeding, I honestly can't say what I would do.  I trust KellyMom but I would be nervous too.  A day of formula wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but I would have a hard time with that too.  Just please make sure you express your milk in the meantime - you won't just dry up, but your supply will take a hit if you don't express for 2 days.  Even if you just have to hand express every few hours, that's better than nothing.


Please check back and good luck!

post #5 of 11
You do not have to wait 24 hours. I always consult DR. Hale's website for medications, he has done many studies on breastfeeding. Here is a quote from his forum on gadolinium.

Dear SMarch,

Levels of gadolinium in breastmilk are exceedingly low and oral absorption (ability to absorb through the GI system) is minimal. Dr. Hale recommends to pump and discard at three hours after your dose to eliminate most risk. If you would like to wait until all of the drug is out of your system, the half-life is one and one-half hours so waiting five half-lives which would be eight hours would eliminate any risk.

We do not have data on the amount of glatiramer (Copaxone) in breastmilk, but it is highly unlikely to enter breastmilk because of its large molecular weight (size of the molecule), and the oral absorption is minimal. Some infants scratch their faces when breastfeeding shortly after mother's dose of glatiramer. Dr. Hale suggests pumping and discarding milk after glatiramer administration (within one hour) and then waiting another hour before breastfeeding. A suitable alternative is Interferon Beta-1a, which is an even larger molecule. Let me know if you have further questions.

Cindy Pride, MSN, CPNP
TTUHSC InfantRisk Center

Here is the link to his forum

I have MS and have had several MRI's while breastfeeding. Mri's are annoying because you have to remain very still and it's very loud! But it doesn't hurt. Good luck.

Just so you know, I took the quote from there by doing a search for gadolinium. I couldn't find it easily by just looking through the categories (in case you want to look it up also)
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the info! I'm going to shoot for eight hours. I hope today goes ok with the scan & the baby. :/ hes only taken a bottle once before.
post #7 of 11
J just had this done and my lo is almost exactly the same age. I did pump and dump even though I suspect it is not necessary. It was recommended by all the doctors I spoke with and my husband felt more comfortable. My awesome pediatrician admitted that it was probably fine to continue breastfeeding immediately after and that pumping was being extra conservative. We dumped for about twelve hours and went back to nursing that night. He wanted to cuddle and nurse frequently during the night which I think helped maintain my supply. He had only had a bottle once before as well and I don'zt think he took as much as he dooes at the breast but he did take a couple of ounces at a time throughout the day. I did have a small stash of breastmilk so we used that. I didn't really notice any reaction from the contrast except a little warmth in my arm right when they injected and felt like the worst part was laying still and trying to hold my breath when instructed. I hope all goes well and that it's comforting to know that many experts feel that i's safe to nurse if the bottle isn't working and you have to go ahead and nurse him.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm done! Phew, at least that part is over, now just to wait for the results :/ It really wasn't that bad at all, just a terrifying mental experience. i kept my eyes closed until the last 5 mins because I was so freaked out about being trapped in a tunnel. Half way through I started laughing to myself because I realized that if I can't breastfeed for 24 hours now anyways, I could totally get sloshed! Lol not that I will, but that made me feel better :)


My husband secretly ordered me a little hand pump after I yelled at him and told him I didn't need one because I wanted to keep nursing ( -- oops! I was stressed and scared at the time but now feel like a meany) The mailman just delivered it, just when I needed to express! What a nice present! ha. Baby took a bottle like a champ, no complaints at all so far, I'm surprised. Thank you for your replies. 


Also, I really just want to nurse my baby! It's weird, I'm not a huge fan of nursing at all. He's tired now though and I just want to snuggle up and give him some comfort to sleep. 

post #9 of 11

I don't remember what contrast they used with mine, but was told 48 hours also. My dd was old enough that she did not need bottles but come bedtime that night she was super cranky. I had pumped and dumped twice after the procedure and with the kellymom info felt it was probably low enough by then to go ahead and let her nurse, so probably waited 12 hours.


The dreaded machine... I ended having to go back a second time because I panicked about 5 seconds into it and needed a script for a relaxant. 

post #10 of 11
I'm so glad everything went well! Yeah, it is difficult to be in the tunnel and I hate waiting for the results! I hope everything turns out well for you.

It frustrates me when I read about doctors not taking the time to actually look up meds and things and just tell women to stop breastfeeding!
It's not just that certain meds only give a tiny dose so it's ok for the baby, although that's the most common.
Some meds are molecules that are so large they can't get through to the milk and some cannot be absorbed in the gut so there is no way they can affect the baby. Also, like the gadolinium contrast, the half lives of these medications should be taken into consideration.
I'm so lucky because when I had to take something with my first DD, I found the info on here from Dr. Hale and then found out that my pediatrician actually had a copy of his book and used that as a reference! He's the only dr. I have who uses the information to make a decision instead of just blindly putting up a nursing ban.
post #11 of 11

I'm so glad it went well!  I hope the results are good too!

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