How Long After An X Ray Can I Breastfeed (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After about 2 to 3 hours

Breastfeeding a newborn is the most important part of its daily routine. The milk from the mother’s breast is the safest and most easily available food for a newborn during the initial months after the birth. It provides the baby with all the necessary nutrients required for its growth and development. It even fights against diseases and keeps the baby away from allergies and diseases like cancer and diabetes.

The milk from the mother’s breasts is always available for the baby. The newborn can feed on it anywhere and at anytime, without the hassle of maintaining hygiene. It is always safe for the newborn because it is available at the appropriate temperature with all the nutrients comprised within it in the right proportion. It is the best food for the baby for at least 6 months after birth.

How Long After An X Ray Can I Breastfeed?

Type Of X-rayTime
Normal X-rayAfter 2-3 hrs.
X-rays involving radioactive materialsAfter 12-24hrs.

Breastfeeding is essential for the mother as well as for the babies. Besides supplying nutrients to the baby’s body, it also protects the mother from severe diseases like breast cancer. It is even responsible to strengthen the bond between the mother and the newborn baby. It is even beneficial for the environment because it’s absolutely safe without the generation of any waste.

There are various myths about breastfeeding. People blindly believe in them without giving a second thought to check their correctness. They even do not try to find out the scientific reason behind the myth and believe in it blindly. One among them is mothers should not breastfeed their child after going through tests during which radiations fall on the surface of the body. It is also believed that the mother should not breastfeed the baby before undergoing such medical tests.

In today’s world of rapidly developing science and technology, we should trust more ok science and the facts established as a result of countless years and efforts rather than believing in baseless rumours spread by people. Mothers should always keep in mind that radiations never harm the body’s fluid constituents like blood, milk etc. Had it been so, the major constituting fluid of our body, the blood, would even have been affected by it, thereby leading to abnormalities. The result would be that the tests would be doing more harm to the body rather than its usual usefulness.

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X-rays are used to diagnose various defects in the body. They are used to recognise joints, teeth and the condition of bones during that time. The X-rays are energetic enough to pass through bones without the help of any other radiation. Dense dark portions of the body are reflected clearly as white images while softer organs of the body are reflected as dark images. People believe that breastfeeding after an X-ray test can affect the baby mental and genetic condition.

Why Should I Wait For So Long To Breastfeed After An X Ray?

But, this is completely wrong. X-rays do not interfere with the baby’s milk. One should keep in mind that it is only the radiations that involve the usage of radioactive isotope which affect the body. X-ray doesn’t involve the use of any such harmful radioactive radiation. Hence, mother’s should not stop breastfeeding before or after going through an X-ray test.

This is only true about the normal X-ray tests undergone by an individual. In some severe cases like scanning of bones or lungs, there are chances of the radioactive material passing through the mother’s milk to the baby’s body. Almost two half-lives of the compound are not used during the test and hence, they are kept away from the body. Hence, one can breastfeed easily after going through such a test.

The mother can even take a break from breastfeeding to stay on the safe side and protect the baby from the smallest amount of radioactive material. The thyroid tests which involve the usage of l131 should be strictly avoided in mothers. Instead, using l123 can help to protect the baby from any kind of problems. After undergoing a thyroid scan, the mother should ask the doctor regarding the dosage of radioactive iodine used and can then refrain from breastfeeding for 24-72 hours following the dosage.

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Another such misconception which people generally believe in is that like rivers, mother’s milk may dry up after a certain time. One should remember that no sudden change takes place in the mother’s body and her mechanism to produce milk. The decrease depends upon the availability of hormones and is gradual. With the increase in age, the baby’s milk consumption increases.

Conclusion

Sometimes, during breastfeeding, the milk falls short to fill the baby’s tummy and he starts crying out of hunger. This does not mean that the mother’s breasts are exhausted from milk. Compressing the breasts and a few more hours of breastfeeding for few days can help the situation. It is only a mother who knows about her milk and her baby. No physician or doctor can know better than her regarding breastfeeding.

No such rule exists which says that mothers should breastfeed after a fixed time of undergoing the X-ray tests. The radiations involved during X-rays are only meant to pass through our bones and muscles of the body without actually affecting them. The chances of the mother’s milk getting affected are only when these radiations are released due to any radioactive materials.

Various myths regarding breastfeeding are widespread throughout the world. While there is no scientific reason behind these widespread myths, people continue to believe in them and act accordingly. One should not act so foolishly. Consulting the doctor or going through the internet regarding any information is the best way to check their credibility.

Reference

  1. https://academic.oup.com/rpd/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/rpd/ncab041/6225851
  2. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/85/6/1578/4633074
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