How Soon Can You Donate Blood While Breastfeeding?

Are you a nursing mom?

Are you thinking about giving blood in the near future?

Can you donate blood while breastfeeding?

There are many reasons why you might be thinking about giving blood. It’s always a nice way to help your community and people around the country, too, but if you’re a nursing mom there may be some things you need to keep in mind before you run out and donate blood right away.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of giving blood while nursing. You’ll learn whether or not this is a good idea as well as ways you can improve the process if you do decide to go ahead with it. And you’ll even find out a few compelling reasons why you may want to consider giving blood, too.

By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll be well-informed and able to decide whether or not giving blood while nursing your child is the right option for you. So let’s get started learning more!

3 Benefits of Giving Blood

You may know that it’s a good idea to give blood, but why is that? What does giving blood really do? If you’ve never donated blood before, you may be unaware about the ways in which it really helps your community. Below are just some of the benefits you can experience from giving blood at any point in your life, whether you’re a nursing mom or not.

1. Blood expires. 

reason to give blood

There is always a need for blood to be kept in storage because it can’t be kept for too long. It has a shelf life, so even though you may think that there’s surely enough of your blood type on hand in your community, keep in mind that it won’t be there forever. And if you have a rare blood type, this is all the more reason to give blood and help out someone else who may have the same blood type, especially since it’s less likely that there will be a constant supply of this type available in and around the place where you live.

2. You may be helping other moms. 

Moms who have complications during their pregnancy may be in serious need of blood transfusions. Moms who suffer from an ectopic pregnancy or who have major bleeding issues during or following childbirth may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency, but with enough blood available, they can usually pull through these difficult situations. By giving blood, there’s a chance you’re helping out a mom like this.

3. You may be helping children. 

to give blood

It’s a sad truth, but there are many children out there in your community who are dealing with serious health complications. They may have anemia, they may have sickle cell, or they may need surgery or cancer treatments that require blood transfusions. Although your own child is healthy and happy, there are kids out there who aren’t, and you’re doing your part to give back a little bit and help support the families that are going through such a difficult situation.

There are plenty of other reasons why you may want to give blood, too, but these are just some of the reasons that tend to drive nursing moms to want to give blood in the first place.

Can Nursing Moms Donate Blood?

So can you really give blood if you’re nursing? Isn’t there some reason why you shouldn’t? There are a few regulations set out by the Red Cross that you’ll need to keep in mind, but as long as you follow these, there’s no real reason why you can’t give blood as a nursing mom.

give blood if you’re nursing
  • You cannot give blood if you have given birth in the past 6 weeks. If your baby is older than 6 weeks of age, then you will be able to give blood.
  • Giving blood may cause a slight drop in your milk production for the rest of the day. It’s best to make sure you have a supply of breast milk available and that your baby will drink it from a bottle if necessary before you give blood. However, the decrease shouldn’t be significant enough to cause a major problem if this is not possible.
  • Your weight and iron levels must be good before you can give blood. If you don’t weigh enough and if your iron is low, you will be turned away. These can both be potential problems for nursing moms depending on your specific situation.

3 Ways to Ensure Healthy Nursing when Giving Blood

Okay, so you want to give blood while you’re a nursing mom. That’s great! But you need to keep yourself healthy throughout the process, too. And you want to be sure you still feel like nursing after the fact as well. Below are a few tips to help ensure that you’re able to stay on your feet and get back to nursing your little one as soon as you need to after donating blood.

1. Eat a good, healthy meal first. 

Stay away from fatty foods, because this can affect your ability to give blood successfully. Make sure you have enough calories and protein in your meal, and eat enough so that you don’t feel overly full but you also don’t feel hungry.

2. Drink plenty of water beforehand. 

You should drink at least 16 ounces of water before you give blood and try to drink at least 8 ounces afterward. You may also want to drink a caffeine-free soda to get some blood sugar back in your system after you’ve given blood, too. The blood donation site will probably offer you a soda.

3. Don’t lift your baby primarily with the arm that was used. 

You can still pick up your baby, but you should put most of your child’s weight on the arm opposite the one that was used for giving blood. This will prevent it from bleeding more than it has to.

Conclusion

So, have you made up your mind? Choosing to donate blood is always an important decision to make, and if you’re healthy and capable of doing so, it’s a great way to give back a little bit and help people who may be in need. If you live in a community that has recently experienced a crisis or a disaster, this may be an even bigger reason why you might want to consider giving blood. But you should always take the time to think about whether or not this is a good and healthy decision for you and your baby, as well.

donate plasma while breastfeeding

If you have any further questions or concerns, you can always talk to your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician about what it’s like to give blood as a nursing mom and whether or not this is a good idea. You and your baby are individuals, and you may have specific medical needs or concerns that you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not it’s right for you to give blood while you’re still a nursing mom. Remember that there’s no shame in waiting until you’re no longer nursing to give blood if you feel like that’s the right decision for you.

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