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Donating blood is a very fulfilling community service but is blood donation safe while nursing your baby? The answer is yes. However, remember to consult a doctor and get your blood test done to rule out anaemia or any other blood disorders before you donate your blood while breastfeeding. With your donated blood, you can save someone’s life. It is a “small gift” to the community which can have a large consequence on someone who requires it.
When Is the Best Time to Donate Blood for a Breastfeeding Woman?
Here are a few tips to remember about donating blood when breastfeeding.
- It is advisable for nursing mothers to donate blood only after six months from the date of delivery since delivery and breastfeeding causes a lot of fatigue in mothers.
- If you have not had any immunization within the past one month, you may donate blood.
- You may donate blood if you have not had any minor dental work in 24 hours and major dental work in a month’s time.
- It is advisable not to donate blood even if you have taken an aspirin in 72 hours.
- It is advisable to donate blood only if you have not undergone a blood transfusion during delivery.
- If the last time she donated blood was more than three months ago, you may consider donating blood.
- Lastly, a nursing mother should donate blood only when she feels comfortable about it.
- Breastmilk is made from the mother’s blood. So any donated blood will temporarily have a dip in supply. If the mother has a history of low supply or a thyroid problem, she should definitely not donate blood.
Things to Consider Before Donating Blood While Breastfeeding
Donating blood is undoubtedly a very noble initiative taken by an individual. However, we should refrain from being impulsive and consider the points listed below before making a move.
1. Stay hydrated.
Breast milk comprises 87% water and when you donate blood it takes away 15-16 ounces of water from your body. Therefore it is imperative that after donating blood, the donor should take as much fluid as possible in the next 48 hours to keep the body hydrated and replace the fluid that has been drawn out. The donor should also drink a lot of water in the 24 hours prior to donating blood.
2. Keep your iron levels normal.
Breastfeeding mothers should eat iron-rich food for several weeks before donating blood to have a normal iron level while donating blood. In case the donor suffers from low levels of iron, she may suffer from weakness after donating blood. Iron-rich food includes spinach, fish, chicken, whole grains and eggs. Do not forget to take fruits rich in vitamin c like orange, tangerines, grapes, plums, cherries for better absorption of iron.
3. Reconsider blood donation if you have a low supply of milk.
It is a known fact that when an individual donates blood, she loses about 15-16 ounces of water from her body; breast milk is three-fourths water. Therefore, if a nursing mother with low milk supply loses that much of fluid from her body, she may have a further decrease in her milk supply. However, many do not agree with this.
4. Eat a good meal before and after donating blood.
Breastfeeding a baby takes up 500 calories a day and donating blood also takes up quite a bit of your energy. Therefore eating a substantial meal with plenty of proteins and iron-rich food will keep you in good stead. However, one should eat 1-2 hours before donating blood but do not eat a full stomach.
Let your mommy duties take a back-seat after donating blood. Take a good nap to restore back all the energy. After your body feels rested, it will do the needful to make up for all the blood that you have donated and a relaxed body will up your supply of breast milk. A good sleep of 7-8 hours in the night prior to the donation.
Things to Remember Before Donating Blood During Breastfeeding
Usually, people are of the idea that breastfeeding and blood donation cannot happen at the same time but according to experts, donating blood while nursing a baby does not pose any risks either to the mother or the baby. Here are some things that one should remember before doing it.
- The haemoglobin level should be between 12-16 %
- The blood pressure of the donor should be normal
- Her heart rate and pulse rate should be normal
- Her body temperature should be at a normal range of 96.2 – 97 degrees Fahrenheit and Oral temperature not more than 37.5 degrees Celcius
- It is necessary to drink about half a litre of water before donating blood to prevent a drop in blood pressure which may result in lightheadedness or fainting.
- Vigorous exercises should be avoided before or after the donation.
- Intake of fatty food should be avoided for at least 24 hours before the donation. It can give the wrong test result of the blood that has been donated by you.
- Remember to relax while your blood is being drawn otherwise you may start feeling sick. You may do so by listening to music, sing or talk to someone to keep you calm.
Donating blood while nursing your baby is definitely inspiring; however, do it only after consulting your doctor and getting a health check. If your health does not permit, do not fret over it but wait for the right time. After all, you do not want a noble deed like blood donation to be a bad experience for you.
Also Read: How to Avoid Caffeine During Breastfeeding