Breastfeeding and Mammograms
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Breastfeeding and Mammograms
My son is nearly 4, and we've pared down our nursing to once
before bed. The last time (a year ago) I went into the Mammogram
center at Kaiser Oakland, they turned me away because of
breastfeeding. I'm increasingly convinced that the breastfeeding
exclusion is really only relevant when the child is actively
breastfeeding over the whole day. Has anyone lied to the
mammogram folks (experience at Oakland Kaiser esp. welcome!) and
just had a mammo while marginally breastfeeding?
We'll certainly be weaning within the year, but I just don't see
why I should put off my baseline mammo for a very small amount of
breastmilk. I can hand-express only a drop. Oh, and I just turned 40.
I had the same problem, only the mammogram place wouldn't even
make an appt with me because I was nursing a toddler (3x/day)
and said to wait until 3 mos after I was done nursing. I had
spoken to several clinics about this, and apparently it is true
that if you are breast feeding a lot, then the milk ducts cloud
the mammogram ''picture'', and they can't get an accurate read.
My problem was that I had a sore spot in my right breast which
I had had repeatedly had checked manually, but really wanted it
looked into further, plus I was 46, and hadn't had a mammogram
since I was 40 (2 pregnancies/breasfeeding in the meantime).
Finally, after doing some research, I found out that I could
ask for a sonogram instead, so insisted that my doctor schedule
me for a sonogram and he also filled out the mammogram request.
Here is the funny part: When I went for the sonogram at the
Alta Bates breast center, the technician took the sonogram to
the radiologist for a reading, explained the situation, and the
radiologist INSISTED that I have a mammogram because of my age,
etc! The reading turned out fine. So, perhaps you could do
this: insist that you doctor schedule you for both a sonogram
and a mammogram (especially if there is an area of concern),
and once you're in for the appt I'll bet they can do it.
At my recent checkup, I mentioned that because of 2 pregnancies
and nursing, I have not had a mammogram since I was 40. I am now
46, and had planned to nurse my 10 mo old until HE was ready to
wean (I nursed my first child until she was 2). The dr.
suggested that I might want to wean at 12 mos so that I can get
on with getting a mammogram, since it can take from 6 mos to a
year for the breasts to return to normal after nursing. There is
no family history of breast cancer that I know of, though the
females in my family have tended to die prematurely from other
causes. Any of you medical folk out there who have a feeling
about whether this is alarmist or reasonable?
If it were me I would not wean before I was ready solely to
have a mammogram in 2003 instead of '04 or '05.
a berkeley internist
Why did they want you to have non-lactating breasts to have a
mammogram? Kaiser Martinez gave me a mammogram while lactating
and never said a word about it (the lump turned out to be a
milk cyst). I even told the person who did my mammogram I was
worried about leaking on the machine and she said ''so let it
I kept nursing
I had a routine mammogram about a month after I stopped
breastfeeding my second child. This is when my doctor
recommended I have it done. The technician (at Alta Bates
imaging) asked me when I had stopped breast feeding and didn't
seem to have a problem that it had only been a month or so.
Bytheway - your breasts never go back to 'normal' after
breastfeeding. I also understand that breastfeeding breaks down
the breast tissue, making your breasts less dense and the
mammograms easier to read.
Nursing your baby is far more beneficial to your breast health
than having a mammogram, not to mention your baby's health.
There is a great deal of controvery as to the benefit of pre-
menopausal mammograms anyway, so a wait of a year or two should
not make a difference.
I thought I would never be able to wean my then 20 month year
old daughter who was very passionate about nursing and nursed to
sleep each night after a bedtime story in the rocking chair.
We took it quite slowly, eliminating a feeding every few days
and the before bed feeding was the last to go. I did this by
shortening the feeding by a few minutes every night over about a
two to three week period. When we got down to about one minute,
she was really okay with that (surprisingly to me) and then one
night asked to go in her crib after the story before nursing.
The next night she wanted to nurse, which I allowed. She nursed
for about a minute or two and stopped on her own, asked to go in
her crib, and then never nursed again. She is now three and
has asked to nurse because she sees her baby sister nursing, but
has no idea what to do so puts her mouth on me (somewhere on my
body - could be my belly or my arm) for a second and then seems
satisfied. Good luck!
Hi -- I remember a few months ago some people had written in
about how they had gotten a mammogram while breastfeeding. I am
scheduled for one next week, and I'm still nursing my baby. I'm
wondering whether there is anything you need to think about in
terms of the breast milk? Did you pump after the mammogram? Hold
off on nursing for certain number of hours? The doctor said
there is nothing to worry about or do with respect to the milk,
but I thought I would check to see if anyone heard anything
that's different. Thanks.
I took no precautions nor changed my routine.
this page was last updated: Jun 20, 2009
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