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Breastfeeding and blood donation

(27 Posts)
poisondwarf Fri 11-Sep-09 09:55:15

I'm due to give blood today for the first time. I have just been on blood.co.uk to check my eligibility and you cannot donate if your baby is under 9 months. DD is 9 months and 5 days old. Assuming I am allowed to give blood, will breastfeeding make any difference to how I feel afterwards or how long it takes me to recover? I do feel like breastfeeding takes it out of me a bit but have been pg or breastfeeding continuously for the last 3 years so I'm no longer sure what my normal energy level is IYSWIM. I am also a vegetarian and saw on the website that vegetarians take longer to replenish their iron stocks. Am I better off putting it off until another time?

LadyStealthPolarBear Fri 11-Sep-09 10:01:14

I have never done it, I have to admit, although was a regular donor before giving birth. Am also a vegi , and was worried about supply / iron supplies.

WinkyWinkola Fri 11-Sep-09 10:08:09

You might feel exceptionally exhausted. Please take it easy and maybe don't drive for a few hours.

I know when I stopped bfing my DD at 2, my energy levels really surged back which made me think how hard my body must have been working to provide all the milk.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 10:22:25

Well done you, this is such a good thing to do.

I think you should be allowed to donate, see www.blood.co.uk/ for info.

Before you donate, your iron levels are checked first by the nurse pricking your finger to take a drop of blood - I find this bit stings more than when they actually put the needle in my arm!

I would make sure you take the time for a proper sit down afterwards and eat the biscuits on offer, even take a sandwich with you maybe.

Agree might be better if you don't have to drive or walk far afterwards, just in case you do feel a bit woozy.

poisondwarf Fri 11-Sep-09 10:31:20

Thanks for your replies. I think I'm leaning towards putting it off now but am conscious that I've been putting it off for years and also they are anticipating a bit of a run on blood stocks coinciding with the expected increase in swine flu in the autumn. I agree pastures - I expect they will allow me to donate. Not bothered about feeling woozy or exhausted immediately afterward but I'm worried that it might make me tired for weeks or months, and even possibly affect DD's iron intake (which is probably unlikely I know but she is veggie as well so I do feel like I have to keep an eye on it). At nearly 40 with a baby and a toddler I need all the energy I can get! Someone from the medical queries team should be calling me back in the next couple of hours, so that might shed some light on it. Will post back later & let you know what they say.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Fri 11-Sep-09 10:35:30

I gave blood when ds was 9 months and 1 week and I felt fine.

Just make sure you drink a lot leading upto and after the session (they also ask you to drink a pint of water (it's provided) after you have booked in)

Also make sure you eat well. Maybe also take some iron supplements in the days leading upto and after the session? There's no harm in doing that.

LadyStealthPolarBear Fri 11-Sep-09 10:51:08

I asked each time and they sounded mystified and said as long as my baby was over 9 months I was allowed to do it.

poisondwarf Fri 11-Sep-09 11:02:06

ILikeTo were you breastfeeding at the time?

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 11:09:21

BTW I did donate while bf but can't remember how old DS was at the time, sorry. I don't think it will make you tired for more than a couple of days tops and I also don't think it will affect DD's iron intake.

I think Floridix iron supplement liquid is suitable for vegetarians isn't it? Alternatively vegemite?

flippineck Fri 11-Sep-09 11:18:08

I've given blood for years, the last time I did was when I was BF DD1 (I think she was just 1, I can't remember). Anyway, I felt ok, perhaps slightly more tired than I would have done normally after giving blood, but not too terrible...however, as I said I had done it a lot before. I'd worry slightly more about it being the first time, than the BF causing problems - as others have said just make sure you eat a drink well before hand, and also allow plenty of time afterwards to lie/sit down while you're still at the blood centre. The staff are excellent and will be able to look after you!

I don't eat meat as well but don't take any supplements, but you could take something like spatone or floradix (or even justa normal mutivitamin) for a while after if you are worried about the iron.

Well done for doing this.

LeonieSoSleepy Fri 11-Sep-09 11:26:50

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LeonieSoSleepy Fri 11-Sep-09 11:29:19

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ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Fri 11-Sep-09 12:27:59

Yes I was/am bf'ing smile

I spoke to my sister who is a NCT bfc and she confirmed there is no reason why you can't donate.

Good luck smile

ihatemyjob Fri 11-Sep-09 12:31:17

I did it at 9 months on 2 occassions and felt fine. Then I have always felt fine after giving blood and breastfeeding never made me feel tires (that was down to the lack of sleep!)

traceface Fri 11-Sep-09 12:33:35

have they rung you back yet PD? I'm interested to hear the answer. I'm due to go soon and still BF. Are you feeding lots? I'm just doing morning and evening usually so I guess it maybe would be less of an issue. Hadn't even thought about whether it would affect my milk.

poisondwarf Fri 11-Sep-09 12:55:02

Oh yeah still feeding loads. No they haven't got back to me yet - they were supposed to ring by 1. The issue for me is less that I might not be able to donate, more about how it might affect me afterwards. I have been encouraged by all the responses on here though so I think I'm just going to go for it. Will report back later and let you know how it went. Thanks for all the tips on eating etc.

traceface Fri 11-Sep-09 13:03:36

cool. It's a good excuse to get DP to wait on you for the rest of the day too grin.

<<PD mops brow as she faintly asks for another cup of tea and plate of biscuits to help bring her strength back...yes dear, after you've finished my restorative back massage...>>

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:32:53

Hi PD I've been thinking about this lately too. DS2 is 9 months in a few days I think the lots of fluid and maybe either go for the spatone or just get into your green leafies and red kidney beans etc.

Hi Pastures, hey what's with the vegemite, it doesn't have iron in it? It is amazing though.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 18:35:34

I thought vegemite did have iron in it because marmite does, but I've just checked and you're right, it actually doesn't. You learn something every day!

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:39:13

Does marmite? That's amazing, oh no that really does mean it's better than vegemite buggar! I will sneakly replace it on the DS's toast without telling any of my English friends.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 18:43:13

Have learned something else which is that marmite is suitable for vegetarians, I thought that vegemite was the veggie version but is it actually just the Antipodean brand then?

ChairmumMiaow Fri 11-Sep-09 18:43:20

DS was a bit older (maybe 14mo) when I started giving blood (I had never done it before) but I've always felt fine after, and have even BF DS almost straight after giving blood, while scoffing my face with biccies

Veggiemummy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:49:09

Pastures it's not even Antipodean anymore it's actually owned by Kraft which is American. If you ever want to annoy an Australian tell them that. It was a national scandal when they sold it.

Doesn't dark chocolate have iron too?

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 19:03:26

Thanks if I find reason to irritate an Aussie I will remember that! Might have to wait for the next Ashes series or something though, otherwise it'd be insult to injury!

Oh yes, dark chocolate digestives after giving blood, that's what you need! And a bar of Green and Black's! And DH doing everything for the next 2 days. Why not sign up to donate platelets too LOL!

poisondwarf Fri 11-Sep-09 22:28:07

Well what a palaver over nothing that was. They couldn't take my blood in the end as I seem to be coming down with a cold, plus they need to write to my GP about me having had my heart checked out during one of my pregnancies. And I had been gorging myself on cake all day just to make sure my blood sugar levels were high enough (none of this iron rich food nonsense, although all this talk of dark chocolate is making me come over all anaemic now I come to think of it).

As predicted, as far as they were concerned the breastfeeding would not have been an issue. However, I did find out something vaguely interesting - you need to have had the baby out for as long as it was in to give blood, so it's not necessarily 9 months on the dot. I gave birth to DD 2 days early at 39+5 so I would have just about been okay today, but if I'd gone the whole 40 weeks they wouldn't have been able to take my blood even though DD would still have been over 9 months old. If that makes any sense...

Oh and another interesting fact for you: apparently Aussies like Vegemite because if you are born in the southern hemisphere your taste buds are upside down. Amazing but true.

Thanks for all the advice everyone - I will hopefully be able to make use of it some time soon.

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