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Can Breastfeeding Moms Donate Blood? Here's What You Should Know

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If you're a mom, you are naturally concerned about the well-being of others. You run to the aid of any child who has fallen off the monkey bars, always have hand sanitizer ready to fight off germs, and possibly donate blood on a regular basis. But if you're a breastfeeding mom who donates blood regularly, then you've probably asked, "Can breastfeeding moms donate blood?

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. And although 38 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent actually do each year. For this reason, it's more important than ever to give blood if and when you can. But what impact, if any, does breastfeeding have on your ability to help?

The American Red Cross gives moms the green light to donate blood six weeks postpartum. Pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson agrees, telling Baby Center that unless you are at risk for anemia or other medical complications, it is safe for nursing moms to donate blood after six weeks. She added that moms should not worry about being at risk for infection, as the technique is generally sterile and no riskier than having blood drawn by your doctor.

La Leche League International takes a more neutral stance. On their website they suggest nursing moms consult their physicians about whether or not they are good candidates for blood donation.

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So if your doctor gives you a thumbs up, roll up your sleeves and give a little blood. If you choose to donate, it's important that you take special consideration to stay hydrated during the process. As La Leche League International noted, breast milk is 87 percent water and blood donation takes 16 ounces of blood from the body. You may also find that donating blood causes you to feel lightheaded. As Baby Center mentioned, having a light snack before or after you donate can help alleviate your discomfort.