Mamogram When Breastfeeding?

Updated on October 11, 2008
D.L. asks from San Pedro, CA
6 answers

Hi Moms. I'm a 40 year old mom to a 2 year old girl. I'm still breastfeeding (she's not giving it up easily and depends upon it to get to sleep and still night nurses). She does drink whole milk from a cup with all meals, uses a fork to eat real meals, etc. Breasfeeding at this point is for comfort, not nutrition, and she only does it at night before bed, once durnig the night, and upon waking. She does not nurse during the day. I'm not willing to wean her just yet, as she is slowing down on her own and I believe still needs this occasional comfort from me. My question is that since I've recently turned 40, I know I need to get a baseline mamogram, but when I called to make the appointment they told me that I have to have weaned my daughter and wait 4 months after that before I could come in. Has any one had a mamogram while breastfeeding? I don't want to risk my health, but am wondering if I just need to get a different doctor to approve it or maybe use a different method (ultrasound?) to take a look. Worried that I'm at risk if I post-pone this, but don't want to have to give up breastfeeding before we are both ready. Any advice or experience with this would be most welcome!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi D.,
I found a hard area in my breast that I had my doctor take a look at at my six-month post-partum checkup. He thought it was just an enlarged blood vessel, but decided to send me in for an ultrasound anyway. I went to the Breast Center at Memorial Hospital in LB, and they decided to do a mammogram first. The radiologist reviewed the x-ray, said yes, there is a lump, and sent me to the ultrasound room. The doctor came in and did the ultrasound, and biopsied it while I was there. It turned out to be a cystic adenoma (non-cancerous tumor common in lactating women). I have continued to breastfeed and I have a follow-up mammogram in November.

Just be prepared to pump or nurse prior to going in for your mammogram, as having milk in there will make it more difficult to read the x-ray. Also, another FYI, after they did the biopsy they asked me not to nurse or pump for at least six hours that day to allow the breast time to heal and to stop bleeding. The milk I pumped was pink the first two days, and it took a few days of pumping and dumping before the blood was gone. Your daughter is old enough that she can have whole milk if you have to have a biopsy; you won't see any blood if your daughter is strictly nursing.

You can still nurse while having a mammogram, just try to have your breasts as empty as possible before you go in.

Good luck whatever you decide.



answers from Las Vegas on

Hi D.! I am only 32, but my mom died 9 years ago from breast cancer so my OBGYN had told me to get a baseline mamogram at 30. Well, I've had 2 kids in that time and nursed so I have yet to go get it done. My doc told me to hold off until the baby has been weaned for 6 months. I am done having kids now and I will definitely get it done as soon as the 6 month mark has hit. I feel comfortable with this decision as I check regularly for lumps and would be sure to contact my OBGYN should I find anything alarming. I would rather have my baseline mamogram be as accurate as possible and I don't want my milk ducts to be an issue. If you have concerns and do not want to wait, I would definitely emphasize to your doctor that your daughter is not nursing constantly. If he/she does not agree, then maybe you could go for a second opinion. Whether you decide to wait or have the mamogram, don't give up breastfeeding until you and your daughter are ready.



answers from Los Angeles on

IF this cannot be a supportive exchange please keep your opinions to yourself-being a Mom does not give you the right to judge someone asking for help-
Sorry I was upset to read the response on this question about your choice to nurse.
At Memorial they said they would still want me to have a Mammo even breastfeeding- so call and explain to them. You prob don't have as much milk as in the beginning and they know what they are doing-just consult them-
Congrats on nursing your baby and giving her the very best start in life!



answers from Los Angeles on


Please, please dis-regard the post from Julie L. Julie - you so need to educate yourself on the benefits of extended nursing. Just because she is "still" breastfeeding her 2 year old that does not mean she doesn't eat table food, drink from a cup, use a fork/spoon etc...Julie - your post is of NO HELP AT ALL!

D., to answer your question. I was told the same. The one thing you might want to mention when you make the appt is that you are nursing a toddler and how often. It's much different than nursing young baby that nurses 24/7.

Great job on breastfeeding your daughter still. I breastfed my first for 2+ years and my second until he was 3. Despite what some may say - they are very confident, independent children.

Best wishes,



answers from Reno on

Since my mom is a breast cancer survivor and I myself have had a breast biopsy on each breast, my ob-gyn recommended that I start getting my mammograms early. At that time, I was still nursing my son and she recommended that I wait until six months after I stop nursing. This is just to ensure more acurate results. If you feel that strongly about having it done now, talk some more with your doctor. If not, consult with another doctor.
Don't stress and good luck to you!



answers from Seattle on

Hi D.,

Kudos to you and your little one for still nursing! I just turned 43 and requested a mammogram a few months ago...age, etc. I let them know I was breastfeeding and just made sure my breasts were empty prior to the test. The radiologist that reads the test should be able to read it appropriately...
My daughter will turn 2 in November and neither of us are ready to give it up either!
Best wishes!

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