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Administering chemo while breastfeeding

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  • Administering chemo while breastfeeding

    I am a pediatric oncology nurse due with my first baby in the next month. The concern I have is upon return from my maternity leave if it is safe for me to administer chemo using standard precautions (chemo gloves, gowns, and when necessary masks w/ splash guards) while continuing to breast feed.

    On my unit, most nurses who choose to breast feed begin giving chemo once they return from leave, but I can find no research, nor a consensus with the pharmacy staff if there is a risk of transfer through breast milk. I know that PPE should protect all nurses who administer chemo from having any chance of exposure, but I also know that all pregnant nurses on my unit refrain from giving chemo.

    Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Kelley:

    It is my opinion that if you use proper precautions such as you noted above, the risk to you and your breastfeeding infant is minimal. You would have to receive a signficant dose yourself before a clinically relevant amount would transfer to the infant via milk. I just don't see this if you are cautious.

    If you spilled it on your skin, or inhaled it, or spilled it in your eye, then a suitable waiting period may be necessary before you go back to breastfeeding. But hopefully, this is extremely unlikely.


    Tom Hale Ph.D.

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    • #3
      Thank you so much! I really appreciate your feedback!

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