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Is Getting an MRI with Contrast and Breastfeeding Safe?

If you have ever needed an MRI while breastfeeding you have probably wondered if it is safe.

Adding IV contrast dye and breastfeeding creates even more questions.

It's not that an MRI is unsafe in anyway, but there is some uncertainty with the contrast dye used during an MRI. Not every MRI will require contrast dye but many do, I had to have an MRI with contrast while breastfeeding which led me to question the safety.

MRI contrast breastfeeding

When I was three months postpartum with my last baby I decided to start exercising again and hit it too hard. After three weeks of working out and feeling great about myself I was walking one day and got a piercing pain in my pelvic area which stopped me in my tracks.

Long story short (ish) this pain led to many doctor visits, from my OB to my primary care doctor, to eventually an MRI with contrast dye. My diagnosis ended up being a pelvic injury related to the birth of my third baby. You can read more about this here if you are interested.

MRI and breastfeeding

Why do some MRI technicians recommend pumping and discarding breastmilk after an MRI?

The technician performing my MRI mentioned that I may want to pump and dump my breastmilk due to the contrast dye.

I found this hard to believe because my extensive research on breastfeeding and other over the counter and prescription drugs shows usually extremely minuscule amounts of any substance make it into breastmilk.

As I looked at my instructions given to me I noticed it said the breastfeeding mother may wish to pump and discard milk for 24 hours after the MRI.

What?! I kind of freaked out when I saw those instructions. That's ludicrous, no way I would discard that much milk or would happily go without nursing for so long. Then, as I read further  the instructions said this was at the mother's discretion and she could continue breastfeeding if desired.

Now I was even more confused. Yes, I desired to continue breastfeeding, but I wouldn't want to do anything to put my baby in jeopardy. So which is the truth?

The contrast used in my MRI is Gadopentetate. The technician assisting me gave me a copy of the paperwork from the manufacturer's insert.

It noted that only 0.01-0.04% of the dose received will make it into breastmilk. Of this small amount less than 1% of it will be absorbed by the baby. This is an extremely small amount and much less than the same paperwork notes is safe to be given to babies between 8 days old - 2 years old.

After considering this information I felt extremely safe continuing to breastfeed, and even fed my baby immediately after the procedure.

I am not sure why anyone would continue to recommend pumping and dumping for 24 hours after the use of contrast during an MRI but there you have it. When I asked the technician for further details he admitted it was an unknown and they are going off the paperwork given.

MRI contrast and breastfeeding

I am happy to confirm my findings that breastfeeding after an MRI with IV Contrast dye is safe:

Check out further information from these reputable breastfeeding resources:

From Kelly Mom.

From breastfeeding expert Jack Newman MD:

Question Recently, some of my patients were instructed not to breastfeed for 24 to 48 hours after magnetic resonance imaging scans. Is this based on scientific evidence?

Answer No. On the contrary, evidence indicates unequivocally that the contrast media used for both magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans are excreted into breast milk in such small quantities that there is no concern at all for nursing babies.

From the American College of Radiology:

Because of the very small percentage of iodinated contrast medium that is excreted into the breast milk and absorbed by the infant’s gut, we believe that the available data suggest that it is safe for the mother and infant to continue breast-feeding after receiving such an agent.

What about a CT scan while breastfeeding?

The same information about MRI scans applies to CT scans while breastfeeding. This includes CT scans using a contrast dye. The recommendations are very similar with the American College of Radiology again recommending that it is safe to continue breastfeeding after receiving a CT with IV contrast. 


The consensus is that it is safe to continue breastfeeding after an MRI with contrast. The amount of any contrast medium which makes it to your baby through breastmilk is miniscule.

If anyone ever tells you to pump and discard milk after an MRI or CT scan with contrast please reconsider and let them know this is outdated information.

MRI with contrast while breastfeeding


Thursday 19th of September 2019

Hello, I was annoyed that I required a contrast dye at my long awaited scan today, because I was told I would have trace amounts in breastmilk for up to 24hrs and to wait around at least 12hrs after to feed. 8 was not happy as I hadn't pre-pumped and prepared. Reading your article has given me some relief, as my 10month old is not happy with me giving him goats milk formula at all. I've had to give him to his dad to settle for the night. Thankfully he loves his food and water but how hard is it refusing them their milkies?! Really appreciate your article. Thank you. I cant wait to feed when my son stirs later this evening, that engorged weening feeling has already begun! Thank you :)

Jen Brenan

Wednesday 25th of September 2019

Hi, hope everything went okay and you are welcome!


Thursday 12th of September 2019

Madam, doctor told that do not breastfeeding after injection of contrast for brain MRI scanning for 24 hours. We have some what concern about how to keep the baby without breastfeeding for 24hrs.he don't like to take milk from bottle. Pls suggest madam.


Thursday 12th of September 2019

I cannot give medical advice so I would go with what your Dr says but maybe ask the Dr. for more specifics. When I did my research and questioned my doctor they did agree with me that it was most likely fine. It may also depend on how old the baby is and other factors.


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

HI there, I have to get a brain MRI with contrast and the doctor stated to pump and dump for 1 week due to the contrast. Is this true?


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

I am not a doctor, but when I did my research I found that it was safe to breastfeed despite having the contrast. I would check with a local lactation consultant or another doctor for another opinion. I am not sure if a brain scan is different.


Sunday 7th of October 2018

Hello. I was just recently told that this was for contrast dye that is received via IV. I have to get an MRI done this week and they said not to BF for 48 hours after. I assume their means of administering the dye are different than an IV. What are your thoughts on this? Thankfully I have milk stored so my daughter will be provided with my milk. But I realize that is not the case for all mothers.


Wednesday 10th of October 2018

In general it is safe to breastfeed after receiving the contrast dye. I believe I did receive it via IV (it was so long ago I don't remember). But it should be safe regardless of how you get it. I read the fine print on the drug/dye paper work carefully as I mention in my article. If you feel nervous about it you could read the fine print and see if it compares to what I mention in my article. Good luck!


Wednesday 19th of September 2018

I have 5 month old twins and was told to pump & dump for 24 hours after. My twins HATE taking a bottle , so I don't have to pump & dump?


Friday 28th of September 2018

Hi ugh so sorry for the late response but no you do not have to pump and dump!