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Breastfeeding and Dizziness

by
author image Jessica Lietz
Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.
Breastfeeding and Dizziness
Getting up too quickly after nursing your baby in bed sometimes causes dizziness. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Breastfeeding mothers who experience dizziness might feel concerned for their health and their ability to safely hold and carry their babies. Fortunately, most cases of dizziness when breastfeeding are treatable and preventable with dietary and behavioral changes. Always check with your doctor about dizzy spells, as they could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Causes

Getting up after breastfeeding in the side-lying position is a cause of dizziness referred to as benign positional vertigo, that lasts for about 30 seconds after you stand up, explains the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Dehydration causes dizziness in breastfeeding mothers who do not drink enough water to accommodate for the fluids the body needs for milk production. Low blood sugar is another common cause of dizziness, and breastfeeding mothers usually need to consume more calories than their bodies required before pregnancy. Ear infections and colds, which are common in babies, can also make new moms get sick and experience dizziness due to pressure changes in the inner ear. Other causes of dizziness in breastfeeding moms include allergies, head injuries and cardiovascular problems.

Considerations

Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby and have not yet had a menstrual period, it is still possible for you to get pregnant, especially if you were relying on breastfeeding as a form of natural birth control. Dizziness is a common early symptom of pregnancy, especially when accompanied by nausea and breast tenderness. Home pregnancy tests are accurate for breastfeeding women, or ask your doctor to perform a blood test if you are unsure of your home pregnancy test result.

Treatments

Most cases of dizziness require no medical treatment. If you feel dizziness when standing up, hold onto something that can support your weight and do not pick up your baby until the dizziness subsides. Drink a glass of water each time you breastfeed and when you feel dizzy. Eating a small snack with protein and carbohydrates, such as half a sliced apple and a handful of raw almonds, provides calories and steadies your blood glucose to treat dizziness related to low blood sugar. If your dizziness persists, contact your doctor.

Prevention

Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages and eat every 2 to 3 hours to avoid dizziness resulting from dehydration or low blood sugar. When getting out of bed, swing your legs over the side of the bed before slowly lifting your torso and head, and rise slowly to help prevent dizziness after breastfeeding in the side-lying position. Reduce the chance of catching a cold by washing your hands frequently and disinfecting toys and common surfaces such as shopping carts that contribute to the spread of germs that cause colds and other infections.

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