Do you need to have surgery soon? Are you worried about your nursing baby? Will they take their bottle okay? Will your freezer stash last long enough? There are many questions that you may have, including this: do I NEED to pump and dump after surgery? Hopefully this post will answer some questions for you, as I relate my experiences with nursing babies and surgeries. 🙂
You may have read the other day on Instagram that I broke my elbow, my olecranon to be specific. The olecranon is the pointy bone that you touch when you show people your elbow.
Earlier this week I had an outpatient surgery to repair it. I joked with my husband that this better not be setting a trend for surgery between babies. Between Seth and Cameron’s pregnancies I had a uterine septum removed. And now between Cameron and baby three I decide it would be great to have bone surgery. :p
With both surgeries I was breastfeeding at the time. I didn’t do much research last time and ended up pumping and dumping for twelve hours after the fact as advised by my surgeon. It wasn’t a bad experience, but this time I had recently read Twin Manibreasto by Mercedes Donis. When Mercedes’ twins were eight weeks old she had surgery to remove a mass of breast tissue that had migrated to her underarm. In her book, which I reviewed here a couple of months ago, Mercedes talks about her choice to continue breastfeeding after surgery.
At thirteen months Cameron still nurses between five and six times a day and once at night. But I haven’t pumped in probably four months because I don’t get anything unless I’m super full.
I didn’t want to have to wait until I got full enough to pump which would probably be almost four hours after surgery when I would be home within two hours after surgery. But I also didn’t want to harm my baby boy. So off I went to see what information I could find.
Do I really need to pump and dump after surgery?
KellyMom states that women under general anesthesia are fine to nurse their babies as soon as they wake up. The reasoning for this is the fact that once you wake up there are only trace amounts of anesthesia left in your blood stream and even less in your milk.
Ask Dr. Sears® says:
You actually CAN breastfeed within 2 to 4 hours after surgery. The reason most doctors say to wait 24 hours is that they were trained before anyone every studied anesthetics in breast milk. Well, this has now been researched and shown that the levels of anesthetic medication used in general anesthesia do not significantly persist in the breast milk beyond a couple hours
If you are interested in math here is a site that gives the equation to use to figure out how much anesthesia your newborn, infant or toddler may ingest.
What if my surgery requires an overnight stay?
What happens if you have surgery and you have to stay overnight for observation? Would your baby be allowed to stay with you? I called my local hospital and was told it depends on the nature of the surgery. Usually if you are required to stay for observation that means your surgery was more in-depth and it might not be possible for you to get up a care for a hungry or soiled baby. The nursing staff is there to care for you not your baby, so it might not be possible. I was also told that there have been mommas with young babies who have been allowed to bring their baby with them for the duration of their stay.
If you are having an operation that requires an overnight stay, please talk to your doctor. Know what your options are. Nursing baby after an intensive surgery might also be beneficial for you because it releases oxytocin, the feel good, love hormone.
My surgery went well. It took twenty-nine minutes. I loved whatever they gave me to put me to sleep. As soon as they turned it off I was awake and aware of what was happening, I wasn’t in and out for an hour like I was with my septum removal. I was starving because I hadn’t been allowed to eat since dinner the previous night and surgery was at two o’clock in the afternoon, so we ordered pizza and, don’t tell anyone, I ate the whole ten inch pizza. 🙂
My Experiences Breastfeeding after Surgery
Once we got back to our house Cameron nursed right away. I was taking Tylenol 3, which is safe for nursing moms, and neither it or the anesthesia affected him in any way. I’m so glad I didn’t pump and dump. I do have a freezer stash, but I was hoping to save it for when hubby and I go away later this year.
I had another surgery in December of 2015, this time to remove the screw from my olecranon. Andrew was my nursling then, and once again I decided not to pump and dump after surgery. This time I was told that I positively DID NOT need to pump and dump. So it seems that providers dare changing their thoughts as new research comes and and it is becoming more mainstream.
Do you know anyone who is breastfeeding and needs to have surgery? Feel free to share this information with them by email, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. They would love to know that they don’t have to pump and dump after surgery!!