Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Surgery while breastfeeding

**Disclaimer.... okay I didn't mean actually having surgery while breastfeeding AT THE SAME TIME! Just having a surgery when you have a Nummie Lover at home waiting for you....**

With the almost certainty of surgery to correct my De Quervain's Disease (Yeah still sounds like a killer illness) looming over my Nummie Making self...... the fear of what will happen to my "Nummies" and how will it affect my Nummie Lover is very present. I have been against surgery (since I hurt my hand back in June... and then again from the car accident in July) and I have given it all I have to correct it. I have been going to Occupational Therapy two times a week since July, wore a splint for 3 months straight. I have seen improvement and even reached a place where I thought "Heck yeah! I don't need no stinkin' surgery!" BUT the past month has not been so good. My wrist and thumb have decided to get worse. So for every step forward I took (in therapy) I then took 3 steps backwards. Then one morning, last week, while in the shower washing my hair..... the pain was so severe I skipped the whole hair conditioning step and called the surgeon. After that.... I contacted my trusty friends over at Le Leche Laugue!

Le Leche League Help Forum is AWESOME! I once again turned to them for help. Below is the conversation between me and my awesome consultant, Heidi.

"Hi. I am hoping you can help me. I am looking at possible surgery for my wrist tendinitis, which would mean I would have to put "under" during the surgery. My "Nummie Lover", Katelyn, will be two yrs old on Nov. 14.... but she continues to nurse 3-4 times a day. My question is how safe is anesthesia while breastfeeding, when can I resume breastfeeding, what are the risks.... all that fun stuff. I want to be "educated" before I see my doctor on Wednesday.
Thank you so very much!

"Dear Jacky,
Congratulations on breastfeeding so successfully! You likely don't have to worry about this at all since Katelyn is older and not a newborn. Keep in mind that mothers give birth everyday via c-sec surgery and go on to breastfeeding immediately. You can read more about it here Kelly Mom
Look up specific medications on the The Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) search

"Thank you! I came across the same link from KellyMom as you sent.... but wanted to make double sure it was still accurate. Breastfeeding has been and IS important to me... and I don't want to stop until she is ready. My fear was that she wont be ready (when I have the surgery) but would have no choice. So I am able to bf when I wake up (or really get home) following surgery? (Like I said double making sure! hehe)
My doc is not very educated when it comes to breastfeeding. SO I want t make sure I have all my info to give him. (He is supportive... but I want to him to have the right information.)
Thanks again for your fast response! I LOVE you ladies!

"Dear Jacky,
as soon as you feel able to safely handle your child, you are conscience enough to breastfeed. truly these medications are short acting and are out of your system when you wake up

Straight from KellyMom:

"General anesthesia should not affect breastfeeding. You can safely nurse once you are awake and alert enough to hold your baby. By that time, the amount of medication in your bloodstream is low enough that the amounts in your milk would not be significant. The point at which you wake up after general anesthesia is the point where enough of the drug has left your system that it no longer has an effect. In addition, pediatric surgeries require anesthesia - and that is a more serious exposure than through mom's milk. Mom might want to nurse just before the procedure in case she's out for a while or too groggy to function normally for a bit. See the articles and references below for more detailed information."

And I can PROMISE you I WILL ask my doctor what medicine he will be using. Just so I can research it. Never hurts to double check yourself! I also have a bunch of print outs to bring with me.... oh yeah he is gonna love me! 

So you heard here Mummies! You can have surgery and breastfeed too! (Just not at the same time.)

I go to the doctor tomorrow (11-9-11)....... but you know I will keep you posted how it all goes! (And I do mean ALL!!)



  1. Good luck tomorrow and thank you for sharing. I love reading about how resilient our babies and our bodies are and how we are able to provide for our nummie lovers even in "extreme" cases. There really are only a few reasons to stop nursing, and it's great to know surgery doesn't have to be one of them.

  2. Thank you Ashley. We go in tomorrow for a "chat." But I know he will say surgery.... and I think I am at the point where I am as "okay" with that as I will ever be. So I suppose tomorrow will be the whole "pick a date" thing. But yes... I too am happy to know that surgery is not a reason to stop bfing... atleast not the one I will be having. More of a relief for me!

  3. Good luck. The RacDad is contemplating having the surgery also...on both thumbs now. But his surgeon never said anything about sedation. He said that it would be a local (or regional) anesthetic. I'm surprised to hear that your doctor would put you completely under for a simple outpatient surgery. But the surgery will be worth it because you'll never have to worry about it flaring up again. I know that everything will turn out just fine for you.

  4. Cara: I asked him if he would do local anesthetic.... he said he would prefer to go the other route..... he said that if he was having it done he would want to be out too. But I am sure that will be on the list of topics tomorrow morning! Hey I will let The RacDad know how it goes!

  5. Good luck! I will be thinking about you! If it helps any I have had at least seven d and c s in the last four years. The first one I believed the dr and pumped and dumped. After that one I did my own research and nursed just before and as soon as my family was brought to me after. The only side effect I have ever noticed is some drowsiness in the babe.... But honestly... Right after mom has surgery, babycuddling and sleeping is a good thing while mom recovers. I was also told hat the drowsiness was caused more by the drug they gave me to calm my nerves than by the anesthesia.

    Just to clarify before I get jumped... D and c s were not abortions. They were to remove excessive uterine lining and stop abnormaul uterine bleeding brought on from complications of polycystic ovarian syndrome.


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