Surgery and Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

January 23, 2013

Becoming a mother can be a whirlwind, but some moms are faced with the added challenge of undergoing surgery while breastfeeding. Although the stress of an upcoming surgery can be overwhelming, moms shouldn’t worry about whether they can continue to breastfeed after surgery. In most cases, women can maintain a normal breastfeeding routine with a few modifications. Focus on taking care of yourself and recovering, because these tips will help you continue to provide the best nutrition possible for your little one.

Pump Up the Pumping Before Surgery
Before surgery, try to pump more frequently, just in case recovery takes a little longer than expected. Try pumping after your baby is finished feeding. It will help you create a stock of breast milk and can help increase supply.

Practice Relaxation
Times like these can bring added stress, but try to relax before and after your surgery. Take a little extra time for yourself and practice progressive muscle relaxation techniques in moments where you feel stress creeping up on you. Remember, stress can take a toll on your breast milk supply, so do your best to take care of yourself.

Talk to Your Doctor About Pain Medications
Before your surgery, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your desire to continue breastfeeding and how your routine may have to be adjusted after surgery. Most pain medications are considered compatible with breastfeeding, but make sure to consult your doctor about your specific situation.

Pump or Breastfeed After Surgery
By the time you reach the recovery room, the amount of anesthesia in your bloodstream is minimal. Moms may choose to wait about an hour before beginning to pump or breastfeed, though this may differ based on your conversations with your doctor and the post-surgery breastfeeding plan that you’ve come up with together.

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