Breastfeeding: Is general anesthesia safe while nursing?

My friend needs a general anesthetic for a middle ear procedure and is concerned about the length of time after when she may be unable to breastfeed. Are there anesthetics that are safe to use so breastfeeding doesn't have to pause?

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Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Actually a nursing mother receiving general anesthesia can breastfeed as soon as she is awake and aware. Anesthesia doesn't remain in the system or affect breastmilk.

Remember general anesthetics are sometimes used during birth or a tubal ligation, and moms are encouraged to nurse when awake and able to safely hold her baby. The newborn's immature system is much more at risk than an older nursing baby or child who is better able to metabolize a drug.

 

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