Pumping and dumping after surgery

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Pumping and dumping after surgery
Sat, 08-22-2009 - 6:00pm

So I'm scheduled to have my gallbladder removed on Thursday. It's done under general anesthesia, and I'm told I will need to pump and dump for some period of time to keep my supply going but prevent my baby being exposed to the drugs they use during the surgery. However, I haven't been able to find out a reliable answer as to how long I'll need to do this.

I guess I'm looking for two numbers, really: how long a cautious person would wait would be the longer number, and how long before I could nurse the baby if he were really, really upset and not being comforted by other things would be the other. For instance, if he were having trouble going to sleep six hours after I get home, could I nurse him for a moment to help him go down? After that, I could try to minimize his nursing, offering him a bottle and solid food instead, until 24 hours, or whatever would be the point at which I'm definitely "all clear," with no anesthetic left in my system.

I'm not terribly worried about the baby not getting enough to eat, because he's eight months old and eats solids well. Also, I have a small freezer stash for him. I'd like to have a number of hours after which I could nurse him briefly if I really need to, but I'll try to hold out until the ideal number.

Anyone have any recommendations on this issue?



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Lilypie 6th to 18th Ticker
Community Leader
Registered: 06-10-2008
Sat, 08-22-2009 - 7:19pm

Unfortunately, it seems as though you've been given some overly conservative advice on this issue. Current research show that it's not necessarily to suspend bf after anesthesia at all. By the time you're awake and steady enough to hold the baby and nurse, there's not enough medication in your bloodstream to have a significant amount in your milk.

Here are some links that explain it really well:



If the dr. can tell you specific meds that he/she has concerns about you nursing with, we'd be happy to look them up in Hale's "Medication and Mother's Milk" (THE reference on lactation pharmacology) and give you some additional info/ammo to use.

Good luck!