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Can I breastfeed after a major surgery?

I am having a hysterectomy, and I know I wont be able to right away bc of the anesthesia, but my little girl is only 2 months old, and she is very small and was recently released from the hospital for RSV and pnuemonia. Should I keep trying to feed her after my surgery or put her on formula(which I really dont want to have to do)? Ihad a very difficult time feeding my son and had to put him on formula at 7 weeks, which was really depressing for me. I am having so much success feeding Sarah that I dont want to be forced to stop. any ideas let me know!


Asked by Stitchsmom02 at 2:50 PM on Apr. 21, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (10)
  • Noooooooooooooo formula!

    You can breastfeed right away. Moms that have had C-sections do it all the time. There is no problem with pain meds. You should make sure you go to a hospital with private rooms and you can have your baby with you in your room usually until around 11 pm as long as there is an adult in the room to help you.

    I've been hospitalized several times while nursing for very serious infections and was always able to work out having my baby with me. I nursed right before and after cancer surgery. I have an immune disorder and have to have IV medications every 3 weeks that take 10 hours to infuse. I took my baby to several different hospitals while I was getting the IVs.


    Answer by Gailll at 3:05 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • I would talk to your doctor and a lactation consultant

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 2:52 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • You would just have to wait for all of the pain medication to be out of your system. So pump pump pump beforehand so she can have the breastmilk while you are in surgery and for awhile after. While you are in recovery continue to pump to keep your supply up and then you should be able to go back to breastfeeding when everything is our of your system. I did this when I had my gallbladder removed. While I was in the hospital they even provided a pump for me which was great because I as traveling and did not have mine with me.

    Answer by Melbornj at 2:52 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • With respect to the previous two responders:

    YES, You CAN breastfeed after surgery. You talk to the anesthesiologist about using what's used for a c-section mom. General anesthesia is out of your system when you're awake.

    Most pain meds ARE safe while nursing...the ones that are unsafe would make you unsafe to handle the baby because they'd make you incredibly wonky. Been there done that with vicodin as a painkiller.

    The biggest concern, really, is your ability to handle the baby after the surgery. You will be restricted on what you can lift. You may opt to pump for the time being until you can lift the baby; I did do that myself.

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:57 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • There is a book for doctors to look up meds in for pregnant and lactating moms so they can pick the best ones. I would tell doctors I am breastfeeding, I am going to continue to breastfeed and to please give me the safest med. is a great breastfeeding website where you can find more info.

    If you can put off the surgery until your baby is old enough to be eating solids and drinking from a cup it would be easier.


    Answer by Gailll at 3:10 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • I saw that one mom suggested pumping. I never wanted to risk bottles with my baby. I have always found pumping to be harder than breastfeeding. I was a single mom when my youngest was born and could never lift over 10 pounds. I just learned to be creative with how I did things. He was dragged on blankets a lot. I kept him on my bed or in a little bed next to my bed and mothered in bed whenever I was sick. I had to be on home antibiotic IVs for 3 weeks when he was only 4 weeks old and I managed to take care of him and my 2 other kids from bed with no husband or family. Friends did shoppiing.

    Whenever you pump and give bottles you risk your milk supply, breast infections, and that your baby may never nurse again.


    Answer by Gailll at 3:16 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • As soon as you are alert enough to hold your baby, you are ready to nurse again. Anesthesias are out of your system really quickly. Surgery has little interruption to breastfeeding!!! Most pain meds are fine as well. Remember, lots of women have a surgical birth and breastfeed right afterwards, pain meds, and all!

    Just pump enough milk for your baby to have when you are gone.  No formula needed!


    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 3:18 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • Adding to what Gaill said. The information about safe anesthesia (could you request an epidural or spinal block? That would be IDEAL) and safe pain medications can be found by your doctor via LLL, lactmed, or Dr. Hale (google him, have your doctor/anesthesiologist use his database!)..

    Pump enough to feed baby while you'll be apart. You also can stay in the hospital only 48 hours and if you feel up to it check out AMA if you have no complications just make sure someone is going to be there to help you nurse/care, like your mom.. I've known c-section mothers who have done this.

    And instead of anyone using bottles whilst you're apart, have them use a syringe or SNS taped to their finger to prevent nipple preference.

    Your nursing relationship doesn't need to end or even be troubled by this! If you can't pump enough, the SNS/syringe and some formula will be okay. Make sure they have a pump ready for you for at night. GL!

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:01 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • Of course, if your husband is with you and you let them know about your daughter's health problems they might let your husband bring a small bassinet and some baby supplies and have the baby in the hospital with you. If he stays too or your mom stays in the hospital room over-nights and sleeps on a cot they might just let the baby be there too! If not, make sure you pump when/if capable of pumping!

    I commend you for wanting to keep nursing!

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:03 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • I think you should be fine. They gave me morphine during my c-section & some afterwards and I was nursing my little girl as soon as I could hold her..about 3ish hours after the surgery.

    Answer by Wheepingchree at 7:39 PM on Apr. 21, 2010