Your Baby's Surgery and Breastfeeding

Fasting Before Surgery

Most doctors will recommend that a baby does not drink anything for three or four hours before surgery.

It is suggested, by breastfeeding educators that a mother pump her breasts “empty" and should still allow her baby to comfort feed right up to a few minutes before any surgery. 

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This is done for the reason that fasting causes higher stress levels in babies and denies those babies the comfort of suckling at the breast. 

Research shows that fasting for long periods of time is no better at preventing complications and aspiration than shorter fasts. 

All of these options should be discussed with your baby's anesthesiologist and doctor before the surgery.

Pumping while the baby is in surgery.

Depending on the length of the surgery, a mother might need to pump a few times to maintain comfort and supply. I would suggest pumping, only if the operation takes longer than 2 hours. 

Breastfeeding your Baby after Surgery

Breastfeeding should continue as soon as the baby is able. Even babies with cleft lip surgeries should be allowed to breastfeed immediately after surgery. Actual breastfeeding is superior to using a spoon, dropper or any other feeding methods.

Breastfeeding immediately after surgery has shown to:

  • Reduce sedation.
  • Reduce IV fluids required.
  • Reduce the number of days spent in the hospital. 
  • Improve weight gain.

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