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Going into hospital for an op under GA, advice please

(19 Posts)
Hulla Thu 13-Aug-09 13:44:44

I have to go into hospital next month for an operation under general anaesthetic.

At my pre-op this morning, the nurse advised me not to breastfeed for 48 hours following the operation and to expect an overnight stay. I told her that my dd doesn't have a bottle, she said I had 3 weeks to teach her to take one.

I don't know what to do. She is 6.5 months and feeds at night still. We also co-sleep but I know she can't sleep in with dh while I am away.

I really thought I would be able to feed sooner than 48 hours - I had an epidural and a spinal block when she was born and was allowed to feed straight away.

Does anyone have any experience of this? I was thinking of calling maternity about the anaesthetic/feeding issue.

I wouldn't have the first clue how much I need to express in order to feed dd for 2 days.

Should I try and delay my op or just get dd used to a cot & bottle? Is there a half-way option I haven't thought of? I am really upset at the idea of all of this (not to mention surgery).

Many thanks

tiktok Thu 13-Aug-09 13:52:15

Hulla - the nurse is giving you utterly mad advice from the sound of it.

Normally, once the GA is out of your blood stream and you are conscious then it is out of your milk.

Mothers who have sections under GA feed straight away.

How long (FGS) does she think the anaesthetic stays in your system? If it is in your system you are unconscious!

Call the hospital department, speak to them and ask again.

You can also read this:

"General anaesthetic agents have very short half-lives and are redistributed in the body
within minutes, which is why they have to be infused continuously. Some is stored within the
fat of the body and gradually released over the following 24 hours but the levels of these on
single short scale use are unlikely to cause any greater effect than drowsiness in the baby.
After the majority of minor surgery the patient is awake within a very short period. Once a
mother is awake enough to recall that she has a baby and the need to breastfeed, the level
in her milk is likely to be minimal."

from the www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk which is a referenced factsheet on surgery and bf.

And complain about this dreadful advice!

KnickKnack Thu 13-Aug-09 13:56:35

I had a general for a CS and fed within an hour or two.

weasle Thu 13-Aug-09 13:57:32

You are right, people have Caesarians under GA and feed straight away. Basically if you are awake the anaesthetic has worn off enough for you to feed. I don't know why the nurse said 48hrs she has probably never been asked the question before and so guessed? Easy (but not very nice) of her to talk about gettng your lo used to a bottle in 3 weeks, when she is not the one doing it!

You could call maternity and ask to speak to the infant feeding co-ordinator or equivalent who should be able to help. Also PALS office might help.

How would you feel in delaying the operation? If you are in pain and desperate it may not be an option, but it may be easier to leave your baby overnight in a couple of months.

i hope you work something out. i can understand how this would be very upsetting for you.

KnickKnack Thu 13-Aug-09 13:57:35

obviously Tiktok has phrased it much more eloquently and informatively than me grin

weasle Thu 13-Aug-09 13:58:27

sorry, x-posted with others!

EldonAve Thu 13-Aug-09 14:01:46

I have had 2 GAs and didn't need to stop bf either time
The person you want to speak to is the anaesthetist
Even if you stay overnight your DH could bring your baby in for a feed

Hulla Thu 13-Aug-09 14:17:38

Thanks everyone, sorry - was posting away in general health!

If she's wrong then the sad thing is the nurse checked with another nurse before giving me advice. She said her colleague had dealt with bf mothers before. She put in my notes to the anaesthetist that she had advised me not to bf for 48 hours.

Tiktok, thank you. I will take that with me. The nurse said the anaesthetic would stay in my blood and therefore milk for 48 hours (which might be true but perhaps not at a level to cause harm).

I will also try pals and find out if there is an infant feeding co-ordinator.

Do you think it is unlikely dd could stay with me? I suppose it would be unfair on her to keep her in.

I could delay the op (I am used to living with the symptoms) but the consultant wanted to rush it. Having said that, dd is more important and if I have to wait until she isn't feeding at night etc then I'll do that.

I can't bear the thought of her being hungry or not settling because she's in a cot. Oh and expressing for 2 days post-op sounded awful.

tiktok Thu 13-Aug-09 14:29:05

It's actually quite disgraceful they should be giving this rubbish advice out - how much distress and anxiety have they caused, how many babies have they caused to wean sooner than otherwise, how much hard work (expressing for two days after surgery...), and it's all so unnecessary. Gosh, I get cross!!

Please please write to them, get them to agree to have a leaflet or similar they can give to mothers in any part of the hospital where surgery might be on the cards, and ask them to let you know they have done it.

weasle Thu 13-Aug-09 14:34:03

sorry, i was speculating about the nurse guessing the 48hrs thing, perhaps a bit unfair on her, but i still think it is nonsense.

if you are not happy having the op now, don't be persuaded into it by someone who may not consider the whole picture including your dd. do whatever feels right for you and your family (obviously i am saying this without knowing why the consultant might have wanted you to have it done quickly, or what the op is).

the anaesthetist should be able to correct the nurses advice. PALS should be able to help you with this.

meakin Thu 13-Aug-09 14:41:26

Maybe it is because of the painkillers they prescribe after the op?

Hulla Thu 13-Aug-09 14:44:36

Yes, Tiktok I completely agree and I'll contact the hospital about it and post there response here. I was thinking on the way home "well this might be the end of bf" and it made me so sad.

Thanks weasle I'm going to call PALS when dd wakes up from her nap (on my knee). The op is to repair the damage caused and not treated properly by said same hospital when dd was born! It's left me with some humiliating symptoms but I've lived with them for 6 months I can cope a bit longer so long as it is fixed for when I go back to work in January.

Having said this, the nurse couldn't tell me how long it would take to recover and my consultant says this op may not work so I guess I need to do it soon so I have time to try other options if needed.

Oh what a palaver. I'll let you know what I find out today.

Thanks again

Hulla Thu 13-Aug-09 14:45:28

their response/it's response! Oops blush

Meglet Thu 13-Aug-09 14:47:18

I had a GA for a hysterectomy a couple of weeks ago and they gave me blood thinning injections (to minimise risk of DVT I think?). I wonder if they cause a problem with bf. I never had the jabs after either of my cs's and was able to bf despite having morphine and anti-emetics and being stuck in bed most of the time.

Meglet Thu 13-Aug-09 14:48:28

...just to add my cs's were spinal block, but I didn't get blood thinning jabs while recovering.

Hulla Thu 13-Aug-09 14:56:42

thanks meglet, I'll ask. She did say it was due to the GA but she didn't seem very imformed.

I have just done some googling and found a news article about the infant feeding co-ordinator at the hospital and the bfc who helped me! I have her number so I will call her and see if she can help put me in touch with the infant feeding co-ordinator. smile

LeonieSoSleepy Thu 13-Aug-09 14:57:08

Message withdrawn

Hulla Sun 16-Aug-09 10:29:55

Thanks Leonie

I have tried to contact the infant feeding co-ordinator by telephone but haven't managed yet. The hospital have called and given me a date for my op which is 2 weeks away so I have started trying dd on a cup of expressed milk (she enjoys playing with the cup but it gets thrown on the floor when she's hungry smile)

I am going to write to the infant feeding co-ordinator and PALS and include the factsheet linked by tiktok earlier.

I am also going to call the consultants secretary to request more info about the procedure as he told me it was a day case, no anaesthetic but at my pre-op the nurse said it was an overnight stay and a GA so I am a bit confused.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Hulla Mon 17-Aug-09 16:27:27

I have spoken with the infant feeding co-ordinator who was wonderful and has offered to speak with the anaethetist for me. She directed me to the leaflet tiktok linked.

I understand (from the bfc) that she is also producing guidance for other departments as I am not the first to be given poor information.

Lastly, if I have to stay overnight (awaiting confirmation) I am told that they will find a side room and let dd stay too.

<<relieved>> smile

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