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Effects of pain relieving drugs/Caesarian on babies ability to breastfeed

(19 Posts)
magnummum Tue 10-Feb-09 19:18:13

Sorry this is probably really daft and obvious but I can't seem to find any useful info and thought I'd see what pearls of wisdom the MNers had. With dd. I had no pain relief during labour but am now 23 weeks pregnant with twins. As an epidural at the very least might be a very real possibility if not a C section depending on their position, I was just wondering if anyone has had experience of the drugs used affecting babies ability to feed, do they cross over into breast milk if trying to breast feed etc? Any advice gratefully received.

smallorange Tue 10-Feb-09 19:26:02

I've had all the pain relief ythe NHS has to offer and I'm pretty sure that an epidural or spinal block does not cross the placenta and therefore does not affect your baby.

I think diamorphine/pethidine does make them sleepy.

(wouldn't worry too much about the feeding though.)

TeaSleepFood Tue 10-Feb-09 19:51:28

I had twins by c-section at 38 weeks and had no problem tandem feeding. I had a spinal block and they were merrily tucking in even though I couldn't feel anything from the armpits down! I can't help you with other drugs though as afterwards I had ibuprofen and paracetamol only (oh, they do give you a voltarol inserted somewhere below while in theatre).
Good luck!

dollius Tue 10-Feb-09 19:53:52

I had an epidural with both my deliveries (no multiple births though!) and a c-section with the first, and I had no problems whatsoever with breastfeeding - latched on fine both times straightaway.

Pannacotta Tue 10-Feb-09 19:55:44

I have read about this and I am pretty sure that research found that the drugs given in an epidural can indeed affect breastfeeding.
I think the article I read was in the Guardian, will try and find it if I get the chance.

alicecrail Tue 10-Feb-09 19:57:32

I had pethidene at 11pm gas and air from 11.15 - 3am then an epidural. DD was born 1.20pm next day by c section. I had problems feeding because my milk came out too fast and dd couldn't breathe very well out of her nose, which is apparently very common with c babies as the mucus doesn't get cleared as it would if born naturally. Apparently. I don't think the drugs affected her at all

luckylady74 Tue 10-Feb-09 19:58:57

I had twins at 35 weeks it was a vaginal birth with an epidural and they both latched on straight away and breastfed for several months.
Pain relief is no reason at all not to breast feed - they'll have experienced the drugs before you gave birth to them anyway.
Congratulations and good luck.

Jojay Tue 10-Feb-09 19:59:12

I had pethidine (about 8 hrs before delivery) and an epidural with my first birth, and DS1 was a very sleepy baby, very hard to wake up and hardly any appetite for the first few weeks of his life. We managed to get breast feeding going in the end, by the time he was 2 wks old, but it was a struggle and he certainly didn't want to latch on easily, and didn't seem to have much of a sucking reflex even.

With DS2 I just had gas and air. He was chewing his hands within about 10 mins of birth and latched on very easily as soon as I'd been stitched up, with no further problems with bfing.

It's hard to know if the problems we had with DS1 were due to the drugs though.

Pannacotta Tue 10-Feb-09 19:59:20

SOme info here, couldnt find the Guardian article but only had a quick look (it may have been in the Times, not sure)

Pannacotta Tue 10-Feb-09 20:01:57

Similar info here too

ScummyMummy Tue 10-Feb-09 20:04:42


I had a caesarian with my twins too and they both seemed to feed ok.

magnummum Tue 10-Feb-09 22:08:24

Thanks very much ladies, that's all really helpful!

kitstwins Wed 11-Feb-09 15:01:28

I had an emergency section under GA and all the drugs under the sun (they pumped me full of everything that day as I was quite poorly). However, I POURED milk and had no problems with supply. The only issue was that my twins were early and had no suck reflex to speak of so feeding was difficult to establish. HOwever, there were ways around that and we got through it; they ended up feeding from me very well.

As an extreme example of the amount of drugs they can shove in you and the amount of trauma you can experience (I found it a SHOCKER of a day for a variety of reasons) neither had any impact on my milk supply or quality. I'd say have the birth and drugs that you need. I'd also really recommend alfalfa tincture, which is a homoepathic preparation that is excellent for milk supply. I took this post-birth and, as I said, had no problems with my milk.

Good luck.

RedFraggle Wed 11-Feb-09 15:09:21

I haven't had a mulitple birth but I've had two sections and breastfed both babies without any real problems. I had spinals with both deliveries and the drugs didn't seem to have any effect on their ability to feed.

kathryn2804 Wed 11-Feb-09 15:35:56

Pethidine can make them sleepy. But other than that, as long as you get plenty of skin-to-skin to get the hormones racing, there shouldn't be any problem feeding. I had an epidural for a c-section and breastfed fine for over a year.

ellideb Wed 11-Feb-09 15:44:54

I had an emcs with DS after 3 epi's, diamorphine, 2 spinals and G and A although DS was very sleepy initially I don't think I experienced any more problems then most people do i.e soreness, cracked nipple, steep learning curve getting latch established etc. All fine now though apart from several bouts of thrush (nasty stuff) and I plan on Bf'ing until toddlerdom!

galaxymummy Thu 12-Feb-09 20:08:54

Hi Magnum,
This question often comes up at twin antenatal classes I lead.
The best source of information I have is via the breast feeding network (BF) they have a member who is a pharmacist and there is a useful down load for drugs and breastmilk.
The other mn have given good links for epidural info.
Bottom line is use what you need to help you in labour, best relief of discomfort is to be found by constant prescence of supporting partner and or doula can recommend mars lady she is fab you can find her on d'ya ever .
Best wishes for your twin pregnancy

neenztwinz Tue 17-Feb-09 13:12:07

Hi Magnum, if you don't want an epidural you don't have to have one. My consultant recommended I have one 'just in case' I needed a section or in case the second twin flipped around after the first one was delivered and they needed to reposition it internally (ouch).

In the end I said I wanted to wait and see and I ended up having just gas and air and vaginal delivery (although I needed forceps with the first twin - probably cos I was knackered cos I didn't have an epidural wink)

I am not saying do have one or don't have one, I am just saying I didn't have one even though it was kind of presented to me as if I would have to have one cos I was having twins.

My reasons for not wanting one was because I knew I was high risk for a section and didn't want to increase my chances.

Rollmops Wed 18-Feb-09 10:57:19

Had an elective CS, absolutely no problem with breastfeeding and they were hungry little buggers grin

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