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Someone reassure me....gallbladder surgery and breastfeeding.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm exclusively nursing my 2 (almost 3) month old DD. I went to the ER on Christmas night and was diagnosed with gallstones. I need to have my gallbladder removed and I'm about to call and schedule the surgery.

 

On top of the fact that I've never had surgery, never been under anesthesia, and never taken pain pills, I'm *SO* nervous about what this means for nursing my daughter. I've been pumping and putting away some milk for when I'm in the surgery. But what about the pain meds (doctor said I'd have percocet)? What about holding her and the incisions I will have?

 

Someone reassure me that all will be okay. I have this fear in my head that for some reason I'll have to give her bottles for a few days, which will dwindle my milk supply, and she'll come to prefer the bottle over the breast. Yes, I know I'm a worrier LOL!

post #2 of 4

I ended up needing minor surgery soon after having each of my kids, and with one it was due to my gall bladder. Doctors tend to give advice more about eliminating the risk of being sued than about what's best for the baby. But once it's out of your system well enough for you to be conscious and hold the baby to breast, you can really breastfeed the baby. Women breastfeed soon after difficult births that involve various drugs in them. 

 

Percocet is a very strong drug and labeld as L3 ( http://www.kellymom.com/health/meds/pain-meds.html ). I had Viocdin afterward, which is also labeled L3, but really I only needed it mainly one day, and IMO the value of preserving the breastfeeding relationship is a bigger health issue than a short period of time with the meds. They didn't even make my baby drowsy.

 

I had to arrange things a bit differently physically to keep the baby in a comfortable spot after gall bladder surgery but it wasn't too difficult.


The important thing to remember is that you are not nearly as delicate as far as this thing goes when breasteeding as when pregnant. You can handle much more and it has much less effect on your baby. Don't take more of the prescription pain meds than you have to, and start using OTC stuff as soon as possible, and you and the baby should be fine.


If you give her bottles for a few days it could very well cause trouble both with your supply and with her sucking style. She might have a hard time going back to the breast after that. I would not do that and I personally would and did just breastfeed right after surgery and go on with normal breastfeeding right away. Each baby had I think just one bottle while I was physically in surgery, and each baby breastfed right away when I was in recovery, and both were fine and are very very fine now. (One is just turning 10 and one is just turning 3.)

 

Doctors are so afraid of being sued that they make it sound like everything is reason to switch to formula or stop breastfeeding. But maintaining your breastfeeding relationship and making sure you don't have supply problems is a much bigger issue than the small amount of drugs over a very short period of time that your baby will get. She won't get enough to like overdose or anything - it's a question of whether she could get enough to make her feel drowsy, and if you took those kinds of meds long term it could cause an addiction for her just like it could for you. But babies go into surgery and get pain meds too. Just don't take them longer than you have to, and relax!

 

HUGS!

post #3 of 4

I had gall bladder surgery as an inpatient and I was very ill. I was around 50 and my children were all adults. I had been throwing up for weeks and the doctors couldn't figure out why. I'd been an inpatient for almost a week before they figured out it was my gall bladder. So you will be in better shape than I was.

 

New anesthia is much better than what it used to be. I had no problems from the anesthia. I was able to get up right after the surgery on my own to go to the bathroom. I see no reason your baby would even need a bottle. It is a short surgery and you could nurse right before and very soon after the surgery. It is much easier than a C-section.  

 

I can't take pain pills. I throw them up even if they give me the meds to try and keep them down. I didn't have any pain meds and didn't need them. I stayed a day or two more in the hospital but I was still dehydrated and my electrolytes were messed up. I also have a history of pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs). I needed more IVs. I'm sure you are having it outpatient and will be able to go home soon after the surgery.

 

If your baby doesn't weigh much you shouldn't have too much problems at home taking care of the baby. If your baby is big you may need to figure out ways to minimize lifting and bending. You will need help with house cleaning the first week or two.

 

Like mamazee explains you can take pain meds if you need them. Moms that have C-sections that breastfeeding take pain meds.

post #4 of 4

A mom in my breastfeeding group had gallbladder surgery while nursing and continued nursing afterwards. She has twins and I think they were around 2-3 months old when she had the surgery. She nursed most of the day when in the hospital. She did have a supply dip and said she thought it was partly due to not eating enough/getting enough fluids, but she was able to recover. I don't know her really well so I don't know the full story, this is just what I gleaned off of facebook.

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