breastfeeding after general anesthesia (for wisdom teeth) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 11-15-2010, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I need to have three impacted wisdom teeth pulled. I've put it off for ten years, but my dentist says that the longer I leave them, the more likely I am to have problems from them, and if I get an absess or something then I'll end up in the emergency room. :( And I would really like to get it done before we try to get pregnant again (which we were planning on doing this month, argh!--which just adds to my stress about this whole thing.) 


Anyway. The oral surgeon and my family doctor (who's pretty supportive of extended breastfeeding) both say I can't breastfeed DD for at least 48 hours after the surgery. 48 hours!!!???!!!! DD will be 3 in a couple of months, but she still nurses a LOT. She's never had a bottle and I don't even own a pump, and anyway I don't see what good pumping would do--it's not about the milk, it's about the boob. She also can't sleep without it--been trying to nightwean for nearly a year, and she usually goes five hours now (sigh), but in the morning when she wake up--any time between 3 am and 5 am--if she doesn't get milk then she's up for the day. Which is just torture for all of us. 


So I'm freaking out at the thought of 48 hours of not nursing her. Kellymom says that it's fine to breastfeed after general anesthesia, and it specifically mentions wisdom tooth surgery. Dr. Sears also says it's fine. I researched the specific list of medicines my surgeon uses, and most of them seemed like they're ok with breastfeeding...a lot are used in c-sections...but the fact that both the doctors are saying this still makes me nervous. :( 


I'm waiting for my La Leche League leader to tell me what she thinks...I sent her the list of medicines. 


Anybody have any links or advice? 

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#2 of 13 Old 11-15-2010, 02:44 PM
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Do you HAVE to have general anesthesia? When I got my impacted wisdom teeth out in my 20s my insurance only covered local so I went with that. I have moderate dental phobia and it wasn't that bad.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#3 of 13 Old 11-15-2010, 02:44 PM
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I nursed my son after general anesthesia when I had my gall bladder removed.  I used the book Medications and Mother's Milk and went over the drugs used with the anesthesiologist.  I was nursing within hours of surgery.


I would contact the oral surgeon for the exact list of medications that s/he plans on using and then calling the Infant Risk Center to check with them. 

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#4 of 13 Old 11-15-2010, 02:59 PM
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I had a general for my 2nd csec and was nursing my baby 1-2 hrs pp.  Whoever said 2 days is SO wrong.  And are you sure you're having a general, or conscious sedation?

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#5 of 13 Old 11-15-2010, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MO_Bookwyrm View Post
I would contact the oral surgeon for the exact list of medications that s/he plans on using and then calling the Infant Risk Center to check with them. 



Just make sure breastfeeding friendly meds are used.  They exist and that's what should be used.  Waiting for 48 h is crazy!

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#6 of 13 Old 11-15-2010, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh thanks so much, I didn't know about the infant risk center! I will call them tonight! 


Yes, it's general, and no, I can't do local. At least not at this surgeon--she told me that if I wanted local I was going to find someone else to do it. Because the roots are really, really deep and one probably goes into my sinus--as in my sinus will be exposed during the surgery. I also have SEVERE dental phobia (hence the 10 year wait on doing this, I seriously feel like I'm going to throw up every time I think about it). And like I said, all three teeth are impacted, two partially and one entirely. So they will have to cut my gum open to get the teeth out. 


Frankly, I know I can't handle this with local anesthesia. I'm the worst dental patient in the world. I freak out over...well, everything dental I've ever had done. I want anesthesia just for cleanings. :( 


Does anybody know specifically what general anesthesia meds are good for breastfeeding? 

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#7 of 13 Old 11-16-2010, 02:09 AM
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I had two major surgeries w/ GA in DD's first year. The first time, I pumped and dumped for 24 hours bc that was what was recommended to me. The second time, I really didn't want to pump and dump for 24 bc pumping after surgery sucks, frankly.

So, I did my research and called a similar helpline in my state to Infant Risk Center... basically, what they told me was the "pump and dump for 24 (or 36 or 48)" was basically legal CYA on the docs' part and, in reality, there are few GA meds that stay in your system that long (I mean, really, like pps have said c/s moms who get GA are encouraged to bf soon!).

I got a list of what was safest, BUT, and this is something I didn't know ahead of time that I should have researched- the anesthesiologist who was running my GA wasn't assigned until the morning of surgery. So I couldn't ask questions about plans beforehand. I took the helpline number to surgery and had my mom call while I was in recovery. I didn't end up nursing until the next day bc of some surgical complications, but I would have theoretically been able to in 6 hours, IRC.

So, my advice to you would be a few things-

- find out who is running your anesthesia. If it is someone you can get in contact with prior, then do. Find out the meds they plan on using and contact IRC

- ask about what, besides anesthesia they might give you, bc other meds might honestly have a bigger impact


Feel better.

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#8 of 13 Old 11-16-2010, 06:23 AM
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The general concensus is that as long as you are conscious enough to want to nurse, and you feel capable of holding your baby/not so out of it that you might drop them, it is generally safe to breastfeed after surgery. The level of anesthesia in your blood (and therefore affecting you) is the same amount in your milk and capable of affecting your baby. Especially since your LO is so old (not to imply too old to nurse, just not a newborn), she should be quite safe.


HOWEVER, do keep in mind that everyone responds to anesthesia differently. Be prepared to provide extra care for your little one, as the anesthesia may make her a bit tired, cranky or wired, and you won't know which until after.

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#9 of 13 Old 11-16-2010, 06:41 AM
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I've had surgery while bf a couple of times.  Doctors try to cover their butts by telling people not to bf for ridiculous amounts of time, but it's just not realistic and does more damage to the bf relationship than the piddly amount of drugs in your system would do once you're conscious again.  It's frustrating that they always make that recommendation, but they are working on a liability limiting basis and not a "best choice for you and your child" basis.

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#10 of 13 Old 11-16-2010, 09:40 AM
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As long as you are awake and alert enough to safely hold your baby after anesthesia, you can begin to breastfeed again.  The anesthetics are out of your bloodstream and your milk.  And pain medication afterward is fine too.  Doctors are very misinformed about this and needlessly interrupt breastfeeding.  I had surgery 2 weeks ago and just smiled and said "okay" to their advice that I would need to pump and dump, then did what I knew was okay, which was to use the milk anyway.  Dr. Hale is another good resource.  Good luck to you.

Kelly - Labor & Delivery RN, IBCLC, Wife of 22 years, Mom to 4
Proud Surrogate Mommy

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#11 of 13 Old 11-16-2010, 10:12 AM
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I had my wisdom teeth out when DD was 8 months. I nursed her before dropping her off with my mom, and then my mom kept her during the surgery and until I was okay to breastfeed, which I decided was after I was alert. I did need about 3-4 hours after I returned home before I was ready to nurse her because I was still drowsy and napping. but my oral surgeon told me I could feed her as soon as I was ready. and it's not like she's even a newborn who would be highly affected. I say just have her at someone else's house until you're feeling alert and it will be fine. worst thing that could happen is she gets a touch drowsy. 

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#12 of 13 Old 11-16-2010, 10:53 PM
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I had my wisdom teeth out shortly after the birth of my son, and was assured that as soon as I was awake enough, I could nurse him. Not like "as soon as I woke up" but as soon as I was no longer drowsy and could be trusted to hold a newborn. The biggest issue is getting hydrated again after being out of it for that long. My supply really suffered for a couple days after that as I struggled to drink enough and get enough soft food. (Go for soup... you can swallow the noodles.)

Bri helpmeet to Chaise mama to K(2/07)  M(3/09) & A(2/11)

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#13 of 13 Old 12-01-2011, 07:54 AM
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I just wanted to thank everyone for their well-researched and thoughtful comments.  I am having all four impacted wisdom teeth removed tomorrow, and I have a 6-week-old baby girl.  I was originally told 48 to 72 hours by my midwife, but when I spoke with the surgeon's office this morning, they told me 6 to 8 hours!  I was thrilled to hear this, even though I've been busting my butt, or my breasts, rather, to try and come up with enough extra milk for 48 hours.  

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