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Anesthesia, Multi Modal Pain Regimen and Breastmilk

One thing you may not know about me is that I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding. I have breastfed my three children to the ages of 6 months-2 years old. It is a huge passion of mine to make sure all nursing mothers are educated and feel empowered to nurse as long as they wish to. Unfortunately, anesthesia while breastfeeding is a topic that really isn’t discussed. Often times when it is discussed, the mother is typically told to pump and dump their breastmilk for at least 24 hours. I’ve been in this position and thought what a waste to have to do this. I’ve had my fair share of procedures between three nursing babies that I knew there had to be more research out there supporting nursing mothers. Research now shows that it’s safe to nurse your baby as soon as you become conscious after your procedure. While this may seem crazy to some people, studies have proven that while anesthesia does enter breastmilk, it is in such low concentrations that it does not affect your baby. 

Another question we get as a healthcare team is how to manage pain post surgically while breastfeeding. As a nursing mother, we are always nervous about taking any oral medications as most medications transfer into the breastmilk and can effect our babies. Additionally, uncontrolled pain can effect your ability to produce breastmilk and/or effect the baby's ability to nurse and latch properly. Here at the Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa, we relay on a Multi-Modal pain regimen that consists of acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which are both safe to take while breastfeeding. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, a multi-modal approach is successful with nursing mothers to control post operative pain. The key is to always stay on top of the medication and take it on time every time. 

What does this mean for a nursing mother and her upcoming foot or ankle procedure with the surgeons at Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa? It means you have a team of providers and medical assistants advocating for you and your right to breastfeed after your procedure. We are also dedicated to ensuring that you are comfortable postoperatively and that your pain is safely under control. We want patients who are breastfeeding to know that we are educated on the latest research and we are here to do everything we can to make your foot and ankle surgery and your recovery go as smooth as possible.

Research came from:


Tiffany Rangel, MA, PRT

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