19 doctors weighed in:

Is there any general anesthesia safe for nursing moms?

19 doctors weighed in
Dr. Matt Malkin
Anesthesiology
7 doctors agree

In brief: Sort of

Many medications are passed through breast milk.
Most anesthetics use short-acting meds that are cleared from the body within about 24-hours. Some are better-studied than others. If you need medications for post-op pain, you should discuss with your surgeon. Recommendations as to when it is safe to resume breast feeding differ and should be discussed with your anesthesiologist.

In brief: Sort of

Many medications are passed through breast milk.
Most anesthetics use short-acting meds that are cleared from the body within about 24-hours. Some are better-studied than others. If you need medications for post-op pain, you should discuss with your surgeon. Recommendations as to when it is safe to resume breast feeding differ and should be discussed with your anesthesiologist.
Dr. Matt Malkin
Dr. Matt Malkin
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Dr. Boris Aronzon
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Safe

The safest approach is to pump milk before surgery and do not breast feed for 24 hours after. It does not mean that you can not do it early, most anesthetic drugs are metabolized quickly, but some will get to the milk.
Discuss your concerns with your anesthesiologist and obstetrician to choose the best approach.

In brief: Safe

The safest approach is to pump milk before surgery and do not breast feed for 24 hours after. It does not mean that you can not do it early, most anesthetic drugs are metabolized quickly, but some will get to the milk.
Discuss your concerns with your anesthesiologist and obstetrician to choose the best approach.
Dr. Boris Aronzon
Dr. Boris Aronzon
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Dr. David Edsall
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree

In brief: YES

You shoudl avoid drying agents like scope glycopyrelate and Atropine benadry and dramamine (dimenhydrinate) as the milk may dry up .
Bu there is no proof of risk to the child form other agents. Most will be gone from your dsystem n 2-3 hours.

In brief: YES

You shoudl avoid drying agents like scope glycopyrelate and Atropine benadry and dramamine (dimenhydrinate) as the milk may dry up .
Bu there is no proof of risk to the child form other agents. Most will be gone from your dsystem n 2-3 hours.
Dr. David Edsall
Dr. David Edsall
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Dr. Scott Roethle
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Not really

There is no great data on a lot of this.
I recommend to nursing moms that they should "pump and dump" for 12-24 hours after anesthesia. Little amount of active drug would be passed to a nursing baby, similar to drinking a glass of wine, but it is best to avoid any risk and dump your milk while bottle feeding for half a day or so.

In brief: Not really

There is no great data on a lot of this.
I recommend to nursing moms that they should "pump and dump" for 12-24 hours after anesthesia. Little amount of active drug would be passed to a nursing baby, similar to drinking a glass of wine, but it is best to avoid any risk and dump your milk while bottle feeding for half a day or so.
Dr. Scott Roethle
Dr. Scott Roethle
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Dr. Karen Sibert
Anesthesiology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Plan ahead!

If you can, postpone elective surgery until your baby is old enough for some formula feeds or solid foods.
Then skipping a breast feed or two won't disturb either your baby or your milk supply. If your baby is small and entirely breast fed, start giving some breast milk by bottle, and freeze several days' supply in advance so that you won't have to worry while you are still on medication.

In brief: Plan ahead!

If you can, postpone elective surgery until your baby is old enough for some formula feeds or solid foods.
Then skipping a breast feed or two won't disturb either your baby or your milk supply. If your baby is small and entirely breast fed, start giving some breast milk by bottle, and freeze several days' supply in advance so that you won't have to worry while you are still on medication.
Dr. Karen Sibert
Dr. Karen Sibert
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Dr. David Rosenfeld
Pain Management
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Dump milk

Yes it is safe. I would encourage pumping and dumping milk for 8 hours or so.
If you don't the baby will get some of the anesthetic agent. This will do nothing more than make them sleepy!

In brief: Dump milk

Yes it is safe. I would encourage pumping and dumping milk for 8 hours or so.
If you don't the baby will get some of the anesthetic agent. This will do nothing more than make them sleepy!
Dr. David Rosenfeld
Dr. David Rosenfeld
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Dr. John Stork
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Yes

Most of the drugs used in general anesthesia are cleared from the blood stream very quickly, and it should be safe to breastfeed almost as soon as reasonably awake and recovered.
A conservative regimen would be to delay 4 hours after awakening. Narcotic pain medicines taken after surgery may appear in breast milk, but usually in only small quantities. Check specifics with your doctor.

In brief: Yes

Most of the drugs used in general anesthesia are cleared from the blood stream very quickly, and it should be safe to breastfeed almost as soon as reasonably awake and recovered.
A conservative regimen would be to delay 4 hours after awakening. Narcotic pain medicines taken after surgery may appear in breast milk, but usually in only small quantities. Check specifics with your doctor.
Dr. John Stork
Dr. John Stork
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology

In brief: See below

I would suggest expressing the breast milk immediately after your anesthetic and throwing it away.
The anesthetic agents can make it into the breast milk and so could make it to your baby.

In brief: See below

I would suggest expressing the breast milk immediately after your anesthetic and throwing it away.
The anesthetic agents can make it into the breast milk and so could make it to your baby.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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