New guidelines published by the Association of Anaesthetists state that breastfeeding is safe after the mother has had anaesthesia, as soon as she is alert and able to feed.
The guidelines were published in the journal Anaesthesia in the wake of World Breastfeeding Week, held between August 1-7, 2020.
“The guidelines say there is no need to discard any breast milk due to fear of contamination since the evidence shows that anaesthetic and non-opioid painkiller drugs are transferred to breast milk in only very small amounts,” the authors, including Dr Mike Kinsella of the Association of Anaesthetists Safety Committee.
Drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines, however, should be used with caution, especially after multiple doses and in babies up to six weeks old (corrected for gestational age).
The guidelines also stated that a woman should ideally have day surgery, and should also have a responsible adult who can stay with her for the first 24 hours. “She should be cautious with co-sleeping, or sleeping while feeding the infant in a chair, as she may not be as responsive as normal,” the authors wrote.