Breastfeeding And Hospitalisation

 Caring support for mother and baby

Breastfeeding, medications and a hospital admission

Breastfeeding and hospitalisation can be a worrying time for a new mum and may cause mums to have concerns regarding feeding and expressing milk.

Likewise taking medications can cause concerns regarding whether the drugs will pass through to the baby and cause harm. However, if a new mum finds herself having to undergo elective surgery, then it is a good idea to speak with the doctor regarding the drugs to be given. Also, enquire as to any side effects for baby.

Most drugs are compatible with breastfeeding, and your health professional should be able to find something that suits. This also applies to any dental surgery that may be planned and requiring anaesthetic.

Should a mum find herself in a hospital as she is unwell, or has an accident, etc. don't worry because baby goes into hospital with mum and a support person stays to assist with the care of the baby. Consequently, this will allow breastfeeding to continue, or if preferred expressed milk.

Preparing for planned hospital admission is a good idea. This will require expressing and storing expressed milk in the freezer to take to the hospital with you. Alternatively, the milk could stay at home in a freezer and be brought in to the hospital if needed.

If possible store breastmilk in amounts that baby is currently drinking which your health professional will be able to advise.

Hydration is vital if a breastfeeding mum is unwell or preparing for surgery. Breastmilk contains a lot of water that baby needs and often when undergoing a procedure in a hospital, and fasting is required. No need to worry as the anaesthetist can arrange intravenous fluids to keep mum hydrated and breast milk on track. While in the hospital and if for some reason baby either isn't with you or you are too unwell to breastfeed then expressing at around feed time is the clue to maintaining supply.

Important points to remember if mum finds herself hospitalised because she is unwell:

Very few medical or surgical conditions will mean that baby needs to be weaned

Most drugs are ok to take and won't affect the milk or the baby; this will be checked by the health professional

If mum and baby are separated then expressing milk for the baby needs to happen

Remember hydration is key to maintaining supply if mum is unwell