Q: This is my third child. I plan to breastfeed, but also want to have my tubes tied. My doctor said if I had the baby in the afternoon, the next morning they would tie my tubes. I’m concerned about what will be happening with my baby while I’m in surgery and recovery. I’ll be away from her for at least three hours. Is it silly of me to be wondering if they’ll let her cry all that time or try feeding her formula? What kind of questions should I ask without making it sound like I don’t trust them? Would it be better to wait a while to have my tubes tied until breastfeeding is established? What is the most usual way this is handled with other women?
A: I frequently work with mothers who are having tubal ligations. The baby should be fed up until the time you leave. Wake the baby up if you need to by unwrapping him or her and turning the lights down low. Then have your husband stay with your baby in your room until you return. Holding the baby close, skin to skin, will practically guarantee a peaceful newborn for him to enjoy. He can rock and calm the baby if the need arises.
Most mothers in the hospital where I work have the surgery with spinal anesthesia. They are able to breastfeed immediately upon return; in fact, they are feeling well and hungry when they get back. There is no need to hold back on breastfeeding due to medications of surgery. (You can check on that to be sure, but even general anesthesia means it is OK to breastfeed after you wake up.) Ask the staff to allow you to stay in your room with the baby until just before the surgery.
When you return and begin nursing, your afterbirth pains will be greater after a tubal ligation. Be sure to ask your nurses for medication to ease the pain for the next day or so, and take it as often as you need to.
I wish you well.
By Ann Calandro
BSN, RNC, IBCLC Lactation Consultant