When he could only take fluid, he got my breastmilk, which was the gentlest possible nourishment for his body. Furthermore, it soothed both of us.
On the way home, I wore him and his favourite dinosaur toy in a sling, as he was too wobbly to walk. The sling hugged him close to my heart and helped us feel secure together. I comforted him with nummy (our word for breastfeeding) for the whole train ride. There were no staring eyes, no comments from strangers. A baby in a carrier, how on earth could a person complain about it?
I walked home in a downpour wearing my 16 kg son. I had one free hand supporting his head and neck, the other hand holding an umbrella. My lovely husband helped by re-tying my shoelaces.
My son is snuggled on my chest while I am typing our story right now. He had a harsh morning; he needs mummy and “nummy”.
In case your own child needs a medical or dental procedure done under sedation or anaesthesia, you may be interested in my suggestions that follow. You might be told that the patient needs to fast (avoid food or drink) for 6 hours before the procedure. If so, you can point out that the American Society of Anesthesiologists approves a shorter fasting time for breastmilk, because it’s much more easily digestible than other types of milk.
Here is a summary of the fasting recommendations:
Ingested Substance Minimum Fasting Period
Clear liquids 2 hours
Breastmilk 4 hours
Infant formula 6 hours
Non-human milk 6 hours
Light meal 6 hours
If you think your baby will have a tough time being unable to breastfeed for four hours before the procedure, discuss this situation with your anaesthetist; some anaesthetists may allow sucking of a recently pumped breast. Another tip is to request to be the first surgery case in the morning. This is least stressful to your baby.
Practice Guidelines for Preoperative Fasting and the Use of Pharmacologic Agents to Reduce the Risk of Pulmonary Aspiration: Application to Healthy Patients Undergoing Elective Procedures: An Updated Report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Committee on Standards and Practice Parameters 2011.
Close to the Heart Vol. 18, No. 2 (Mid-Year 2017)
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