Do pain meds during labor make BF difficult for baby? — The Bump
Breastfeeding

Do pain meds during labor make BF difficult for baby?

I've heard that if I need an epidural or other pain meds during labor, it can make the baby groggy and thus reduce their ability to latch on or begin breastfeeding right away....which can then make it difficult to start at all.

 

Has this been the case with anyone? Since I'm new to pregnancy I don't know what "facts" in the books to believe. Some say pain meds make everything more difficult, and some say there is no evidence of that. I guess I'm looking for real life examples. :)

 

TIA! 

IAmPregnant Ticker

Re: Do pain meds during labor make BF difficult for baby?

  • It can, and I have met mothers whose babies where 'groggy' after birth, most of them breastfed fine.

    Breastfeeding can be easy for some mommas, and more difficult for others. It all depends on how you react, and how your baby react. No one can tell you exactly how it will happen. The best thing is to prepare, if you plan to get medicated know all the side effects and make it a choice YOU make not others for you, educate yourself on all the possibilities. 

    http://www.bestforbabes.com/

     http://milkforbaby.blogspot.com/


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    Little Rose is 2 1/2.
  • IMO, there is no way to know for sure because there are so many factors involved.  You can't have the same woman give birth to the same baby twice, once with and once without epi...so there is no way to be sure. 

    In my case, I wanted to go med-free but ended up with an epi (LONG labor) and we did not have any BFing issues.  DD is still happily nursing at 17 mths!  She was also most definitely not the least bit groggy at birth.  She was alert and looking around and moving all over the place right away.  I was so upset about getting the epi because I was afraid it would affect DD in some way but it really did not appear to cause any issues at all.  I was up and walking around myself within an hour or so after she was born.  It all turned out to be much angst about nothing, at least for us.  HTH.

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  • I was worried about this also, but in my case it was not true.  I had an epidural and my DD was very alert when she was born and she had no problems latching on and we have continued breastfeeding with no problems. 
  • I had a med-free birth and LO latched on great, but I also have a friend who has had three c-sections and had no trouble BFing any of her babies.

  • Thanks ladies, those stories are helpful. I feel more relaxed about it all already! :)
    IAmPregnant Ticker
  • I had a totally med-free delivery, but got a huge tear that required me getting spinal anesthesia to repair, plus some other issues that made it impossible for me to BF right away.  So, my baby missed his perfect little window for learning to BF.  Know what?  We still BFed!  Yes, we had trouble in the first few days getting the latch right.  And the first 6 weeks are really difficult.  But we continued nursing for 11 1/2 months!

    And I know plenty of women who got epidurals and their babies latched on right away.  I'm not saying this because I'm bitter about my decision.  Med-free was right for me, and I will most likely choose it again, but not for any reasons related to BFing.

    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
  • image emberlee3:

    So, my baby missed his perfect little window for learning to BF.  Know what?  We still BFed! 

    We, too, missed the "perfect little window" (I like that!) because Drew had some breathing problems that put him in the NICU for about 6 hours.  He latched perfectly the first time (7 hours after birth) and we nursed successfully for 13.5 months.

    I suppose it's possible that meds could have some small effect, but there are lots of things that I believe have a much bigger impact on BFing success (being educated, having support, stubbornness, etc).

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  • I had an epidural that had a mild narcotic in it (apparently) and DS latched like a champ!

    He was terribly jaundiced, therefore, sleepy, so he would fall asleep while nursing a lot, but he was still latching and sucking well. Once my milk came in, he gained 6 oz every 24 hours for a few days. 

  • I had one labor w/epidural and drugs, one completely natural- both babies latched on and BF well immediately.
    Baby #3
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  • I had a 48 hr induction with both Pitocin & Citotec as well as an epidural and a jaundiced little boy. After hemoraging (sp?) really bad I was unable to sit up to BF. He still latched on like a champ with help from the delivery nurse. It was more difficult for me to learn on to BF than it was for him!
  • image jd80:
    I was worried about this also, but in my case it was not true.  I had an epidural and my DD was very alert when she was born and she had no problems latching on and we have continued breastfeeding with no problems. 

    This.  My DD latched well within her first hour of life and was alert and nursing for the subsequent three hours.  I only had a full-strength epi for about three hours, though (they turned it down for laboring down and pushing).  Don't know if this had anything to do with it.

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