Mar 122010

This is an open letter to Anesthesiology Departments everywhere.

I sent a physical copy to my pediatric dentist, and Miami Children’s Hospital, which whom they are affiliated.

Please help future baby patients by forwarding a copy to your local medical facility!

To Whom It May Concern:

My son was seen at the dental center last week. He needs a significant amount of work done due to carries, and an Operating Room scenario was suggested.

I was informed due to the anesthesia the child should have nothing to eat after 10 pm, but was typically allowed clear liquids up until two hours prior to the procedure.

When I inquired about breastfeeding, from both the O.R. Coordinator at the dental office and the Nurse Practitioner she contacted for me at the hospital, I got only the generic response that “feeding” the child, and “milk products”, were not allowed.

Knowing of the easy, complete, and rapid digestibility of breast milk, this answer left me dissatisfied.

A quick online search revealed several studies suggesting that a window of as little as three, or even two hours (as with clear liquids) was ample. Even the Practice Guidelines published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends a four hour fast from human milk.

In light of this, I would implore that Miami Children’s Hospital include this specification in their pediatric anesthesia guidelines – not just for R.T., but for all the infant patients you will serve in the future.


ASA NPO Practice Guidelines (see page 899)
La Leche League FAQ (also includes several more great resources in the accompanying links)

  2 Responses to “Anesthesiology Fasting and Human Milk”

  1. It’s awesome that you did that. Good for babies everywhere

  2. I am delighted to read your postings about breastfeeding. I made a knowledgable choice to nourish my three babies with God’s perfectly designed food. I did so for 19 months, 22 months and 26 months.

    For my last child, I had anticipated weaning at 24 months but accidental lead pellet ingestion changed everything. The poisonous pellets (from a broken Mexican maraca) wouldn’t leave his body naturally. Instead, they lodged in his appendix. The hospital staff had him fast in preparation for surgery BUT breastmilk was allowed. Thank God! When the surgery was postponed and he had to fast a second day, I did not feel helpless. I could offer my little boy everything I could.

    Later, when he came back home, he was in pain, confused and needing comfort. I could nurse him back to good health. The special diet to rid his body of the high lead levels was helped by the easy-to-digest breastmmilk. Thanks be to God that he recovered.

    I commend you for writing a follow-up to the hospital staff. It is not worth a grumble to tell all your friends what a rotten decision they made BUT not tell them directly. Making that direct appeal (with information to back you up) will help others who are also faced with that tough moment.

    May God reward you for alllll your efforts: as a believer, as a mother, as an advocate and as a blogger.

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