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.