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Breastfeeding and pain relief after a c section

This week I posted a link to a recently published paper which concluded that poor pain relief after a C section affected breastfeeding. https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/following-cesarean-delivery-postoperative-pain-affects-likelihood-of-in-hospital-breastfeeding/

I was saddened that we even had to think that pain would not be managed well for any mother, let alone when she was trying to initiate breastfeeding. It isn’t always easy to life a baby from a cot side crib when you have had surgery, let alone try to position a baby to achieve the perfect latch.

copyright Juliet Klottrup

What surprised and horrified me was the mother’s who replied that they hadnt been given good pain relief when in hospital. They mentioned:

  • not being told that more than paracetamol was available
  • being offered only paracetamol and ibuprofen even when they needed more
  • being forgotten on medication rounds,
  • being discharged without sufficient pain relief.

This just isnt good enough and I would hope that everyone to whom this applies contacts the ward directly or through PALS that pain management plans are essential.

Pain relief which should be given to a breastfeeding mum in my opinion:

  • In theatre a non steroidal anti inflammatory eg diclofenac as a suppository
  • On the ward there should be available oramorph (subject to extensive first pass metabolism so little in milk)
  • Regular use of an NSAID – ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen (low levels in milk) plus paracetamol
  • Discharge packs should include the NSAID offered in hospital plus limited number of dihydrocodeine and if necessary oramorph. This may challenge the formulary in the hospital but can be overcome simply with care and thought for the patient.

NO WOMAN SHOULD BE LEFT IN PAIN BECAUSE SHE IS BREASTFEEDING