It is ok for a mama to breastfeed her baby during a painful procedure. The baby will not die from choking on breastmilk.
Let me repeat: It is ok for a mama to breastfeed her baby during a painful procedure.
My first pediatric visit with my firstborn ended badly when the nurse refused to let me nurse Norah during an injection. I was crying. The doctor had told me I could but the nurses shut the door and said it wasn’t gonna happen. One nurse said, “You’ll strangle that baby.” And she tried to take Norah from me. Rather roughly. Yeah, that wasn’t gonna happen. I left in a blaze of postpartum tears.
Recently, a mama friend stopped in at the local health department to get a vaccination for her baby. The nurse belittled her and bullied her about her vaccination choices. Then told her she could not nurse her baby during the shot. She would “aspirate that baby.” Now, this mama had nursed her baby through every heel stick and injection. He has never cried. This time he did. And the mama left in a blaze of postpartum tears.
Really, is this request such a big deal? Do you really, really think that this activity is dangerous? Has there been a case of a baby dying from breastfeeding aspiration? I haven’t been able to find one. And babies choke on breastmilk all the time. Especially when mama has a forceful let-down. Maybe mamas with forceful let-downs should not be allowed to nurse.
I found this American Academy of Pediatrics statement: Breastfeeding during a painful procedure such as a heel-stick for newborn screening provides analgesia to infants.
And this study in Canada: There are no reports of adverse events, such as gagging or spitting up. Compared with the frequency of breastfeeding, vaccine injections are uncommon, and it is unlikely that an infant will associate breastfeeding with painful procedures.
And several others.
What I did not find was anyone with anything to say about aspiration during breastfeeding. Where is the evidence?
I couldn’t believe this was such an issue. The breastfeeding books I read told me to do it…then I couldn’t find anyone who would support it! When I finally found a nurse willing to administer an injection while I breastfed Norah, I admit I was a little nervous. Would she choke? Nope, she didn’t even cry or turn to look at the nurse.
So c’mon. Lighten up on this one. Be a baby-friendly nurse, please.