Are you planning to have bariatric surgery? Did you already had bariatric surgery and your planning to breastfeed?
Here’s 10 things you must know.
1. Breastfeeding is possible.
2. The composition of your milk may be sufficient for your baby's needs.
Your body will provide any nutrients that are in short supply to your breastmilk first, and then to your body. It is important that you tell your baby’s doctor about your surgery: they’ll watch his nutrition closer.
3. Your production may be adequate.
If you have the right lactation support and an adequate nutrition with no risk factors for low milk supply, your supply will be enough for your baby’s needs.
4. You will need extra care in your diet.
You will need to be extra careful about making sure you are getting enough nutrition.
5. You will need vitamin and mineral supplements.
This surgery affects your body’s ability to absorb some important nutrients, so you will need some supplements to make sure your baby’s getting everything he needs.
6. Wait 2 years after surgery to get pregnant.
7. You will need to prioritize high calorie foods.
After surgery your stomach is smaller and you feel full with less food: this decreases the number of calories that you take in each day and helps you lose weight, but when you’re breastfeeding you need 400-700 extra calories. It will be easier for you to get these extra calories by consuming foods like avocado, nuts, hummus, pasta, rice, legumes…
8. You will probably need extra help with the latch.
If there’s significant fat loss and excess skin tissue on your breasts, it may interfere with effective positioning and latch.
9. Work with your nutritionist, surgeon and lactation specialist.
10. Your milk is still the ideal food for your baby.
It's important to investigate and treat any underlying causes of obesity, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance, or thyroid problems, any of which can decrease milk production.
It’s also important that you recognize the signs of nutrient deficiencies in your baby. You may see nutrient deficiencies in your baby before you see changes in yourself. Vitamin B-12 is especially concerning. Seek help if your baby has extreme fatigue, vomiting, anemia, failure to thrive, or insufficient muscle tone to achieve developmental milestones.
Do you need feeding support? Book a consultation here.
By Paola Vallarino IBCLC IEP CBS.
“Breastfeeding Outcomes Following Bariatric Surgery” by Caplinger, P, et al.
Impact of bariatric surgery on breastfeeding: a systematic review: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34563465/
Nutrition and Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901983/