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upcoming surgery and nighttime parenting conflict

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  • upcoming surgery and nighttime parenting conflict

    Hello there,

    New to the site and forums. My DH and I have been practicing the AP style of parenting before we really even knew that it had a name for it. We were just instinctively following our DS cues and what felt right in our hearts. We co-sleep, nurse to sleep as well as follow parent led sleep if nursing down does not always work.

    An upcoming surgical procedure that our little one needs to have is what is worrying us terribly. I still need to confirm but I believe he will not be able to eat or drink after midnight prior to the (hopefully early am) surgery.

    Our son is 10 months old and I nurse frequently throughout the night as my son wakes up fairly often these days (3-5 times a night). He will only fall back to sleep via nursing and if he does not get the breast he escalates to hysterics.

    My DH and I are very worried about what this night will do to him because he will basically have to "cry it out" probably in my DH arms. He usually only wants Mommy these days and I admittedly handle most-to-all of the nighttime parenting.

    We have never let him cry it out. We just knew in our hearts that early on when he just would not take to the crib he was letting us know that he needed more, different and we responded.

    Does anyone have ANY suggestions on how to handle this? Has anyone been in a similar situation? Grateful for any advice at all. We really don't want to undue 10 beautiful months of emotional responding and bonding with our son.

  • #2
    you have given your child a beautiful start to a healthy relationship with you. this one night will not undo all of your efforts. one night of him being upset will not harm him, and it seems as though you don't have much choice in the matter. do as much as you can to explain what's going to happen to him, and afterwards, give him xtra time and assurances. he will be fine, and so will you.

    here's a related thread that may help:


    • #3
      How many hours did they say he needs to fast? I know my daughter is about to have something done and they told me she needs to be without breastmilk for 4 hours. I have seen some hospitals use 2 hours as a rule.

      This is my own personal experience.

      BTW the rules are usually less time before 1. Search their own site for NPO guidelines.
      Last edited by MamaLion; 08-16-2009, 04:00 PM.


      • #4
        You might be able to work with the hospital staff in some way, actually talk to a few people and see if they could be more relaxed about it considering how quickly breastmilk is not like it sits in a stomach like some sandwich. Usually they are mostly worried about throwing up during to them a little more and see why exactly? He will bounce back anyway, remember that!


        • #5
          Thank you all so much. In my extreme panic I didn't even think to look up any guidelines on the hospitals web site and just thought that it must be like most adult surgeries with nothing after midnight.

          Thanks MamaLion, it is 4 hours for breast milk and 2 for clear liquids. I also checked with the surgical coordinator today and she confirmed this. She also said that she would put a note in his file as well as talk to the nurses that will be on staff that day.

          Still, it will all come down to that morning's schedule---how many patients, ages, etc. and DS might have to go in first. I won't know until the day before. So the worst case scenario is no more milkies after 3:30 AM.

          It won't be pretty but we could all get up, play, drink water till 5:30 if necessary and just spend lots of cuddle time together.

          Thank you for the other thread PaxMamma. It was very helpful and it made me wonder if there is any preparing that I should be thinking about when DS is only 10 months old. He's so aware and his comprehension is amazing but I don't want to scare him either.
          A book might not be a bad idea.

          And lastly-- thank you Naomi, I do plan to talk to more staff but it sounds like the 4 hours is the cut off or they postpone the surgery.


          • #6
            What may be an idea is to keep him up a bit the day before, so he's a bit worn out. Wake him up as normal, then start the distraction. if he's tired he may be more likely to fall asleep in the car etc.

            Some hospitals do 2 hours for under 1's. Much also depends on the type of surgery


            • #7
              If you're interested in a book my friend read "Going to the Hospital" to her son and she said it was really helpful. (Though, her son was much older than 10 months) It's got a lot of good pictures and covers many things that will happen pre and post op.

              Perhaps if he's not interested in looking at the pictures you could just read it out loud to him?

              Here's a link to the book on amazon:


              Also, does the hospital have any resources that you might use? Can he go and some parts of the hospital ahead of time?