Breastfeeding mom needs PM and Lead replaced

Hi everyone, I am a first time mom but a lifelong pacemaker recipient. I was born with a third-degree congenital heart defect and have atrial tachycardia. Since the age of six months old, I have always had a pacemaker. Well, this past January my husband and I were blessed enough to have our first child, a healthy and happy little girl. We have also been fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed and have done so successfully for the past eight months. At my most recent cardiology appointment my cardiologists informed me that my pacemaker and leads would need to be replaced in the next three months. Since I have had a pacemaker placed underneath the skin near my collarbone, the skin in this area is very thin and she is worried about it opening up. My cardiologist would like my new pacemaker to be implanted underneath the muscle, which I've never had done before. Here's where my concern comes into play. The last time I had a lead replacement surgery it took almost 10 hours. I either breastfeed or pump every three hours and would need to do so at least twice while under Anesthesia. I'm also concerned about recovery and being able to continue to nurse my daughter. I am wondering if there are other mothers out there who have experience with this or maybe someone has some suggestions on how we continue our breastfeeding journey? I'm not opposed to having to stop breastfeeding early but I would like it to be my daughter's decision to stop nursing and not my own. I'm also concerned about the recovery and having an almost 1 year old. Any suggestions, advice or experience with the topic is greatly appreciated. 


Hi there

by Lavender - 2022-09-15 23:24:25

I also breastfed my sons. One son breastfed for 13 months. One breastfed nine months and went right to sippy cups with no bottles. He just wasn't interested and was always easily distracted. Your daughter can't decide when the breastfeeding ends. You know the situation and what may be best for her is to have mommy get the surgery and heal without trying to support a breastfeeding baby in her lap. 

If I were you, I would wean the baby before surgery-long enough before so your breasts aren't so tender from weaning. After surgery, you would not be able to lift more than a gallon of milk for a few weeks. Lifting a baby and having them potentially bump your surgery site may be painful. The recovery when placed sub-pec is a bit longer. 

Any pain meds would pass through the breast milk but I don't know how that would affect the child. 

You could pump, freeze and store your milk to last a bit longer after you stop breastfeeding to bottle feed your child. I belonged to La Leche League and donated my frozen breast milk for months to Children's Hospital.

here's a discussion thread on this site about this to copy and paste:


by Tracey_E - 2022-09-16 10:57:20

I had a battery get low while I was pregnant, and I've dealt with a bad lead, but it was not all at the same time! 

Do they have room to add a new lead rather than take out the bad one? I chose to do this rather than extract. They did an iv with dye in the cath lab to verify that there was room in the vein. If you could do this, then the surgery would be much faster and with less anesthesia. 

Your ob/gyn would probably have some suggestions for dealing with a surgery while continuing to breastfeed. Surely you won't be the first breast feeding mama to face this, there must be some advice or protocol. 

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