Cesarean section rates are high! The effects of medication, IV fluids and pain can make breastfeeding a challenge. Many mothers breastfeed after a c-section, but if you can avoid one, it will be worthwhile. If you have already had one c-section, you are not forced to have another one. Read my personal story about how I went from c-section and struggling to breastfeed, with my first child, to Vbac and breastfeeding for two years with my second.
If possible, its best to NOT schedule a C-section, but to let labor begin. Even if you only get to experience a short few moments of labor, it can have an impact on your body's hormonal setup. Your body gets ready to breastfeed your baby when labor begins and your baby is given time to get ready to leave the womb.
If a c-section does occur, you can ask that your baby is put skin to skin against you, while you are stitched up. Your baby can be held against you, above the drape. Smell and touch your baby as much as possible during these first few moments together.
How can a C-section Impact Breastfeeding?
Mothers might feel that they have failed at giving birth and then feel
that they are going to fail at breastfeeding too. C section
breastfeeding can help to keep those
There are ways of placing a baby in order to avoid him/her lying on your stomach or cut. The best c section breastfeeding position is the lying down position, or the football hold, which will keep your baby on your side and away from your tummy.
Why Breastfeed as soon as possible?
Breastfeeding promotes bonding. It provides stimulation to the breast, which will bring your milk in sooner.
Choose a hospital that is supportive of c section breast feeding. Make nurses and doctors aware of your decision to breastfeed and let them know that you do not want your child to be given any formula.
Make sure that the hospital provides that you can room-in with your baby for "on demand breastfeeding" and breastfeeding through the night.
Ask for a private room, as this will allow you to feel more comfortable while breastfeeding.
If you cannot be near your baby for the first few hours, it is best to ask if you can use the hospital's breast pump, this will get your milk supply to "come in", prevent engorgement and the colostrum can be given to your baby.
Make sure that you have sufficient help with chores, at home after the surgery.
Get yourself a cesarean section breastfeeding pillow. This will prevent your baby from lying on your cut.
C-Section Breastfeeding ~ Things to Remember
Breastfeeding after a c section, should be done at least every two hours to keep your supply up and to prevent breast engorgement, which can lead to mastitis.
Decide to stick to it and be determined to make it work. After a C section, breastfeeding can be really difficult during the first few weeks, but it gets easier and it’s really worth it in the end.
Try not give your baby a pacifier or a bottle for at least six weeks after birth. If your baby needs to be fed breast milk, and is not possible for him/her to get it directly from the breast, you can feed your baby with a syringe.
Your baby’s tummy is tiny during the first couple of days, and he/she only needs a small amount of colostrum for sustenance.
What if your Milk “coming in” is Delayed after Surgery?
The first breastfeeding caesarean experience is
usually the hardest. The second time around, your milk will usually "come in" much faster.
In the case where a mother has had to give formula to her baby, because of
her milk "coming in" late, she will need to continue to pump and
breastfeed after a cesarean, until her supply is fully established.
Also, make sure that the baby is offered the breast first before offering the expressed meals.
Remember that a baby needs to be breastfed every two hours for your milk
supply to increase and this includes nighttime too.
Your baby should preferably be breastfed within the first hour after