Breastfeeding after c-section


Mothers who deliver their babies by cesarean section can breastfeed just as easily as women who’ve had vaginal births. There are some extra considerations you should know about, however, if you’ve already scheduled a C-section or if you end up delivering your baby through C-section.

First, you should aim to nurse your baby as soon as possible after childbirth – within the first hour, if you can. This might be harder for you to accomplish on your own if you’ve had a C-section, so tell your OB/GYN ahead of time that you wish to nurse immediately after you deliver. Your doctor can help you bring your newborn to your breast, even if you’re still feeling the effects of anesthesia and have to lie flat on your back.

There are plenty of painkillers that are compatible with breastfeeding, so you don’t have to worry that nursing will conflict with your recovery from surgery. Make sure your doctor knows that you plan to breastfeed, and ask him or her if you can be prescribed pain medication that won’t interfere with nursing. Take your medication only as needed, because some meds can make baby sleepy, which will make it harder to establish a good nursing relationship at first. Don’t skimp on painkillers if you are experiencing discomfort, however, as pain can suppress your milk production.

It could be tricky to find a comfortable nursing position at first, because you won’t want baby’s weight putting pressure on your C-section incision. Try the side-lying position: lie on one side, supporting your back with extra pillows, and lean your weight against the pillows behind you. Cover your incision with an extra pillow in case baby kicks it while feeding. Put a pillow between your legs to help support your stomach muscles while you lie on your side. Now put your baby on her side, so she can look straight forward while she latches on, and pull her close to you. When you feel like sitting up to nurse, try the football hold, in which you tuck baby’s body under your left arm while feeding her from your left breast, or under your right arm while feeding from the right breast. This position will minimize weight on your incision too.

Lastly, even though you may be exhausted from your surgery and drowsy from pain meds, make sure you still nurse your baby every two to three hours, to prevent your breasts from becoming uncomfortably engorged.


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