Breastfeeding After C-Section – Everything You Need To Know

Breastfeeding After C-Section

Image: Shutterstock

Motherhood begins with breastfeeding your baby. In addition to the various health benefits it has for your newborn, breastfeeding your baby will give rise to a myriad of emotions in you. You are overwhelmed when the tiny life in your arms tries to suck your nipples for the first time.

But what if you delivered your baby through cesarean-section? Can you not breastfeed immediately after the delivery? Would that leave your baby deprived of its health benefits? Do not worry, read our post to know how you can manage breastfeeding after C-section.

Breastfeeding After C-Section:

There is absolutely no medical reason to stop you from breastfeeding your baby immediately after a cesarean-section. If you were hoping to have a vaginal delivery, you might be disappointed with the C-section, and also fear that you would not be able to breastfeed your baby. But such apprehensions are not medically proven. With a little patience and some help from your partner, medical team and family, you can begin feeding your baby.

[ Read: Breastfeeding Techniques ]

Things To Do Right After Your C-Section:

Here are a few things you can do right after your delivery, to help you breastfeed your baby:

1.Tell Your Doctor That You Want To Breastfeed As Soon As Possible:

Post your surgery, only the lower part of your body will be numb. It means that you can communicate with your doctor, even if you may feel a little groggy. Tell your doctor that you want to breastfeed your baby as soon as you can. Anesthesia will not interfere with breastfeeding. Depending on the type of anesthesia and your overall health, you should be able to breastfeed your newborn as soon as you recover. Post your operation, epidural or other pain killers will still be working on you, which means that you will have less pain and discomfort. As a result, you will be open to breastfeeding your baby.

2.Handle Your Baby As Much As You Can:

Talk to your medical team that you want to handle your child as much as possible and want to reduce the time your baby spends with others. You can take care of the baby immediately after the post-birth formalities are completed to help facilitate some immediate skin to skin bonding. For the first few days after the operation, you will most likely be placed on an IV drip. It means that you will not be able to move or turn your hand. You may need some support from your partner to breastfeed your newborn.

[ Read: Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms ]

3.Indulge In Some Skin-To-Skin Contact:

In many places, once the doctors are sure that your baby is in good health, they place it on your chest and under the covers even while they complete the rest of the cesarean procedure, such as stitching up your wound. However, if you are too groggy or if it is not permissible in the facility where you are giving birth, your doctor will hand over the baby to you in the recovery room to encourage some skin-to-skin bonding. This way, you will get acquainted with the baby, making it easier for you to breastfeed.

Effects Of Anesthesia, Pain Killers Or Medication On Breastfeeding:

When you are in pain, it will be difficult for you to breastfeed your baby. Therefore, your doctor may prescribe some pain killers for you to use for the first few days after the operation. Most of these medicines do have any effect on the amount of milk that your body will produce. You can also ask your doctor to prescribe you drugs that are not too strong so that you can stay alert and breastfeed your baby with ease.

In some cases, your temperature may rise slightly for the first few days post delivery, but do not worry as this is not something uncommon. Also, you need not have to stop breastfeeding your baby. Make sure that you are careful about the hygiene and wash your hands and clean your nipples before feeding your baby. It will ensure that you do not pass on any germs or infection to your little one.

Breastfeeding Positions After C-Section:

When you have a cesarean operation, it can be a little difficult for you to sit up. Once you are past the first few days of breastfeeding, you can choose various positions. Also, when you are back home with your baby, you will settle down to a more comfortable situation, thus easing your breastfeeding routine. Here are a few positions you can try to make it more comfortable for both you and your baby:

[ Read: Breastfeeding Checklist ]

1.Placing The Baby On Your Chest:

For the first few days after you have the cesarean operation, it can be difficult for you to turn on your side. Because your incision will be quite fresh and you will also be on the IV drip, you may find it difficult to turn, and your doctor may suggest you to lie down on your back. In these circumstances, place your baby on your chest to breastfeed instead of expressing your milk and feeding it through an instrument. Here are a few tips to feed your baby while sleeping on your back:

  • Ask your partner or your nurse to place your baby in a face down position on your chest, so that it will be easier for your baby to feed. While you lie down on your back, your partner or the nurse will help to place your baby on your chest in such a way that your baby’s mouth will be around your nipple, but the legs will be away from the area where you have your cesarean incision.
  • Even as you breastfeed your baby in this position, make sure that your partner or your nurse is standing nearby, so that there is someone to hold the baby when required. Also, the nurse or your partner will be able to make sure that your baby is comfortable while feeding and the mouth or nose is not getting blocked for any reason.
  • During the initial days of cesarean, you may not be alert due to the effect of the painkillers and anesthesia. So it is important that someone is there with you while you are breastfeeding. To avoid any chances of a possible fall of your baby from your chest, place a lot of pillows around.

[ Read: Antibiotics While Breastfeeding ]

2. The Lying-On-Your-Side Position:

It is one of the most comfortable positions you can try for the first few days and weeks after you come back home with your baby. It will be a good way for you to nurse your baby as well as rest while you do so. You can use a small pillow, blanket, or a towel to protect your area of the incision. Here is how you can breastfeed your baby while lying on your side:

  • Keep your bed in flat and add a few pillows around your back to give you some support.
  • Hold on to your partner’s hand and turn to your side. Do this so slowly that there is no strain on your stitches.
  • Place a small blanket or towel over your incision area to keep it protected, just in case, your baby’s legs touch the area. You can also put a pillow between your legs to relieve the discomfort in your stomach area.
  • Now place your baby on your side in a sideways position facing you. You can also place your baby’s arm on your arm or the bed, depending on what is comfortable for both you and your baby.
  • Lean in a little forward to help your baby latch on, or pull your baby in towards you to help latch on.

[ Read: Breastfeeding Positions ]

When You May Not Be Able To Breastfeed Immediately After A Cesarean-section:

Just as every pregnancy is unique, so is every instance of cesarean birth and the subsequent breastfeeding session. Remember that while many mothers can breastfeed their babies immediately after the procedure, there are some who are not fortunate enough. Your overall health, the way your body is healing after the surgery and many other factors have an impact on your ability to breastfeed. Here are a few situations where you may not be able to breastfeed your baby immediately after the cesarean birth:

If you are given a general anesthesia due to certain reasons, you will remain unconscious post delivery and will not be able to breastfeed your baby immediately after the birth. Once you are out of the recovery room, and the effects of the anesthesia have faded, your doctor will give you a go-ahead.

It is possible that your doctor will have to place your baby in a humidicrib for a few days to help stabilize its condition. Do not worry as this is normal. Once your child is stable, you will be able to start to breastfeed.

The first milk that your body produces is known as colostrum, which is highly nutritious. If you can start breastfeeding your baby immediately after the operation, your baby will get it naturally from you. In case you are not able to start breastfeeding immediately, you can pump the milk and store it to feed your baby.

Moms, do share your first breastfeeding experiences here and add any helpful tips that you think can help new moms.

Recommended Articles:

The following two tabs change content below.
Featured Image