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Breastfeeding successfully after a C-section

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I EBF'd DD (now 3) until 16 mos. when she self-weaned.  With her, I had an unmedicated vaginal birth and my milk came in on Day 3.  All went quite smoothly.


I am now pg with #2 and may be facing a C-Section later this week.  I have made my peace with this being a Ne-cesarean; however, I have major concerns about breastfeeding afterwards since I seem to know so many people who were unable to do it and blamed the C-section.


So, for any who have faced this challenge, what do I need to know?  Should I plan to bring my pump to the hospital and start pumping asap?  I called the LC I used with DD and she recommended hand expressing colostrum into a spoon if need be.  Any ideas/suggestions would be so much appreciated. 



post #2 of 17

Hi there,


c/s does increase the risk of problems but, as you know, doesn't automatically mean there will be problems. I had a c/s and, while I had some attachment problems, I don't think I can really blame the c/s for those.


This is what I did -  J fed for the first time in Theatre, with 20 minutes of her birth. She did go to the nursery briefly but cam back to me in Recovery and we were skin-to-skin from then on. I fed on demand and co-slept with her from day one.


The other thing which I think helped was making sure I had very good pain relief right from the start. Not sure where you are but in Australia it is standard for c/s patients to have a patient controlled epidural anaesthetic for the first day or so (my baby was born at 3:20pm and I had the epidural out at 9am the following morning). It's a different concentration to the operative dose so your strength and movement returns but you still get the analgesic effects. Before it comes out out start *regular* paracetamol and a NSAID. Once the epidural is out you can top-up with an oral narcotic as needed. I had a very eaasy recovery and minimal pain on this regime.


And all the other things of course, eating and drinking well, resting lots etc.


I'm sure there was a healthy dollop of good fortune in there as well but that's what I did and all was well. Next time I would be more on top of attachment and more aware of other possible issues such as tongue position etc but I don't think that was c/s related.


All the best.

post #3 of 17

hi!  good luck to you!

one thing that made a difference, i think, in our case, was to have a birth plan in place.

one thing in it was for the baby to be given ABSOLUTELY no formula.  you'd be surprised at just how often the nursery gives it (and our dd wasn't even in there for long, i coslept for much of the stay).

another thing is to make sure your birth takes place in a facility that allows you to have your babe in recovery with you.  our c-birth was unscheduled and when it became apparent that it was necessary, the maternity op room wasn't open but the general hospital operating room was.. but they didn't allow anyone in recovery, including the baby.  i put my foot down and waited on the one where i could have dd with me-- those first moments are pretty important in getting bf established.

also, go ahead and request the lactation nurse to come as soon as possible.  i don't know where we would have been without ours. 

most hospitals have a high-powered pump in the room or available for you.  if you have any problems try to pump (our dd had some blood sugar and some jaundice issues, for which they GAVE HER FORMULA until i told them not to and pumped for her... even though it was in the birth plan and on her chart etc no formula.  jeeeesh.)

hope it goes well!  you're doing the right thing to plan on bf beforehand, that will ensure that you're successful, for sure.

post #4 of 17



I had a c-section with DS2 and had no breastfeeding issues whatsoever.


In our case, it was an emergency c-section under general anesthesia, so pretty much totally unexpected. Immediately after birth my son was given to DH, who did kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) until they could come join me, about an hour after birth.


As soon as DS2 was put on my chest, I asked if I could breastfeed and was given the green light. He latched on right away.


I had him in my room from the get-go and in my bed at night (getting him in and out of the bassinett was too hard with the stitches). He spent most of the first two days nursing non-stop; my milk came in fine and he's still nursing 13 months later.


I think the key is the same with any birth: get the baby latched on asap and nurse on demand.


Best of luck to you!

post #5 of 17

I have had two c-sections, and while my milk was slower to come in with my first than average, I really didn't have any problems directly related to the sections.  I *think* one problem some moms face is the increased pain, so my first tip is to manage your pain well and rest as much as you can.  Also nurse as soon and as often as you can!

post #6 of 17

I don't think you'd need to pump; the placenta is removed with a c-section, too, yk?  Even if your milk took an extra day or two coming in, your baby will likely be just fine on colostrum.


I've had four c-sections, and breastfeeding was successful with all four babies.  I initiated nursing in the recovery room, something I think it pretty important if you are feeling up to it.  This was probably 30 minutes after the baby was born?  You just have to be creative with positioning, though, and seek the help of a LC while you are in the hospital (and later on if necessary).  Obviously, I don't have any experience breastfeeding after a vaginal birth, but didn't find the c-sections in themselves to hinder breastfeeding.  As long as you have the support, you should be just fine. 

post #7 of 17

I've had two c-sections. One in India, which was terrible. I wasn't even 'allowed' to hold my baby, much less nurse him, until he was 2 days old. He was given a bottle until then and let's just say, EVERYONE was completely unsupportive of my breastfeeding efforts. I gave up after 3 weeks of inlaws sneaks bottles, poor latch (3 weeks of bleeding nipples) etc..

Second time around, I was determined to breastfeed. My c-section was awesome.. I can't believe how easy and simple it was. I was terrified for about 30 minutes before the operation, like seriously. Trying to get out of bed, etc.. haha..


I attended an orientation before I went in for my scheduled c-section and was told the babies stay with the mom in recovery. Well, unfortunately it wasn't the case for me. They said they would need to have a nurse stay with us the entire time and they didn't have any nurse available. So, I held my baby for a few minutes in the operating room while they were finishing up, and he went to the nursery for about two hours until I was able to leave recovery (it should have been an hour, but again.. not enough staff to move me, seriously) I actually dozed off a bit in recovery, happily thinking about my little one.. so different from my first delivery


So, I didn't nurse him until he was 2 hours old. I was still drugged up and numb, so didn't have an pain for the first day. Like another poster mentioned, it is HARD to get up and get the baby out of the bassinet every time you need to nurse.. he slept with me the whole time I was in the hospital. I was alone (recently single) so didn't have help. He nursed on demand and we had no problems.


One nurse gave him unflavored pediasure? from a syringe because he wouldn't latch on one time. She didn't ask my permission. I was so upset and complained about it. They also gave him a pacifer without my permission when they were doing a procedure on him in the nursery. So be watchful of the nurses, as you well know.. and nurse as often as possible.


My little one is almost 4 months old and we had no problems!


Take your pain medicine. If you miss a dose, it'll hurt. I took mine for 2 weeks. I found the football hold best in the beginning, less pressure on the incision. I actually had a hospital bed at home and slept on it for 3 weeks, upright. I think I had more pain the second time around, but I was still pretty much back to normal was 6 weeks.


You'll do fine.. you have experience breastfeeding already. The biggest thing is to not allow supplements (you'd be surprised how often they sneak around and give formula.) and nurse as soon as possible!















post #8 of 17

oh.. i meant to add to my earlier post.. one thing that would have made a world of difference for me immediately after the c-birth is that all the nurses, lactation nurse, etc.  encouraged me to use the hospital bed and lift it and set myself up with pillows all around.  it took a long time to get ready and i wasn't really used to how frequently the baby would need to nurse, so i didn't get her cues immediately.  it never occurred to me and no one ever encouraged me to sit!!!  in a chair!!  with the breast friend or boppy.  i have a high pain tolerance too, so that would have been the best thing if i had gone ahead and tried that position as soon as i was able.  fighting with that bed and the pillows was all kinds of awful, but as soon as i got in a chair, it was so much easier!!!!

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so much.  I have made my peace with the decision that this is the best course of action for my baby and me, and now I am feeling less overwhelmed by the breastfeeding issue.  My midwife is actually going to assist with the  surgery and follow baby & me to recovery, so I feel like I will be in good hands.  DH is going to stay with us at the hospital, even if he has to sleep on the floor, so I feel like he'll be helpful in lifting the baby.


Great suggestion about the chair.  I found sitting upright to be most helpful when I first started nursing DD as well.


Thanks again!

post #10 of 17

I had C-Section and it took 4 days for my milk to come in, it was rough until then. He nursed ROUND THE CLOCK and did lose more weight then they would have liked, but once my milk came in all was great! I have a huge over supply now and have donated milk to another mom! :) 


DS was EBF for 5.5months and is now almost 20lbs! :) 

post #11 of 17

I had a c-section but the hospital was very pro-breastfeeding so DD was nursing within probably 20 minutes (maybe less? sense of time is a bit strange at that moment :) ) of being born. I was wheeled into the recovery room, my DP followed, holding DD, and the nurse came and put her on my lap and then helped to latch her on.

All the midwives were really really helpful the whole time we were in hospital.

Most hospitals here adhere to an agreement to support bf so no supplements etc are given. So obviously having that support right from the start was helpful. The midwife on night duty even suggested DD could sleep in my bed (which she did :) ) so i could BF on demand (seeing as i couldnt get out of bed that first night). They brought all sorts of stuff to help with engorgment (electric pillow thingy), painful nipples (Lansinoh and Mother Mates), and were never tired of giving me advice on latch etc. I really have nothing but positive memories of those first days!

I don't think having a C-section in itself made breastfeeding any more difficult or anything... we never had problems; my milk came in after 2-3 days, i had oversupply if anything, dd was EBF for 6-7 months and BF until recently (just under 2.5y).

She nursed around the clock for the first couple (or more, lol) of months though; but i didn't find it hurt too much with the c-s scar. A boppy-type pillow was very helpful.


Good luck!

post #12 of 17

I've had 2 C-sections and nursed both babies. First one was unplanned and DD nursed until 17 months. I don't remember when my milk came in, but it wasn't that long... maybe day 3 or 4?


Second section was planned and I had NO problems nursing this baby (DS) He's 8 months and still nursing. My milk came in on day 2!! Probably because he wanted to nurse all. the. time. The nurses were trying so hard to let me give him formula. Um, NO.

post #13 of 17

I don't advice but I just wanted to mention that my sister has had four c-sections and successfully nursed all four of her kids as encouragement. Only the first was unplanned. DH's role is stay with the baby like a hawk, routine pain medication swallowed on schedule the first few days, baby is always at her side, any testing is done with DH, no bottles of anything offered ever, If you think the baby may be premature you might want to consider syringe feeding in lieu of a bottle. I think she tries to nurse within the first hour at least.

post #14 of 17

Here's my story for those who end up with an unplanned CS and are worried.  I am unable to have an epidural so had to be put under for the surgery.  When they got him out he was placed on my chest fora minute then given to DP.   He was skin to skin with DP until I woke and came out of recovery, about 2 hours.  I'm told he was rooting himself in a circle, which makes me feel bad and laugh at the same time.  When I got him he latched on pretty quickly (although it took a week or 2 to get a really great latch).  We co-slept and fed on demand, and still do actually.  We had a lot of visits by midwives and LCs and a lot of advice from the nurses (some good some not).  I voluntarily left the hospital a day early because I was so sick of being interrupted for various checks.  And definitely keep on top of those pain meds!


post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks all.  Had my baby via c-section last Thursday and she's been nursing like a champ ever since!

post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by lsmama View Post

Thanks all.  Had my baby via c-section last Thursday and she's been nursing like a champ ever since!

Congratulations! Glad she is nursing so well. Hope your recovery is going smoothly. 


post #17 of 17

Hooray!  Congratulations!joy.gif

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