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Breastfeeding After A C Section

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello there! I am going to be a first time mom who has to have a c section. I am seeking advice on challenges I may have breastfeeding due to the incision. Any tips from anyone who has gone through this?

post #2 of 10

Hi there!  I've had two csecs and EBF both babies.  I didn't take pain meds either time, but really only #2 was super painful.  The LCs suggested using the football hold to keep my big 9lbers off my incision, but I never was comfy in that hold, so I just went ahead with the plain old cuddle hold.  It did help to have a firm pillow to lay them on, to keep little feet from wriggling and kicking me. 


I didn't even try nursing laying down until the pain and soreness was gone, so probably a month.  It was too hard to roll over and once I got down I couldn't get back up without help.  What sort of help will you have pp?



post #3 of 10
I failed at BF- but looking back now, there were things I could have done to make it better, had I educated myself prior- kudos to you mama, for taking that stp.. I had an emergency csection and really didn't know anything about breastfeeding, just figured I'd put baby to breast and everything would work out great - however it didn't work out like that.

If you have a pump- pump as much colostrum as you can before hand. The hospital took my baby to NICU and I didn't get to see her for 8 hrs and she got fed formula during that time despite my wishes for her not to. Even if your baby is great and doesn't get sent to NICU, I would still try to have colostrum on hand, I've heard of lots of mamas not getting to see their babies for 6+ hrs.

If your baby does end up in NICU- be sure to pump every 2 hrs no matter what. No one told me the importance of this and I was in pain so I didn't pump like I should, so I never really built up any sort of supply.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

A c section was not really the way I was hoping to go. I have a low lying placenta that will not budge so I just want to be as prepared as possible. Thank you both for your replies! I am very fortunate that my husband is taking 3 weeks off after the baby is born so I will have help. We also have our families very close by.

post #5 of 10

I had a planned c-section two years ago in Calgary (so in the same medical system as the OP for those reading along). My daughter was never in a separate room from me and we were able to start nursing within a couple of hours of birth. We were in recovery for about an hour: they did all the basic testing and weighing of her there with us and then my husband held her until I got the okay. They put her on my chest for me to hold when they wheeled us from the recovery room to the ward, and she gave me a hickey trying to find my nipple. Once we weren't in motion my husband helped me get her to the breast. They had a bassinet for her positioned so I could change her and put her in and out of it without having to stand up, though of course my husband did a lot of that.


We did have some issues the first night. I had sent my husband home because I wanted someone to be well rested and the nurses wanted me to sleep so they took her to the nursery. We had a lot of back and forth with her wanting to nurse, falling asleep, them taking her, her waking up and them trying to get her down before bringing her back to nurse when nothing worked. Eventually they got very insistent about giving her formula so I could sleep, and I caved. The good thing was they automatically brought in a lactation consultant. The consultant came by the next day, said everything latch wise etc was wonderful and that we should tickle her feet if the falling asleep before getting enough to sleep for more than 10 minutes issue arouse again.


In retrospect I shouldn't have sent my husband home, and shouldn't have let them take her to the nursery. The nursing staff quite rightly were concerned about my recovery from major surgery, but when she did finally fall asleep after the formula I didn't sleep all that well anyway -- I kept waking up to check her in her bassinet (while I did give in to the formula I insisted that they not take her away anymore). I think it would have been much of a muchness if she had stayed with me from the get go. I think the biggest problem really is that you can't co-sleep safely in a hospital bed, and while I could reach the bassinet without standing I did have to sit up.


Subsequent nights she stayed in with me, there was no more formula, and everything went fine. We were three nights in the hospital then home: by that time I could walk around and carry her as long as I was slow and deliberate about things. We didn't co-sleep till she was 5 months because I couldn't sleep with her in the bed, but we had her in a bassinet right next to us and slightly lower than the bed so I could just roll over, pick her up, nurse, roll back, put her in bed. I used a nursing pillow for the first 2 months so that there was something between her and the surgery site. We didn't have any further problems and we are still nursing now.


Most of the stories I have heard of breastfeeding problems after a c-section seem to be from women who had to have (or were bullied into) an emergency c-section and who ended up separated from their babies after birth. Planned c-sections (in Canada anyway) don't seem to be as problematic.


Good luck.

post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by SouthernStormy View Post

If you have a pump- pump as much colostrum as you can before hand. The hospital took my baby to NICU and I didn't get to see her for 8 hrs and she got fed formula during that time despite my wishes for her not to. Even if your baby is great and doesn't get sent to NICU, I would still try to have colostrum on hand, I've heard of lots of mamas not getting to see their babies for 6+ hrs.

Do you mean pump colostrum before delivery?  I think I'm misunderstanding!  :)


post #7 of 10

I had a c section.


I had some normal nipple soreness.


The only real problem I had was that I had my c section after 40 hours of induction. I was totally exhausted to the point of really almost losing my mind, and I had to let them take her to the nursery a few times so I could get a few hours of sleep. She would not sleep in her little bassinet thing, and I was losing it.


So they did give her a little bit of formula, and she did have a little bit of nipple confusion. However, I persisted in insisting that she nurse, and she finally realized nobody was going to come with that handy syringe of formula, and every thing worked out fine.


I think you will do just fine. let them know you want to breastfeed and that you want her brought to your breast as soon as is possible.


post #8 of 10

The most important things are to breastfeed in the first hour after birth, don't let them give the baby any bottles or pacifiers, and room-in as much as possible. It's okay to take the pain meds. If you can afford it both a labor doula and a postpartum doula would be great to have. Be prepared for it to take you 4-6 weeks in bed to recover. If you recover more quickly it will be a pleasant surprise.


I encourage you to read about laid back breastfeeding. This may be even more helpful for a mom that has a C-section. Boppy pillows aren't great at positioning babies. Some of the other pillows are better if you want to get a pillow. Don't let family discourage you or feed baby bottles to let you rest.


Good luck and congratulations! 



post #9 of 10

Hi. Good for you on wanting to breastfeed! I've had four babies and three c-sections and have breastfed all of them. With my first, I had a c-section and found breastfeeding pretty challenging, but I think it was more just a first time mom kind of thing and I would have found it difficult no matter how I had given birth. Everything seemed so overwhelming and it took us a few months to get really "good" at breastfeeding. I also didn't have a lot of support from people around me who kept encouraging me just to forget it and use formula. Persistance is really the key. That and realizing that formula feeding is not really any easier. After all breast milk is ready to go at all times and with no cleanup or bottle washing necessary. I did feel that the hospital was supportive of breastfeeding. Maybe I was lucky, but no one tried to encourage formula and the lactation consultant was readily available as well as some very encouraging and knowledgable nurses. The nurses vary a lot. Some of them have never done it and just don't know as much as others, but in general they were supportive. With subsequent deliveries it wasn't an issue at all since I was so much more experienced and just did what I knew I needed to do to create a good breastfeeding relationship. My fourth child was premature and had to go to the NICU. That was the only time I did any pumping and it took a while to establish breastfeeding with her since she was early enough that she really was unable to latch on and suck. Persistance was the key though. I pumped and we worked with her. I would put her to the breast first every time I fed her and she couldn't really do it so I would give her a bottle. One day, when she was 3 months old she just latched on and started nursing away and pretty soon she was nursing exclusively. So just keep trying, get lots of support from the staff at the hospital that are the most helpful and most encouraging, ask for support from family and friends and you will be able to do this. Ultimately, it is so worth it. Good luck and congrats on your pregnancy.

post #10 of 10

My first was an emergency c-section. It started out as an induction (which is why I think it led to an emergency c-section).


My milk LITERALLY didn't come in for about 5 days. I don't know if it was because of the induction turned c-section so my body just wasn't ready or what shrug.gif


I realized my baby was hungry about 12 hours after she was born when she kept nursing non-stop and then started refusing the breast and crying. I remember calling the nurse in and asking her if maybe she was hungry?? LOL


So, that started the trend of the longest few days of my life...............breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed, baby starts to cry and refuse breast, give formula, lather, rinse, repeat. 


After about the fourth day, she just stopped needing formula - it was a very natural transition. Just one night I didn't have to give her a bottle, she just nursed all night! And then of course the engorgement happened......le sigh. But she went on to breastfeed (exclusively) for a very long time.


I just wanted to offer up my experience and to just say to follow your own instinct. I was made to feel very bad/guilty by a few nurses and even by my own mother! LOL I just *knew* my baby was hungry........and obviously I was right! Do I wish I hadn't needed to give her that formula? Of course!! but I *did*

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