C-Sections and Breast Feeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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C-Sections and Breast Feeding

I was just curious if anyone had any experience with C-sections and breastfeeding. Is it more challenging? Does your body know that its time to feed your baby and start producing milk or is it confused by modern intervention and takes a little longer?

I had a full U/S on Friday to check on my breech baby. He looks very happy with his head and feet up towards my right ribs and his butt down in the lower left side (frank breech). They checked my amniotic fluids and said they were a bit low. My placenta is also on the front left side. The doctor said that they did not want to try a version to flip him because of my fluid levels and the location of my placenta. Unfortunately her official recommendation was a C-section. I'm trying to wrap my head around this because I definitely wasn't expecting this and am a little disappointed. He still has a bit of time, but I don't want to be unrealistic. My family members don't understand and don't really think its that big of a deal. I know it will be fine and it will help baby arrive safely. It will just take me a little longer to recover. (My mother's only consolation has been, "At least his head won't be all squished.")

After the surgery, we will make sure he isn't fed any formula and that he stays with us instead of the nursery. If I'm too tired, then we will make sure he is with husband.

Now of course I'm worried my body won't know that its time to feed the baby. I'm hoping this is an irrational fear. Any of you ladies out there had any experience with this? Thanks.
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#2 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 05:00 PM
 
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I have no personal experience with this but my sister ended up with a section after 24 hrs of her waters being broken and not enough progress. I visited her in the hospital of course and she was nursing well but a nurse had stepped in and pushed a bottle or two anyway which she strongly feels interrupted how well they were doing. Once home she continued nursing although he seemed to have some nipple confusion and she ended up pumping often and bottle feeding. I sent her my amazing lactation consultants info and they met up. She ended up needing a silicone nipple shield to nurse at the breast and continued mainly pumping and bottle feeding. I believe an untreated tongue tie was involved as well that should have been cut.

So my only experience is hers and so of course avoiding ANY and all bottles/pacifiers in the first weeks along with immediately seeing a good LC is my best advice. I know that there have been mothers at my local LLL meeting that successfully breastfed after a csection so it is absolutely doable. It may just take a little more time or effort in the early days and being careful to watch for any issues but that can be the case with even a vaginal birth.

I think you will do wonderful whether the birth ends up being vaginal or a section. You are researching in advance and have your husband there to help with baby and to defend against unnecessary bottle feedings.

Do you have a local La leche league you r part of? If not, have you looked into it? It is a great source of support and information. You can attend meetings before delivery to prepare and of course after along with contacting the local leader(s) by phone for help/advice. My groups leader delivered her 3 babies by section and breastfed them all. The youngest who is 3 still nurses so I have high hopes for you!
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#3 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 06:02 PM
 
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I have had 2 c/s and 2 EBF babies. My labors started on their own which would make a difference, however!... You can do this. Contact LLL and ask for help.

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#4 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 06:14 PM
 
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I'm sorry. That really sucks. I had a c-section with my first. One thing that might help is talking to the anesthesiologist about "extra" meds. They often give anti anxiety medications as a matter of routine that can have an amnesia effect. Talk about avoiding, as much as possible, any drugs that will alter your mental state or make you sleepy. Makes it much easier to care for and advocate for baby that way! But don't neglect pain management. I was lucky and didn't need anything stronger than a high dose of ibuprofen (800mg)but everyone's body responds to pain meds differently.

You can definitely be successful in breastfeeding after a c-section. For sure avoid any bottles, course. I nursed dd in recovery, kept her rooming in the whole stay, and she nursed till she was 4. Our bodies know what to do. The release of the placenta triggers hormones to produce milk. Expect milk in 2-5 days, and colostrum is awesome in the meantime.
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#5 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 06:42 PM
 
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You might try contacting ICAN for information:

http://www.ican-online.org
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#6 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 06:48 PM
 
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I would say it is the norm for women with c/s to breastfeeding without problems. There are a few things that *may* present a challenge, specific to the c/s:
1) milk may come in a bit later- like maybe day 4 instead of 3. Colostrum is there as usual and this is typically not an issue, but good to be aware of it. It might be related to the way surgery causes general swelling and that maybe affecting breasts a bit
2) you incision will make positioning more difficult- but lots of positions are good for after c/s, like side-lying or football hold, and dad/friens/nurses can help get baby into that position. Take your recommended pain meds- the effect on baby is negligible (IMO) and being comfortable is vital for recovery.
3) ...but you shouldn't co-sleep while on sedating meds. So keep baby within arms reach on a separate sleep surface and, again, have someone help with getting baby from bassinet to you.
4) the hospitals around here all stick with the standard of baby to breast within 1hour of birth. Verify this is the case with your hospital. There is no excuse to not do that routinely (exceptions for significant mom /baby health issues, but that should be uncommon, esp after a sched c/s).

There are probably other subtle ways c/s affect breastfeeding, but we humans are more flexible and resilient than that, babies and boobs are pretty smart.
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#7 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 06:53 PM
 
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I am not sure how I feel about skin to skin with mom while on the operating table (immediately in the recovery room, that should be routine!!)- some people love it, it seems logistically challenging and maybe not as satisfying, to me- but baby can immediately be skin to skn with dad which is pretty great too, it is very good for normal bacteria, protecting baby from the hospital generally, stabilizing temp etc. Talk about this with the OB and where it would fit in with their OR procedures.
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#8 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 07:04 PM
 
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Just had one, nursing is going great! I was induced from nothing (preeclampsia, so no waiting for labor to start) and milk came in late on day 3, colostrum right away. I was also on magnesium, which made it harder,but it does t sound like you'll need that. The things I noticed were that it took one boy a little longer to figure things out, and they did make me supplement because they had jaundice and weren't eating as much as they needed to to clear their systems. Going from breast to bottle and back again has been no problem, and now that they are 2 weeks old both nurse well. I started pumping as soon as possible to keep up my supply and to replace the formula.
Ask to nurse in the recovery room, see the lactation consultants-and have them come back more than once if you need them, that is what they are there for. Also, don't get discouraged if your milk is a little late and baby takes an extra couple of days to regain birth weight. We were getting lots of concern, but our pediatrician told us that they actually have 10 days to regain birth weight, not 7.

Also, I am sorry you aren't getting the birth experience you wanted. It can be really difficult to accept these things, even if you know it is the right choice. I didn't want a c section, either, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the recovery. It isn't much worse at all, the event itself wasn't scary, and I am able to do pretty much everything except actually lift my toddler. Hopefully yours will go well, too, and you will recover quickly and get into a great nursing relationship with your baby!

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#9 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all who responded- it's definitely reassuring that so many have had or known good luck with breast feeding after a c section.

So many things to worry about as a first time mom!

Blessed & mama- I actually just met the hospital lactation consultant for work purposes a couple of weeks ago. I have been in touch with her for work and she seems great. Will definitely utilize her as a resource.

Lilstar- good to hear you are able to have a vaginal birth after c sec. Doc mentioned that once you have one, the next birth is likely to be one as well. She said all these things like they weren't a big deal- not sure I want another yet, but was still upsetting to hear. Just how docs are I suppose. Also wasn't aware about the hormonal release of the placenta detaching. The more I learn about the body, the more amazed I am.

Ratchet- thanks for the tips. I have faith that babies and boobs are smart also!

Pretty- glad to hear everything is going so well for you! It's reassuring to hear from someone that I hopefully will not be down for too long!
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#10 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 09:07 PM
 
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Had a c-section and breastfeed no problem. Breastfeeding this time too and having another c-section. I second the person who posted about certain drugs put in the IV. I am requesting that I have no anti anxiety meds an the most minimal of pain meds. I just remember being very groggy and it was hard to put my baby on my breast right away.
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#11 of 25 Old 07-13-2014, 09:27 PM
 
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I haven't had a c-section but had a friend that did and she breastfed with no issues. She used a boppy pillow to help position and would usually be mostly laid down to nurse. It seemed to help her be more comfortable and position baby better.

Check with your hospital about a lactation consultant. My local L&D has a IBCLC on call and she is amazing. I had to have an induction with little one followed by magnesium for 24 hrs preventing me from nursing during that time. The IBCLC was great about advocating for me and baby. She got me a hospital grade pump and made the docs hold off on the meds long enough for me to pump for baby. She also helped me set a schedule with them so that I got to nurse baby right before the meds were brought in and then asap after. She then made sure that baby received only my pumped bottles and she came back to help us on our way to BFing once I was off the meds. With her help we got positioned and baby took right away. We had an amazing BF relationship for a long time. Definitely see if you can find a specialist to help you and advocate for you. If not at your local hospital check with LLL or the WIC department for their bfing program. Another idea if you can afford one or find a student one would be a birth/postpartum doula that could be support for you and maybe advocate for you and baby as well.
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#12 of 25 Old 07-14-2014, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Would they give you meds like anti anxiety medicine without asking? I might be highly anxious so maybe they might add things in like that for people like me...
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#13 of 25 Old 07-14-2014, 10:16 AM
 
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Yes. My medical records say I was given versed without my knowledge or consent. My memory is blurry and fragmented :/
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#14 of 25 Old 07-14-2014, 11:17 AM
 
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Definitely tell them going in that you want all meds explained to you before they're administered. I do think it's routine to give anti-anxiety meds for this surgery, but not strictly necessary if the patient doesn't want them and can deal without them.

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm possibly looking at my first c-section with this baby, and am interested in hearing how others feel it did or didn't affect breastfeeding, since I haven't had difficulty breastfeeding before.

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#15 of 25 Old 07-14-2014, 02:34 PM
 
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Hey mamas, I have not personally had a c-section but two of my family members have. One of those women was also undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and wasn't all that committed to nursing. It went well and it was easy enough for her to nurse her 6-pound newborn on her good side. My other family member also had an uncomplicated start to nursing after her c-sections (two different babies/births) as well, with the exception of getting past the first few days of nursing her firstborn. It was not due to the surgery or supplimentation/nipple confusion, but it was related to her extremely large beast and nipple size coupled with engorgment. The lactation consultant at the hospital helped her with nipple shields and pumping to help take the edge off the engorgment, and everything was a piece of cake after that.

Their experiences lead me to believe that a c-section will not handicap your nursing relationship much, if at all. You can do it! I know you can.
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#16 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 03:43 PM
 
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I read this on my phone the other night, but wanted to wait to respond until I was on the computer.

One of my biggest worries about having a c-section was not being able to breastfeed or having it be a lot harder. So, I made sure that skin to skin would happen almost immediately when he was born (the ped team checked him out for less than two minutes before I got him). He stayed skin to skin while they finished the surgery and to the recovery room where we first tried breastfeeding. He would latch on but didn't do much at first. Then, he had to go to the nursery for a bit because he was too cold. DW stayed with him the whole time (about an hour). I wish we would have fought harder to keep him in the room with us. He would have warmed up faster with skin to skin I think.

My milk came in the day we left, so day 4. I had plenty of colostrum though. He was really sleepy and his glucose levels were low so I hand expressed the colostrum and spoon fed him between when he would nurse. His latch was great right away, but he is just now less sleepy and more vigorous when he nurses. That probably has more to do with being early than by c-section though.

We were never offered a bottle or formula. We were at a "baby-friendly" hospital so they can't really offer it, they can only give it to you if you ask. They did mention supplementing withe formula when his glucose was low. I just said I would rather pump and give him that than give him formula, my supply was never an issue.

As far as drugs I honestly don't know what they gave me. My sister got horribly sick with both of her c-sections, throwing up for days. I really didn't want that to happen and talked to the OB's and the anesthesiolgist about it. The anesthesiologist told me to tell him if I started feeling nauseas during the surgery. When I did he gave me some sort of medication and I felt fine. The only thing that made me feel out of it was the percocet. I stopped taking it as soon as I could. I definitely needed pain relief though, especially when they came and checked and pushed on my uterus, omg the worse pain ever.

The LC's at the hopsital weren't much help, but we didn't need it so much. Just figuring out how to keep him awake while he nursed, but I've heard getting their help early is really the key instead of waiting.

I'm sorry that you might end up with a c-section. It was hard for me to accept too.even though I tried to accept it for nearly 4 months. I shed many a tear for a couple weeks after he was born about the birth and how traumatic and crazy it was, so be prepared that might happen, (hopefully not). The recovery really hasn't been bad though. There were a few really painful days and I absolutely hated being dependent on other people but I feel pretty much normal now.
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#17 of 25 Old 07-17-2014, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by redrockband View Post
I read this on my phone the other night, but wanted to wait to respond until I was on the computer.

One of my biggest worries about having a c-section was not being able to breastfeed or having it be a lot harder. So, I made sure that skin to skin would happen almost immediately when he was born (the ped team checked him out for less than two minutes before I got him). He stayed skin to skin while they finished the surgery and to the recovery room where we first tried breastfeeding. He would latch on but didn't do much at first. Then, he had to go to the nursery for a bit because he was too cold. DW stayed with him the whole time (about an hour). I wish we would have fought harder to keep him in the room with us. He would have warmed up faster with skin to skin I think.

My milk came in the day we left, so day 4. I had plenty of colostrum though. He was really sleepy and his glucose levels were low so I hand expressed the colostrum and spoon fed him between when he would nurse. His latch was great right away, but he is just now less sleepy and more vigorous when he nurses. That probably has more to do with being early than by c-section though.

We were never offered a bottle or formula. We were at a "baby-friendly" hospital so they can't really offer it, they can only give it to you if you ask. They did mention supplementing withe formula when his glucose was low. I just said I would rather pump and give him that than give him formula, my supply was never an issue.

As far as drugs I honestly don't know what they gave me. My sister got horribly sick with both of her c-sections, throwing up for days. I really didn't want that to happen and talked to the OB's and the anesthesiolgist about it. The anesthesiologist told me to tell him if I started feeling nauseas during the surgery. When I did he gave me some sort of medication and I felt fine. The only thing that made me feel out of it was the percocet. I stopped taking it as soon as I could. I definitely needed pain relief though, especially when they came and checked and pushed on my uterus, omg the worse pain ever.

The LC's at the hopsital weren't much help, but we didn't need it so much. Just figuring out how to keep him awake while he nursed, but I've heard getting their help early is really the key instead of waiting.

I'm sorry that you might end up with a c-section. It was hard for me to accept too.even though I tried to accept it for nearly 4 months. I shed many a tear for a couple weeks after he was born about the birth and how traumatic and crazy it was, so be prepared that might happen, (hopefully not). The recovery really hasn't been bad though. There were a few really painful days and I absolutely hated being dependent on other people but I feel pretty much normal now.
Thanks, Redrock. I suppose c-sections are never in the plans, but the most important thing is baby arrives safely. Sounds like your little guy is doing great. Can't wait to meet mine! I'm very happy to hear that the surgery did not affect your or prettyisa's milk production. I plan on asking the doc today of the likelihood of the baby flipping with low fluid levels. Depending on what she says, I may try to schedule the c-section for the 25th.
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#18 of 25 Old 07-17-2014, 11:26 AM
 
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My first was a vaginal birth my second a csection. I breastfed both of them right after birth. My csection baby took a little longer to latch on, but maybe only like an hour or so. Once he latched he was a pro. He also probably had a more traumatic birth. He was kind of stuck for awhile so maybe that had more to do with it! Also I did not feel much different after a csection vs vaginal. Not more tired one way or the other. Equally exhausted after both lol. You may not move as quick but I recovered after a week and it did not effect my breastfeeding at all.
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#19 of 25 Old 07-20-2014, 08:58 PM
 
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This is my quick response because it is soooo late and I need to get us to bed, BUT I highly recommend www.spinningbabies.com if you haven't already been there. I encourage you to try their exercises to see if you can't get him to flip on his own. Babies can flip at any time...hope your little guy decides to change his mid. If not, I appreciate all the above responses. Advocate for as little meds as possible, quickest skin to skin, no supplemental feedings, and as quick to the breast as you can. It is so good that you are thinking about it in advance. I will be thinking about you!!!! How long will they give you?

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#20 of 25 Old 07-21-2014, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Until Friday! I'll be 39 weeks 4 days, then. The world is already rushing him, poor guy. At this point it really is up to him, because I've tried everything. Been feeling lots of crazy and different movements lately. Might just feel different because he's big now, but I'm still hoping. Hoping for a change when I go to the docs tomorrow. Either way, I've made peace and can't wait to meet him.
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#21 of 25 Old 07-23-2014, 07:01 PM
 
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What's the good word, did he flip yet??? Thinking positive thoughts for you!!

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#22 of 25 Old 07-26-2014, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Breast feeding has been a bit challenging, I'd say. Henry's blood sugars get low so we've had to supplement with formula to keep them up. Hoping my milk will come in soon. He's somewhat a finicky latcher. Have to use a syringe w a tiny straw while baby sucks on nipple which has been challenging. Have to use football hold. My husband has been so helpful and supportive, I'm so lucky. We need to keep his sugars up to go home tonight.

I'd like to leave before 7 pm tonight before the crazy and pushy nurse comes on board for the night. She means well but makes everything into a big deal. She wouldn't take my catheter out until I asked 4 times, has been pushing pain meds on me and told me not to eat a ton of food or I'd get sick. She didn't even want me to get out of bed. Last night she would come in every hour or two with an "emergency" and take baby. She really made me angry. She called my doc at 1 am with all her concerns. Everything was a crisis even though I knew things were fine. Then when we were asking when we could leave this morning (doc said we could leave after 36 hours) she basically said we shouldn't leave until late sunday early Monday even though I'm getting around great, pain is low, and baby is doing well besides sugars.

Daytime nurse came on board and things got back to normal. Doc came in am and said I was doing great, baby was healthy and could leave today. Just a totally different atmosphere today. Ready to go home and for baby and dog to meet!
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#23 of 25 Old 07-27-2014, 07:01 AM
 
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Ugh. I'm sorry about the crazy nurse--there's just one at every hospital. I wanted to elaborate a little more on the formula--they made us promise to supplement when we went home because the boys had jaundice and R was having a hard time latching. We did it, even though I didn't like it, and was glad we did because they ended up with higher jaundice levels and actually needed the bili-lights for a while. But as soon as they got over that, I stopped the formula completely, and there have been no problems. If you have the wherewithal to figure out pumping, it can be helpful to know how much you're getting. But like I said before, don't give up on the nursing if it's important to you--you will probably be able to exclusively breastfeed once you're home and out of the hospital (less stressed, sleeping more normally, etc) and even if you do for some reason need to add formula, you can still do both.

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And so are the boys!
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#24 of 25 Old 07-28-2014, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, prettyisa. Breastfeeding is important to me, but healthy baby is top priority. As a FTM, I had all these ideas of what my baby and I were going to do, but reality has set in! Just going with the flow.
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#25 of 25 Old 07-29-2014, 10:30 AM
 
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