Tips for BF post c/s - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 05-10-2009, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas,

We'll be welcoming our first baby in 10 days via scheduled c/s. I'm wondering if other c/s mamas might have breastfeeding tips/tricks to offer as well as things you would've done differently in hindsight?

Thanks so much for your input!

Lisa , married to Dan, mama to IVF miracle Natalie 5/20/09 :
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#2 of 33 Old 05-10-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I insisted on having him as soon as we moved into the recovery room to nurse they had no problem with that he nursed 20mins after being born..I had to inisit on keeping him with me in my room I would keep in mind this is your child they cannot tell youwhat to do...good luck
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#3 of 33 Old 05-10-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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I really liked the football hold after my section.
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#4 of 33 Old 05-10-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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I know that it's more common to have trouble BFing after a C, but I had no problem after either of mine and I'm not sure I actually personally know anyone who did have problems post-C.

Make it clear to the nurses that you want to BF as soon as possible: my hospital all but insists on it, but not all hospitals are as good.

As you can't really move around much for the first day, don't be shy about using the nurses for anything and everything: it's really important that your scar gets that initial healing process so that you can start getting up and about.

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#5 of 33 Old 05-10-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Honestly, it varies a lot from person to person. The single biggest key, for me, is to get the nurses out of my hair. I do best when my baby and I are left to work it out for ourselves. The constant advice, however well meant it may be, stresses me out, and makes it all much harder (not to mention the LC who grabbed my baby and my breast without introducing herself, and the nurse who actually changed my baby's position while he was nursing and broke his perfect latch). I just need to be left alone.

Oh - and try the football hold, by all means. Many mamas find that it works really well. However, don't get too attached to it and feel as though breastfeeding isn't working if the football hold isn't working. The football hold has never worked for me at all...just feels awkward and uncomfortable, and I don't really mind the baby held at my front, anyway.

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#6 of 33 Old 05-10-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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Don't let them get you worried if baby seems to lose a lot of weight before your milk is fully in-- babies' birthweights are often artificially inflated after a section, because they pump you full of fluids before the procedure. Some of the weight baby is losing is just extra fluids. So baby might seem to lose more than is considered "normal," and still be just fine. So don't let anyone rush you into supplementing without good reason. And keep in mind that some women have reported that it sometimes takes a bit longer for milk to come in after a scheduled section, because of not laboring.

And don't be afraid to take pain meds if you feel you need and want them-- it doesn't do baby any good if you're in pain, and the physical and mental stress of enduring pain can hinder your nursing relationship. The stuff they offer is okay to accept, if you feel you need it.

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#7 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 09:32 AM
 
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I found side-lying positions to be the best, and I also wanted to be left alone. But if you can find a really good LC, then it might be worthwhile to make an appointment to come and see you the day of the birth - good consistent help right at the beginning can make a big difference.

Touch base with the local LLL people, so you have a contact in the first weeks if you have trouble.

Make sure they give you the baby as soon as you are sewn up. Sometimes, since there is extra time, they will do bath while the repair is finished. I would get them to delay this until you have had time with the baby. The amniotic fluid smell on the babies hands is important to initiating nursing. You might consider delaying eye ointment too. (Your partner may have to keep a close eye to make sure this happens, but he should go with the baby anyway, as he/she will be scared and soother by your partners familiar voice.)

I second the pain meds - a good beginning to nursing is more important than avoiding them.

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#8 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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When I had my DD, she was placed on my chest immediately post-birth, while I was being stitched up. I nursed her in the recovery room, and I had no problems with my milk being delayed in coming in.

The trick is lots of skin-to-skin time, and being able to have the baby at the breast frequently. Are you able to room-in with your baby? I found spending a lot of time just lying in bed cuddling DD really helped. The hospital policy was also to delay the first bath until day 2 or 3, and I just had a sponge bath until then as well, so that she could smell the amniotic fluid she'd smeared there - though no one else could!

Good luck with your section, and I hope your nursing relationship gets off to a flying start!
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#9 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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I agree with many of the points above--

1. Lobby NOW to get baby with you 24-7, including immediately after birth. While you're being stitched up baby can be with daddy and visit you then wait for you in recovery with daddy. Let baby smell/lick your nipple immediately. I wasn't freaked out about getting a perfect latch in recovery, but by the time we got to our room I worked on getting him on well and sucking/swallowing.

2. Don't let them give the baby a bath! The smells are so important for keeping his/her instincts ready to nurse. Also, they just smell so wonderful after birth and you can't ever get that smell back. We didn't wash Sion until the cord came off and we ust kept smelling him all day. The phermones almost make you swoon and get dizzy!

3. I tried the football hold and it worked sometimes, but cross cradle with a lot of pillow support worked better. When I got home I used the My Brest Friend pillow with another pillow under it. I couldn't do side lying until my scar healed more.

4. I agree TAKE THE PAIN MEDS! Even if you think it doesn't hurt that bad, BFing is so much easier when you are comfortable. Make sure you take the around the clock at night too.

5. Dad is in charge of everything except BFing when you come home. Diapers, walking baby around, feeding you, cleaning, etc. Remind dad now that under no circumstances will he EVER say "Why don't you just give the baby a bottle?" whether that is pumped milk or formula. You need him as your biggest cheerleader.

6. It does get better, it really does. It's so hard at first recovering and nursing, but it's worth it. I felt so horrible about having a c-section and robbing my baby of the natural birth I wanted so badly to give him, that BFing really saved my guilt and sanity.
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#10 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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I agree with nursing asap! Let it be known you want baby in recovery with you, otherwise it could be over an hr before you see each other again.

We always roomed in for the rest of the hospital stay, so that was helpful all around, but I'm sure it helped the breastfeeding relationship, too.

With c-sections they will likely insist that you send baby to the nursery if you are ever alone in your room. I just made sure that DH or my mom was always with me because I was not okay with sending baby off even while I showered or napped. Even once you are moving around a bit, the nurses want someone in there to help you because picking baby up from the bassinet thing can be challenging, and you may be weak or dizzy. Speaking of, all four of my babies slept in bed with me on my chest, something the nurses would often get a bit annoyed about but I did so anyway. This made it easier to latch them on in the middle of the night.

Don't be afraid to ask for help, though. Press the call light if you need assistance and request a visit from a lactation consultant if one doesn't visit you automatically.

I didn't find the football hold to be comfy, but I know many other mama's do. As long as I had a pillow or two over my incision area, I was fine to nurse that way.

Best of luck!!

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#11 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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I didn't get to nurse DS till the next morning (he was born at 1:19 in the afternoon) because he was under an Oxihood and I couldn't walk because of the spinal. Even then, the only issue we had was getting him to stay awake to nurse, mainly because the nurses were filling his belly with Similac without my permission. : The first week, he'd latch on a couple of times a day, and the rest of the time I used a manual pump and cup-fed or syringe-fed him. Surprisingly the C/S incision gave me no issues. I made sure to take my meds at the slightest hint of pain, before it got too bad, and I laid a pillow on my lap to nurse him on. Here's hoping for a quick recovery and easy breastfeeding for you and congrats on your baby!

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#12 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all your words of wisdom ladies! I really appreciate it.

I feel extremely fortunate that my dh is super, super supportive of breastfeeding (former friends of ours tried to bf with their 3rd and the husband was the perfect role model of how NOT to support your wife when bfing). We've been watching some videos on YouTube and he's read Dr. Sears' section for dads in the Breastfeeding book. Although, there's no substitute for the real thing

The hospital we chose does not routinely take babies to the nursery during recovery and 24/7 rooming in is encouraged. I've specified on the birth plan that we want to bathe the baby ourselves (figure I'll just keep telling them that now isn't a good time and we'll do it ourselves at home). I know the post-partum nurse who gave us the hospital tour mentioned she'd had a couple wait 24 hours, so at least that's a start.

I've talked to my doc about the baby staying with us in the OR and recovery and he said that if that's what we want and baby is fine there's no problem with that. I think the only "routine" trips to the nursery are a once a day weight check. We'll definitely delay, and hopefully avoid all together, the eye drops. My pediatrician said it shouldn't be a problem. My ob/gyn says I'll be able to get out in 2 days if I'm eating solid foods and don't have a fever. I'll have to go back to get my staples out, but that's worth it to me.

DH definitely doesn't get the recovery process - he's taking 2 weeks off, but he's wondering what in the world he's going to be doing with all that time with me and the baby nursing and sleeping. He's talking about cleaning out the garage, organizing the pantry and linen closet I just laugh and tell him that if it happens, great, but definitely don't count on it. I know he'll be supportive, he's just having a difficult time conceiving of what will keep him busy.

He also thought we'd be going out and about and visiting family & showing off the baby to his co-workers I told him there was no way we were going anywhere and there would be no pass the baby around meet & greet going on either. First time around he just doesn't know what to expect, especially being the youngest of 4. I'm the oldest of 5 and we're spread out enough I'm a little bit familiar with post-partum although they were all home births.

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#13 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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one thing I forgot-- we paid for a private room ($350 a night) so that dad could stay with me overnight. It was SO worth it, I would not have been able to take care of him alone or without waking another sleeping mom.
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#14 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I guess we're really lucky - all the rooms are private and have a couch where dh can spend the night.

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#15 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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Our hospital doesn't even have private rooms on the maternity ward. However, when a mom has a c/s, they'll put her in a room by herself, and only put someone in with her if they run out of beds. (Actually, I think they put all moms in separate rooms until they start to fill up, but I'm pretty sure - based on observation when I've been in there before - that they partner up the c/s moms last.)

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#16 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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No personal experience but, as a midwife, my experience has been that many women find lying on their side to breastfeed is comfortable. Although they will sometimes need assistance to get themselves, baby, pillows etc into the best position and to help get the baby latched on.

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#17 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 09:39 PM
 
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it sounds like it's all been said here. I'll just say refuse to supplement, period!! Skin to skin ALL THE TIME. And the "my brest friend" nursing pillow was such a help when we got home. the Boppy put too much pressure against my abdomen.

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#18 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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Both of my boys were emergency c sections. With Anthony, he didn't nurse until about 5-6 hours after he was born and he had some latch issues. With Bryant, I insisted on holding him/nursing him immediately--he nursed within the first hour after he was born with no latch problems whatsoever. Many people recommend the football or clutch hold for nursing, but that never worked for me. I just did the cradle position with a boppy without any problems around the incision.

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#19 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 11:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LisaG View Post
The hospital we chose does not routinely take babies to the nursery during recovery and 24/7 rooming in is encouraged. I've specified on the birth plan that we want to bathe the baby ourselves (figure I'll just keep telling them that now isn't a good time and we'll do it ourselves at home). I know the post-partum nurse who gave us the hospital tour mentioned she'd had a couple wait 24 hours, so at least that's a start.

I've talked to my doc about the baby staying with us in the OR and recovery and he said that if that's what we want and baby is fine there's no problem with that. I think the only "routine" trips to the nursery are a once a day weight check. We'll definitely delay, and hopefully avoid all together, the eye drops. My pediatrician said it shouldn't be a problem. My ob/gyn says I'll be able to get out in 2 days if I'm eating solid foods and don't have a fever. I'll have to go back to get my staples out, but that's worth it to me.
This sounds a lot like my hospital, which was great in how supportive it was of nursing. Every nurse was a certified LC, and they had dedicated LCs on top of that who would pop in. I always hear such horror stories about this sort of thing, and it couldn't be further from my experience!

In my state, hearing tests and a blood test to screen for a whole bunch of disorders are mandated (I can't remember if you could opt out of them, probably if you really wanted to). Those are the only things the baby needed to go to the nursery for at my hospital, and I had no problem with either of those. It only took a few minutes.

Oh yeah, and not nursing related, but take the Milk of Magnesia starting the very first day. That's my C Section advice

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#20 of 33 Old 05-11-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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Both of my boys were emergency c sections. With Anthony, he didn't nurse until about 5-6 hours after he was born and he had some latch issues. With Bryant, I insisted on holding him/nursing him immediately--he nursed within the first hour after he was born with no latch problems whatsoever.
That was more or less my experience. I had the most latch issues with ds1, who I didn't get to feed until he was about 14 hours old (as my general was wearing off, they gave me a sleeping pill, and he went to the nursery). DD had a few problems, but they weren't as bad as with ds1 (aside from the whole "I'm not producing anything" problem). She and I were separated for somewhere between 1 and 2 hours. I got ds2 almost immediately, and the only latch problem we had was after a nurse bumped him while trying to pack me with pillows that I didn't want...and he lost his latch and didn't get it quite right when he re-latched.

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#21 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 01:48 AM
 
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Room in, room in, room in! And my biggest new tip: Bring some Mama's Milk Tea to the hospital with you. And start drinking 2-3 cups a day as soon as they'll let you drink something besides water/ice chips. My milk has always taken a while to come in after my c-births, due to the trauma to your body, it can take a while for some. This last time I started drinking Mothers Milk right away, and it came in in a day and a half, faster than some natural births I've heard of. This has been my biggest problem in the past, slow milk= crabby baby= frustrated mama.
As far as positioning, just a pillow over the incision area should be sufficient.

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#22 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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Oooo! I just remembered one. If you think you might nurse lying on your side (which I definitely recommend), have a small pillow to put over your incision so that the baby doesn't kick it. Those little feet hurt!

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#23 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, for some reason I always thought that nursing side-lying was a bit more "advanced" and trickier to get as a newbie. Is it more a matter of getting the pillows right and having somebody to help you with that? I remember a couple friends of mine being so glad when they could finally master nursing side-lying, but it took a few weeks before they could.

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#24 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 10:03 PM
 
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It took me 3 weeks to learn. I needed MUCH more control over his latch at the beginning.
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#25 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 10:12 PM
 
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So, for some reason I always thought that nursing side-lying was a bit more "advanced" and trickier to get as a newbie. Is it more a matter of getting the pillows right and having somebody to help you with that? I remember a couple friends of mine being so glad when they could finally master nursing side-lying, but it took a few weeks before they could.
I couldn't really figure this out for a while. I always thought cross cradle was easiest. YMMV. It wasn't hard after the c at all. The nurses were very attentive about helping me with the baby, too: handing her/him to me, changing diapers, helping with latch and positioning. One of them sort of gave me a lecture about how it wasn't safe for me to fall asleep with DB on me, but honestly it was kind of half hearted (like she didn't really believe what she was saying, but was just supposed to say it), and none of the other nurses said anything about it.

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#26 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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Some hospitals will insist that you need to bath the baby before you go, because strange and exotic germs are found in hospitals that you don't want to take home. It's something to think about.

If you haven't yet, find out what your insurance company says about you driving after abdominal surgery, usually they say no for 6 weeks. So you will need to make sure you have someone to drive you anywhere you need to go.

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#27 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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I've had two c-section, one scheduled, one after a vbac attempt. The twins (first, scheduled c-section) nursed within an hour of birth, and did fairly well.
With my singleton, different hospital and different policies-- I had to go to a recovery room for an hour after my surgery, without her, so it was longer until I got a chance to see her. They didn't feed her anything (I had insisted and husband was there to watch) but they had given my some worry regarding "if her blood sugar gets too low, we may have to give her something". If this is a concern of yours, (and if you have colostrum prior to labor), you could express a little for an "emergency boost" if you can't have your baby with you in recovery.

as others have said, I also recommend holding off on the baby bath, as it's delightful to see them "as they are".
Nursing is easier if you don't always have to have someone hand you the baby, and baby never has to wait if you just keep baby in arms. I lay in bed with my singleton on my chest the first night, and it's a memory I really cherish.

Good luck.

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#28 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you haven't yet, find out what your insurance company says about you driving after abdominal surgery, usually they say no for 6 weeks. So you will need to make sure you have someone to drive you anywhere you need to go.
That's interesting - I'm pretty sure our insurance doesn't have any say in it. When I had my uterine reconstruction surgery 5-6 years ago my doc told me no driving for 2 weeks. I know I drove before then, maybe after 10 days, a short trip to the store. My doc said the concern was if I was in an accident the pressure of the seat belt on my incision could potentially cause damage. I guess the other concern would be grogginess from pain meds, but I'd been off everything but tylenol for a few days. I'll ask my doc about driving restrictions when I see him tomorrow. Certainly won't be a big deal, not planning on going anywhere solo other than taking my mom to the airport at 4 weeks postpartum - only a 10 minute drive. If I'm not up to it, she can take a cab.

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#29 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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I thought of something else. it will be hard to lift baby out of bassinet, so to encourage bf frequently, sleep w/ baby on you, pref. skin-to-skin.

driving wouldn't be such a grweat idea afteer b/c of meds too.

sorry for typos NAK

><> I'm a Christian, knitting, sewing, cooking SAHM to the fearless adventurer Jack born 11/08, and  a  USCG wife
And we are joyfully awaiting a new addition in April 2011! <><
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#30 of 33 Old 05-14-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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I'm just stalking to make sure you're still doing good, LisaG.

As for side-lying breastfeeding, you can do it when they are really little, but it is a bit tricky. The best thing I did was practice when both I and the baby were awake and agreeable. As much as I wanted to side-lie nurse when exhausted, I was just too tired to get it to work. Doing it while fully alert helped me figure it all out.

I also agree with the poster about lifting the baby in and out of the bassinett. Getting out of bed at all after a c-section was difficult. You really should have someone with you, or else keep the baby in your bed, with a stack of diapers and wipes on the table. Then you can change, nurse and all without leaving the bed.

I also found a stool really handy for after the c-sect. It helped me stay upright and not bend down to the baby. Oh, and don't laugh too hard, ouch!

J A with DD1 7/06, lost twins 9/08
DD2 12/09 & DS1 12/09
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