Exclusive Breastfeeding after a Section? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm scheduled for a section on January 28th because of a complete previa.

I'm planning on breastfeeding afterwards, and I've heard that some people have difficulty nursing after a section. I'm less concerned than I would have been a few years ago, as this is my second child, and I know more about nursing now, but I had DS via normal vaginal delivery, and so I didn't face any of the issues that I might now be facing.

So, anyone BTDT or have some good information? I'm not fond of the idea of stocking up on formula just in case, but I'm afraid of my milk not coming in right away and being unable to feed or comfort a baby in the middle of the night when no stores are open....

I'm not sure how recovery from a section will be, and if pain medications will make nursing harder (although my OB knows that I intend to breastfeed, and has said that she will prescribe accordingly).

Any information would be much appreciated!
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#2 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 05:10 PM
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I'm not sure how recovery from a section will be, and if pain medications will make nursing harder (although my OB knows that I intend to breastfeed, and has said that she will prescribe accordingly).
I have been on plenty of pain meds while bfing and have never seen a change in my supply or an effect on my baby. Please don't stress out about that at all.

Get your support person prepared to advocate for you and bfing while you are in the hospital in the small chance you get anti-bfing nurses. No bottles of formula, no glucose bottles. It will not keep the baby from being jaundiced, etc, etc, everyotherpossiblethingtodiscourgageyou.

And your milk isn't supposed to come in right away, it's supposed to take a few days

I wish you the best! I'm sure others will be much more helpful.

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#3 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 05:47 PM
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The hardest part is finding a good position after the surgery since it's hard to move a lot and putting pressure on your stomach isn't going to feel good. I used a pillow a lot after AJ's birth on my stomach to help as a buffer. I was on percocet as well and that mixed w/ jaundice made him very sleepy so keep that in mind.

Jennifer, LPN and nursing student, Doula, CPST, and VBAC mama x3 to
AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)

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#4 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 06:05 PM
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I had a c-section the second time around. Nursing was a-ok, a lot easier than after my first, vaginal birth. I was just more relaxed about it and knew what I was doing! I nursed him for the first time in recovery, maybe 30 minutes post-partum? I don't remember exactly. My milk came in faster as well.

I agree that the biggest challenge is getting comfortable for nursing while you are recovering and still on pain meds. An LC tried to get me to nurse side-lying at the hospital and it was AGONY. I did much better sitting up with a very straight back, very supported by pillows everywhere. There were a few middle of the night feedings when we first got home from the hospital where it was pretty painful to get into a good position. But it wasn't that terrible.

No need to stockpile formula. I know TONS of moms who had c-sections and went on to breastfeed successfully.

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#5 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 06:07 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it too much. Assuming everything goes smoothly with your c/s, take your pain meds. A pillow or boppy helped protect my belly, too. It may take a tiny bit longer for your milk to come in, but still within normal range. if it really came down to it, you could always send someone to the store for formula later.

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#6 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies and advice! I think my biggest fear is that because of the timing of the section (I'll be 36/37 weeks), my body won't be hormonally ready for the milk production part of things... I know a lot of it is based on demand, but I also know that initially, milk supply is hormonally driven.
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#7 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 06:35 PM
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I had sections with both of my kids and exclusively breastfed both of them. I am still bfing DD 4-5 times a day along with her solids and she is a year old.

With DS, I had him on a Friday and my milk was in by Monday. With DD I had her on a Friday and my milk was in early on Sunday. It didn't take long with either of them.

Prior to your section, make sure that you request for baby to be with you during recovery. With DS, I didn't know to ask, and I was in recovery and DH was with DS. I didn't get to nurse DS until close to 2 hours (maybe more?) after he was delivered. With DD, they closed me up, brought me to recovery and brought DD in at the same time. I immediately put her to the breast. I was shaking terribly (post-operative shaking), but I had my baby on my breast, so I was happy as a clam!!

I agree that sitting up is easiest for nursing early on. I put a pillow over my tummy and laid DD on the pillow. I'm a pretty tough cookie as far as pain goes, so after the first 24 hours I was only on extra strength ibuprofen. Everyone is different though. I just gritted my teeth and told myself that the pain wouldn't last forever. And it didn't.

With DS, they wouldn't let him sleep in my bed with me at that particular hospital. Thankfully, DH was in the room with me and was able to bring DS to me as needed. With DD, I was at a different hospital, and she spent the whole entire time in my bed with me. It was so wonderful!!

As far as your milk coming in....just nurse frequently. The surgery really shouldn't affect how quickly your milk comes in (at least not in my experience) as long as you keep baby on your breast. Baby will do all the work for you!! Don't forget to stock up on lanolin to use after each nursing session. Sore nipples were way more painful to me than my sore tummy!

IME, the worst part about a section is the catheter. I couldn't wait to get that stupid thing OUT. With DS, I didn't get it out until the morning after the surgery. With DD, I insisted that it be taken out that evening. Well....I forgot that with the catheter out, and the nurses making sure that you drink constantly, I had to pee frequently. Which meant I had to stand up frequently. Ouch. But, I truly believe that by making myself get up and move so soon after surgery, I healed pretty darn quick.

Good luck!!!
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#8 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 06:46 PM
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My friend just had an emer c-section because babe was breech. She is nursing fine now, but it really took the babe about 2 days to awaken. Not becuase of the drugs so much as because of 24 hours of induction contractions (while she was head down) which didn't work then when she flipped AGAIN (long story) they had to do the c.

They had my friend pump (this is her 3rd) and start giving that when they could get her awake, but now she is bfding fine....just a slow start...
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#9 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 07:27 PM
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I have had 4 sections and nursed all of them exclusively for varying amounts of time but certainly LONG after I had recovered from surgery. I have nothing to compare it to, but I did not find that nursing agravated my incision at all...getting in and out of bed was the hard part. I think if having formula in the cupboard puts your mind at ease (I have samples in mine in case I were to be in a car accident w/o LO or something) then do it. If you are honest with yourself and think that can will be a temptation then don't keep it in the house. But is there a reason to believe you will need it...no way!

I didn't need a pillow for my incision but I needed plenty because my arms would get tired, so that is a great recommendation!

You can do this! Just remember there are pain meds available should you need them. This last section is the only one where I needed something stronger than Motrin but I was glad it was there at the end of the second night when I was in tears having to get up and change Trinity for the millionth time that day. I didn't take the Darvocet for long (was done with it before coming home) but it made the difference between my ability to get out of bed or not and more movement means a quicker and healthier recovery.

Mommy to Alonzo (11), Jacob (9), : Lucas (8) & Trinity (almost 2!!)
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#10 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 07:44 PM
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I had an emergency c-section (so no chance to plan ahead) and I didn't get to nurse my daughter until 1.5 hours after her birth. She was still alert and latched right on. I was really out of it for the first 24 hours and I don't think I put her to the breast nearly often enough (maybe four times?), but it didn't seem to matter. We got on track the second day and she spent a lot of time nursing. My milk came in on day four. No one at the hospital even offered a bottle or formula or even seemed alarmed or worried that her weight was dropping while we waited for my milk. I just kept her on the breast as much as I could and she was happy.

I did develop thrush, though, and it very nearly ruined BFing for me. It was due to the antibiotics during delivery. If I have another c-section, I will do everything I can to avoid thrush, including being on Diflucan and taking lots of good probiotics.

I was on lots of pain medication, and stayed on some medications for six weeks after delivery (rough recovery). Again, the doctors were all aware I was BFing, prescribed accordingly and didn't give me any reason to be alarmed/concerned about the medication. You do not have to choose between pain relief and nursing! I was able to take enough medication to effectively manage my pain without causing my baby any problems.

...the cuties in my avatar are my wonderful, c-section born, fully vaccinated sweethearts...
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#11 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 08:23 PM
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Ok, so my friend had an unplanned C/S at 37 weeks. Baby nursed great right from the start, great gainer, etc. etc. Never skipped a beat! My other friend had an induction that resulted in a forceps birth after 36 hours of labor - she too nursed w/o a single prob and stopped at 8 weeks to ff by choice! I had a natural vaginal birth at 36w6d. We had every nursing problem under the sun (resolved now, thank goodness)! I realize these are only anecdotes rather than data but I hope they make you feel better. Plus since your C/S is planned you can be prepared, i.e. find out which pain meds are ok, look up good nursing positions, be prepared for milk coming a little later and know all the ins and outs of supplementing, although I bet you won't need to. Good luck and congrats!
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#12 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 08:30 PM
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I wouldn't ASSUME it will be hard, was easy for me. And I definatley wouldn't get formula "just in case." Many many moms BF after sections...just don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Try different positions and holds, you'll find something that works. But go in with the attitude that it WILL work. Good luck!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#13 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 08:38 PM
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I too had a planned c section at 37 weeks due to complete previa and can echo what the previous posters said. Be upfront with the nursing staff and hold strong about no formula, no bottles. I had pain afterwards, of course, but with the boppy and/or pillows nursing was very comfortable. I was given percocet which I tried to take sparingly but caused no problems whatsoever with my daughter. We now have a very strong nursing relationship. A c section does not need to be a hindrance, especially since you are an experienced nursing mother. Good luck!
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#14 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 10:42 PM
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Just another voice to say that you'll be fine. I had a last-minute section too, but babe was healthy and latched right on. The only hindrance to BFing we had was the occasional nurse who felt the need to tell me that my baby was fussing because he was hungry cuz my milk hadn't come in (hello, ever heard of colostrum?). I gave in once and let them give him formula (when enough people tell you you're starving your baby, you get paranoid). Then he couldn't latch for a while.

I found it strange that although doctors are supposedly so pro-breastfeeding, and it's the best thing for babe, there is propaganda for formula everywhere, from free diaper bags from Enfamil to free samples, etc. It's ridiculous. I think Enfamil probably funds the hospital or something. It's hard to escape.

So make sure all the nurses know you're EBFing, no formula, no matter what. I had them bring baby to me every 3 hours all night long. If you're worried about your milk coming in (for me it took 4 days but baby never lost more than 10% of his weight which is what they look for), they can bring you a pump for nipple stimulation.

Your body knows what it's doing. Once babe is out, you will have the colostrum, which is all babe needs. Trust yourself.

If you have issues, THEN get formula. There will always be a store open if you need to buy some. And if you're still in the hospital, trust me, there is no shortage Just my opinion FWIW, take it with a grain of salt.

Good luck to you with your delivery and congratulations in advance! I'm sure all will go fine.
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#15 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 10:47 PM
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This is what I plan to do for my section next week. I had a really rough start with my first which never really resolved and resulted in a premature end to our nursing relationship.

My baby will be with me in recovery.
We have the normal "no ABM or artificial nipples" written into our birth plan
I'll have a breastfeeding "kit" with me -

* a modified syringe to draw out my flat nipples if he can't latch well the first time
* my hand pump if the syringe doesn't work
* a nipple shield as a last resort if I still can't get him latched
* a nursing pillow of some sort (I have very large breasts and the football hold is easiest for me and very hard to do without some cushioning).

I requested that no mind-altering medications be given to me before/during/after the birth without my express consent (including phenergan which can cause drowsieness). I was very loopy after my first's birth and it really hindered things.

My husband is a lot more on board with things this time around in terms of knowing how to support me the best and fend off well-meaning hospital staff. I'll also make sure that I see an LC as soon as possible rather than waiting for her to get around to seeing me the following day.
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#16 of 19 Old 01-14-2008, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mindi22 View Post
Thanks for all the replies and advice! I think my biggest fear is that because of the timing of the section (I'll be 36/37 weeks), my body won't be hormonally ready for the milk production part of things... I know a lot of it is based on demand, but I also know that initially, milk supply is hormonally driven.
I had my boys by c-section at 35 weeks, and was not allowed to hold them for almost a week after they were born, because they were in the nicu with all kinds of crazy tubes and wires and ventilators and IVs. They had me pumping like crazy, and my milk came in on the 3rd day just like most moms (from what I hear) after a vaginal birth. I have had no milk supply issues because of the c-section. You can totally do it; don't bother to stock up on formula. Just get a ton of pillows, or a really fat nursing pillow.

Good luck!
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#17 of 19 Old 01-15-2008, 12:27 AM
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I exclusively breast fed my son after my c-sec. The hardest part was getting comfortable, and trying to wake him up!

I think you'll do fine, and don't worry about your milk coming in later because of the operation. Mine came in on the 3rd day. AVOID THAT FORMULA!!

We did have a few latch issues in the beginning at the hospital and when I was too tired/stressed etc I hand expressed some and dp cup fed ds. (I hated the electric pump!!) Maybe you could bring your pump to the hospital with you if you are at all worried about your milk coming in late.
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#18 of 19 Old 01-15-2008, 01:11 AM
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I has DD2 at 37 weeks due to complications via c/s and she did just fine. A few things I insisted on:

No bottles or pacifiers!!
Her being with me or brought to me to eat if I was out walking the halls.
Clearing the room during feeding time so I could relax with baby (no visitors, nurses, etc during this time..)

I also got a couple of nipple shields at Target just in case we had latch issues and brought the numbers of a few LC's with me in case the LC at the hospital had the day off and we were having issues.

Everything went JUST FINE. Prepare yourself, assume everything will go well and it WILL!!! Congrats!

Stacey reading.gif Happy wife to Rick coolshine.gif ,homeschooling Mama to Jacob, Noel, Joanna jumpers.gif  and a sweet stork-girl.gif due in the Spring!
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#19 of 19 Old 01-15-2008, 12:25 PM
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I nursed after my c-section (unplanned) just fine, for the most part. The nurses at the hospital were great--being as it was unplanned, I had no idea what was going on, but 25 minutes after my son was born (my husband stayed with him while they stitched me up, then they both came into recovery with me) a nurse grabbed my baby from my husband, undid my gown, and said "here you go, you're breastfeeding, right?" as she latched him right on--and helped me hold him (I had the shakes pretty bad, too) for almost 30 min. while he nursed for the first time! He never had any trouble latching, though he was sleepy the first couple of days.

I did have a supply issue in the first month, that I didn't really realize (my baby was nursing all of the time, and I had no apparant issues, so I thought everything was fine). While we have several theories, we don't know why, and I don't know as though it was from the section. I would say though take your pain meds if you need them and try to be as comfy as possible--pain can supress the milk ejection reflex but most pain meds (percocet and ibuprofen, which are most likely what you'll get) are ok to take while nursing, so there's no reason to be in pain. One of my theories as to why I didn't produce well is the pain I was in. My recovery from the c-section was relatively easy--it wasn't comfortable, but never caused me any pain--but I somehow ended up with a nerve injury in my neck/shoulder that caused me a LOT of pain that even percocet wouldn't touch.

Good luck, and congrats on your little one!

One little guy born 6/17/07 : :
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