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nursing immediately after C-section?......

732 Views 11 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  tammylc
Hi, mommas. I know there's a couple of other C-section threads, but ohmygoodness they are looooong, and I just have a couple of short questions for those of you who have HAD c-sections.

There's a chance I may have to have one (long story). If I do, I want to make sure that I"m able to breastfeed right away after the c-section, and also that I'm still able to do the 24-hour rooming in with the baby. I know I'll need to talk to my caregiver about this, and the hospital, but I wanted to know how nursing went for you moms who experienced c-section.

Also, how long was your recovery in the hospital? And at home afterward?
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I had a c-section in Sept. I couldn't nurse right after (they had to stitch me up) but after an hour or so the numbness eased, so I could move, and they brought the baby to me to nurse, while I was still in the recovery room. He stayed with me untii we left three days later. After a day, I could get up, slowly, and get the baby to nurse, or change his dipe. Before that, the nurses changed him and would hand him to me. I kept him in bed with me a lot.

As for recovery, the doc wanted me to go home after two days, but I felt my husband needed more rest before we came home. I went on a light 2 mile hike 1 1/2 weeks after the birth, with my 10 1/2 lb. son in a sling.

I think the key to recovering quickly is to try to get up walking, a little, as soon as you can, and just do a little more each day, without straining.

I had a c-section in March after a lot of labor. Nursing was fine for me - ds was just like dd in that he latched on right away and nursed well. I did have to wait about an hour after he was born because my arms were numb - a little too much anasthesia. I would also ask, if possible, not to be sedated at all - I was sleepy during the operation and realized afterwards I'd been given drugs to sedate me in addition to the anasthesia for the surgery. It just made me a little fuzzy - I'd have preferred to me more alert. Maybe it's to keep you from freaking out, but I had to struggle to stay awake. And it's a cool thing - it's your baby's birth. Have your SO take pictures!

I got up the next morning and showered. I felt pretty good, to be honest. I brought my own nursing jammies and wore them that day and wore regular (maternity) clothes after that. I brushed teeth, put in contacts, etc. and I think this went a LONG way towards making my recovery easier. I just felt more normal than if I'd been in a hospital gown. I was up and about faster than everyone seemed to expect. Bring tea and other nice things to drink for afterwards, just to comfort yourself and get more fluids.

I used the sling right away but felt that some slings and some positions were easier than others because of the incision. The boppy pillow was a godsend - it made nursing much more comfortable.

Some c-sections are better than others, to be sure! But if you know you'll have to have one, it might be worth it to engage a doula and or lactation consultant beforehand - or have LLL's number on hand. Just in case you do have trouble.

Good luck and have a great birth!
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I had a csection 6 years ago and wasnt able to nurse right away since my son had to be monitored because of respiratory difficulties (they thought since he didnt have the fluids squeezed out through the birth canal that he might need oxygen), but I did get to about 4 hours after his birth.

I know that there are several women who have been allowed to nurse on the operating table though! Make sure you have someone to help you because its really awkward to breastfeed while laying flat or almost flat...

Anyways, my son was born on Wednesday morning and we came home from the hospital Friday morning. I guess I couldve stayed longer, but felt like I was ready to get home... My recovery at home wasnt very long either. I felt pretty good after a week when I got the staples out, my biggest problem was constipation afterwards.

I knew I was going to have the cesarean because DS was breech and the best advice someone gave me beforehand was to get up and walk afterward -in other words, dont just lay around for a week just because it hurts. The day he was born I got up a little bit, but the next day I walked up and down the hospital halls several times every few hours. I dont know if thats why I recovered so easily or not though...
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I had a c-section in May of 2002. It took about 40 minutes to stitch me up and as soon as I was in the recovery room (still numb from the chest down) the nurses hefted me to one side and DS camped at my breast for 40 minutes LOL!

We also did the 24 hour rooming in (DH stayed with us).

I would check with your individual hospital. Call the L&D ward and ask the questions of the nurses if possible (since really they are the ones running the show there). Some hospitals have stupid "rules" but if you know about them beforehand perhaps you can talk to your doctor and he can write orders in your chart that will be a work around them KWIM?

More encouraging stories!

I've had two c/s, and nursed within a 1/2 hour of both children's births (one c/s with a spinal and one with an epidural - epi. was easier to BF with). I teach BFeeding so I knew what to do; if you aren't that confident do get a doula or LC who can be there to help. IMHO most L&D nurses don't have the best BF information - I had one RN trying to push my DD's face into my breast - nonsense which I promptly stopped!

And I roomed in totally - cared for my babies 100% on my own from right after birth. Here are two tips that might benefit you:

1. Have your IV placed not in your hand but rather beyond your wrist so that you can use your hands to get a good latch. Also not in your dominant hand.

2. GReat pain meds help, and I have fantastic pain relief with Voltarin suppositories every 12 hours. Just an anti-inflammatory, but do they work! Have to be suppositories though.

It can be done! Good luck to you!
Hello. I have not had a c-section, but I am a doula that has attended a few! I hope that you do mind me adding a couple of things:

I help a new mom to nurse right away. She was groggy and I had to do the holding and the latching. Breastfeeding was important to her, and since the c-section was an emergency after a 3 day induction, we tried to keep to her birth plan as much as possible. The nurses totally supported us in doing this in the recovery room while they were getting everything arranged with the pain killer. They just worked around us.

Sometimes hospitals won't let you room-in unless you have someone there to help at all times. If you don't think that your dp can do it, you can hire a postpartum doula to help out in the hospital.

Request that the hospital IBCLC comes in ASAP to help out (within a couple hours of the birth) I would arrange it ahead of time. Don't rely on the nurses, some have very little knowledge. If the hospital does not have one, arrange a private visit in the hospital.

Oh and a note about the relaxation drugs that they give you...I had a client get accupunture for relaxation right before a c-section and she was sooo mellow, even the doctors didn't believe it. Good thing to check into.

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I had to have a c - birth.( Medical resons) I have had two vaginal births perviously. I am a single mom, so I had a good friend with me in the or. She left with the baby to go to my room and I thought dd and my 2 aunts were there with her and my new son. But I guess it was just her and the baby. My aunts had left to go and get dd and they took longer to get back?????? But my firend had be told to tell everyone" this baby is to have no artifucal nipples at all" They did ask me if I wanted him at one point in the recovery room, I said no.... yeah I know weird but I was having a hard time with the morpine, I had a really bad recation to it, I was itchy and My legs were bouncing off the bed. But when I finaally got to my room, My new ds was hungry and sucking his hands and turning towards everyone. I latched him on and promply throw-up all over him. This went on for 12 hours everytime I latched him on. I was pretty misrable. They did not have a nursery to help me over night with him, i was to care for him alone, whiler voimiting and not being able to get up opr move yet? I t was very scary, My aunt finally decided to stay when it was clear that I could not have handled him alone that night, Breastfeeding was so easy with him but my recovery was a nightmare. I had an infection 4 days pp. I was on 3 massive amounts of antibiotics, this was after they give you the "regular" antibiotics when you have a c- birth. I had my mom here for 6 days, then it was just me. I had to get dd to school everyday and I had to do the cooking and cleaning and all the baby care myself. I still have a lot of pain in the lower part of my back wher they did the spinal block, My incision site- half is numb nad I can't have my underware acroos there because it hurts.

I hope you have as better time than me, If thereis anyway you can have a vag birth I would say to go for it c- birth are awfull, i know I have done both
Good luck, I hope your birth is wonderful, I still think it was a great day, it was still the day my son came into this world
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Definately call and talk to the nurses. We encourage early and freqent bfing. As soon as mom is off the OR table, we wheel her and the babe to the Recovery Room together. My order of business is #1 get moms vital sign monitors on #2 make sure bleeding is under control #3 get baby on to nurse This takes literally 1 minute to complete 1&2 and however long it takes to get mom and baby to start nursing. We encourage roomiing in for all patients, vag and c/s del. alike. We have absolutely no rules regarding separation of mom and baby after surgery, (unless of course there is newborn distress of some kind). But even that happens very infreqently. We tend to keep mom,baby, and dad alone in Recovery for 1 hour before we allow all family and visitors in. We want them to have that bonding/nursing/recovering together before the company comes! (this is only for a c/s though. our vag deliverys occur in an LDRP room. all family is allowed for all aspects of birth/recovery) Also, we are constantly checking bleeding, return of feeling, getting her cleaned up and brought to postpartum. Our nurses also follow the patient from Labor, to OR if needed, to RR and back to postpartum. We just hop from one area to the next taking on each new role as mom enters that area.
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I had a c/b in 02 and on ein January this year.

Nursing-- As soon as I was in recovery with Tracy he latched on. I had no problems doing it all msyelf. I was numb from about bottom rib cage down. With Bryce it was a little longer. He was to stay in the nursery for "observation" for an hour but after 5 minutes he came to me because he was latching onto everything that came near his face! He nursed for an hour the first time!!

Recovery-- Tracy's recovery sucked! I was up and moving but it was monhs before I felt good.

Bryce was different! By about 10 hours post c/b I had them turn off the epidural (policy is 12 hours but I talked them into) I was un numb about an hour later and was up and moving a total of 12 hours post c/b. Bryce had been moved to the NICU for O2 levels so I wanted to be with him. By about 3 days post c/b I was sore but doing great! By about 1 week pp I was almost back to normal.

I don't know if it was the difference in laboring and not laboring or what.
After my c/s I didn't get to nurse dd until she was about 10 hours old. My advice:
is to check your hospitals policy about where a c/s baby goes after the birth. My hospital had a policy where c/s babies go to an Observation Nursery for 4 hours. The surgeon had told me this just before the c/s but promised me that I could go see my baby after I got out of Recovery (1 hour). Problem was, no staff would wheel me there. And I was quite clear headed and alert after I got out of Recovery. I could have nursed her. and dd was very alert the first few hours - dh went and videotaped her for me. But after 5 hours when they brought her to me, she was too sleepy to nurse.

Also careful with the Percocet - it makes you really sleepy. The nurses would give me 2 tablets but it'd knock me out. I quickly dropped it down to 1 tablet.

I had rooming in but after the c/s it was a bit of a joke. Picture mom a bit giddy from the drugs, hooked up to IV and catheter with baby in the little crib next to her bed. Except mom can't move. And you're not allowed out of bed for about 24-48 hours or something ridiculous. You really need dh or a supporter there to manage all this and help you. I recommend a doula or supporter. My dh was so tired and emotional, he wasn't much help. I had to direct him but I was in no state to do so. It was really hard for me to keep track of the feedings. There was no clock in the room, I don't know where my watch went, there was a pen on my bedside table and a chart to record the feeding times but I couldn't reach them.... Little things but they really made it hard.
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My suggestions overall for a c-section, especially when you know in advance you're having one - write a birth plan and go over it with your OB and nurses in advance.

I couldn't try to nurse DS on the operating table (I had a warming blanket across my torso), but DH held him up by my head until he had to leave the room (just before they transported me to recovery). We were able to try latching on immediately in the recovery room. Unfortunately, DS didn't latch. One of my homebirth midwives (I'd been planning a homebirth before we discovered DS was breech) was in the waiting room, and she came into help us out - still no luck.

All in all, it was 29! hours before DS latched on and nursed for the first time. I was freaking out. Everything I'd read was so gung-ho on getting the baby to latch on right way, I thought that if I couldn't do that I'd never be able to get him to nurse. (And I already felt like a failure and was mourning the loss of my homebirth, so nursing was so important to me.) But everyone in the hospital just kept saying that really, it was okay, a lot of babies don't nurse, or don't nurse very much, for the first 24 hours! Often they're just too sleepy. I think this might be especially true for CS babies, who get plucked from the womb with no time to realize that they're coming out!

After 29 hours, many nurses and a visit from an LC, he finally latched on right away when another of my homebirth midwives came to visit - guess he liked her and wanted to show off. He nursed 8 times in the next 15 hours, then my milk started coming in and he stopped again. Turns out he had a really tiny mouth and a tight frenulum - we ultimately had to use a nipple shield for a couple of weeks. But here we are 7 1/2 weeks later, and he can't get enough boobie!

Anyway, all of this long rambling is just to say - definitely try to nurse as soon as you can, but don't get too stressed if you're having trouble - I'm sure that my stress was affecting him - he's extremely sensitive to my moods. I wished I'd heard any of this before I had him, so that's why I wanted to be sure to respond to you!

As for rooming-in - we roomed in right from the beginning. DH slept on the fold down chair and took care of DS until I was able to be up and around. It was very positive in some ways, because DS was able to build his own confidence about taking care of the baby - I think if I had had my homebirth, I would have just jumped in and not really given him a chance to do it. But it was definitely essential to have someone with me at all times. Even after I got my IV out (less than 24 hours later), I still couldn't lift the baby out of the basinette on my own.
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