No matter for what reason you have gone through cesarean section, you may be wondering whether or not breastfeeding is possible after this painful delivery method. Well, the good news is that it’s absolutely possible! All you need to be a little patient and follow these simple tips for successful breastfeeding after a C-Section.
It’s possible to breastfeed immediately after your baby is born if you receive an epidural for the surgery. Luckily, most of the hospitals today prefer to use epidurals instead of general anesthetics. However, you’ll need to ask for assistance from a nurse, midwife, doula, or your partner to get your newborn properly latched on for the first time.
Indulge In Skin-To-Skin Contact:
In most cases, doctors place the baby on mother’s bare chest right after delivery to allow some skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her baby. If this isn’t permissible in the hospital where you’re delivering your baby, request your doctors to allow for the same in the recovery room. This will help you establish a deep maternal bond between you and your new little one!
Find a Good Position to Breastfeed:
After a cesarean operation, it becomes quite difficult for you to sit up as there is a risk of incision breakdown due to strain. Consequently, you’re required to find the most comfortable position that puts the least pressure on the stitched area. The side-lying position, which keeps baby’s weight off the incision, is considered good for C-section mamas. Alternatively, you can also try Football hold with a breastfeeding pillow.
Wear Loose Fitting, Comfortable Clothing:
While your abdomen wound is healing, it is recommended you wear loose-fitting, breastfeeding-friendly clothing like nursing tops and ponchos. Wearing comfortable clothes during breastfeeding after a cesarean section not only ensures there will be no pressure on your tender incision but also allows for plenty of airflow necessary to heal the wound.
Use Lots of Pillows:
It may sound strange to you but pillows can be your best friends in the early days of breastfeeding after a cesarean delivery. While putting a few pillows behind you lower back provides you adequate support for breastfeeding, on the other hand, placing a pillow under your knees minimizes the strain in your stomach area. So use lots of pillows to get comfortable while breastfeeding!
Keep Your Baby Nearby:
As much as possible, have your baby room in with you after a cesarean. This will help you have a better understanding of your baby’s needs – like what his hunger cues are and how to respond to them. Remember, the more familiar you’re with a baby’s feeding cues, the less time you take to calm your hungry baby – which ultimately leads to an easier breastfeeding experience.
Avoid Unnecessary Supplements:
Ask your hospital staff not to give your baby any kind of supplemental bottles or pacifiers, unless medically necessary. These artificial nipples can confuse your newborn about breastfeeding, which might result in breast engorgement once your supply does come in. However, if formula supplementation is medically necessary for your infant, ask if your baby can be fed with a cup or feeding syringe to avoid the risk of nipple confusion.
Don’t Avoid Medications:
After you’ve had a c-section, it becomes difficult for you to breastfeed your little one due to post-surgical pain. Consequently, your doctor may suggest you taking some pain medications for first few days after childbirth. While most of these medicines are compatible with breastfeeding, you should always tell your doctor that you’re going to breastfeed your newborn. This will help your doctor prescribe you the right medication to cope with the pain and thereby you’ll never need to avoid your pain medications to be able to nurse your baby.
And last, but certainly not least, never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help from your nurses, your doula, your best friend, your partner or anyone you trust blindly. Having a great support system minimizes the risk of any incision-related troubles you can face after a cesarean procedure. To further ease the process, you can hire a lactation consultant who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding.