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Breastfeeding After a Cesarean Birth

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Presently more number of babies born in the India today are delivered by Cesarean or C-Section. This is major surgery and can pose an extra set of challenges for moms to get breastfeeding off to a good start.

We hope that the following tips will help you in your breastfeeding journey.

Many hospitals are improving skin to skin contact for moms and babies. If the possible request that your baby is placed skin to skin in the operating room while your surgery is completed. Studies show that skin to skin contact can help stabilize baby’s temperature, respiration, glucose, and babies often feed better at the breast. Have a partner do skin to skin if mom is not able.

Breastfeed your newborn as early as possible post-surgery

Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after delivery, preferably in the recovery area if able. Breastfeeding early and often will help bring in full milk production. Request help from the hospital lactation staff and/or your partner to assist with positioning.

  • Position yourself first with pillows then have your support person help you get your baby in a comfortable position.

  • Don’t hesitate to use plenty of pillows to support your baby and protect your incision.

  • The football hold can be the most comfortable for moms after a C-Section birth as it keeps your baby away from your incision.

If you need to delay breastfeeding

If you are separated from your baby or have difficulty getting your baby to latch in the hospital, request that a hospital-grade breast pump be provided for you. Have the hospital staff educate you on its use. Early stimulation to your breasts will help bring about healthy milk production.

Should your baby need to be supplemented request that this is done via a cup or syringe and not a bottle. Discuss supplementation with your baby’s medical provider. Try to avoid the use of artificial nipples or pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established.

Most moms feel their milk come in around day 2-6 postpartum. However, stress from surgery, pain, medications, and excess fluid can delay this process. Therefore, it is very important to seek support from a lactation consultant soon after delivery.

The impact of C-Section Recovery

Your recovery postpartum will also be much different than vaginal birth. A C-Section is major abdominal surgery. If possible plan on having your partner take an ample amount of time off work to help. An extra set of hands to assist you with positioning and lifting your baby will be very beneficial.

In addition, your support person can prepare meals, do housework, and assist with various other needs you or your baby may have. It is also very important that you take pain medications as directed by your provider. Stress and pain can influence your milk let down and production.

Plan ahead if possible

If you’re having a scheduled cesarean birth you will have the option to discuss some of the above-mentioned issues with your physician prior to surgery. It is important that you discuss anesthesia, pain medications, skin to skin contact with baby, and having baby feed soon after delivery.

Knowing that you and your physician have a plan in place will help ease your mind prior to surgery having a positive impact on your breastfeeding experience.


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