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Thread: breastfeeding after c-section

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Southern CA

    Default breastfeeding after c-section

    I just have a quick question. I'm due in 2 1/2 weeks, and I'm going to have a scheduled c-section. This is my second one. For many different reasons, breastfeeding didn't happen with my first son, but I'm hoping things will be different this time. People have told me that having a c-section can make breastfeeding more difficult, though I'm not sure why. For those of you that have had c-sections, did you find this to be true, and if so, what did you do differently to be more successful? Do c-sections really hurt your ability to breastfeed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    Well to put it simply a C-section is not the way we were designed to have children. The way we reproduce, and make milk are go hand in hand. When you do things differently then the way your body is designed to, it can always have a possibility of hindering the rest of the natural things to happen as easily.

    For me DD1 was natural I had no problem getting milk production, DD2 was a emergency C section, took me a week of nursing and pumping around the clock to get any. I still have never had the supply I got with DD1. But, did finally get enough to sustain her and we are successfully nursing. But, it was much much harder to get the milk to come in.

    If I had the choice I would choose natural every time over C-section. It's also easier to heal and go about regular life again with natural.

    Wife to
    Vincent since 2001
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    ~Donavon & Jeremy~ 2009
    Belle 2010 Nursed over a year
    Raphael 2011 Nursing like a champ
    Raphael & Hubs

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    No it didn't. It DID make for a sleepy baby. Who didn't want to eat for the fisrt 24hours. But the hospital staff told me that was normal. They didn't panic so neither did I. It DID make for delayed milk. Since my body had no idea I had given birth since I hadn't pushed the baby out. But a baby can live on colostrum alone for as long as that's what's there. Colostrum is HIGHLY CONCENTRATED in it's nutritional value and it will sustain a baby for as long as it's there. My milk didn't come in for 5 days and I didn't supplement at all.
    Don't Panic and don't be bullied by a medical staff if they aren't supportive. Go in with a birth plan. Room in with your child, instruct them NOT to take your child to the nursery not to give the baby any formula and no pacifiers. And trust your body and your baby. Your child will latch on frantically for as long as it takes. It doesn't mean they are starving. It's instinct. Their job is to get your milk to come in and begin to establish supply. Don't panic when your baby loses weight. My son was 8lbs 2oz when he was born. He got down to 7lbs 9oz. Also normal. It's normal for a baby to lose up to 10% of their weight after birth.
    Just don't lose your focus. You can do this. You were MADE to do this.

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    I had a c-section and had no problems breastfeeding. I was able to put my son to my breast before I was sewn up (he didn't nurse, but he was there ), and we had some unanticipated issues that required me to pump during his hospital stay. Due to those issues, he was given some formula early on, and even with all those strikes we did well. Oh--they also gave him a pacifier in the hospital. You can do it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    We had an emergency c-section with DD1 (breech) although I had gone into labor spontaneously early (34 weeks, 2 days). My milk didn't come in for 4 days. She was in the NICU and we did supplement with formula (she needed it). We did BF successfully for 17 months.

    Things that helped us:
    - We put her to the breast before every feeding.
    - I pumped every time she was fed.
    - ANYTHING (even 1ml) that I got from pumping was added to the formula.
    - As my milk came in, we weaned her over to my breast milk (her sucking wasn't productive during our NICU stay). Eventually she was on 100% expressed breast milk.
    - I had an electric double pump at home.
    - I would always put her to the breast first, which she eventually got her entire meal from me and didn't need the bottle.
    - Access to great lactation consultants.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    rps saved my nursing relationship with dd... After bags and bags of iv fluids.

    That and just keeping her near so that she could nurse non-stop.
    Take your pain meds try not to be brave about it you shouldn't have pain.
    uncomfortable is ok pain not ok.

    And don't try to do to much when you get home. Nurse the baby and take care of baby but leave the rest to your helpers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    I had an unplanned c-section with my son. He was my first and I had great support at my hospital.

    Don't supplement. My milk didn't come in for 4 and a half days. My son was fine on the colostrum. Remember - a newborns stomach is TINY.

    Put the baby to the breast often. Cradle or football holds with lots of pillows to keep the baby off the incision. The more the baby goes to the breast the more milk you will make. When in doubt, nurse. I did this and have zero problems with milk production.

    Newborns nurse all the time. This is normal. You almost certainly have enough milk. Trust your body and go by wet/poopy diapers. If there is enough output, there had to be enough input. Family members that formula fed told me that there wasn't enough milk because my baby ate all the time. BM digests faster than formula and it's NORMAL for the baby to be at the breast all the time in the beginning. That's how your body gets the signal to make more milk.

    Except for initial soreness due to a shallow latch, I never had problems nursing my son and making enough milk after my c-section.

    Forgot to add:

    Take your pain medication. I tried to be "tough" and not take my meds. Huge mistake. You need your pain relief.

    Also even though I'd read about how hard it was to recover from a c-section, that was not the case with me. Yes, I had some pain, but within a week or so I was pretty much back to normal other than minor incision discomfort. Take your meds, rest as much as you can, eat lots of healthy foods (that other people bring to you, of course) and let your body heal.

    You can do this!!
    Last edited by @llli*ryansmomy; September 15th, 2010 at 05:39 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    ds had no problems at all nursing after my csection...they brought him to me in recovery and he latched right on
    I however had the issues!! nursing for the first time flat on your back sucks... so did having to prop all kinds of pillows everywhere and not be able to sit up right or pick up the baby and manuever around
    my milk took 6 days to come in, but same deal, i wasnt worried about that at all....as long as you have faith that your body is capable, and the baby has a good latch you should be ok.. good luck!
    ~To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world~

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Good ole ATX y'all!

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    Don't believe the nay sayers! Breastfeeding after a section isn't harder. There are plenty of moms who deliver naturally and have problems or don't breastfeed. So c-sections are not a reason to be unsuccessful with breastfeeding.

    I had a section with DD and didn't bf but only b/c I was under the impression that it was harder than I thought. I took the easy way out with formula (or so I thought at the time).

    I regretted that decision! With DS1 I had a repeat section. I was determined to bf. Personally I believe the mother's determination is what predicts the success of bfing. That is the #1 factor. I didn't have any problems bfing Ds1 at all. I read tons of books on how to latch (Womanly art of breastfeeding being the most helpful to me), I put him to the breast more than an hour after birth and we nursed till he was 3 years and 7 months

    Ds2 was born section as well. My milk came in less than 24 hours later. He's now almost 3 and going strong.

    You can do it momma! Stay determined.

    Here are some things that you can do to insure your success:

    Read, read, read!
    Watch videos on latch
    be sure you understand the basics of latching, it can make all the difference in the beginning.
    Get the # of a good LC who is IBCLC certified BEFORE you deliver. By the time you need her you'll be too hormonal and exhausted to research a good one. Contact your local LLL to see if they have a referral or start calling around now.
    Before you deliver make sure you tell the staff NO artificial nipples of any sort. You can make a sign for your baby's bassinet.
    Be sure you tell the staff that you want a visit asap with the hospital LC.

    Good luck and congrats!!!!
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and

    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: breastfeeding after c-section

    People have told me that having a c-section can make breastfeeding more difficult, though I'm not sure why
    I think the reasons why breastfeeding is sometimes more difficult after a c-section include:
    1. Abdominal pain from the incision makes positioning more difficult.
    2. C-sections often mean early separation of mom and baby- mom often cannot hold or nurse her baby for several hours after the surgery. And while the baby is waiting for mom to be stitched up and recover, there's a good chance that his/her first feeding will be formula from a bottle, which can impact his ability/desire to latch onto the breast.
    3. Babies born via c-section can end up sleepy from mom's pain medications.
    4. Babies born via c-section are more likely to have respiratory difficulties that land them in the NICU. Further separation of mom and baby means even more of a chance that mom will not get to nurse until later, and more chance that the baby will get formula or a pacifier.
    5. Moms who have c-sections often see a delay in milk production. Women who deliver vaginally tend to have their milk come in 2-3 days after birth. Moms who deliver surgically may see milk in 2-3 days, or may experience a delay of up to 5 days, during which time the pressure to supplement with formula often becomes unbearable.
    6. C-sections carry increased risk of infection to mom. If mom ends up sick and/or back in the hospital, she may have difficulty maintaining breastfeeding.

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