It is possible to breastfeed your baby after a C-section delivery. Unfortunately, some women experience challenges related to their C-section.
But even if you cannot initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth you can still maintain your milk supply for your baby. In fact breastfeeding after a C-section is not only possible but medical experts believe it is the healthiest option for feeding most newborns.
It is difficult to breastfeed after having a major surgery but there is support to help you. Read more to understand the breastfeeding challenges you may face after a C-section so that you can be prepared for them.
How to Breastfeed after a C-Section?
Here are some potential complications, as well as tips and strategies to manage them:
– Post-delivery medical needs:
If your baby has a medical need and must stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), you can still breastfeed them. You can also do this if you have a post-birth complication and are separated from your baby.
If it is possible, pump your breast milk as soon as possible after birth. This will start your milk supply for your baby. Once you get reunited with your baby, you can initiate breastfeeding.
As you recover from your C-section, you will be given medications to manage your pain. Most pain medications do not affect breast milk, as only small amounts of them pass into your milk.
The type of anaesthesia used, as well as the quantity, may affect breastfeeding. Anaesthesia can make your baby drowsier for some time, which can make it hard for them to breastfeed.
– Delayed milk production
A C-section may slow down the start of mature milk production, which is when your milk comes in. During the days post-birth, your body produces colostrum — your baby’s first milk. Colostrum is full of antibodies that provide protection for your baby. About 2 to 5 days after birth, your milk increases in abundance. While your milk may be delayed by a few days if you’ve had a C-section, it will come in eventually.
A C-section delivery is a major abdominal surgery. As such, you will experience some amount of pain. This is in addition to the ordinary issues that occur no matter how the delivery happens, such as uterine contractions after birth as your uterus shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size. Medication can soothe your pain and discomfort. The pain will definitely interfere with your ability to breastfeed, so it is important to do what you can to reduce the pain.
How to Plan for Breastfeeding After C-Section:
You must initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after your baby is born. If you have a C-Section delivery you need to plan for breastfeeding. There are things that you can do, such as:
Choosing a baby-friendly hospital
Hospitals that are baby friendly are more likely to have policies that promote early breastfeeding. This includes skin-to-skin time and rooming-in, which is the practice of keeping an infant’s crib at the side of their mother’s bed.
Have a lactation consultant brought into the delivery room:
Having a breastfeeding helper nearby can help you during that first hour or two after your C-section. As you recover, your lactation consultant can help bring your baby to your breast and position them.
The Chennai Gynaecology Clinic has these and many other services for women who give birth through C-Section. You and your baby will be the first priority for us and we will ensure that you will be able to breastfeed them as soon as possible. You will be in safe hands with us.