Position, position, position.
Nursing after a C-Section is all about finding the most comfortable position for both you and baby.
I found that the most comfortable position for me was the football hold. You may be more comfortable if prop yourself slightly up with pillows to get into a semi upright position. Have one or two pillows under your arm to help support the weight of the baby, and to ensure the comfort of the baby. A lactation consultant, midwife or breastfeeding-experienced nurse can help you figure out the easiest breastfeeding position after the baby is born. Dont be afraid to ask for help, most hospitals now provide lactation services as part of the birth package.
Some things you may wonder about after you have a C-section
You can nurse right after birth. Its possible to breastfeed right away if you receive an epidural (regional anesthetic) for the operation, rather than a general anesthetic, and fortunately most hospitals today use epidurals. Youll need assistance, however, from a nurse, doula, midwife, or your husband/significant other for that first latch-on; ask them to prop you up slightly and to help support the baby.
Pumping after a Cesearean Section:
Sometimes, due to various complications, women or babies are not able to nurse right after a c-section. In this case, you can pump milk for your newborn. If she is premature or in the NICU, getting that breast milk to her is even more important! Your hospital probably provides a high-grade pump for you to use while in the hospital. Many now rent them to mothers for a monthly fee, or you can purchase a high grade pump for use at home. Some insurance companies now cover breast pump rental if it is prescribed by a doctor.
Painkillers and antibiotics may have an effect on your milk. Youll receive medicines via IVs and pills in the days after your delivery, and typically theyre fine for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. At most, theyll make your baby a bit sleepy. The benefit of the painkillers is that theyll help you relax enough to breastfeed and stimulate milk production. My daughter was extremely sleepy while I was on painkillers. If you have any concerns about medications, ask the lactation consultant or physician to look up the Lactation Safety rating in Dr. Hales book: MEDICATIONS AND MOTHERS MILK or visit Nursing
Get extra help at home. Its always great to have someone assist with housework and baby care during those first weeks home, but if youve had a Cesearean Section, it may be very necessary. You may have trouble walking, lifting the baby, and caring for older children. Line up help from your spouse (who may be able to take extra time off), your relatives and your friends. Or you can hire a postpartum doula or baby nurse — the hospital, your doctor or midwife, or your babys pediatrician may have recommendations. Your insurance may cover costs for at-home postpartum visits from a visiting home nurse, be sure to check with your benefits coordinator.
Nursing Support at Home. If you have any questions, concerns or difficulties about nursing your newborn, do not hesitate to reach out to other experienced nursing moms for help. Questions can be directed to the lactation consultants at the hospital, you might find a local certified lactation consultant or get in touch with your local LA LECHE LEAGUE for support. You can also visit C-section anytime with any questions you might have.
Keep on breastfeeding! While having a cesarean can leave you exhausted, its still vital to nurse every two to three hours to prevent engorgement. Hopefully, it will be a calming and relaxing part of your day.
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