Breastfeeding after a c-section

Whether your caesarean was planned or unplanned, it needn't derail your breastfeeding journey.

Start by getting some skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as possible. If your delivery has been as expected, it can be possible can start skin-to-skin in theatre immediately after birth.

Early skin-to-skin contact will make a real difference to your baby’s instinctive behaviour at the breast. It gets bonding hormones flowing in you and your baby, allowing you to get to know each other and start your feeding journey. Take your time. You baby might not feed as quickly as you expect but skin-to-skin will help. Try hand expressing some colostrum if your baby is unable to latch straight away or if the two of you need to be apart for any reason. The team on the ward will be able to support you, so ask for help if you need it.

You will most likely be in some pain and discomfort after a c-section. Don’t be a hero. Take pain medication if you need it, especially in the early days. The stress of being in pain won’t help your milk production or help you enjoy your new baby.

Picking up your baby and doing things around the house may be a little tricky to start with. You’re recovering from surgery, so take it a day at a time and accept any offers of help that come your way. Focus on feeding your baby and recovering from the birth.

Find a position that’s comfy for you. Baby lying along your tummy might be uncomfortable but there are other positions you can try such as the 'rugby ball' hold, side lying, ‘laid back’ or sat up and well-supported by pillows.

Here is some helpful information from the Breastfeeding Network on feed on c-sections, medication and breastfeeding.

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