Help for Breastfeeding Moms After a Cesarean

By Richard Winer
BBA Contributor

Almost 20 – 25% women in the United States go through a caesarean section to give birth. Women, especially mothers should be aware and educated about breastfeeding their baby after a c-section, so they can deal with it if needed. Mothers who go through a C-Section worry about when their milk will come in. However, the milk coming process is same for natural birth, or vaginal birth, as it is for an operative birth. The first milk released by the breasts is colostrum, a thick yellowish liquid which is full of antibodies and nutrition for the baby. Whether you give natural birth, or an operated birth, colostrum will come as soon as the baby is out of the mothers womb. Colostrum production is actually triggered by the placenta being released from the uterine wall, which ensures that colostrum is available to the baby after the delivery, whether it is a vaginal delivery or a c-section. Some mothers may need to go through breast pumping to be able to start producing this pre-milk.

breastfeedingbabyJust like after normal birth, colostrum is released for the first 4 – 5 days after giving birth, after which the mothers breasts start producing natural milk. This can vary to as less as 3 days in some women to as much as 6 days, after which milk is produced by the breasts. As long as you keep feeding your baby, the suckling from breast feeding the baby will be enough to get your milk production going. In other cases, you may need to use a breast pump such as Medela style or Ameda pump to get your milk flowing. However, the routine of breast milk is slightly different for mothers who go through a c-section that those who go through a vaginal birth. This article discusses some of the important points which mothers need to consider after giving birth.

Medications after c-section

Normally when a woman goes through a cesarean, she is prescribed medicines to help her recover quickly after giving birth. Mothers are usually concerned about the medication they are required to take after going through a c-section. Antibiotics and pain killers are routinely given to mothers after an operative birth, which are passed to the baby in small amounts through colostrum. However, the milk production in the first few days after birth is very less, as the baby needs only a small amount of milk initially. Therefore, only very small amounts of the medication are actually passed to the child.

Dealing with stress

One of the major factors leading to reduced breast milk production after a c-section is stress. Any kind of stress can inhibit the production of milk in breastfeeding moms. After going through major surgery, mothers are greatly affected, even if they have given child birth before. A caesarean also affects the body hormone levels greatly, and the mental and physical stresses all combine together to the delay in milk production.

Achieving comfort

Both the mother and the child can be really exhausted, especially if they had to go through a long labor before the c-section. In such cases, it can be difficult to get the baby to start sucking, as the medications and drugs used for epidural and spinal can affect the baby’s alertness after birth. The baby may take longer to start sucking at the breast. Similarly, the mother may be too tired and exhausted as well as in pain to move to the right position to feed her baby. When breastfeeding after a c-section, mothers should be careful to keep the baby at a distance, in case the baby moves or kick at the incision. The best thing is to use a rolled up towel next to the incision to avoid any problems. The baby and mother should directly face each other for breastfeeding, so that the baby does not have to turn its head to feed. A towel or pillow should be placed at the babys back to help the baby face the breast and feed properly without slipping away. The mother can use a pillow between her legs or knees to avoid hurting her stomach muscles and she should also use a pillow to support her back. Although this can be painful and extremely difficult for new mothers, it will help you in bonding with your baby and in meeting the early challenges after giving birth.

Whether you go through natural birth or a caesarean, there is no reason why a mother cannot nurse her baby. Recovering after birth can also take time, but the mother should take this opportunity to spend as much time with her baby, and help them bond together for a lovely life ahead.

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  1. OK my wife may need a C-Section as she as a heart shaped uterus. Although you say that a very small percentage of the medication is passed to the baby through the milk is it still something we should be concerned about?