Breastfeeding after a caesarean birth offers special benefits. It brings closeness and bonding between mother and child after a challenging delivery. It also encourages the uterus to contract. This reduces bleeding and helps speed mother’s healing.
Women who have had a caesarean birth may need a little extra help in the early days of breastfeeding. While some caesarean births are planned in advance, many are unexpected. Having a caesarean section can affect how a woman feels about her birth experience, her ability to care for her child, and breastfeeding.
A woman who gives birth by caesarean may have some of the following:
- Discomfort or pain,
- Effects of medications,
- A longer stay in hospital,
- Possible separation from child in the early hours and days (depending on the reason for the caesarean delivery),
- Some difficulty moving around by herself.
If you experience a caesarean delivery, there are things you can do to help get breastfeeding off to the best start possible.
- If both you and your baby are well after the delivery, having your baby skin to skin with you during the recovery, within the first hour of birth, can help get breastfeeding off to a great start. Ask your support person and recovery room nurse to help you get skin to skin with your baby. If you are unable to be skin to skin with your baby have your partner get skin to skin with baby after birth.
- If both you and your child are well enough, the child will stay with you in your hospital room which helps with breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed early and often to encourage development of your milk supply.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
- Ask a family member or support person to stay with you all day and all night to help with baby care and breastfeeding if possible.
- Find a breastfeeding position that works best for you. Ask your nurse or midwife to teach you about the football position or side-lying position.
- Ask for help to position your baby at the breast and to switch sides during a feed. Use pillows or rolled baby blankets to help support your baby’s weight.
- Use the pain medications your health care provider prescribed to help you stay comfortable so you can care for yourself and your child. Ask to have medication that is safe to take while breastfeeding.
- Ask your family to help care for child between feedings so you can rest and recover from the birth and from the surgery.
Breastfeeding Your Baby After a Caesarean Birth (video)
For more information on breastfeeding and services in Simcoe Muskoka, please contact your health care provider or contact Health Connection by calling 1-705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by email or connect with us wherever you are on Facebook or Twitter.