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Breastfeeding after a Cesarean section

You must have heard people say that it is difficult to breastfeed after a c-section as there is no milk in the breasts. Nothing could be further from the truth. A signal that triggers your body to produce milk is when a placenta is discharged and this happens both during vaginal and Cesarean birth, just in a slightly different way.

Lactation has a bit different course in every woman. Some have a lot of milk and it appears quite quickly, the others produce it later and in smaller amounts. Your proper attitude to breastfeeding is very important and you should not yield to grandma or aunt suggestions that your milk is not valuable enough or is scarce. In the beginning the colostrum appears. It is enough to eat for a newborn. Therefore, you should not supplement the baby with a newborn formula, but latch him on as often as possible. It stimulates lactation. Your breasts produce more milk, adjusting to the needs of the growing little person.

The beginnings can be difficult both in case of a Cesarean and vaginal birth.

Do not get discouraged but try until you succeed. While in hospital, you can always ask your midwife to help you and show how to attach the baby so that he suckles properly.

If, despite everything, you still have problems, do not worry. This may be caused by stress and emotions that have not yet subsided. Back home, when you are alone with your baby it will be easier for you to calm down and focus. You will be able to learn carefully your baby's daily pattern, you will find the most appropriate nursing position and your baby will eventually start to suck, as it was in my case. Lactation does not cease overnight. It can be stimulated even after a few days.

You can always ask for help of a lactation consultant. It is worth looking for a good specialist before birth.

Remember! The sooner you attach the baby the better. Each attachment stimulates the lactation process.

Breastfed newborn needs frequent latching on, but not because the mum's milk is not very valuable. Feeding satisfies not only hunger, but also the need of security.

If you had regional or spinal anesthesia, and you and your baby are well, you can attach him immediately. But you need to know that after the surgery you have to lie flat, without raising your head for 12 hours. Sometimes it is shorter, but this is an anesthesiologist's decision and he will surely instruct the midwives who take care of you.

However, if you had an operation in general anesthesia, which is now very rarely used, you need to wait for the first feeding until you regain consciousness and strength. Moreover, your body must also remove the anaesthetic, because it can penetrate to your milk and the newborn's body.

In most hospitals after a c-section the newborn is brought to his mother for the first feeding within the first day after delivery. If you feel good, you can always ask the staff to bring your baby for feeding earlier than it is recommended. In some hospitals a baby is given to a mother just after a c-section. Ask what is the procedure in the hospital you intent to give birth to your baby.

Feeding positions after a Cesarean section:

In fact, each position is good. The most important is that you and the baby are comfortable.

Lying on your back - in this position the baby suckles milk slowly. It is a safe arrangement, because the baby does not swallow large amounts of air, and lying on you he does not press the wound on your belly. It is especially recommended after a c-section, when you need to lie flat for the first couple of hours. Baby's head should be level with your breast. When the little one lies on you support him with your arm on one side.

"Side laying - you position yourself on one side, place your arm on the bed and your head a little above on a pillow. You place the baby opposite you tummy to tummy. Lean his head our arm or place directly on the bed. You can place a rolled blanket or some pillows behind your back or between legs. This position is recommended after a c-section and for night feeding."

Clutch hold - in this position baby's legs are under your armpit and you hold his head and neck by hand and his back with a forearm, so that he does not touch the wound. His tummy is nestled into your side. This is a good position for nursing on a sofa or an armchair. To make it more comfortable, put a pillow under your back. You can place a rolled blanket on your knees and on the side to support your arm during feeding, which may take some time.

And what if the baby is premature?

If your baby was born by a Caesarean section and for some reason has to spend some time in the incubator, it does not mean that he can not drink your milk. You can express milk with a breast pump until the baby is strong enough to suckle your breast independently.

The most important thing is to maintain lactation. In the beginning it may be just a few drops, but over time it will certainly become more abundant. When the baby is more independent latch him on the breast. With time he should latch on how to suckle.

The most important are persistence and positive attitude.

Good luck.

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