April 15, 2021 3 min read
Many women today deliver via a C-Section. Sometimes, it is a choice; at other times, it’s for medical reasons. While we all know that the procedure and recovery are different in vaginal delivery and a C-section, how does it affect breastfeeding? Let’s find out!
A new mum who has just delivered her baby via a C-section can certainly start her breastfeeding journey and successfully breastfeed her child for as long as she wants. There could be some challenges in the beginning. However, staying informed and giving your best can definitely help a new mum start her breastfeeding journey on the right boob…I mean foot!
Challenges After a C-section
Knowing about the challenges you might face after a C-section can help you be prepared to tackle them. Breastmilk is the best food you can give your baby. So, staying informed and doing things the right way can simplify the seemingly complicated breastfeeding!
1. Not being to feed immediately after delivery.
After a vaginal delivery, the baby can immediately be given the breast to suckle on. However, a C-section involves a spinal block or epidural. In rare cases, it might require general anaesthesia. Depending on which medication you are on, the doctor might advise you not to breastfeed immediately till the effect wears off.
If this happens, do not worry. Breastfeed the little one as soon as you possibly can. And even if it is difficult at first, keep trying till you get it right!
2. Milk doesn’t come in immediately.
Sometimes, after a C-section, milk does not immediately come down. It can take up to 3 days for the milk to come in.
If the milk hasn’t come in yet, you still need to keep trying. The baby can be given a top feed till the milk supply starts. However, till then, periodically let the baby suckle even if there is no milk. The baby’s suckling will help to start the supply soon. Have lots of skin-to-skin contact with the baby.
3. Painful recovery makes it difficult to breastfeed.
During a C-section delivery, an incision is made below the abdomen to get the baby out. The incision takes time to heal just like a wound would. And till it heals completely, it can hurt. This can make it difficult to sit for long hours and breastfeed.
A good way to get around this problem is to use a pillow over the incision and let the baby lie down on the pillow while she nurses. You can also invest in a special breastfeeding pillow to make things more comfortable for you. Ask the nurses at the hospital to help you with the ideal breastfeeding position. Once you get it right, breastfeeding will be a breeze!
4. Postnatal sadness or depression.
Postnatal depression is more common than you would think. However, sometimes it could just be postnatal sadness. Hormones go crazy during pregnancy and childbirth and it can be an emotional roller coaster! This can sometimes be a hurdle in a smooth breastfeeding journey.
Get as much support as you can. Speak to your partner, a friend, a family member, or your doctor. Express your emotions and continue breastfeeding. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. It can actually make you feel better and also help you bond with the baby!
A C-section, especially an emergency C-section, can be an overwhelming experience for some women. The pain that follows can be intense and uncomfortable. But remember that as your body heals, things will get much easier. A postpartum binder can help you get back to your pre-pregnancy shape soon. The binder can also provide good support to the abdomen. However, do consult your gynaecologist before using the binder.
So, new mums, hang in there. You got this! And before you know it, it’s all going to be just fine. ;)