Breastfeeding can have it’s own challenges but when you have a c-section new challenges arise. But no fear you can still be successful breastfeeding after a c-section. You may have to work a little harder and it may take more time but you can do it.
I have been breastfeeding my c-section baby for 3 year now!! And don’t forget just because you had one c-section doesn’t mean you have to have another one. You can have a VBAC!
Related Post: My VBAC Birth Story
This post contains affiliate links which means with your purchase I receive a small commission at no cost to you.
5 Tips for Breastfeeding After a C-Section
Immediate Skin on Skin Contact
This is becoming more of a normal practice even with c-sections which is wonderful. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It was almost 3 hours before I got to even see my oldest. I was so distraught and they acted like I was being dramatic for wanting to see her.
This golden hour is so important for not only breastfeeding but also bonding between mom and baby. Given baby and mom are both stable and doing well you should make it known with your doctor that if something were to happen and you ended up with a c-section that you would want skin on skin right away.
I will share even though it was hours before I got to hold my sweet baby we have been successful breastfeeding! She is actually still nursing at 3 and has been tandem nursing for 17 months with her little sister. So don’t think you have lost hope if something happens and you don’t get to nurse baby right away.
Find a Position that is Comfortable for you
Of course there are typical cradle and cross-cradle breastfeeding positions that work great but if you have had a c-section some positions may not be as comfortable. Between baby touching your incision or how inclined you are.
Don’t fret as long as baby can get a good position on your breast and you are not in pain any position will do. I had a very long baby she was 22 inches at birth and I am only 4 foot 11 so we had to try a few different positions before I found one that was comfortable for me.
This is a great idea for any mom and is something you should think of before even having the baby. Having a nursing station set up for when you get home with baby can be an easy way to cluster feed and not have to worry about snacks and drinks!
Set up everything you will need where you will be nursing. I advise this to be a logical space! For me it was the side table by my recliner! That way I can watch TV and nurse. On my table I have a water straw cup, a gallon of water to refill my cup, nursing pads, my favorite breastfeeding snacks, a book, and phone charger. You can check out a list of breastfeeding must haves here and my favorite snacks!
Breast Milk Supply
It is not uncommon for breast milk to take 4 to 7 days to come in and often times the longer end is for moms who had a c-section. Because we didn’t have a vaginal birth our hormones take a bit of time to catch on to the fact that we had a baby. But don’t worry it will get there.
The precious liquid gold known as colostrum is all that baby needs. With such a small tummy it doesn’t take much to fill them up.
How can you help your supply?
Nurse, Nurse, Nurse! Don’t worry about pumping because that is no indication to what you are producing and can just be discouraging. What you need is the baby on your breast.
Related Post: How to know your baby is full when breastfeeding
It may be overwhelming since you are in pain and exhausted but baby needs to nurse every 2 hours. My oldest nursed non stop for the first week and I am not even close to exaggerating it was so taxing but totally worth it.
You also need to make sure you are getting enough calories and water. I know that it can be a shock when you realize you just ate but are starving! Rest assured it is normal and your body needs those calories to make breast milk.
Related post: Best late night breastfeeding snacks
How will you know your breast milk came in?
Oh you will know! The engorgement that follows your milk coming in can be so painful but it is a good sign. Again you do not need to pump but can hand express for some relief. Or get a Hakka it will change your life! With engorgement can come clogged milk ducts, but don’t fret you can get them to pass with out having to worry about mastitis.
Why no pumping? It signals to your body that you need that milk and you don’t. Just nurse baby and with in 4 to 6 weeks your breast milk supply will regulate and will make what your baby needs. If you need to pump just be aware that baby is much more effective at emptying the breast then a pump is.
Related Post: Surprising Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms
Get Your Rest
Not only did you just have a baby, but you had major surgery. Just because it is done often does not make it any less of a big deal. Your body is going to take some time to get back to normal and you need to allow yourself that time to feel better.
Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy and taking care of a newborn takes a lot too. I know how often you will hear nap when the baby does, but seriously try to rest when the baby is. It maybe hard to do but you need that down time too. Especially if baby is not sleeping well at night.
The housework can wait! I advise if anyone offers some help take them up on it. Ask them to do the dishes, or switch the laundry. Maybe they will be gracious enough to fold some laundry too, don’t feel bad for asking for help. I did and I wish I would have just let it happen!
Related Post: The Best Gifts To Give To a New Mom
This breastfeeding tracker is to help you keep track of when baby nursed, on which side, and diaper changes. It can be so hard to remember everything in those first few weeks while running on little sleep and healing from your c-section.
This tracker can be put in a frame and hung by your nursing station or left on a table next to your recliner then just use a dry erase maker to keep track daily. Or you can print out one for every day! Subscribe below and I will send yours straight to your email!
Don’t let having a c-section scare you out of trying to breastfeed. You can be just as successful as a mother who had a vaginal birth with just a few adjustments. While it can be intimidating it does not have to be hard or stressful! Well not any more stressful then having a newborn at home is!
If you are in need of more breastfeeding support I have an amazing roundup of more than 50 breastfeeding resources from learning how to breastfeeding, to weaning a toddler.