Giving birth is extremely hard. It is long and exhausting and painful in so many ways. It doesn’t matter how you give birth or where it is going to hurt and the recovery will be hard as well. Breastfeeding can be a challenge after giving birth you are sore, struggling to move, especially if you have had a c section or have had any tearing or even just dealing with the overall result of childbirth can be hard. Whether it was planned or by emergency, breastfeeding can be a hard thing to maneuver after having a cesarean section.
Sometimes having a c section can impact breast milk production but with my personal experience that first skin to skin contact after birth has always helped as well as being consistent with trying. It does take your milk a few days to come in and this is hard to understand when you are in the moment and wanting to feed your baby. This can feel overwhelming like you aren’t doing your part but remember baby doesn’t need much at first and can do just fine with drinking your colostrum before your milk finally comes in. Just keep at it and don’t lose hope, Sometimes milk never comes in and supplementing needs to happen but don’t give up you are doing great.
The physical restrictions
It can be hard to move around after a c section and that can make an impact on how you are able to breastfeed. I have had three and it doesn’t get any easier but figuring out what works for you and your baby makes a huge difference. Positioning is important as your stomach is tender and sore so laying baby right on top of your stomach can cause discomfort. Use your breastfeeding pillow to add extra cushion depending on what position you are using.
Rely on the people around you to help move baby around to different positions as it is hard to move around while sitting or laying down. As your body and the incision begins to heal, it will start to get easier with time.
Things that can help with breastfeeding that helped me
Breastfeed right away. This is important no matter what kind of birth you had, that skin to skin contact is so important for babies development and helps that colostrum come in due to a release of hormones.
Keep baby with you as much as possible. For a few weeks you will need as much help as physically possible when it comes to helping with baby. If you can keep baby with you as much as possible this will help with the consistency of breastfeeding and skin to skin contact.
Use your breast pump. I used to think that my breast pump was used only if I was planning on going somewhere. But I soon discovered that using your breast pump shortly after birth helps stimulate milk and I would rotate pumping and nursing at first and it really helped.
Take advantage of all the help you can get. I am the type to never ask for help but when I had each of my children, it was very difficult, especially at night to do anything on my own. I didn’t want to ask for help because I didn’t want to be annoying but you must know that is what the help is for, to help you. I would ring my nurses and they were so wonderful helping me to the restroom and helping me with baby so I can breastfeed. You need help and you need to ask for help or else you will feel discouraged about breastfeeding.
Having a cesarean section can be very hard on you physically, mentally and emotionally. But all of these restrictions shouldn’t discourage you from pushing forward in your journey to breastfeed. It can feel easy to want to quit, especially if you are wanting to grab baby but it hurts because your incision feels on fire. Your milk may be slower and you feel like you are failing, you're not you are doing a great job.
Take your time, ask for help and REST and most importantly breathe. It takes work and time and not only are you healing from a major surgery you are trying to learn a new task called Breastfeeding cut yourself some slack. If you feel confident in yourself you can overcome this! One day at a time.
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