Breastfeeding after a c-section: this is possible!

by marie
(memphis, TN)


My pregnancy was wonderful: I never had nausea, was feeling great all the times, was exercising until my last month (mostly swimming)... but baby didn't cooperate and I went into labor at 36w4d with a breech baby. I was devastated that night at the hospital when I realized I would have to get a c-section. All my wishes of having a great natural birth vanished. I never stopped crying all through the preparation for the surgery. Everything went very fast then. My baby went to the nursery for one day for observation. Despite the pain and my restricted mobility, my husband rolled me to the nursery where I tried the first time to put my baby on my breast. It was not easy because of the positioning but I realized that my baby was actually sucking! Even if my milk had not come, I pumped the rich milk to give to him (while he was actually given formula at the nursery). Because of the morphine, I was feeling groggy and was vomiting all the times, but less than 24h later my baby was in the room and I could enjoy him. My first encounter with a lactation nurse at the hospital had been pretty traumatic: she had literally grabbed the head of my baby and stuck it onto my breast without explaining the positions with my c-section or giving me hints to facilitate the feeding. The second and last day at the hospital (we decided to leave because the hospital personnel was horrible and I would have felt better at home), I saw a English lactation nurse that was a wonderful person. Explaining how to use my Boppy and the positions I should use with my c-section, the latching, the cracks in my nipples... what a relief. Once home, my milk started coming pretty quickly but baby was not a big drinker. We didnt wait to introduce the bottle and I dont regret. I went back to work pretty fast after 8 weeks. During these weeks, my husband was doing the morning shift, feeding the baby with my milk the morning and I was taking over the rest of the day. I was pumping each time I was waking up so baby would have enough milk for the next day. Then I went back to work and baby went to daycare. I never stopped breastfeeding. I was pumping twice a day at work, bringing the milk home or at the daycare for baby. Doing so, I fed my baby 8 months! Then he took much more interest in solid foods and weaning was actually pretty gradually and without any trouble. Breastfeeding never stopped my activities like sports or shopping. I was breastfeeding in public if necessary, asking for a room sometimes. Having special breastfeeding shirts and bras helped a lot. I never bought those breastfeeding blankies thinking that my baby will suffocate underneath and anyway, I was discreet enough so you could not see my breast while I was feeding my baby.

Despite having a c-section and a terrible memory of it, breastfeeding my baby was the happiest and proudest time I had with my baby. I enjoyed breastfeeding a lot. My baby and I developed a very strong bond. I am also petite, had a small breasts, had cracks in my nipples, sometimes pain and leaks and introduced the bottle the first week but I breastfed my baby!
Formula is convenient but I believe that if Mother Nature makes other female mammals feed their babies, well our boobs must fulfill the same purpose. A good organization and especially a strong will to breastfeed, no argument comes to excuse not being able to breastfeed. Other advantages? It saved me a lot of money, offered me a strong lean baby and I lost all of my baby weight within the first month! Breastfeeding is great and I will redo it with my next little one. Hope this can inspire you.

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May 22, 2012
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Yes you can do it!!
by: Anonymous

I have two kids, both were delivered c-section and both were breast fed with not problems. My son was breast fed for 9 months. He started getting teeth at 3 1/2 months and was eating finger foods by 8 months and just gradually lost interest in breast feeding. My daughter was in the NICU for 5 days. She was transported to another hospital and I had to stay in the hospital where I delivered her. We were apart for the first 3 days, but she is now 1 month old and being exclusively breast fed. I asked for a breast pump at the hospital as soon an I knew she was going to be taken to a different location. I started pumping every 3 hours to get my milk to come in. It was terrible being separated. I could do nothing for her except make sure my milk came in so she could have the BEST!!I was lying 30 mins away from her barley able to move, but I was determined that she would have the chance to breast feed and all the benefits that come with it when she was ready and able to. Nothing came out for the first 3 days, but the stimulation is what you need. It was very hard and I was devastated that I had only seen my new born daughter for 1 hour in 3 days!! She was given formula in the NICU. I was released on the 3rd day and went to see her. I put her to the breast and she started suckling!! I was so excited!! I went home and took a nap and went back that night to see her again and my milk started coming in!! 3.5 days post c-section and separated from the time she was born until day 5. So please don't give up hope!! You CAN breast feed a c-section!! And you CAN breast feed if you are separated from your new born!!! I have done it and it was hard work, but you can do it too!!

Jul 21, 2011
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breast feeding after c section
by: kellie

I breast fed my son 10 years ago(for 18 months). It was very difficult the first 4 months but worth all the pain. He was delivered naturally after a 20 hour labour. 10 years later I had my daughter. She was much larger than my son and I didn't go into labour,she never engaged so at 42 weeks I had to have a c section which was VERY traumatic,I was devastated and also cried during the prep. I was so tempted to get up and run out of the operating room. My 2 kids have different fathers so I was desperate for my husband to experience natural child birth as his son from previous marriage was also a c section. Anyway, she latched on well and although I had problems once again breast feeding,it was much easier as I knew better than I did with my first at 20 years old. I was very groggy from the morphine and have little memory from the first few days. She is 4 months now and I am very much enjoying my little girl,she feeds 4 hourly and only wakes once at night unlike my son who was ALWAYS feeding. If you get the right advice and try very hard you CAN successfully bf after c section. Yes it was painful because of the cut but it was painful after natural labour as well. Both my babies had severe reflux but again unlike with my son,I knew better this time and my daughter is medicated and is pain free so we can enjoy each other. I am still upset about having the c section but I bonded very well with both kids and I know that breast feeding them was very important for the bonding process.

Dec 27, 2010
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Read this story and get some inspiration!!!!
by: Sarit

What a wonderful and inspiring story!!
A lot of moms can learn that they can overcome every difficulties in their breastfeeding journey.

Thank you for sharing your story, I hope more moms will share their own story after you.

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