Breastfeeding After Cesarean Birth
Breastfeeding after a cesarean birth is considered as an important way for mother and the baby to get touch with each other. Moreover, this activity can help heal any emotions (sadness and disappointment) especially if the birth did not go as the planning. Breastfeeding can create satisfaction since you know that you have given your best, even after you are still recovering from major surgery.
Several studies show that mothers with cesarean give birth often experience delays in the process of breastfeeding. Since the body of the cesarean section mother before the natural delivery time will not produce the same hormones as the normal delivery process without induction. These hormones regulate the mother’s body to produce a good supply of breast milk. Will breastfeeding after a cesarean section be the same as breastfeeding a baby born normally? Because anesthesia and antibiotics used during surgery may be carried away in milk. For having brief information, let’s see the explanation below.
Recovery of the body after a cesarean delivery usually takes longer time than normal labor. The surgery procedure also influences the breastfeeding process. Besides, usual mothers with longer recovery period are also believed to have difficulty in producing breast milk. Breastfeeding seems more difficult than mothers giving birth normally. However, this does not mean the mother has to delay breastfeeding the baby. Anesthetics and antibiotics used during surgery may be able to flow the breast milk, but it will not harm the baby. The drug will only affect the baby sleepy and easy to sleep.
If you are still unsure or worried about these side effects, you can consult with your doctor first. If the mother wants to breastfeed the baby sooner after surgery, the doctor will recommend using local anesthesia during a cesarean section.
Tips for breastfeeding after a cesarean section
1) Skin to skin
The first thing you need to do is to make contact between your skin and your baby skin. Place the baby on the mother’s chest, be careful for not to get in a surgical wound. Mother’s skin will provide warmth and comfort to the baby. This skin to skin activity will also build a baby’s instinct to get knowing the scent of the mother’s body.
Usually, skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby occurs during normal labor. However, for cesarean deliveries, only a few hospitals do this provided as long as the mother is total consciousness. If the mother wants to find out more, it is recommended to ask the doctor whether the contact between the skin and the post-cesarean baby can be done immediately or not.
2) Let the baby adapt
The baby is above the mother’s chest and learns to know the scent of her mother’s body, it may take a long time, usually 1 hour in normal labor. Moreover, babies born by cesarean are usually easier to fall asleep. This is considered as the right time to give the baby a chance to adapt.
3) Prepare pillows and towels
Before breastfeeding, the mother must determine the most comfortable position. Pillows are needed to support the body and also increase the comfort of the mother while breastfeeding. Mothers can use thick rolled-up towels as pillows if the pillow is too big for babies.
4) Breastfeeding position
One of the first instincts of the mother is to move directly towards the nipple to suckle, even though the eyes are not completely open. To make it easier to suckle, here are two positions did to breastfeed a cesarean baby:
- Lie on your side with a pillow under your head and below your knees. This position is often carried out by mothers who give birth to the cesarean section regarding the tired condition of the mother. In this position, a pillow placed under the knee will reduce the occurrence of abdominal muscle tension. Then a small towel or small bolster can be placed next to the baby so that its position remains facing the mother’s breast.
- Football hold, holding the baby’s head by hand, then pointing his legs under the armpit. The baby’s head is directed to one of the mother’s breasts.
It takes time for the baby to suckle, he may lick the nipple first. To stimulate the baby, try to give a drop of breast milk.
If the baby has a health problem that requires special supervision after birth, the mother can use a breast pump to stimulate milk supply, prevent swelling, and provide as much milk as possible.
5) Get help from other positioning your baby
The body of a mother who has not fully recovered will need the help of a midwife or husband. If you want to feel more comfortable when breastfeeding, you can ask for a private room. It is better to have to help people around you. Ask for help when you want to change the position of the baby so the baby is not exposed to an operating wound or infusion. Make sure someone is watching over the mother while breastfeeding. Because of the position lying on the side, the mother’s body can befall the baby because of fatigue or drowsiness.
Breastfeeding immediately after birth will stimulate the release of the hormone prolactin. This hormone triggers the production of breast milk. Generally, milk is white, it will release (coming in) between the 2nd or 3rd day after delivery. Before this, the breast will release thick yellowish colostrum. Although it’s not in many quantities, it is very rich in immune and nutritional substances.
If the mother cannot breastfeed within 4-6 hours after delivery, the breast must be pumped to be stimulated to produce milk. We recommend that you use hospital-grade breastmilk pumps that can be borrowed from the hospital. You can also use your own breast milk pump if you already have one.
Although the cesarean section makes the milk released a little late, the mother does not need to worry about the baby going hungry. On the first 3 days of life, babies can actually survive without eating anything. Colostrum is enough to fulfill their needs.
Next, you can try these following tips to get more abundant milk production after cesarean section:
1) Feed the baby as often as possible
Feed your baby at least every 2 hours during the day and no more than 4 hours at night. Make a target for breastfeeding at least 10-12 times in 24 hours. The more frequent nursing mothers, the more breast milk production will be.
2) Ask the baby to be treated with the mother
Taking care of the baby in a room as her mother, allows the mother to breastfeed every 2 hours or as often as possible. This helps increase the bond between mother and baby.
3) Avoid supplementing unnecessary formulas
Avoid giving supplementation to formulas, water or anything to babies unless medically needed. Supplements will make babies full before breastfeeding. As a result, it can reduce milk production.
4) Make sure the baby suckles well
The attachment of the baby to the mother’s breast (latch on) can affect the discharge of breast milk and the speed of emptying the breast. Basically, the faster the breast is emptied, the replenished breast milk will be faster and more productive. If these baby’s attachment is incorrect, the milk production will decrease.
5) Try various breastfeeding positions
Cesarean section certainly causes discomfort in the surgical suture area. Breastfeeding a baby in a cradle hold generally becomes less comfortable. Try different types of positions that are by the mother’s condition after a cesarean section.
6) Pay attention to nutritional adequacy and rest time
Eat nutritious foods that are high in protein and pay attention to the adequacy of drinking water. If someone offers help, accept that the mother has time to rest.
7) Try to always relax
Breastfeeding a baby in the first days while learning to be a mother and having to take care of herself after surgery can be stressful things. Even though stress can interfere with milk production. Therefore, the mother must allow the body to relax, for example by taking a warm bath, taking a walk around the house, or massage.
8) Consult a doctor if necessary
Breastfeeding is natural, but it turns out that there are techniques needed to be learned so that the baby can suckle properly. If there are difficulties, do not hesitate to consult a pediatrician.