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Breastfeeding after a Cesarean Section

Nearly one third of deliveries in the US are by C-section. Whether a C-section is planned or not, it can affect a new mom’s ability and desire to breastfeed. Make no mistake; you can still breastfeed after a Cesarean section delivery. In most cases, though, breastfeeding after a C-section will be delayed slightly to allow the new mom time to recover.

Occasionally, mothers who deliver babies via C-section feel intimidated by breastfeeding. Some feel that if they were unable to give natural, vaginal birth, they may also be unable to breastfeed. However, delivering by C-section does not hinder your ability to breastfeed your baby normally. Once you are comfortable enough to hold your new baby, you can begin breastfeeding her right away.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding, both for your baby and for you. These include:

  • Bonding experience between mom and baby
  • The best nutrition available for baby
  • Natural antibodies in breast milk help immunize baby
  • Breastfeeding helps protect mom against breast cancer, osteoporosis, and other health problems

Challenges to Breastfeeding after a C-Section

If you’re feeling up to it, you can start breastfeeding right away after a C-section. In fact, having undergone a C-section gives you one advantage over those who have had a vaginal birth: You will still be under the effects of anesthetic. This can help you avoid pain often experienced during the first few breastfeeding experiences.

There’s no need to worry about the anesthetic affecting your baby. While minute amounts of it do find their way into your breast milk, the medications are not harmful to your baby. The benefits your baby receives from your colostrum far outweigh any effect the anesthetics would have on her.

The only real negative effect from the anesthetic is the increased likelihood of thrush, both for you and your baby. Talk with your doctor about the signs of thrush so you can recognize and treat it right away if you are affected.

One other challenge to breastfeeding after a C-section is that babies who are delivered via C-section are usually drowsy. If you have trouble breastfeeding your baby, don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. Your baby will soon be ready to feed as actively as any other baby. If you find yourself becoming discouraged or having trouble breastfeeding your baby, ask your health care provider about the possibility of having a lactation consultant work with you and your baby.



Posted in Breastfeeding |
Getting Breastfeeding Support

It may be hard to believe, but many doctors, including many pediatricians lack adequate training to support you in breastfeeding your newborn. Dr. Vincent Iannelli, in his report Breastfeeding Support, says that, “It usually isn’t necessarily that they (physicians, pediatricians) have anything against breastfeeding, but instead, many Pediatricians and other health professionals just haven’t received enough education or training to be supportive of breastfeeding, especially when problems occur.”

On a positive note, one of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ main objectives is to train all doctors and their staffs in the skills needed to support breastfeeding. Of course, the AAP has long made clear that breastfeeding has been demonstrably proven to be the healthiest way for mothers to feed their babies.
Finding a pediatrician a general practitioner who is supportive of breastfeeding should be one of your top priorities if you are planning on breastfeeding your baby. However, simply asking doctors whether or not they support breastfeeding probably isn’t the best way to find one. Virtually every doctor will claim to support breastfeeding, while in truth many of them do not, at least not when problems arise.

Perhaps a better place to start looking, preferably before you give birth, is with a lactation consultant. Support groups and organizations such as La Leche League can also be great places to find out which doctors are the real deal when it comes to supporting breastfeeding moms. Don’t be afraid to ask around. If any of your friends have breastfed their babies, find out if they received good support from their doctors.

It may sound like a major step to consider changing doctors over breastfeeding, but consider this:

  • Breastfeeding is almost universally accepted as the healthiest option for your baby. You pass needed antibodies through your milk.
  • Breastfeeding also has significant health benefits for moms, including reduced risk of certain kinds of cancer and osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding offers you a chance to bond with your baby in a truly wonderful way that nothing else quite replicates.
  • Breastfeeding is a lot more economical than formula feeding, saving you significantly on your monthly budgets.
  • The overwhelming majority of breastfeeding complications can be overcome with a little support and coaching.

These are but a few of the many benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby, yet they are well worth looking for a new doctor if your current physician does not adequately support nursing mothers. So, ask around. Make sure that your doctors are going to support your decision to breastfeed, even if it becomes difficult.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
Reducing Breastfeeding Swelling

Swelling during breastfeeding is, unfortunately for many women, a very common thing. In some instances, swelling during breastfeeding simply comes because your breasts are full of milk. In more rare cases, this fullness that causes swelling turns into pain, and can be a sign that you are experiencing engorgement. You’re most likely to have swelling during breastfeeding during those early days of breastfeeding, during that time in which your body is adjusting to your baby’s need for milk.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce swelling during breastfeeding:

  • Use a cabbage leaf compress for swelling during breastfeeding. Literally for centuries women have been able to use a compress to help ease swelling during breastfeeding. In former years, cabbage leaves may have been used, and those work fine for some women today. Simply use a green cabbage, rinse the leaves and dry them, and then cool them in the refrigerator. remove the base, gently pound them, and you can then use them to soothe swelling during breastfeeding.
  • Try a herbal compress. Herbal compresses may use any number of herbs to help soothe swelling during breastfeeding. Chamomile is a popular ingredient, as are black tea leaves.
  • Consider a hot towel. Many women experience relief from breast feeding using a hot towel. Do make sure that the breast is cooled before your baby latches on to feed, however, as you don’t want to accidentally burn your baby’s mouth.
  • Feed more frequently. Obviously you need to balance your baby’s need to feed against your need to address your swelling during breastfeeding. However, some women find that feeding more often relieves the swelling.
  • Express your breasts or use a pump. If your baby isn’t hungry, express your breasts until they are soft, but not until they are empty.

You should also be vigilant about infection. Watch out for the signs that your breasts have become infected, and make sure that the swelling isn’t the result of such an infection.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
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