I’m having a caesarean and am worried I’ll be in too much pain to breastfeed.
Understandable! A caesarean is surgery and the short period after surgery can be uncomfortable. But, you are in luck! Most of the medications associated with caesareans and pain relief are compatible with breastfeeding, however let your doctor know prior to surgery that you are planning to breastfeed your baby.
After a C-section, the pain should be lessened, if not alleviated by the pain medication. By the time your milk comes in, you may not even need the pain medication at all. You may be surprised how quickly you can be up and around after a caesarean.
Initially it may take some more effort on your part to breastfeed after a caesarean, but do not hesitate to ask for help! Your hospital should have a lactation consultant on hand to help you get started. If the lactation consultant isn’t available right away, get family and friends involved. Start breastfeeding as soon as possible following the birth of your baby. Having someone arrange pillows to support you and the baby, or actually hold the baby in place, can make it more comfortable for you to breastfeed right away.
There are different positions that will be helpful to you in breastfeeding after a caesarean. The side lying position is often preferred during the first day or so after surgery. The football, or clutch hold, can also be a more comfortable alternative to the traditional cradle hold, especially during the first week or so after a caesarean.
Even though you may have to overcome some additional challenges in the beginning after a caesarean birth, there is no reason why you can’t nurse your baby happily and successfully. Go for it!