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Nursing after C-section

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Old 02-04-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
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Default Nursing after C-section

Anyone here nursing after a Csection? I wasn't able to BF my son (I expressed) for a variety of complications relating to his horrible (vaginal) delivery, and because of it I will be having a scheduled C section next time.

Please share your experience I will also be hiring a doula to make sure that BF can really take off. Suggestions, experiences, best positions? I stopped taking my pill last week
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:00 PM   #2
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I nursed after both of my c-sections...no problems. My milk came in at 3 days after both. In terms of recovery, I have heard bad and good stories, and mine was bad, IMO. Very sore for a long time, it was hard to get out of bed (I was also 250+ pounds though, so that played a factor). I just made sure I was set up where I was, and had everything I needed in easy reach, and I used my breastfeeding pillow to protect my incision. Then when we got side lying nursing figured out, same deal, I just made sure to protect my incision. My DH helped a lot in terms of getting the baby for me, or helping me out of bed, or whatever I needed. We co-slept which made things easier too. I would suggest having help around as much as possible, as it is difficult to do things after and you want to take it easy to recover more quickly, especially with another little one around. My mom came and helped a lot, and was a godsend - especially after DH had to go back to work.

Are you planning to express for your next baby too or will you be nursing from the breast? I expressed for my son because of latch problems (horrible cracks and bleeding) but we moved to nursing from the breast within a week or so. With DD we nursed on the breast from the start but again had a lot of nipple pain - I expected it to be better with her but, nope! I had my latch checked and everything looked OK, I think it was just something I needed to get through. Once we hit the 3-4 week mark, it was a lot better.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:51 PM   #3
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I nursed for 14.5 months after my c-section with no issues. It sounds like you're well prepared and hiring a doula is great.

I'm in awe that you are ready for another so soon My son has been pretty easy, but I'm just barely ready for another and he'll be 30 months next month. Sadly, the economy is making it impossible at this juncture which is making my baby fever worse.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:11 PM   #4
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I just wanted to add that my c-section experience was ok. I wouldn't say it was bad, but I certainly wouldn't say it was a walk in the park either. In fact, I may consider a VBAC next time. Obviously not knowing the circumstances of your birth, I can't comment with any certainty, but I would make sure you give your decision a lot of thought. The recovery from a c-section is pretty rough and there can be complications with nursing, although I think they are fairly uncommon.

You asked about positions before, you can google your heart's content on that. Really it will come down to you and your baby and what works for the two of you.
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by sept15lija View Post
I nursed after both of my c-sections...no problems. My milk came in at 3 days after both. In terms of recovery, I have heard bad and good stories, and mine was bad, IMO. Very sore for a long time, it was hard to get out of bed (I was also 250+ pounds though, so that played a factor). I just made sure I was set up where I was, and had everything I needed in easy reach, and I used my breastfeeding pillow to protect my incision. Then when we got side lying nursing figured out, same deal, I just made sure to protect my incision. My DH helped a lot in terms of getting the baby for me, or helping me out of bed, or whatever I needed. We co-slept which made things easier too. I would suggest having help around as much as possible, as it is difficult to do things after and you want to take it easy to recover more quickly, especially with another little one around. My mom came and helped a lot, and was a godsend - especially after DH had to go back to work.

Are you planning to express for your next baby too or will you be nursing from the breast? I expressed for my son because of latch problems (horrible cracks and bleeding) but we moved to nursing from the breast within a week or so. With DD we nursed on the breast from the start but again had a lot of nipple pain - I expected it to be better with her but, nope! I had my latch checked and everything looked OK, I think it was just something I needed to get through. Once we hit the 3-4 week mark, it was a lot better.
I think cosleeping is also the best idea. My son refuses to do it (he thinks it is playtime) but hopefully the next one will. I want to do it from the breast, I hated expressing, but it was either that or formula, he could not be put on the breast. Yeah I guess the nipple pain is part of the deal, I haven't heard anyone say it didn't hurt! Thank you for sharing

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Deltawifey View Post
I haven't had a csection but I've nursed both of my kids for a little over a year. The first month of nursing my kids always hurt no matter the latch or what position I was in. After the first month it no longer hurt unless we were dealing with thrush (ouch). You can do it Also the best positions for me were lying down, and the football hold. I have large breast and I was able to hold them across my lap until they were several months old.
Thanks I have tiny boobs (A cup), perhaps football would work better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I nursed for 14.5 months after my c-section with no issues. It sounds like you're well prepared and hiring a doula is great.

I'm in awe that you are ready for another so soon My son has been pretty easy, but I'm just barely ready for another and he'll be 30 months next month. Sadly, the economy is making it impossible at this juncture which is making my baby fever worse.
I have to admit I hate the newborn stage (my son was very colicky) but since we'd like at least 2, I figure might as well get going!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I just wanted to add that my c-section experience was ok. I wouldn't say it was bad, but I certainly wouldn't say it was a walk in the park either. In fact, I may consider a VBAC next time. Obviously not knowing the circumstances of your birth, I can't comment with any certainty, but I would make sure you give your decision a lot of thought. The recovery from a c-section is pretty rough and there can be complications with nursing, although I think they are fairly uncommon.

You asked about positions before, you can google your heart's content on that. Really it will come down to you and your baby and what works for the two of you.
Glad to hear it was okay. My son had severe shoulder dystocia which left him with clavicle fractures and we also thought he had erb's palsy (which he didn't), he came out blue and almost died. So there is a 20% (1/5) chance it happens again with subsequent pregnancies and can't be prevented... so as much as I would hate a C-section (because I wouldn't want it really!), the complications to myself and to nursing are not as bad as the risk of the alternative.

Thank you
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:11 AM   #6
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I was able to successfully BF after an emergency c-section; my son was born 8 weeks early and was in the NICU for a month. We had every breastfeeding complication imaginable- he was started on bottles so had nipple confusion, I had flat nipples, he developed breastfeeding apnea, I had low supply and then oversupply, clogged ducts, mastitis... you name it, we probably experienced it.

A nipple shield helped with a lot of our early problems. Cosleeping was a HUGE help. My midwife and lactation consultant were huge sources of support.

I did notice that nursing made my c/s scar hurt like a SOB. It was pretty yucky but then felt better after awhile.

There's definitely some things to research about nursing after a c/s- if I recall, there's some information about in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League).

A doula is a WONDERFUL idea, as is choosing a lactation consultant ahead of time. Also joining and participating in La Leche league is a good idea too.

When you have your c/s, get up and get moving as soon as you possibly can, even if it hurts. As soon as they say you can move, get out of bed and walk. You'll be better off for it later. Because of my condition (preeclampsia and HELLP with postpartum reemergence), I had to lay flat on my back for three days after my c/s, which caused adhesions to form and awful pain for over a year afterward. If I would have been allowed to get up, I could have probably avoided that.

My c/s experience sucked because it was an emergency and I was really, really sick. I experienced a lot of bruising from the spinal and had back pain for over a year. But mostly everyone I know (except me, lol!) had pretty positive experiences with their c/s and nursing afterward. One of my friends was running just 6 weeks later.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:48 AM   #7
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I've nursed after and emergency C-section and 2 subsequent planned C-sections. After the emergency section, nursing took awhile to take off. I was in recovery, baby was sleepy and would fall asleep before managing to latch. After the planned sections, it was so much easier. Since you'll be at the hospital during regular business hours, the lactation consultants will be there to help and you can probably call ahead of time and make sure they come to help you after delivery. I had the easiest time with the football hold. It didn't put as much pressure on my incision and I have large breasts also.

I second the advice to get up and move as soon as they say it's okay to. My nurses insisted on it anyway, but I continued to walk as often as I could. They'll offer you pain killers; make sure they haven't worn off before you get up to move. I made sure to walk a lot even after being discharged, and recovered fairly quickly. For nighttime feedings, my DH always got the baby and brought him/her to me so I wouldn't have to get out of bed and climb back in (besides, I tried to do it by myself once and fell on the step I had to use to get in bed - baby was fine because I instinctively protected her, but I had awful bruises and it hurts an incredible amount to fall like that 3 days after surgery). I always had to prop myself up in bed though because trying to lie down and nurse made the loose skin around my incision "droop" sideways and hurt.

I nursed all 3 of my kids until 13 months (they all self-weaned about the same time - weird coincidence? or my breasts just give out about then?).
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:26 PM   #8
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I haven't personally done it but I know of many, many women who have. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck and good for you for hiring a doula right away to help! Maybe you could also contact your local LLL to see if they have any suggestions too. Good luck!!!
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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I'm currently nursing my third after c/s. I nursed the first two each 23 months.

Get the baby on as soon as you can for the first nursing, keeping in mind that s/he might be a little groggy from the things they pump into you for surgery. Just keep at it, especially the first few days (3-5) until your milk comes in (try not to use a pacifier at all until the baby is nursing well). When it does, engorgement can be painful. Just keep nursing and even extracting if necessary--warm showers and cold packs can help. Don't let it get you down--it does get better. If the baby doesn't latch on properly, it can be painful to nurse. Lanolin helps to keep nipples moisturized if it's really a problem. Once you and the baby get into a good rhythm, it'll get easier.
Every baby is different. Some nurse easily from the get-go, others need more time. Some latch on wonderfully the first time, others need practice (at the expense of your nipples).
I wish you the best of luck!
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