By Jacque Ordner BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC
Most moms don’t anticipate having a cesarean delivery, but for some it is unavoidable. In fact, the U.S. c-section rate is a staggering 31.9%. We know that birth interventions can also have a correlation with increased breastfeeding difficulties, and cesarean deliveries are a BIG intervention. However, the correlation might surprise you! As many as 41% of women who experience emergency cesarean delivery have a higher proportion of breastfeeding difficulties. Studies also tell us that women who deliver via planned c-section are less likely to continue breastfeeding beyond 12 weeks postpartum compared to those who deliver vaginally. How can you help improve your chances of breastfeeding success despite the challenges of cesarean delivery? Read on for our best tips!
- Be prepared – Take a breastfeeding class, preferably taught by an IBCLC, and make sure you learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before you ever deliver.
- Know your resources – Identify local breastfeeding experts in your community. Find a breastfeeding support group locally or online. Call on friends and family who have had breastfeeding success because their support will be invaluable!
- Get a pump – Having a hospital strength pump and being familiar with it can be a saving grace if directly nursing is difficult. Our S1 and 9+ models have a rechargeable battery, so we recommend having them all charged up in preparation for baby’s arrival as well!
- Latch baby soon after delivery if possible – The first hour after delivery is often called the “Golden Hour” because nursing within this time frame can help lead to nursing success later on. If mom and baby are stable, nursing right in the operating room can even be a possibility!
- Skin to skin – This super cozy practice can have big payoffs when it comes to baby’s temperature and blood sugar stability, but it is also a great way to encourage breastfeeding and abundant breastmilk production.
- Wake baby if needed – Some anesthesia/pain medications related to cesarean deliveries can cause sleepiness in baby. For this reason, it is recommended to wake baby every 2-3 hours for feeds if they’re not waking up on their own.
- Nursing Positions – Get familiar with c-section friendly nursing positions such as side-lying, laid back, and the football hold. The right position can help make nursing more comfortable for mom and more effective for baby!
- Make your wishes known – If nursing is high on your priority list, let the hospital staff and your support people know that you wish to avoid supplements unless they are truly medically necessary. Avoiding pacifiers and bottles in the early days and weeks can help increase breastfeeding success.
With the right preparation and support, moms can reach their breastfeeding goals no matter they type of delivery they experience! We’re here to help as well…..schedule a FREE pumping consultation with one of our IBCLCs to help prepare before baby arrives or at any time during your breastfeeding journey. www.spectrababyusa.com/lactationservices
FastStats – Births – Method of Delivery. (2017, January 20). Retrieved March 31, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/delivery.htm
Hobbs, A. J., Mannion, C. A., McDonald, S. W., Brockway, M., & Tough, S. C. (2016). The impact of caesarean section on breastfeeding initiation, duration, and difficulties in the first four months postpartum. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16(90). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4847344
Prior, E., Santhakumaran, S., Gale, C., Philipps, L. H., Modi, N., & Hyde, M. J. (2012). Breastfeeding after cesarean delivery: a systematic review and meta-analysis of world literature. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(5), 1113–1135. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.030254
Yan, Y., Gao, X., & Xiang, S. (2020). Effects of Cesarean Delivery on Breastfeeding Practices and Duration: A Prospective Cohort Study. Journal of Human Lactation, 34(11). doi: 10.1177/0890334417741434