I want to breastfeed after my Caesarean

Q: I’m due to have my baby by Caesarean. Will the operation or the drugs affect my ability to breastfeed?


Midwife Katie says:

A planned Caesarean is far less problematic when it comes to breastfeeding than an emergency C-section. You’ll probably have a spinal anaesthetic and be awake for the delivery. Try to talk to the midwife who’ll be in theatre with you to let her know you want to breastfeed. She can then ensure you hold your baby as soon as he’s born.
This is important as studies show early skin-to-skin contact with your baby improves the chances of them latching on. Lay your baby naked on your bare chest with a towel over him – given enough time, at least up to an hour, he’ll probably want to feed.
After the first feed, don’t let the baby sleep more than six hours without feeding him again. Look for signs that he’s more wakeful, like licking his lips or sucking. Then, make sure you offer him a feed before he cries and becomes frustrated.
You may be given pain-relieving drugs, which do go into the breastmilk and make both you and your baby sleepy, although more maternity units are using drugs that don’t cause drowsiness. If your baby is sleepy, express a little milk onto his lips to rouse him.
Most babies feed frequently in the first few days, which stimulates your milk supply, but if your baby doesn’t – perhaps due to the drugs – your midwife will show you how to express milk.


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