Tips for Breastfeeding After a Cesarean Section
Your baby spends 9 comfortable months growing inside your womb. Meanwhile you prepare for delivery. Delivery looks different for everyone, every single time. In 2021 in the United States, there were 3,661,401 births! About 67.9% of those were vaginal births and 32.1% of them were cesarean deliveries. No matter how your baby is delivered, your baby is earth side!1
Due to the delivery method, babies born by cesarean section are not exposed to the beneficial microbes that they would typically be exposed to during a vaginal birth. These microbes help your baby’s microbiome (gut health) to develop, which helps with digestion and immune system support. So, what to do if you’re worried about your baby missing out on microbes? Never fear – there is a way to introduce these microbes to support the gut – breastfeeding!
Evivo, an infant probiotic, was created specifically to work together with breast milk to deliver good bacteria to your baby’s gut. Making a probiotic part of your feeding routine from day one is a great way to get your baby off to a great start.
The task of breastfeeding alone can be tedious, but breastfeeding after a cesarean section has added obstacles. Here are some ways that you can empower yourself when breastfeeding after a cesarean section.
● Do skin-to-skin as soon as possible. Once medically permitted for both you and baby, it is a great time to do skin-to-skin. If you are unable to do skin-to-skin right away, that is ok! Your baby can do this with your partner or support person as well. Plus the benefits continue for time to come!
● Learn hand expression. Learning hand expression prenatally helps to give you confidence in your body! Your body has been creating milk since your 2nd trimester. Once you are close to your due date, and you have been cleared by your provider, you can begin to practice! Any milk you express can be saved to use once your baby has arrived. When your baby arrives, hand expressing for a few minutes after can also help build a great base for your milk supply/production.
● Baby feeding support from a lactation professional. Lactation professionals, such as SimpliFed can begin to help you in pregnancy by teaching you about the process of milk production and what to expect in the first few weeks. They can also assist with latching concerns, milk supply issues, and even supplementing if need be once your baby has arrived! Moreover, under federal law, their services must be covered by your insurance at no cost to you.
● Learn reverse pressure softening. Due to IV fluids given to you during the cesarean section, as well as the transition from colostrum milk to transitional milk, your breasts can become very full and swollen, making it difficult for your baby to latch. However, by learning reverse pressure softening, you can move some of the swelling towards your chest wall, making the breast tissue located around the nipple and areola easier to latch onto.
● Understand that your baby’s weight may fluctuate! Regardless of delivery method, your baby may lose a small amount of weight in the first 24 hours of life. This can be exacerbated by the IV fluids received during labor and delivery. No worries though! Your care team will be prepared for that weight loss and ensure that it does not exceed 10% of their birth weight.
● Find a breastfeeding position comfortable for you. Cesarean section is a major abdominal surgery so it can be difficult to find a comfortable feeding position. Ask for help getting into position, use as many pillows as you need, and take it slow when you are moving and adjusting.
Try rolling to your side with knees bent and then use your arms to push upright, slowly lowering your feet when getting up.*
More about Evivo
Evivo was developed by scientists to improve infant health by supporting the gut and microbiome. Decades of their research showed that breast milk has a bacterial partner, B. infantis, that creates a natural protective system. Evivo introduces a specific strain of this helpful bacteria, B. infantis EVC001 into the infant gut. It’s the single strain every baby needs and found in Evivo. Evivo works by favorably changing gut biochemistry to reduce potentially harmful bacteria and intestinal inflammation, both of which have been linked to increased risk of short- and long-term health problems. The combination of Evivo and breast milk creates a protective infant gut environment, for a foundation of good health.
1Distributionof vaginal and cesarean deliveries: United States, 2021. (2022, January). March of Dimes | PeriStats.