Yes! You can breastfeed after a cesarean.
“Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life,”World Health Organization
Although many are told that they can not breastfeed their babies after a cesarean, I have been able to teach several mamas here that that is simply not the case.
✔️Breastfeeding is the best for your baby even while having taken antibiotics (medications typically used during cesarean do not pass into the breastmilk).
✔️Milk production has nothing to do with mode of delivery. The process of milk production, which is stimulated by a mother’s hormones, begins with the removal of the placenta from the uterus.
✔️Mothers who have a cesarean delivery CAN have skin-to-skin and breastfeed their baby’s in the delivery room.
✔️WHO recommends initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of life. With help and support, mothers who have had a cesarean are absolutely capable of breastfeeding their babies.
✔️If mother and baby must be separated, or breastfeeding is not possible within the first hour, a mother can hand express her milk, and the baby can be fed the expressed milk or a temporary alternative with a cup or a spoon.
✔️Avoid introducing a bottle, as it may cause nipple confusion and hinder breastfeeding.
✔️Remember that for the first few days after birth a mother’s colostrum has all the energy and nutrients a baby needs! Milk supply will come in within a few days.
✔️A cesarean wound can be very tender and painful. You can try breastfeeding while side-lying or using a cradle hold. One of the best ways to breastfeed is referred to as “laid back breastfeeding” and you can modify this technique by allowing baby’s body to fall to the side and off of your abdomen.
✔️C-section babies may have higher birth weights and slightly greater initial weight loss due to IV fluids given during the surgery. You should not immediately be worried about a slightly higher initial weight loss if your baby is breastfeeding well and producing an appropriate amount of wet and dirty diapers. (See my Resources page for a Healthy Bowels for Newborns chart.)