I hate doing this, but I always feel it necessary. I have to note that I am by no means a “medical” expert. However, I have been nursing for the past 7 years straight. I have nursed as a self-weening parent, (meaning my baby’s always chose their end date), I have nursed before, during, and after my pregnancies, and I have nursed successfully after a baby with a “breast-milk” allergy, a home birth baby, as well as now a cesarean birth.
Before I go into breast feeding after my cesarean. I want to talk quickly about my Bodhi having a “breast milk” allergy. I am sure there are instances where baby could or is allergic to their mother’s milk. However, I believe that most of the time it is not the milk itself that is hard for baby to digest, but what the mom is consuming that goes into her milk that makes her baby react negatively.
I was told with Bodhi that he was allergic to my milk. I didn’t sit well with that answer, so I dug deep for myself to figure out what I could do to make sure that, that was in fact true and not another reason that I could potentially fix.
Thankfully, after discovering I had a gluten and dairy allergy as well as Bodhi, (which we couldn’t find out with him until 6 months old due to not being old enough to allergy test) had the same allergies…him and I had a beautiful and fruitful nursing relationship, (that would take us to almost 5 years of age!). Bottom line…please do your own research before you let an “expert” tell you what is best for your baby. Your motherly intuition is not to be scoffed at. I knew in my gut that Bodhi was best with my breast milk; but, I had to really fight for that.
On to breastfeeding after cesarean!
I was really REALLY nervous about nursing after my cesarean.
I read article after article and story after story about moms not getting their milk until 24 hours after a mom would if she had, had her baby vaginally. I also heard that some of the medications could hinder milk production or make it harder for milk to come in all together.
I knew that Finn was going to be born early due to placenta previa and his best go at life at an early start was with my milk. I was willing to put in the “work” as long as I had the support.
Thankfully, I had the best support there was. I had a birth plan written up before hand that stated very clearly that I wanted to exclusively breast feed. The nursing staff on the labor & delivery floor as well as the NICU were extremely supportive of our choice; they too agreed that if mom was wanting, breast was best.
I requested as soon as I was feeling well enough to have a pump and to start pumping while Finn was at the NICU. Using a pump was extremely daunting for me. In the past, I had a hard time using an automatic pump. I found that when I used a pump with a hard-shelled cup my nipples became over stretched and sore. However, I did what I had to do and kept my mind off of the discomfort and onto the fact that any milk was a huge advantage for Finn and I on our breastfeeding journey together.
What worked in my favor?
- Nursing staff and hospital staff were SUPER supportive. I think that is huge for any mother’s success in breastfeeding. If you have everyone lifting you up, encouraging you to breastfeed, you feel so much more empowered. If you have people telling you to give up and just bottle feed…then that’s what you probably will end up doing.
- Finn, when put on my breast, had an amazing latch! between my experience with nursing already as well as his hunger…we were meant to be a breastfeeding team.
- I drank a TON of water and stayed hydrated so that milk could be made.
- I eat food that supports and nourishes my milk-making body, (bone broth, fermented foods, adequate carbohydrates)
- I really want to nurse.
What did I have a hard time with?
- Using an automatic pump. I had a hard time getting any milk to express initially. However, I watched babies nursing on youtube and that really helped my let down.
- I missed Finn and having him nurse directly after birth. But, I think knowing that his success in the NICU depended on me getting better and producing milk, motivated me.
- I was in pain from surgery and any added pain, (in the chest region) was added discomfort I didn’t have the capacity to bear at times. Thankfully, ibuprofen really helped manage my pain as well as anti-gas meds. PLEASE take something to help your body feel comfortable enough where you can nurse successfully! it really is okay for a short period of time, (at least in my world).
Here is my jaundice, scrawny little 5 lb 12 oz baby when my milk was first coming in
After a couple of weeks nursing…
Check out the cheeks! skin cleared up from jaundice too!
Ryan and I lovingly call this face the “boob drunk” face. All of my boys after nursing have the dreamiest look 😉 I love how happy/content they are!
If you are like me and leak a bunch on the side that isn’t being nursed on I highly recommend buying this!
You just put your nipple in the hole, make sure the plastic device is inserted to make sure that it doesn’t collapse on you and spill milk, and PLEASE remember to stay upright, (otherwise milk will spill out). I collect milk, a TON of milk, like this. I have been putting the latest milk in bags and freezing for later.
I hope my post helps those mommas wanting to nurse, but feeling slightly intimidated. I believe that success can be had in any situation wether baby is born vaginally, cesarean, with meds, without meds. The number one key to my success, I believe, has been the support surrounding my choice and my strong desire to nurse.
Happy breast feeding! Please feel free to comment below or add any suggestions you might have.