Tips for Breastfeeding After a C-Section

by Amy Paturel

Tips for Breastfeeding After a C-Section

Why a C-section doesn’t have to nix your nursing plans

Plan to start nursing as soon as you and your newborn lock eyes? A C-section, whether planned or not, could make it a bit more difficult. But have no fear. Studies show that women whose babies are born by C-section and who have a strong commitment to making nursing work are just as successful at breastfeeding as moms who deliver vaginally.

Oxytocin, the hormone that starts labor, also pushes milk toward the milk ducts. So, if labor doesn't start and the C-section is planned, oxytocin may take longer to do its job. “Milk comes in about three days later after natural labor. After a C-section, it could be up to a week,” says registered nurse Eleanor Forbes, an advanced nurse practitioner at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and a lactation consultant.

The good news: You can help the release of oxytocin and get your milk flowing. Here's how:

Express Yourself 

Put baby to the breast as much as possible. Even if he's unable to nurse at first, express milk with a pump or by hand.

Frankie Says Relax 

“Meditate, close your eyes or just take some deep breaths,” suggests Forbes. Comfort is key.

Pop a Pill 

“Manage pain with doctor-prescribed medication,” says Forbes. You'll be more at ease, promoting flow.