Today’s blog post is a little different from my usual content, but after getting several direct messages, comments and emails from other moms I wanted to share. You know I am all about helping out another mama and if you have faced or are facing a c-section and your hope is to breastfeed your baby, I wanted to offer you some tips that personally helped me.
First I want to say that nursing is not a prerequisite for being an awesome mom. Your baby being fed is the most important thing along with EVERYONE being happy and healthy. If breastfeeding is something you were unable to do or something that you just didn’t want to do. THAT IS OKAY. You are an awesome mama.
I had my first (and only) c-section on June 20th. It was quite unexpected and not how I saw things happening. I am blessed that I was able to nurse my three boys until their first birthday. And that is my goal with Libby too.
So here are my tips.
Let your intentions be known.
Tell the hospital staff assisting you from the get-go that you want to nurse and you need support. When I found out I was going to have a c-section I told them I wanted to nurse as soon as possible.
Because Libby was preterm I didn’t get to do immediate skin to skin and it was over an hour after delivering before I got to hold her. As soon as she was returned to me I asked to nurse her. I couldn’t even sit up in the bed yet. But my husband and the nurse assisted me.
Grab a pillow.
The boppy is also good for the car ride home from the hospital. Having a pillow to brace yourself and your incision with as your car hits bumps on the way home helps.
Call on lactation
Let the nursing staff know you want the lactation consultant to come as soon as possible. Any good hospital will have more than one on staff and their nurses will be trained to do lactation so you'll have that support immediately.
We had Libby at 3:22 a.m. and by 9 a.m. the lactation consultant was in our room. Because Libby was preterm she didn't know how to eat right away and we kind of had to teach her. Also, my milk hadn't come in yet- a lot of times with c-sections it takes five days for your milk to come in and so you're feeding your baby colostrum. Your baby is getting fed but it feels like nothing is happening and that can be very discouraging.
The hospital has medical grade pumps you can use while you’re there. These are far better than the pump you have at home. They will usually give you parts to go with it so your own tubes and flanges and bottles.
You might not get anything; you might get just drops. Those drops matter. Put on a gloved finger swipe the drops put it in your baby's mouth.
The pump is also telling your brain to produce milk.
I absolutely detest pumping. You might have heard of the term nursing aversion. I have pumping aversion. I hate pumping it makes me feel nauseated, it makes my skin crawl. I don't like doing it but I did it for my baby. I realized that my attitude toward it was everything. I realized in the middle of the night when I was pumping my attitude towards this situation it's gonna affect everything and so I had to take it from “I have to do this every hour” to “I get to do this to help my baby have a good start.”
And you know the next morning my milk came in and it had only been like two and a half days.
I've had other children so obviously that's gonna make it come in earlier but I can't help but think that having the right attitude kind of made things shift and it definitely made things easier.
If your lactation consultant tells you that you need to supplement in the beginning you are not a failure you have not failed and you can continue to go on and have a successful nursing relationship. Libby lost 5% of her weight overnight and so we had to start giving her formula. By the time we got home from the hospital, I was producing enough milk on my own that I didn't have to give her any more formula.
So at the hospital, they will give you that big jug of water with the hospital's logo on it. It's huge. Drink as many of those a day as possible. I aim for three. I filled up with ice and water and I just sip on it throughout the day but I feel like I drink a lot more while I'm actually feeding her.
Invest in good bras.
Have the proper equipment when it comes to nursing and by that, I mean good at nursing bras. Some of the nursing bras that I recommend are this Motherhood Maternity sleeping bra it is sort of a sports bra type. It's easy to open and frankly, that's all I wore in the hospital with my leggings and a t-shirt.
After a while, you're gonna want some more support so highly recommend the Bravado nursing bras they are pricey they are pricey however when you're done nursing they give you the parts with the bra to take this off the clasp off and put on a metal one so you can wear it as a regular bra. It's moisture-wicking so if you're sweating (a lot which happens when you're nursing) it cools.
Support is key.
Knowing you can do it is key and then giving yourself a lot of grace is key. It might not feel right in the beginning. It might hurt a little. I know that you read articles that tell you that nursing shouldn't hurt and long-term it shouldn't, but in the beginning, you're doing something new it's like weightlifting for the first time it's gonna hurt a little bit as you and your baby learn what to do.
If you have a lot of pain or severe pain you obviously need to talk to someone about it.
If they recommend that you come in for weight checks go to those weight checks. They're not questioning your ability to feed your baby or mother; they're wanting to keep everyone healthy so just kind of lean into the process know it's gonna take a while but also know girl you got this!
I would love to know your experience leave me a comment below and tell me. Give yourself a lot of time mama you went through something hard it's gonna take you time to heal. You're gonna be okay and you're doing a good job!