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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

Nursing after C section or major surgery (long)

Posted by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 4:43 PM
  • 23 Replies

I am 20 weeks along with baby #4. I have attempted to nurse my other 3 unsuccessfully for different reasons for each.

My first two were schedueld c sections 1 was breeched and the other an auto repeat) and my third a natural VBA2C. My babies are always big ones as well (9+lbs no diabetes). My first got a bottle in the hospital because he was not eating and just wanted to sleep and afterwords would not latch. I blew the motor in my cheap pump I bought just in case w/n 2 weeks. I lost supply waiting on a replacement part and never got it back and being a first time mom did not seek help.  My second would latch but was not eating well. At this point I am convinced he had lip/tongue tie but i did not seek out help early enough. I felt i was doing everything right but the latch was still painful and he would nurse for 40 painful minutes and was hungry 20 mins later..literally. With my daughter things went well. She was a natural birth and I was able to latch her right away but then she was sent to the NICU due to breathing issues and I pumped the first 24 hrs and they let me nurse her after that. I sat with a LC for 2 days and she assured me things looked good although the latch was still not quite comfortable. The LC said her tiny mouth would grow and adjust to the size of my nipple and it should be fine. I nursed for about 6 weeks alternating between pumping and nursing straight because she would nurse a while then detach and still want more so I gave her what I was pumping after she would nurse. Her latch also never did get more comfortable. It always hurt. After 6 weeks I got a bad kidney infection and I am convinced that the antibiotics killed my supply bc I could never get it back and I tried everything. I am also wondering if she might have been tongue tied. 

At my ultrasound with the current baby at 20wks we discovered that I have a low lying placenta which could result in placenta accreta (where the placenta grows into my old c section scar) which would mean I may need a c section and a possible hysterectomy if the placenta burrows into or through the uterus. It hasn't happend yet and may not happen, I am just researching.  I know if that happens, I will miss that initial bonding time with the new baby (like I did with my first 2 c sections) but i would still like to try again to nurse. I have learned tons and I have 3 mothers that live at my back door literally and one is a doula with LC experience so I will have support. If i wind up with a csection/hysterectomy, how will that affect me nursing and what can I do (if anything) to ensure things will work this time? I do know that a hysterectomy would mean a long surgery and longer recovery process.

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Kristen - happily married to Xander and mom to A (9/25/09 9.9lbs), Z (9/27/10 8.13 lbs and has craniosynostosis), and S (11/8/11 9.15lbs and Successful natural VBA2C!) 

by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 4:43 PM
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MusherMaggie
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 4:59 PM
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You will probably need someone to help you position your baby when you nurse after.the surgery and/ or delivery, but you should be able to nurse as soon as you come out of recovery. I C-sectioned with both of mine. The first time I didn't nurse until the next morning (general anesthesia) but the second time I nursed less than am hour after delivery. Pain meds are fine. Also, babies are born with extra fluid that carries them through a day or so, so they only need the teaspoons of colostrum you produce at first. Do have your new baby checked for lip/tongue ties---if they are present, the sooner clipped, the better. Kellymom.com has an excellent article on ties with pictures to show you what to look for and how to get it taken care of. Be insistent when you go in that you will be nursing and that you need all possible support to make that happen. There is lots of information in the resources stickies section on this site, and two or more International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who can answer pretty much any questions you have.

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LoveMyDog
by Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 5:00 PM

I nursed after all 3 of my c-sections.  First of all stop with the pumping.  NO pumping until 6 weeks. NONE.  No bottles in the hospital. My second didn't nurse for at least 4 hours after he was born.  He didn't get a bottle and he didn't strave.  If you can succesful get a VBA2C you can breatfeed.  Relax.

jjchick75
by Silver Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Well first forget everything that happened before. It means nothing. It's done and gone, can't change it. Every experience is different.

Big babies mean nothing my sister's never had a baby under 10lbs and has nursed them all(she has 7) exclusively except for her next to the last who got a lung infection and spent 2 weeks in NICU but she was back on the breast by a month old and never recieved another bottle. I have big babies as well(most of mine have been between 9 and 10lbs. My first bit advice like the person above said no bottles and no pumping in those first few weeks. It's not needed and only causes problems. Just nurse baby and count diapers. If baby is having plenty of diapers baby is getting enough. You'll want 1 per day of life the first week(1 on day 1, 2 on day 2, 3 on day 3, and so on) and 6-8 after wards(really wet and poopy count as 2). If baby comes off the breast and still acts hungry put baby on the other breast and repeat. There will be milk there even if you can't feel it. Also what you can pump means nothing! I can't pump a drop and nursed twins who were 35lbs at a year old on almost all breastmilk. I struggled with OAL, I just don't respond to the pump. Baby is much better at getting the milk out than any pump on the market. Diapers are all that matters. Baby will act hungry  constantly. That is baby's job and how baby puts in his or her order! Also remember no matter how big baby is, baby still has a very tiny stomach(about the size of a shooter marble) so a teaspoon or so of colostrum is all they need. My best advice is again forget your other experiences, they really don't matter at this point!

ETA: Average pump output is .5-2oz combined from both breast

kspear0120
by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Yes I have definitley learned the lesson with pumping. I no longer own one :)

Quoting LoveMyDog:

I nursed after all 3 of my c-sections.  First of all stop with the pumping.  NO pumping until 6 weeks. NONE.  No bottles in the hospital. My second didn't nurse for at least 4 hours after he was born.  He didn't get a bottle and he didn't strave.  If you can succesful get a VBA2C you can breatfeed.  Relax.


kspear0120
by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 6:05 PM

thanks! Yes i am not to worried about the past experiences was just giving some background info. I have heard moms with c sections can have a harder time with nursing and I was curious about the results if i wasn't able to nurse until the next day. With my other 2 c sections i was able o nurse right after recovery. If I wind up with an emergency hysterectomy it could mean a much longer surgery and recovery.

But yes I was stubborn enough to fight for my VBA2C (she was my biggest at 9.15lbs) so i can be stubborn about nursing as well :) I do understand they have a smaller stomach and do not need much I am more questioning missing that initial bonding time and the effect it would have on nursing successfully. I never did research it when I had my first two.

Quoting jjchick75:

Well first forget everything that happened before. It means nothing. It's done and gone, can't change it. Every experience is different.

Big babies mean nothing my sister's never had a baby under 10lbs and has nursed them all(she has 7) exclusively except for her next to the last who got a lung infection and spent 2 weeks in NICU but she was back on the breast by a month old and never recieved another bottle. I have big babies as well(most of mine have been between 9 and 10lbs. My first bit advice like the person above said no bottles and no pumping in those first few weeks. It's not needed and only causes problems. Just nurse baby and count diapers. If baby is having plenty of diapers baby is getting enough. You'll want 1 per day of life the first week(1 on day 1, 2 on day 2, 3 on day 3, and so on) and 6-8 after wards(really wet and poopy count as 2). If baby comes off the breast and still acts hungry put baby on the other breast and repeat. There will be milk there even if you can't feel it. Also what you can pump means nothing! I can't pump a drop and nursed twins who were 35lbs at a year old on almost all breastmilk. I struggled with OAL, I just don't respond to the pump. Baby is much better at getting the milk out than any pump on the market. Diapers are all that matters. Baby will act hungry  constantly. That is baby's job and how baby puts in his or her order! Also remember no matter how big baby is, baby still has a very tiny stomach(about the size of a shooter marble) so a teaspoon or so of colostrum is all they need. My best advice is again forget your other experiences, they really don't matter at this point!

ETA: Average pump output is .5-2oz combined from both breast


aehanrahan
by Group Mod - Amy on Mar. 31, 2013 at 6:55 PM
2 moms liked this
Having a C-section does not mean automatic separation. My baby was brought to me immediately once I got into recovery so I could nurse him. The nurse helped me roll to my side and put him next to the breast. Laying back in bed with him to the side and the football hold were what worked best for us.
I didn't get to see my oldest for 4 hours after he was born because I was knocked out at the end. Nursing was fine once he was brought to me.
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aehanrahan
by Group Mod - Amy on Mar. 31, 2013 at 7:00 PM
If you have to have the hysterectomy, you can nurse as soon as you are awake enough to safely hold your baby.
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MusherMaggie
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 7:04 PM
1 mom liked this
I meant to say that even though I didn't get to nurse my son until the next morning, and he did spend some additional time in the nursery, our nursing relationship was not harmed.
OBImomma
by Bronze Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 7:07 PM
I have had 3 c sections and nursed 2 less than an hour after. My 2nd child was born at 30weeks. She spent 33 days in the NICU. I pumped those days. She came home and 2 weeks later was ebf.
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celestegood
by Silver Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 7:08 PM
I had four cesareans and nursed all four, including my nicu baby. He was not fed anything at all for two days and then had bottles of breastmilk until he was discharged. If you are awake enough to hold baby you are fine to nurse him or her .
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