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Preparing for breast feeding (post c-section)

(22 Posts)
SRK16 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:03:27

I’m pregnant with my first and really want to have the best chance of establishing breast feeding. I’ve heard mixed information about whether or not an elective cs impacts on your milk coming in. CS booked in 2.5 weeks.

I have done a lot of reading but still feel I’m not sure how to establish feeding, not sure if I’m now just massively overthinking it. How important is it to express colostrum before the delivery? I’ve not wanted to have a go yet in case I bring on labour but thought I could try a couple of days before the cs. If I do this I imagine I could bring it in a cool bag to the hospital with me? How much would I need, just a syringe or two?

Aside from this, what else will help me establish feeding? I have a nursing pillow to help with the angle and hopefully reduce pressure on the wound, a variety of easy access tops and nighties etc.

I feel very self conscious about feeding in front of my family/in laws and wondering how I manage this when they visit in hospital. Do I just get them to wait outside while I get baby to latch on?! I don’t want to be rude but also feel mortified about my dad or FIL getting an eyefull!

Reading this back I know I’m overthinking but would really appreciate any tips or advice on what to do/not to do.


melissa1215 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:06:54

I'm no help, but I'm in the exact same situation as you and a first time mum so I'm curious to see the replies smile

SRK16 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:14:59

Also wondering if any point buying a breast pump now, or wait and see if I can establish feeding before investing?

Creas35 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:15:15

I had an elective c section and am still ebf my 5 month old DD. I didn’t collect any colostrum in the syringe as I left it too late (couple of days before) and I didn’t really try too much to be honest.

The baby just latched on in the recovery room and we took it from there really, it takes a few days for the milk to come in properly. I found the midwifes really helpful with different positions to use when feeding. At home I just use a normal pillow.

In terms of getting your boobs out just do it and no one will bat an eye lid my boobs are massive and I’ve fed everywhere now I just can’t worry about it as baby being fed is more important and no one has ever stared or commented. If you feel awkward though or think they might then just ask them to leave for a few minutes until you get comfy, I have a breastfeeding cover but I find it more hassle trying to get her to latch on under a cover....5 months in and I haven’t been away from my DD for more than a couple of hours but breastfeeding is so much easier, no faffing about with bottles and formula etc.

I hope it works out for you but remember not to put too much pressure on yourself if it doesn’t work out as baby being fed is more important :-)

Good luck and don’t forget your peppermint tea - wind is a nightmare after a c section !!

Creas35 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:19:29

I also haves couple of feeding bras from mothercare for when I’m out but if at home I just wear sports bras. I wear maternity vest tops and then a baggy top over so I can lift vest down and other top up saves hassle buying loads of nursing tops which cost a fortune.

Confusedbeetle Wed 11-Sep-19 17:19:45

You are massively over thinking this. Have your baby, he/she will learn to latch, may take a lttle while be patient. Feed the colostrum and your milk will come in a few days later. Listen to your body. This is a natural normal function. Stop reading about it. You dont prepare for breastfeeding, you just both learn to get the hang of it

KatnissK Wed 11-Sep-19 17:26:11

Lots of skin to skin, feed on demand not by the clock (anyone who tells you that babies only need feeding every 3/4 hours is talking nonsense!), don't worry about feeding in front of others - nursing clothes or bf-ing covers can offer quite a lot of modesty so you don't have to flash your whole boob - and be prepared for lots of cluster feeding in the early days! My midwife has told me there's no need to harvest colostrum (having a cs next month). I bf-d my first for 18 months so hoping I will be able to do the same with baby 2.

WreathsAndRopes Wed 11-Sep-19 17:30:05

It will be affected by the reason for the section and the gestation, mostly it is to do with hormone levels which are obviously affected by those.

I think the point of expressing is partly if baby is too small at the start and so struggles to latch, and partly to convince your body that it's about to go into labour or already has (without actually bringing on Labour). So probably more useful at 37 weeks than 42.

If you do feel self conscious then just don't invite them in until just after a feed, then by the time you need to feed again send them for tea/snacks or just say you need some space. Honestly though, if they're funny about it they'll make their own excuses, and if they act decently you might not feel as self conscious as you think.

Starlight84 Wed 11-Sep-19 17:40:53

I have a question about nursing tops! What size do you buy? Surely if I buy my usual size they will be massive once the bump goes down? All tops are on ladies with bumps? I feel so silly asking but never had to buy them before! I just want a couple of nice ones for when I am out and about. Not really bothered what I look like at home! X

CherryMaple Wed 11-Sep-19 17:42:33

I have breastfed 3 DCs after an EMCS and then two ELCSs. I didn’t express any colostrum beforehand. (You probably wouldn’t want the colostrum hanging round in a fridge or cool bag for long...?) I didn’t use a pillow at all - each time my wound was fine with no discomfort.

The midwife should help you get your baby latched on in the recovery room - and then you can take it from there! I found feeding in recovery a special time.

I would see how you go over the first few weeks before getting a pump. I didn’t express with any of mine despite buying two great pumps - I just found it really hard, and I was able to manage to keep feeding despite going back to work, etc.

The main thing with getting feeding established is to stay calm, be patient and go with it. I needed help over the first few days with DD1 - and probably would have given up if it hadn’t been for the NCT breastfeeding counsellor’s support. This was nothing to do with the EMCS - more that DD1 was unsettled and took a few days to get into her feeding. Hang on in there if for some reason it’s not all straightforward at first. Lots of good support on these boards. (In the end I fed DD1 til she was 12 months, and I’m so glad I stuck with it!) My other two DCs took to it much better! (And fed for longer....)

Try and avoid overthinking it. Just be determined to persevere. Comfortable nursing bras, loads of pads (Avent are good) and ask for support as and when you need it. Best of luck OP!

Hollywhiskey Wed 11-Sep-19 17:44:09

I haven't had a section but I'm currently feeding my 20 month old and my week old baby. My main tip is to figure out where you can get support if you struggle to start. I found help from the midwives varied massively and I got good support from the NCT breastfeeding counsellor, la Leche league and the national breastfeeding network helpline. La Leche League website and Kelly mom are also really helpful.
If I was having a planned section I would bring in a syringe or two of expressed colostrum if possible. You only need a small amount - my first was syringe fed for the first few days and took 0.3ml on her first feed which increased to around 1ml over the first 24 hours. If you and baby have to be separated for any reason it's handy plus it's useful to know how to hand express later. If you freeze it and bring it in in a cool bag, they should put it in the fridge for you in case it's needed.
Personally I wouldn't buy emergency formula. Both my two were challenging to feed to start with and I think if the formula is in the house it'd be so tempting to just give it, which risks your supply. Supermarkets are open 24 hours so if you really need it you'll be able to get it.
Breastfeeding is HARD to start with. It's a new skill for you and baby and it's all consuming for the first few weeks. Sometimes it feels that baby has emptied you and you've run out of milk and baby is fussing. This is totally normal and is just the baby putting in its order for more milk the next day. Once you get through the first bit it's easy and it's so nice having milk on tap not having to faff with bottles, and feeding lying down at night without getting out of bed is a lifesaver.
You can get feeding tops which give a bit more coverage for feeding in public. You also get very confident very quickly and will soon be able to latch baby quickly and easily. It's harder at first when you have to look to see what you're doing and help baby on - I would ask visitors to step out if you're feeling uncomfortable.
Finally I would say talk to your partner about how he can help. There are some good resources on Kelly mom and la Leche League about how dads/grandparents can support you if you think your family would be open to reading them. My dad was a bit awkward about me feeding in front of him for a while but he did read those websites and now he's much more understanding.
Good luck!

CherryMaple Wed 11-Sep-19 17:45:12

@Starlight84 probably no need for nursing tops - just wear something loose enough to lift up!!

Starlight84 Wed 11-Sep-19 18:03:08

@CherryMaple I was after the ones with a slot in the side of under so didn’t need to lift completely up. Not to mention I’ll be having him in jan and I’m always cold! Wanted to keep covered as much as I can! X

Starlight84 Wed 11-Sep-19 18:04:21

My plan will be to just wear whatever at home but when I am out I’d prefer something more discreet! X

MissSmith80 Wed 11-Sep-19 18:16:17

I had a an elective c section in May. I did nothing to prepare, no expressing beforehand etc.
I drank lots of water post operatively and ate healthily, my milk came in on day 3 and we are entirely breastfeeding at 4.5 months. I started using a Haaka pump to catch my let down from 4 weeks and started a freezer stash in case of needing ready access to more milk (I.e Dad needing to feed to give me a break) and have only recently started to electric pump to build that stash further ready for my boy starting nursery.
Please don't overthink it, BF is hard to start but so worth it- ask for help from midwives while you are in hospital to get established before you head home. I would suggest you read about cluster feeding although of course that's nothing specific to c-sections, the intensity of them took me by surprise. Please ask if I can be of any more help x

MissSmith80 Wed 11-Sep-19 18:18:58

I have a fab breast feeding support group near me, went before I had my little boy and frequently after - if nothing else to build my confidence in feeding 'in public' - I'd look for the same near you.
I asked family members to go and get a coffee while I breastfed in hospital - I said that as we were both learning, baby and I needed space and quiet to concentrate

CherryMaple Wed 11-Sep-19 19:36:25

@Starlight84 As a PP said, a loose top (with a vest underneath?) can work well. It can be more discrete than a nursing top - if the baby suddenly latches off, you can just quickly drop all the loose fabric down to cover your breast. With a nursing top, it might take longer to pull your breast back through the slot. All depends on the style of the nursing top - and the size of the breast - I guess! grin

Starlight84 Wed 11-Sep-19 19:42:30

@CherryMaple my boobs haven’t grown as yet 😂 but last time it was when I gave birth the went up a cup size! I didn’t bf I bottlefed but I am determined to bf this time. Will definitely try the best under a top I could pull down though as I have some maternity t shirts I can easily do that with! Thanks ladies! X

bluebluezoo Wed 11-Sep-19 19:43:55

I had a section and bf fine.

I would say just feed. As much and as often as you can bear. It doesn’t even matter if they are asleep and still latched, it will still stimulate supply.

I found my nipples coped far better if I left them latched as much as possible- it was the on and off that made them sore.

Pumps etc I would not bother with. It is time consuming, twice the work, a pita, and demoralising when you don’t get anything. The baby feeding will be much more effective at establishing supply.

Lastly the baby will want to feed all. The. Time. For about 3 months smile. Bf is hard. They feed a lot, especially in the beginning as they get the supply going. Ime you get a lot of people offering formula “for a break” or helpfully suggesting your milk isn’t good enough of the baby is starving. Babies feed, all the time. If you are struggling then of course explore options, but just sitting and feeding as much as possible is best.

Tell your il’s to go and get coffee until you gain confidence with public feeding.

Fantababy Wed 11-Sep-19 20:00:32

I had 2 sections, planned and unplanned and didn't harvest colostrum either time. In both cases DD didn't take easily to bf but I managed to express a little colostrum in the hospital. It was a tiny tiny quantity though, which I think is something a lot of people aren't prepared for.
Breastfeeding is can be very hard at first and takes a lot of support and perseverance. I'd advise you to educate your partner about bf as much as possible, and about the difference between bf and ff as that'll help them understand things like cluster feeding. It's also sore. Use lansinoh, get advice on your latch but remember, sometimes even if you're doing everything right, it'll still hurt. But only at the start!
Good luck!

physicskate Wed 11-Sep-19 20:22:41

I felt self-conscious feeding in front of my brother in law. I was at his house and asked if it was alright. He said, don't worry about it. We've all been to Spain!! I thought it was brilliant! They're just boobs! Their primary function is to feed...

Breastfeeding is hard sometimes, especially when you feel like the milking cow. But it's so so much easier than faffing with bottles and sterilisers.

Oh and I'd get a haaka pump and forget about the electric or manual.

Starlight84 Wed 11-Sep-19 22:05:34

@physicskate we’ve all been to Spain 😂😂 that’s really made me laugh! It’s true though! X

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