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Breastfeeding and caesarian section

Having a caesarean shouldn't stop you from breastfeeding, though you might need some extra help.

Don't give up on your plans to breastfeed

Whether your caesarean is planned or unplanned, if you and your baby are well after the birth you can still have immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed as normal. You'll probably be a bit groggy from the drugs you were given and starting to feel a bit sore, so it's best to breastfeed lying down. Your midwife will help position your baby safely away from your cut, but make sure someone stays with you to help in case your baby falls off your breast or their nose gets blocked. The video below shows a mum having skin-to-skin contact with her newborn immediately after giving birth by caesarean section.

What about medicine getting in your milk?

Any medication you're given won't affect your breast milk, but it may make you and your baby a bit sleepy. So, try to take pain relief only when you really need it - the effects of the spinal/epidural and painkillers can make breastfeeding challenging in the beginning. For more advice on this and drugs in breast milk, read our pages on 'sleepy and reluctant babies' and 'breastfeeding and medication.'

What happens when I get home?

You'll likely be sore for the first week or two and find it difficult to move properly. If it's possible, see if your partner can take extra paternity leave. If not, ask for help from friends and family. Positions where you are laid back will be the most comfortable - read our guide on positions and ask your midwife or health visitor to show you the ones they recommend. It might take a little getting used to at first, but it should get easier and more comfortable after a couple of weeks.

Breastfeed early and often

It's best to breastfeed within the first hour to start building your milk supply, it's also a lovely way to bond with your wee one. If you can't do this, speak to your midwife about expressing your milk. You can learn how to express in our section on Expressing your breast milk.

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