Q for C-Section Experienced Mamas Who Breastfed — The Bump
3rd Trimester

Q for C-Section Experienced Mamas Who Breastfed

I'm having a c-section (placenta previa) and am planning to breastfeed- am wondering if anyone with experience can
point me in the right direction regarding pillows? Did you find a nursing pillow or anything else helpful? With my first baby, I didn't use
one, but he was a vaginal delivery...I'm thinking about pressure on the incision, etc. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks :)

Re: Q for C-Section Experienced Mamas Who Breastfed

  • J1DJ1D
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    member
    I did not have a c section but I've heard that they recommend using the football hold to nurse as it keeps baby off the tummy.
    My cousin had a c section and she still just did a cross cradle hold with no pillow and it didn't seem to bother her at all though.
  • Be prepared- novel ahead!  :D

    I had a c section this past March. Let me just say first that no matter what, nursing might be uncomfortable; it is "major surgery" after all. I did not get a nursing pillow (a boppy) until a few days after we came home from the hospital and I still regret that I didn't have it that first week, especially while in the hospital while learning how to properly breastfeed. Having to prepare/ adjust pillows (one or two to support baby, and at least one extra behind my back) every 1-3 hours- especially in the middle of the night- really sucked when my LO was hungry and hated to wait even an extra minute to be fed and I honestly believe having the boppy would have made things so much easier.

    When it came to the football hold, I loved it- for the first like 3 weeks while my son was still small. After that it became kind of a hassle to get him positioned just right as compared to the cross cradle hold.

    As for anything else that helped, look into the "side lying" position for breastfeeding. It's great for moms recovering from a c section as baby is lying next to you as opposed to being on your lap/belly. This is one of my favorite ways to nurse especially if I'm feeling too tired to sit up or hold my son (I no longer use the nursing pillow to feed him)

    On another note, if your child is particularly long at birth (mine was 20.5 inches and is still growing like a weed) you might find the pillow useful for only the first few months. I stopped nursing with mine once my LO got big enough (around 7/8 weeks) that it was easier to just hold him than to grab and use the pillow. But don't think that it'll be a waste to spend $30-$50 on a pillow that'll only be used for 2ish months because the boppy is multipurpose. As your baby gets older you can use it to prop them while lying down, for tummy time, and to support them when they are learning to sit.

    best of luck! 
    Jamison13
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  • Thanks so much for your input, ladies! I don't actually know anyone who has ever had a c-section well enough to ask! Strangers are wonderful sources of information! ;)

  • Get a boppy! I tried breastfeeding at the hospital and it was very useful. DH even used it to sleep while at the hospital (very comfortable I guess). The pillow didn't really bother my incision. Although I have to pump now (latching problems) LO still uses the boppy to nap on during the day. He will soon be using it for tummy time.
  • Another recommendation for the Boppy!  It was a huge help for breastfeeding at first with both my c-sections, and we used it later as a safe play to lay LO or to help her sit.  Be sure to bring it to the hospital.
  • J1DJ1D
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I will also say regardless if you end up using the Boppy for breastfeeding it's still worth it like the other posters said for playing with baby. I use mine daily for baby or for myself cause it does make a comfy pillow when lady down on the floor next to him when we play.

  • I had a C-section last November and loved my boppy for feeding. In the beginning, he was so tiny that it wasn't hard to hold him elevated up to my breast for him to eat, and the boppy was mainly to support my elbows if that makes sense. 

    I didn't take mine to the hospital, but the nurses were experts about building pillow scaffolding to help with feedings. It was usually like two in my lap and two on whatever side he was eating on to support my arm. I never had much luck with the football hold, so you'll just have to see what works best for you! 

    Here's a word of warning, or a 'head's up' if you will. The first two nights I was home from the hospital... I couldn't even get out of bed without help. Every time the baby cried or I needed to go to the restroom, I would have to wake up my husband to come and pull me out of bed! I finally perfected a technique where I CAREFULLY rolled onto my side and slithered out of bed. Sitting straight up in the bed will not happen for a while. 

    Good Luck, mama! 
  • @SmallyMcSmall nailed it. And @emilyalso comment about sitting up is on-point. I can only imagine what I looked like getting out of bed those first few weeks, because you can't use your abs to help lift you into a sitting position. I am actually going to try sleeping in one of our recliners this time around (we didnt have a recliner the first time), because I have a feeling getting into a seated position with the back rest helping, will be much easier than from a bed. I also loved my boppy for nursing.

    Another little tidbit, since your having a c-section and not going into labor naturally, it may take a little bit longer for your milk to come in. My DD was born on Sunday, and my milk came in on Wednesday. Even with a little bit of colostrum, she wasn't getting enough and her blood sugar was getting really low, so we had to supplement 2-3 times with formula while still in the hospital. I was pretty upset at first, and thought that my milk would never come in, but I just stuck with it and it did eventually come in....it just took awhile. 
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    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Thanks everyone- I learned a lot from reading your posts...I'm really nervous about the whole thing to be honest, but it's out of my hands...Luckily, when things happen my husband will be on vacation, so he'll be around to help lots. I've been kind of wondering how incapacitated I'll actually be, so your tips are helpful.
  • I'm really nervous about the whole thing to be honest


     I've been kind of wondering how incapacitated I'll actually be
    To the first part, I can relate. I went to the doctors for my 40 week check up and ended up having to go to the hospital (NST at doc office seemed off, turns out their machine was just crap) only to be scheduled for a c section for the very next morning due to the BPP revealing that my son had gone breech in the last two weeks. So it was good that I ended up going anyway. Everything had just gone so fast and I was overwhelmed that the choice was taken out of my hands. 

    Heres the thing- the one small benefit to being in a country with an absurdly high rate for c sections is, is that the doctors are more well versed in them. If there are complications they have a higher chance of knowing how to handle it better than some European doctors where they might not have as much experience because the c section rates are much lower. I know this truth might vary from hospital to hospital but still, in sure you get what I'm trying to say here.

    As for the second part, you'll be just fine! I thought  I was going to be near bed ridden for weeks. Thankfully I couldn't have been more wrong! I was up out and of bed 11 hours afterwards, and the sooner you get up and moving the better your recovery will go. Walk around the maternity ward every chance youre feeling strong enough during your stay at the hospital. This will even help with the issues of gas and constipation that are compounded by surgery. As mentioned in previous post, I even went out to babies r us a few days after my son was born and walked from one end of the store to the other without any problems. You just need to go slow and know your limits. I knew I could only walk around for a about 15 minutes or so the first three-ish weeks or I'd be exta sore afterwards.


  • As for the second part, you'll be just fine! I thought  I was going to be near bed ridden for weeks. Thankfully I couldn't have been more wrong! I was up out and of bed 11 hours afterwards, and the sooner you get up and moving the better your recovery will go. Walk around the maternity ward every chance youre feeling strong enough during your stay at the hospital. This will even help with the issues of gas and constipation that are compounded by surgery. As mentioned in previous post, I even went out to babies r us a few days after my son was born and walked from one end of the store to the other without any problems. You just need to go slow and know your limits. I knew I could only walk around for a about 15 minutes or so the first three-ish weeks or I'd be exta sore afterwards.

    Yep, yep, yep! I would say that 75% of the people that I know that have had kids, have had at least one c-section (that is just out of my friends/family though....totally not the norm). But nobody ever told me to move as much as possible, even if it hurts. Obviously, don't do anything crazy, but at least get up and move around. Although it hurt, it hurt FAR worse if I allowed myself to relax too much. By me not knowing to get up and move, I really felt like it made my recovery take a lot longer. I have friends that had c-sections and made sure to move around a lot (this was after my c-section) and they recovered much faster. 

    The other thing, I feel like my first shower was really scary. Not only because it hurt like crazy to get out of bed (so I had a fear of leaving the bed in the first place), but because I was worried about my incision getting hit by water. So I put off taking a shower for THREE DAYS (I am sure that I smelled heavenly). When I finally mustered up the courage to finally take one, I was pretty much kicking myself for not taking one sooner. I got out of that shower, feeling like a million dollars! So now, whenever I know someone that is going to have a baby, I always mention that if they end up having a c-section....to move as much as possible, and try to take a shower ASAP. I told my husband that for this c-section, my plan is to take a shower as soon as they allow me to get up and move around.
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    BabyFruit Ticker
    aimz2377
  • The other thing, I feel like my first shower was really scary. Not only because it hurt like crazy to get out of bed (so I had a fear of leaving the bed in the first place), but because I was worried about my incision getting hit by water. So I put off taking a shower for THREE DAYS (I am sure that I smelled heavenly). When I finally mustered up the courage to finally take one, I was pretty much kicking myself for not taking one sooner. I got out of that shower, feeling like a million dollars! So now, whenever I know someone that is going to have a baby, I always mention that if they end up having a c-section....to move as much as possible, and try to take a shower ASAP. I told my husband that for this c-section, my plan is to take a shower as soon as they allow me to get up and move around.
    This! Showering definitely felt like a daunting task prior to actually taking one. Chances are your SO will be allowed to help you shower, but if not, a nurse definitely can. Take whatever help you can get for safety's sake. When I was ready, we let the nursery look after our LO so i could get cleaned up and my fiancé helped me. I also highly recommend taking a shower asap! You will feel 2836252638492 times better afterwards!

    Also, you're going to have to clean your incision area daily, and doing it in the shower just seemed to make the most sense to me. Weather you choose to take that approach or decide on a different way that works better for you doesn't matter. Keeping the cut clean to prevent an infection is what's important. I've read terrible stories on here about c section moms having to have their cut reopened to clean it out and squeezed to drain it because it got infected. Apparently that hurts extremely bad and so, that made me paranoid about getting infected, hence the daily shower. 
  • Gah! I've been super careful not to go googling c-section stories, etc, as it's really NOT a good idea for me...So thanks for the tips! The multitask shower/incision cleaning sounds like a good idea...The whole situation is so freaking me out, but am trying to focus on the fact that it's out of my hands...Thanks, ladies! :)
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