Impact of Cesareans on Breastfeeding

For further information, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. Excerpted from "The Physical Impact of Cesareans," Midwifery Today, Issue 88

One of the earliest family relationships we see strained by a cesarean is that of the mother and baby.

Jennifer Block says, "The most common reason why babies are not put to the breast within the first hour is the cesarean section; and cesarean babies are more likely to be given milk substitutes in the nursery while the mother is recovering."

Mothers who have cesareans are less likely to breastfeed, for many reasons. Often mother and baby are separated, which means a delay in getting baby to breast. The mom is dealing with pain, fatigue, possibly stress, and even trauma. The incision itself causes the mom difficulty in finding a comfortable position in which to nurse. The baby may have respiratory issues.

... The State of the World's Mothers report asserts that "Immediate breastfeeding is one of the most effective interventions for newborn survival." I submit that, rather than an intervention, breastfeeding is the normal biological extension of pregnancy and childbirth. It also provides many advantages to mom and baby.

Breastfeeding provides the baby with good immune system protection, gut protection, protection against obesity and short- and long-term disease protection. Breastfeeding also helps the mom. Her uterus returns to normal size more quickly after birth if she breastfeeds. She is less likely to experience postpartum depression. She is less likely to have brittle bones later in life.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448