Cesarean deliveries are very common. They are so common that they are actually the most frequently preformed surgery in industrial societies throughout the world. Mothers who are considering having a cesarean operation can rest assured that this form of delivery will not hinder their ability to breastfeed their new infant.
In most instances, a cesarean is performed under epidural or spinal anesthesia. Unless there is good reason, the mother should be able to breastfeed her baby without delay following the surgery. Sometimes it is necessary that a mother receive general anesthesia instead of the epidural or spinal anesthesia. General anesthesia is considered to be compatible with breastfeeding and should not delay her ability to breastfeed as soon as she is awake and able to respond.
Most planned cesarean deliveries use a lower uterine segment transverse incision. This type of incision allows the mother to comfortably position her baby across her lap when breastfeeding. Emergency deliveries or other types of surgeries that are done in conjunction with delivery are usually done with a vertical incision. This type of incision may make holding the infant across the lap more difficult. There are however, other breastfeeding positions that can be used.
Pain medications are commonly administered following a cesarean. Most pain medications do not pose a risk to a nursing infant and will not require the mother to delay breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding following a cesarean delivery can be especially beneficial to the mothers because the skin-to-skin contact with their infant can help to alleviate her pain following surgery. This skin-to-skin contact may also help to prevent lacotgenesis II, which is more likely to occur with urgent cesarean operations.