Special circumstances

Special circumstances

Breastfeeding after Cesarean birth

Giving birth by Cesarean will not prevent you from breastfeeding. The pain medicine(s) you receive are safe for your baby. However, you may need a little help the first few days positioning and burping your baby.

Here are some suggestions to make breastfeeding easier:

  • Use pillows to keep your baby off your incision and in a good breastfeeding position.
  • Consider using a side-lying position to feed your baby if it is comfortable for you.
  • Take pain medicine so that it is working when you begin nursing.
  • Let others take care of things so that you can rest as much as you can.
  • Eat well and drink plenty of liquids to help your body heal from the surgery.
  • At home keep your baby in your room for easier access at night.
  • Limit your activities and housekeeping so you have energy for your baby and breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after giving birth. Ask for your baby in the recovery room.
  • Your body produces breastmilk based on supply and demand. You will produce the milk your babies need.

Breastfeeding twins, triplets and more

You may be wondering if breastfeeding more than one baby at a time is possible. The answer is: yes!

If your babies are born early, they will likely be sleepy and unable to breastfeed well at first. If your babies are born full term, feedings will be easier.

Your health care provider and lactation resource will help you create a feeding plan that will work for you and your newborns in the hospital.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using an electric breast pump for 15 minutes every two to three hours if your babies can't breastfeed. Use a "hospital grade" double pump.

Pumping will help make sure your body makes an adequate milk supply even if your babies are too small or weak to breastfeed in the days and weeks after birth.

When your babies are able to breastfeed, the transition to normal feedings will be easier if there is plenty of milk. Cuddle skin-to-skin with your babies for the first hour, if you are able.

While you are at the hospital:

  • It is often easier to nurse one baby at a time.
  • Once your babies learn to latch on and can nurse for a full feeding, you can breastfeed both at the same time.
  • Your nurses and lactation consultants can help create a feeding plan for you once you return home.

When you get home:

  • Feeding your newborns and taking good care of yourself should be your priority the first few days and weeks.
  • Ask family members and friends to help with meals and housework.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Breastfeeding a premature baby

Breastmilk is the best food for a premature baby. It can help prevent infection, promote growth and shorten your hospital stay.

Your nurse can help you master pumping and storing your milk so that it can be fed to your baby.

As your baby grows you will be able to breastfeed your baby directly. Skin-to-skin contact can provide closeness until your baby is strong enough to nurse on their own.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5, sixth edition, ped-ah-91554
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 11/16/2022