“Skin-to-skin is when baby is placed directly on the mother’s abdomen and chest after delivery and has benefits to helping infants transition to life outside the womb,” explains Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC, founder of Lactation Link. Even moms who have had a surgical birth can do it. “Most of the time mothers are alert during a C-section and can use their arms to hold the baby after delivery with the help of staff and their birthing partner.” Depending on your hospital’s policies, your baby might be able to remain skin-to-skin while you are sewn up and taken to your recovery room.
“Feeding frequently is the best way to bring in a robust milk supply regardless of delivery mode,” informs Shipley. “Milk called colostrum is available right after delivery, and although it’s not large in volume, it satisfies baby because his stomach capacity is very small right after birth.” Offering the breast often and keeping up with skin-to-skin contact will help encourage your milk to come in more quickly.
One of the trickier things about nursing after a C-section is navigating around your incision. “Many breastfeeding moms like the ‘football position’ because it keeps baby away from a healing incision,” notes Shipley. In the football, or clutch, position, mom holds baby to one side as if she were clutching a football, supporting baby’s head and neck with her hand and tucking his feet under her arm.