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Supporting Lactation After a Cesarean Section

A large U.S. Study (Flaherman et al., 2015) found a significant relationship between cesarean birth and delayed increase in milk production compared to infants born vaginally, leading to infant weight loss and insufficient milk supply. A 2003 Australian study (Evans, Evans, Royal, Esterman, & James, 2003) provided some clues as to why that might be:

* Delayed first feed * Shorter first feed * Shorter feeds in general, even though they were feeding as regularly as babies who were born vaginally. * Birth weight regained by day 6 (40% vaginal, 20% cesarean)

Although there are other factors that can affect infant weight loss such as the birther receiving IV fluids in labour, babies born by c-section lost more weight, whether they were nursed or formula fed.

It is common for care providers to suggest supplementing with formula when weight loss is more than 7%, however, weight loss in the range of 8-10% may be within normal if a physical exam indicates the baby is well. It is more-so an indication that careful assessment of health and breastfeeding assistance is needed. So what can be done to prevent insufficient milk supply and infant weight loss after a cesarean birth? Here are 6 tips:

1) After checking with your care provider, hand express or pump colostrum during your pregnancy. Store it in your freezer and, if needed, us