For all the challenges you hear about breastfeeding after a c-section – the immediate separation from your baby, the anesthesia and pain medications that affect milk supply, and the pain of lifting and holding a baby after major surgery – there is some good news that is changing the narrative. A new study finds breastfeeding may reduce c-section pain.
There are many reasons to breastfeed your baby and this may be an added benefit for the 25% of moms who deliver via c-section in the U.S.
The study included 185 moms who had c-sections. The moms were interviewed 24-hours, 72-hours and 4 months after giving birth. The interviews discussed both breastfeeding and pain caused by the c-section.
The findings were wildly positive in favor of breastfeeding: The moms who breastfed for more than 2 months were far less likely to experience chronic c-section pain (as defined by pain beyond 3 months postpartum.) Only 8% of moms in the study who breastfed for 2 or more months experienced chronic c-section pain. This is much better than the average of 25% of new moms who report chronic c-section pain, including those in this study who breastfed for less than 2 months.
Another interesting finding came out of the study too: new moms who experienced anxiety during breastfeeding are more likely to have chronic c-section pain of up to four months after childbirth.
The research was reported at the Euroanaesthesia Congress 2017 held in Geneva, Switzerland. The study continues with a new group of moms to verify the current data.
Researchers hope that these positive indications, along with a host of additional benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers, will encourage more new moms to breastfeed for longer periods of time.
Especially for mothers who deliver via c-section, breastfeeding can be more challenging and the success rate is lower. However knowing that it could help mothers heal and reduce pain is a wonderful advantage of breastfeeding that can motivate moms to stick to their own goals and the standard recommendation of up to 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for a year or more.
Sources: Medical News Today and Romper
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