Link between breast feeding and birth experience?

Denikka - posted on 12/18/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )




I just watched Pregnant in America and it brought this question to my mind. This isn't a debate about breastfeeding OR birth choices, just something I was curious about and was hoping to get some information and input on :)

How was your breastfeeding experience? Was it easy to start or did you have problems? Were you forced to stop due to pain or difficulty latching or some other physical issue (things like going to work wouldn't really apply here)

How was your birth experience with that child? Did you have a vaginal birth or a c-section? If you had a vaginal birth, was it medicated (at all)? Did you have a calm experience, or was it more traumatic? Did you have skin to skin contact immediately after birth or was the baby taken away to be measured/weighed etc first? Did the baby have a stay in the NICU or nursery or with you?
Did you have a hospital or a home birth? Did you nurse immediately or wait (for whatever reason)? Did you sleep with your baby right after birth (that night)? Skin to skin or with clothes?

If you had problems with breastfeeding, what were they? Pain/chaffed nipples, lack of milk production, unable to latch, etc??

I'm just curious as to whether mothers who have c-sections or are other ways *detached* from their child at birth and/or immediately afterwards have a harder time with breastfeeding.
I don't mean detached in any form of negative connotation, but in a literal, hormonal sense. There are differences in the hormones that a woman who has had a c section produces vs a vaginal birth. There are hormonal differences between an all natural, drug free birth vs a birth with painkillers. There are hormonal differences in mothers who bottle feeds breast milk, formula feed or breastfeed. I don't mean to apply anything negative when using that term :)

So what's your story??


Jodi - posted on 02/01/2012




My first was vaginal with an epidural. It was a pretty easy, onn-traumatic experience, even if I would have changed a few things looking back. I got to hold her right away, she spent the night with me, co-sleeping. We had no problems breastfeeding. She latched the first time less than an hour after birth and off we went! The only problem I had was painful nipples, but that's to be expected.She nursed until 22 months when we had to quit because nursing was causing contractions in my twin pregnancy. She never had a drop of formula.

With my 2nd (twins), it was a c-section at 34 weeks. I didn't even get to see them until over 2 hours after they were born. I didn't get to touch them until the next day, it was 3 days before I could hold them. They were in the NICU, and on day 4 I was allowed to try nursing. There were latch issues and even though I had been pumping there were supply issues, plus they were so small and weak that even if I could get them latched (only with the help of nipple shields for the first few weeks) they would tire too fast to get a full feed. But, a year later, they are still nursing 4-5 times a day.

I thank God that I had one good nursling under my belt before my twins, because I'm not sure I could have pushed through that with no experience, less confidence and sooo much stress. So, for my first, I dont' think it would be a far leap to say that my birth experience aided in my ability to nurse with ease. In my second, I think it was my history that made the bigger impact, not the birth experience.

Denikka - posted on 12/18/2011




I'll tell mine.
With my first born, I delivered in the hospital. I was terrified, I didn't get the birth I wanted (wanted a water birth, was laughed at), and I got absolutely NO sympathy as a new mom, scared out of her wits giving birth.
I was given morphine (I asked for painkillers, was too far along for an epidural (thank god, didn't want one) and was given morphine before active labor). My son was drowsy at birth and a lazy breather, so he was whisked away to NICU. I didn't get to hold him at all or even see him before they took him away.
He spent 3 days (2 nights) in NICU alone. They wouldn't let me stay in the room with him, I was forced to stay in the maternity ward and got woken up when he needed to be fed. I spent most of my waking hours in NICU with him, but I was hardly allowed to hold him, except for breastfeeding.
I was lucky, I did have some minor issues with getting him to latch. It was only after I stopped listening to the nurses and did things my way that things clicked into place. I did have other issues with breastfeeding, mostly that my son was a lazy feeder for the first 6 weeks or so.
We co-slept, skin to skin, and he had access to feed all night. He was also fed on demand during the day and spent most of the day in contact, skin to skin, with either me or his father. He was weaned, by his choice, almost exactly on his first birthday.

Totally different experience with my second child.I chose a midwife for her birth, had a fantastic, relaxing experience with my midwife and doula. They were supportive and helped me laugh through my fear. It was a very calm birth. Immediately afterwards, she was placed on my breast and with absolutely no issues, started sucking. She was allowed to stay skin to skin with me for roughly an hour before she was taken and weighed and measured, then immediately returned to me. We spent one night in the hospital, by choice (she was born at almost 11 at night, but I was told I could go home at 2am if I chose, I only stayed because it was so late), and went home the next day. I also cosleep with my daughter, also skin to skin during the night with unlimited access to nurse during the night. Also nursed on demand during the day. She is currently 11mo old and still nursing strongly. She will also be allowed to self wean.

I firmly believe that my first birth experience had something to do with even my small difficulties in nursing my son. And that my calm birth experience with my daughter contributed to the ease with which we were able to create that breastfeeding experience.

So what is everyone else's thoughts on the matter??


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Janice - posted on 02/02/2012




My daughter was breech and so I had a planned c-section. It was not traumatic. My husband held her while they sewed me up and I nursed her as soon as we were in recovery about 45 minutes later. Sometimes she latched well while other times we had issues. I saw an LC the morning before I left and after she gave me some help I left confident. But my milk came in on the way home - 4th day - and then I spent the next 2 weeks convincing my daughter to breastfeed. She would latch on for 15 sec. then unlatch and scream. It was rough but finally we got the hang of it. In fact, I stopped using bottles after she started doing well and when I tried to reintroduce them at 3.5 months it was a no go. She breastfed till 17 months, although I had started to slowly drop feeds at 10 months.

My son (9 weeks today!) was a VBAC. I was terrified of a stalled labor so my goal was to go as long as possible with out drugs. Contractions hurt but were manageable till 7cm. I couldn't deal with the increased level of pain so I requested an epidural. It was busy and by the time the anesthesiologists came in contractions were under a minute apart. The resident failed the 1st attempt. During the second attempt I said I needed to push. The nurse said no you dont but the attending anest. said to stop with epi and to check me. Sure enough I was 10 cm and crowning. Thats when baby boys heart rate dropped to 60. Doctors came flying in, not mine though she was at a different hospital, said his heart ate isnt good we need to get him out now. I only pushed twice and they pulled him out with foreceps. It was very traumatic and he wasn't crying for over a minute - it felt like 30 though. It was about 25 minutes before I held him. I was still being sewn when they gave him to me. It wasnt till all the doctors were gone, about 45 minutes after his birth that a nurse reminded me to breastfeed. He latched on no problem and has been a great eater since. My milk came in very gradually over day 4&5 but my son was quite satisfied with colostrum before then so it wasnt an issue.

Overall I feel very lucky to have had such an easy time with breastfeeding. No soreness or clogged ducts. Plan to go a year+ with this baby too.

Liz - posted on 02/01/2012




I'll try not to make this too long...

My first son was born vaginally and I had an epidural (Stadol before the epidural). After about 1.5 hours of pushing, the midwife told me to stop because he was turned funny and stuck. They gave me some pitocin to try to help. Apparently it did, and after another 1.5 hours of pushing he was born. I got to hold him immediately for one hour. Breastfeeding HURT because I had no idea what to expect. (I also have small boobs, and I've heard somewhere that everyone's boobs have roughly the same amount of nerve endings, so people with smaller ones are more sensitive.?) He stayed in my room except at night I had him put in the nursery so I could get some sleep. When my milk came in the day I came home, I was SICK. I had a fever and couldn't get out of bed to do anything. I don't even remember how I got though that, but I did. When my son was 2 weeks old, I took him in for his checkup and told the doc that all he did was scream all day long. She said that I wasn't producing enough milk, and that I should pump and feed him bottles. Well after 4 more weeks of exclusively pumping, I quit altogether.

My second son was also born vaginally, and with an epidural. He was large (9 pounds, 12 ounces) and when he was born he was ashy looking so they took him from me and gave him O2. I was able to nurse him after about an hour. He didn't take to it very well at first, but once my milk came in and we were home he nursed like a champ and I nursed him for 7 months when my milk suddenly dried up.

My third son was born vaginally. I tried to get an epidural but it didn't work and went with an intrathecal instead. He was born very quickly (2.5 pushes) and after only 5 hours of labor. He was 3 weeks early, and we had trouble from the beginning with him latching. I tried pumping but the hospital's pump was very strong, and I didn't get more than a few drops at a time anyway. One of the nurses would feed him formula with a syringe and tube. He also stayed in the nursery at night. The last day we were in the hospital he suddenly realized what he was supposed to be doing and I nursed him for 5 months. He was a very difficult baby to feed, and I just couldn't handle him trying to rip my nipples off every time he ate :)

My daughter was born after 3 hours of labor and I again had an intrathecal. I held her immediately and she started nursing right away. She took to it great and has been going strong ever since (she's 7.5 months old now).

I have never had any problems other than blocked ducts several times, and my milk mysteriously drying up with my second. All my kids were vaginal, hospital births and they all spent nights in the nursery.

Ania - posted on 02/01/2012




My birth experience was vaginal, and not medicated, but it was not pleasant due to the dr that was receiving my child. She was yelling at me that I was not pushing meanwhile I pushed so hard that every vessel in my face and neck and eyes broke out. I was covered in red spots. I could not push on my back and I was orced into this position anyway, I needed oxygen because baby was crushing me. When I didn't have enough oxygen babies HR started dropping and in the end vaccum was used.It was not calm experience at all, maybe because of that my nursing experience started horribly. At the hospital I was not sure if my baby was latching or not, nobody would help me with that. Then at home he would not latch at all, but after trying for a week he finally got it...Meanwhile I had to give him formula for 2 days because my milk did not come until day 5. Meanwhile my sister had c-section and no issues with BF whatsoever. Her milk did not come right away, but I read that in first pregnancy it is normal and baby had no issues with latching. I guess it depends on how calm mom is and how much support she gets. Nurses in her hospital would not take babies to nursery at all and if needed would feed babies with syringes not bottles at all.

Rebekah - posted on 02/01/2012




I've had three natural births without any form of pain medications and have nursed (pretty uneventfully) all three. In fact, I nursed my daughter twice as long and she had the most traumatic birth (did not hold her until over an hour after her birth b/c of shoulder dysplasia & severe tearing). My easiest birth was with my current 3 month old, but I'll probably only nurse him to 6 months (b/c I'm too busy and can't seem to keep a good milk supply for him).

Maree - posted on 01/31/2012




My first was a natural birth and my second (10 years later) was a c-section (planned due to going 2 weeks overdue and no sign of labour).

My milk came in around day 4 for both babies,it didn't seem to make a difference whether it was c-section or natural. The experience of a natural birth i prefered...i hated the c-section and i was worried that i would be angry and upset FOREVER. I am still disappointed but there is nothing i can do to change it so i may as well get over it.

Both babies had reflux from the moment they were born pretty much (well within a few days whilst still in hospital). They were not given formula,i fed them colostrum until the milk came in,they cried ALOT but that was due to the reflux.

I had many problems bf-ing including bleeding,mastitis,thrush and extreme pain in general that went on for several months. We got through it and neither kids had formula...i was adament that i would get through and am very proud of myself for that.

So as for the hormone difference between c-section and natural....I didn't really notice any difference. All i know is that i was disappointed and wished both births were natural. I think the only difference was that after the c-section i had a lot of pain killers and i don't remember much of the first couple of days after the birth. After 11 years i still remember my sons birth and hospital stay VERY CLEARLY but not really at all with my daughter (only 10 months ago) so i am guessing the reason is the drugs...either that or i have blocked it out because i was so upset about it.

Ashley - posted on 12/18/2011




K well here you go.

My first child's birth was HORRIBLE!

my water broke at 33 weeks and we went in and the specialist told them they needed to induce me because my water was gone. SO... I was induced and then before that got going too far my baby's heart rate fell and they had to do a urgent CS... so I had a spinal and a C/S and my baby was taken and examined immediately. They let my husband and I hold him for about 15 seconds when they had him bundled up in warm blankets so all we could see was his face. And we they wisked him away to the NICU. I got to see him once that night before they took me to my recovery room but I was not able to hold him. My husband went down many times through the night to check on him while I was on bedrest. My husband brought my pics and read to my son that first night. I was not able to hold my son until the next evening and then only for short spans. I pumped milk while he was in the hospital. They fed him through a tube and then a bottle and finally they let me breastfeed him about three weeks after he was born. (But they still used a bottle after the breastfeeding to be sure he got enough calories). Well we made it through that mess and he took to breastfeeding fine. After getting home he went through one patch when he was about 4 months where he fussed and didn't want to latch but we pushed through it. I returned to work when he was 6 months old and hand pumped and expressed twice a day while at work. (I didn't have money for and electric pump) and he self-weaned completely around 13-14 months. his last feeding to give up was his middle of the night feeding. (He was so stuck on it).

My second son's birth was WONDERFUL. I did a VBAC. With everything that happened with my first I was glad they let me even trial labor. I was blessed that it all happened how it was supposed to and I didn't end up with another C/S. Contractions happened on thier own and everything went right. I did have an epidural because we were told that keeping me relaxed enough would be one way to help prevent my uterus from rupturing durring the birth. My son was a huge 9# 5oz. and that was bigger then they expected. He was allowed to be on my chest right after birth. And they were checking him on me but he needed O2 just to get his breathing up so they set him in the crib beside me and finished assessing him and gave him right back to nurse. He nursed well the first time but I had expierience with nursing so I know that helped. Plus I worked as an aide on the Maternity floor at the hospital so I was trained on breastfeeding assistance. Also the hospital I was at was doing a trial run of a rooming-in concept (I knew to ask about it because of working there) and it was where the baby would never leave my side to go anywhere. I got to have him in the room the entire stay and Dr.s and everyone else had to come to do what they needed to him in front of me. I returned to work when he was 7 weeks and used an electric pump. I worked long shifts (12 hours) so it was hard pumping and my supply would drop when I worked more then one day in a row. That was a challenge. I had to pump on my days off to be sure he had enough bottles for day-care. My supply kept dropping and daycare had to supplement a little to get him through the day. I was able to quit work and now my supply is back up. Anyways, He is still breastfeeding at 7 months and have very little problems with him execpt that he wants to eat solid food before I am ready to let him. I am only allowing him to eat solids once a day and breastfeed him as much as he will the rest of the day and night. I am hoping he will push through and nurse past his 1st birthday too.

So I have had two very different birth expieriences. I hope that helped.

Lori - posted on 12/18/2011




My 1st daughter was born vaginally in a hospital and I had an epidural. I was going to try to have her without any medications, but a previous back injury had me in a LOT of pain before I was even 4 cm dilated. Due to the injury, the epidural didn't fully block everything. However it did make the pain manageable. Like many women with epidurals, I did have to get supplemented with pitocin once I'd gotten the epidural. When my daughter was born, they cleaned her up, weighed and measured her then gave her to me to breast feed. I got to feed her within about 30 minutes. She latched on right away and didn't have any troubles breastfeeding. She "roomed in" with me at the hospital, but the nurses yelled at me when I fell asleep with her in my bed. After that I was scared to sleep with her... though most nights after bringing her home I'd nurse her to sleep in my bed then transfer her to her own cradle/crib. When she woke she'd come back to bed with me and many times I dozed off with her next to me. I nursed her 23 months, and I weaned her because I was pregnant with my next one.

My 2nd one was also born in a hospital and again I had an epidural. This time around I was induced. Labor wasn't too bad until the epidural started to wear off and the Dr and anesthesiologist were caught in an emergency C-sec down the hall. That was a traumatizing 30 - 60 minutes. By the time the Dr came back, I was more than ready to push. baby came out in 3 pushes, but had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice and was blue. Luckily as soon as the Dr unwrapped the umbilical cord, she started screaming and pinked up real quick. I asked for her right away, and they put her on my tummy while they cut the cord and cleaned her up some. Then I nursed her (maybe 5 minutes after birth). She latched on right away and has not had any trouble nursing. I was quite happy to have been able to hold her immediately, and glad that I got to nurse her before they took her for weight and hight measurements. I did a lot more skin to skin with my 2nd one than I did with the first, and this time around I'd read up on safely co-sleeping with a baby. She is now 13 months and showing no signs of wanting to wean.

Amanda - posted on 12/18/2011




My 1st baby, my son was premmie, I went into labour at work, had hardly any contractions and a very short labour. He came out spine on spine and was blue. We had a crash tem on standby with resusitation equipment ready to go. He was fine and started breathing properly on his own and latched on straight away before he was taken down to the nursery. I had no problems with feeding even after I went back to work full time when he was 6 1/2 months old.
My daughter, No.2 baby, nearly stoppedd breathing during her deivery, her heart rate dropped to just under 40 beats and minute and she also hadn't turned so she was trying to come out side ways. They were going to take me down for a c section but decided it was quicker to push her out then prep me for surgery. She was pretty traumitised but again she had no problems with latching on.

[deleted account]

I was induced w/ twins, but ended up w/ a semi-emergency c-section. Due to breathing issues I wasn't able to see one of the girls til she was 4 hours old. It took us a bit to get the latch figured out (I ended up w/ one blister in the hospital and one at home). They were also losing too much weight, so had to be cup fed some formula... which made them less willing to latch. We did get it figured out though and after about 2 weeks I never got sore nipples or blisters anymore. I had a bit of trouble w/ midnight production in the first month or two, so would supplement w/ formula after nursing each girl twice in a row! Other than that... no issues and we nursed for 15 months (parent led weaning).

My son was born by scheduled c-section. I also wasn't allowed to see him for 4 hours after birth due to breathing issues. I wasn't allowed to try nursing him til about 8 hours (I think?). It took us til he was 34 hours old before he finally figured out that nursing was a good thing. He didn't stop til he was 3.25 years old and was 'force weaned' to do a 4 week visitation w/ his father.

Celeste - posted on 12/18/2011




I think breastfeeding and birth experiences can go hand in hand.

My first daughter was vaginal, at a hospital. Had an epidural which worked only on one side. Shoulder dystocia and had a vacuum to get her out.

Breastfeeding actually went really well. Took to it like a champ. I did have minor problems, like sore nipples. Even though I did take breastfeeding class, I still was completely clueless.

She nursed til 17 months.

My twins, I had a c/s. Since they were 6 weeks premature, they were taken to the special care nursery (they had problems breathing). As soon as I was awake, I immediately asked for a pump and started pumping every 2 hours.

Finally got to see the boys and we had issues latching. We did skin to skin, I pumped every 2 hours. One of my boys finally did latch but then introduced to a bottle and then refused to nurse again. Worked on that, got him back to nursing after close to 2 months. We ditched the pump and bottles and solely nursed them.

One weaned at 3 1/2 and the other weaned at over 4 1/2 :)

[deleted account]

I had a difficult c-section. Was put under general and didn't wake up until hours later. So I didn't see my baby when he was born. I also didn't spend the first two nights with him because I was in too much pain to care for him. My milk didn't come in until day 4, and the nurses gave him some small amount of formula. I also only have one milk-producing breast due to breast cancer.

Anyway, long story short, I'm still breastfeeding my son at 15mo. :)

Amy - posted on 12/18/2011




I can't say anything about the c-section because I didn't have one but I can share my story.

With my son it was a hospital birth. Initially I did pain meds, and then an epideral when the doctor told me I'd be able to get some sleep. I was already 7 cm when I arrived at the hospital and labor wasn't really progressing and it was the middle of the night. They woke me up at 6 in the morning to see how far along I was, when they checked me they discovered my son was ready to come out. My doctor couldn't even finish getting dressed and we were all done. I held him initially and then they weighed and measured him. We had no problems breastfeeding, and the hospital had someone come in to make sure his latch was ok. We were in the hospital the two nights he stayed in the room with us.

I returned to work within 2 months of having my son. Money was extremely tight at the time so I could not afford a pump, if only I'd done the math and discovered that the pump would of paid for itself in 2 months, so my son was only breastfed 5-6 months.

My daughter was also a hospital birth, she was induced, I also chose to have an epidural as well. Another easy labor with no complications. I held her right away before she was weighed, we only stayed in the hospital one night before we went home, she slept in the nursery that night. I stayed home for 3 months with my daughter and purchased a breast pump, she is now 21 months old and still breastfeeds twice a day.

Other then the lactation consultant at the hospital, our pediatrician, and my husband I didn't have people that were supportive. I'm not saying anyone was unsupportive or that they weren't nice but my mother and mil hadn't breastfed. I made the decision that I would give it a try and didn't go in with any preconceived notions of it being easy or hard (same attitude with my labor) and it just happened to work out for the best.

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