1) Cradle & Reverse cradle get the green light: Contrary to what I had read, the cradle and reverse cradle holds were no trouble to me. I had read it would have to football hold or else side-lying. But the front breastfeeding positions caused no pain on my incision and were actually easier because the baby was directly centered on me. The first 2 days are hard, way harder than breastfeeding after a regular delivery. You can't twist or turn, you are tethered in 5 places on the first day (IV, 2 ankle cuffs, pulse oximeter, and the catheter), and you are out of sorts from the drugs, fasting, and the whole bizarre ordeal. So having the baby front and center was key.
2) Side-lying position gets the red light:
Turning on your side is extremely painful. Ergo, the side-lying position is not so great. The lactation consultant was surprised that I was even trying it - no one does that after a c
, she told me. (Why had I read about doing it post-c
then?) Oh well.
3) All those drugs didn't jeopardize breastfeeding: At least in my case, the medication had no measurable impact on my milk supply or the baby's appetite. In both the vaginal and c-section births, my babies were back at their birth weight by day 3. And by day 4 my breasts were just as engorged as the first time.
4) However, all those drugs did NOT provide breastfeeding pain relief. Oh my goodness, my latch was so sloppy at first that I had sore nipples almost right away and was trending toward scabbed nipples. What can I say, I guess I was rusty! In spite of the pain meds, I had to use my TendHer Pillows like crazy in the hospital for breastfeeding pain relief.
5) And now for something different: An enema before surgery is a great idea. I know, I know... but it is SO worth it. You want to postpone a big bowel movement after surgery if possible. Get the bowels moving, yes, but let's not make them do make-up work.
6) Bring clear liquid snacks for recovery. You can't have solids right away, and the liquid "food" offered to me? Sugar-free popsicles, sugar-free jello, sugar-free pudding, etc. More aspartame than I had allowed myself for the whole pregnancy. Besides, is this what athletes replenish with after a rigorous physical pounding? Why am I not having Gatorade? Also, I found I recoiled at the thought anything below room temp and I learned later that most Eastern medicine practitioners advise against anything cold during recovery.
7) Wax before surgery. And I mean WAX....the most aggressive wax you are willing to do. The incision is already very low, but when your skin starts to shrink back down everything will get closer together. And let's face it, you'll have enough going on down there as it is.
8) Build up your body strength before your c-section - if you know you're having one - because your arms and legs will need to haul your torso around for a while. You don't want to rely on your abs for sitting or standing up; if you can keep your arms and legs strong during pregnancy you'll have a much easier time moving around in those first few days after the surgery.
Last but not least, be proud of yourself for birthing your baby! In this case it really is the destination not the journey :)