Posted by: babybumper | December 15, 2010

Surgical After Birth: Welcoming Baby after a C-Section

Birth surgery comes with its own set of complications after delivery. With special thought and planning, you can still provide a welcoming environment for the newborn. The first obstacle is the inaccessibility of the mother directly after birth. The baby is out, ready to bond, but the mother remains on the Operating Table, and is draped to provide a sterile environment. She is not situated for easy contact. Skin-to-skin contact is still the best way to provide the optimal environment for a newborn. Mom can provide this after a Birth by Surgery. Some hospitals successfully provide opportunity for maternal skin-to-skin contact, with great success and health benefits for both mom and baby. My hospital is not there yet; they wouldn’t think of it. If parents were insistent, I’d like to believe we would support and assist a mother to hold her baby skin-to-skin. Like in this story (complete with a video showing skin-to-skin contact directly after a C-Section). It may take some determined parents to get my hospital to that rational point.  Please be THOSE people!!!

Father's Touch

If skin-to-skin contact is not possible for the mother, dad (or another caring person) can act as an important substitute. When a dad cuddles his baby skin-to-skin, the baby benefits similarly than with mom. Babies are calmer, and still exhibit early hunger cues, which will be important for later on, when the mother is available. In a cool article, the author postulates that the infant learns nursing reflexes from being skin-to-skin. “This makes the child fully prepared for the first breastfeeding when being reunited with the mother.” Skin-to-skin contact can be done without a bare chest for the world to see. With assistance, the baby can be placed inside a shirt, with his head through the neck hole. Or the dad can easily obtain a large blanket to wrap about himself and the child.

Father's Touch by Matt & Janet

Skin-to-skin contact provides ample inspiration for all of the senses (except only the mom can provide the right smell & taste!!). If this kind of contact is IMPOSSIBLE, use your creativity to feed the senses via alternate routes.

Hearing: Singing, speaking, cooing, babbling, etc.
Sight: Hold face-to-face closely. The baby can be held up by the mother’s face, ensure their faces match, and are not upside-down to one another.
Touch: Stroke, rub, pat, hug, hold, and massage.

Fatigue by Kelly Sue

After a C-section, out of the OR, mom’s are often exhausted. They just had major abdominal surgery. They receive a lot of sedating medication. Even in this trying time, skin-to-skin contact can feel so good. When mom cradles the baby to her skin, hormones that promote relaxing, calmness, and tenderness are released. Help her get in a comfortable position where she can relax and clutch the baby at the same time. The baby missed out from being born via surgery and not vaginally, but Skin-to-skin contact can help the baby recover what was lost. When the little guy is showing signs of hunger, get help breastfeeding in a way that is comfortable. Two Breastfeeding positions are crucial to learn for mom’s comfort after surgery: the football hold, and lying down. Do whatever works directly after surgery while you are still numb, but after getting in a good bed, focus on learning those 2 positions while there is someone still around to teach! Whatever position you choose, keep in mind these Latching Principles!

Strength by Kelly Sue

Surgery is not the ideal way to birth a baby. Through creativity and boldness, however, you can still create an environment where a baby can transition from the womb to the world and feel safe, secure, and treasured.


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