I've compiled some resources relating to breastfeeding following a caesarean birth. A close friend of mine did not think it was possible to breastfeed after her emergency c/section and I have since learnt that unfortunately this belief is not uncommon.
It is absolutely possible to breastfeed following a c/section (many bubhub Mum's are testament to this!), in fact, succcess rates are the same as those who breastfeed following a vaginal birth.
Some common concerns include:
Excerpt from Ask Dr Sears:
Nursing baby straight after birth:Your doctor can prescribe pain medication for you that will not affect your baby. Pain suppresses milk production and makes it harder for you to enjoy your newborn. To decrease postoperative pain, talk to your anesthesiologist about using medications that will help you feel the most comfortable, yet alert, after the surgery. Long-acting analgesics (for example, Duramorph) injected into the spinal tubing immediately after birth can considerably ease postoperative pain.
Don't hesitate to use pain medication--you and your baby will enjoy each other more if you are comfortable.
Excerpt from KellyMom, written by Kelly Bonyata, LC:
Positioning (comfortable nursing positions which keep baby's weight off the incision):If possible, the time immediately after your baby is born is a great time to start breastfeeding. You will still be under the effects of the spinal/epidural and probably not yet feeling any discomfort. You will likely have to nurse lying on your back, because of the epidural. Since one arm may be restrained, it may get a little tricky. Try positioning baby lying face down across your breasts (similar to cradle hold, but baby is higher up and away from your incision, and mom is lying flat). When nursing in this position with a newborn,have someone nearby to make sure baby’s nose doesn’t get blocked, since you both may be groggy from the meds. Have your partner or a nurse help position the baby, and use lots of pillows around you to help with support.
Excerpt taken from LLLI:
Positioning can be another challenge right after a cesarean. Lots of pillows to support the baby and to support your body in various positions can be your most valuable breastfeeding "accessories." Rolled up towels or blankets can also be used. You may find that your body is tender at the site of the incision and that you cannot move and change positions as easily as usual. Hospital beds, IV lines, and monitors may interfere with your freedom of movement and with your ability to position yourself and your baby for comfortable breastfeeding. You may need to experiment with various positions to see what will work best for you.
Breastfeeding Positions in pictures
(Note Underarm hold/footy hold & Lying down position)
Breastfeeding after a caesarean birth - info from the ABA
Breastfeeding after a caesarean - article by Annie Smith, LC.
Breastfeeding after a caesarean section - info from Dr Sears
Breastfeeding after a caesarean birth - info from LLLI
Breastfeeding after a caesarean birth - info from Kellymom
Maybe some c/section Mamas can add personal experiences/tips to this thread