Childbirth / Motherhood / Nursing

A Natural Birth Can Make Establishing a Breastfeeding Relationship Easier

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**This post may contain affiliate links. I am NOT a licensed medical professional. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional. For my full disclosure policy click here.
NOTE: The purpose of this series is not to bash medicalized births. It is only to shed on light on the potential benefits of having an unmedicated birth.

On this last post of the benefits of a natural birth series, we will be going over another natural birth benefits which is having an easier time establishing a breastfeeding relationship.

How Having a Natural Birth Can Make Establishing a Breastfeeding Relationship Easier

The Impact of Interventions On Breastfeeding

According to Dr. Gilbert J. Grant, “Any medication that you take to relieve pain will reach the baby.” Although some may claim that these amounts are small, the affects they can have on a baby (and mom) can vary widely. 

The issue with labor analgesics and narcotics is the fact that they do interfere with the natural production and flow of labor hormones (which we discussed on day 4’s post), and they increase the risk of having a medically assisted birth, or even a c-section. All of these medical interventions come with risks of their own which can include potential downtime for both mom and baby after the birth.

Some studies have shown that pain relief medication can impact baby’s suckling which has a direct impact on breastfeeding. In this study, it was found that babies of mother’s who did receive an epidural during labor had poorer motor skills in the first month of life, than the babies of mother who went unmedicated.

How a Natural Birth Can Make Breastfeeding Easier

With a natural birth, most babies will begin doing the breast crawl (amazing and oh so adorable!) within the first hour after birth. The breast crawl is a natural instinct that newborns possess which allows them to locate the breast and latch onto the nipple. That’s why it’s so important to place baby on your chest as soon as possible after birth, to bond and to establish that breastfeeding relationship.

That first hour after the birth, also known as the golden hour, is crucial and it is during this time that breastfeeding should begin. In an uncomplicated natural birth, where mom and baby’s bodies aren’t under the effects analgesics or narcotics, that cascade of labor hormones is in full effect, and mom and baby can experience the advantages of the oxytocin hormone which provides the boost of energy and feelings of love (oxytocin is known as the love hormone) that facilitates breastfeeding.

When mom and baby are fully alert and healthy, it is much easier to establish a breastfeeding relationship.

Are you planning on having a natural birth and breastfeeding/pumping?

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1 Comment

  • Melinda
    April 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Mallaury! I just stumbled across your blog on Pinterest so I thought I’d say hello!

    This post is spot on. I think so many women struggle with breastfeeding because of pain medication and other interventions and then they aren’t given the support that they need to overcome those problems. They wind up quitting and switching to formula before they’ve even really had a chance to give breastfeeding a fair shot!


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