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How to Bond With Your Baby After a C-Section

In 2012 there were more than 1.2 million deliveries via cesarean section in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Like any other surgical procedure, a C-section involves a recovery time that can mean weeks of limited activity. Even though this period may include plenty of rest, you can successfully bond with your baby post C-section.

RELATED: Dressing Around a C-Section Scar

First Starts

Even though you're in an operating room and the doctor may still have some work to do after the baby makes his appearance, you can start the bonding process with some post C-section skin-to-skin contact with your newborn. After the doctor examines your baby, she can place your newborn directly onto the skin of your upper chest, according to New England's Women and Infants health care center. If you're still on the surgical table, your partner -- or a member of the medical staff -- can help you to keep the baby in place during initial skin-to-skin bonding moments.

The Hospital Stay

After a C-section you'll need to spend up to four days in the hospital, notes the U.S. Office on Women's Health. After the surgery is complete and you're brought to your hospital room, you can ask the nurse to bring your baby in. While you're on bed rest, recovering from the procedure, you can cuddle with your baby during these first few days. If you're groggy from anesthesia or pain medications used during or after the surgery, the hospital staff may not allow you to hold your baby until you are more alert. In this case, your partner or a family member can hold the baby close to you.

Feeding Times

Whether you breast or bottle feed, feeding time provides an immediate way to bond with your baby. But holding your baby up to your breast or positioning her isn't always easy after a C-section. If you're planning on breastfeeding, ask your doctor if you can start right away. Avoid putting any pressure on your incision, try a side-lying position in which you nurse while in bed. If you feel more comfortable sitting up to nurse, or bottle feed, use a pillow on your lap as a buffer between your tender tummy and your baby.

RELATED: The Role of a Dad During a C-Section Delivery

Take Time

Don't put pressure on yourself to bond with your baby immediately. Even though some mothers forge an immediate bond with their newborns, for others it may take some time and work, according to KidsHealth.org. The time spent away from your baby immediately after your C-section or during your recovery may affect your ability to develop a close tie right away. While this may seem frustrating, take it slow and gradually build a bond as you begin to feel physically stronger and more able to independently care for your baby.

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