Epidurals may cause breastfeeding difficulties

Filed under: Your Pregnancy

Having an epidural to ease labor pain may result in breastfeeding problems the first week after birth, and a greater likelihood that you'll stop breastfeeding early.

This, according to a recent study of 1,300 women who gave birth in 1997.

One possibility could be sleepy infants -- affected by the fetanyl from the epidural, and thus more difficult to breastfeed initially. It's also possible that the same women who have epidurals are also less motivated to breastfeed. Or, yet another reason may be that many of these women went on to have Cesarean sections -- which, because it's harder to pick up your baby post-op, makes breastfeeding difficult without help.

It should be noted that epidurals have many benefits, and that this study is only conclusive in that it warrants "further investigation."

Did you experience any breastfeeding difficulties after your epidural?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.