Q&A: Epidural and Breastfeeding?

I want to breastfeed but I might have an epidural. Can an epidural affect my baby's ability to nurse?
Save article
ByNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
Lactation Specialist
Mar 2017
Hero Image

The jury is still out on this one. There are a few studies that have shown no association between epidurals and breastfeeding success. In some other studies, women receiving an epidural had fewer successful breastfeeding sessions in the first 24 hours after delivery, were more likely to have babies that were supplemented with formula in the hospital, and were more likely to stop breastfeeding in the six months after delivery.

Does this mean you won’t be able to breastfeed if you opt for an epidural? No way. It just means that it’s extra-important for you to establish breastfeeding in your first days as a mom. Increase your odds by asking to feed baby ASAP after delivery, spending plenty of time skin-to-skin, breastfeeding frequently in the first hours and days of baby’s life, and asking for breastfeeding assistance during your hospital stay. All of these practices are known to help make for an easier, longer-lasting breastfeeding relationship.

Related Video
Save article

Peanuts and Breastfeeding?

Leigh Anne O'Connor
Lactation Specialist

10 Best Nursing Pads for Breastfeeding Moms

Lynsey Eidell
Contributing Writer

Breastfeeding During Labor? See the Moment It Happened

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

Q&A: Breastfeeding While Pregnant?

Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
Lactation Specialist

Mom-To-Be Rachel Platten Shares How 'Intimidating' Breastfeeding Seems Right Now

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor

What Is Colostrum?

The Bump Editors

Q&A: Can I Breastfeed During Pregnancy?

Karen Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC, FILCA
Article removed.