What cesarean babies miss out on

Here is a hotch-pot of things I have heard or read about cesarean babies:

1) They often find it harder to breastfeed (not having benefited from the release of pro-nursing hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin, plus they may come out still stunned from the pain medication, which can reduce the suckle reflex).

2) Cesarean born babies need to be held more. The theory I read – in one of Ian White’s books – is that because they didn’t get that final massage, as they descend through the birth canal (which also expels the excess water from their lungs), they are born with a higher than usual need for touch and massage, to make up for it.

3) Cesarean children are up to 8 times more likely to develop allergies and intolerances, especially if the mother has a tendency toward them. I couldn’t find the original article where I read this, so I googled it. Oh my! There are simply loads of references and research that pop up in response to this search criteria. It turns out this is old hat: cesarean babies are more likely to have allergies. The reasons why seem up for grabs. The article I originally read put it down to babies being exposed to beneficial bacteria found in the mother’s birth canal that helped their incipient, forming immune system. Here is one of the many articles I found in this most recent search: http://www.sheknows.com/articles/804431/cesarean-deliveries-may-increase-allergy-chance

We didn’t feel we had a choice as to mode of delivery… but I still find it interesting to note the differences. Perhaps by being aware of them I can act to counteract some of the down sides of being born cesarean. For example, I can make sure I give my little one lots of skin-to-skin contact, massages and breastfeeding, the latter because it is positively correlated to low allergies and intolerances. Maybe the one can help cancel out the other :) I was lucky with breastfeeding. I credit both my midwife and my yoga teacher for giving me tips that helped that (see ‘Anya’s Birth’ for more details).

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