It's major abdominal surgery, so make sure you take the time to recover
My first C-section was a surprise. We went in for a regular check-up, I saw faces go from excited to see the baby to "hmmm" to then have my care team step outside of the room to decide on how to proceed to hours later sitting in the recovery area with a newborn in my arms and a lot of "what just happened?" feelings.
If this doesn't paint the picture clearly, I was very very very much underprepared for a C-section, let alone the process of recovering from one. I remember when the nurse told me it was time to stand up and walk because that would help me heal, the absolute pain I was in was debilitating and I thought for a second she was pranking me because, really, I was supposed to walk 24 hours after major abdominal surgery?
I learned a lot from my first chaotic experience and when I had my second C-section (which was planned due to breach twins) I was way more prepared than before. Not only for the actual surgery but for the recovery after. I really focused on what would make my life easier, especially now that I would have three under 3 at home.
A lot of the recovery process is asking for help, whether it's from family members or a team you hire (doulas, night nurses, nannies, etc). For example, my husband took 100% care of our toddler's needs the first couple of weeks after surgery. He did all the cleaning of pump parts, laundry and housekeeping. I mostly sat, drank water, breastfed, pumped, played games on the couch with our son and snuggled with our newborns.
But also, there are a lot of products that help C-section moms recover easier. Here are my favorites:
The targeted compression of these undies help reduce swelling from surgery and also feel like your insides are not going to plop out at any point. I wish I had worn mine for longer, the second I started to feel better I ditched them and now have been dealing with terrible diastasis recti that maybe could've used a little more help from constant compression.
One of the first recommendations given to moms post-surgery is: do not lift anything heavier than baby. Do you know what's heavier than baby? Car seat + baby. I got the Doona car seat + stroller so I could go to the pediatrician with my husband, each in charge of one baby. The car seat is excellent and the stroller is so easy to push, I was able to do it as we left the hospital (when I was still very much in pain).
You know what's really hard to do after surgery? Bending over. This is why this Puj tub is perfect for while you recover from your cesarean, you can bathe your baby in any sink of your house without adding extra pressure or discomfort to your incision. Honestly, I kept using mine until my babies didn't fit anymore because I'm not a fan of tiny slippery infants in big bathtubs, I like them more contained.
With my first, I attempted to breastfeed him while plopped over a regular cushion or pillow. It didn't go super well for us, and so the second time around I added one of these nursing pillows to my registry. It was a game-changer. I could comfortably breastfeed without worrying about baby (well, babies in my case) rubbing against my incision, or me bending super forward to keep baby latched. This new version has a higher backrest for more comfort and a perfect pocket for a water bottle (you must hydrate!), cellphone or remote control.
This bassinet makes it super easy to nurse and nap thanks to the 360 swivel and lowering bedside wall, which makes it easier to pick up baby when they need some snuggles or to be fed.
You know what sucks when you are in pain? Trying to swaddle a baby who is angry because they are outside of the warm and comforting womb. Enter the Sleepea baby swaddle which I swear has any baby calm and ready to snooze in no time. No more bending over the bed with limbs all over the place trying to tightly wrap your newborn for a nap, with this swaddle everyone will be ready for bed in seconds.
Once I got the OK from my doctor to start massaging my scar to soften the scar tissue below it, I also started applying this Earth Mama Organics balm to help the scar look less red and angry. I usually don't heal super well (I can have a scab from a bug bite for months) but this balm helped my C-section scar look super good in no time. Plus it's just a nice time for you to give your body a little love and a gentle massage.
Saying hydrated postpartum is key for many reasons. If you are breastfeeding you are going to be parched, so make sure you are drinking enough water during the day to feel good. Also, if you had a C-section you will be most likely constipated (thanks to the anesthesia and pain meds) so drinking a lot of water will help things keep moving, which means less straining, which means less pain in your incision area. Trust me on this one.
Sleeping helps the body heal and recover faster, but who really sleeps when you have a newborn? This mask helped me be able to take naps during the day while my husband took care of the babies. Even though I was exhausted, trying to nap without something over my eyes made the whole thing futile because I kept checking my phone, or the monitor, or just getting distracted. I still use this mask at almost a year postpartum on nights when I need a little extra help dozing off.
I'm obsessed with this nightgown, so much so that I still wear it regularly even though I'm not pregnant, recovering from a C-section (anymore) nor breastfeeding. It's so soft and comfortable it's the perfect garment to get as soon as you get pregnant and enjoy for the rest of your journey as a mom. The nightgown won't rub against your incision and it has easy access to your boobs for night feedings.
I lived in sweatpants and leggings for a while after my C-section. The key is comfort. Everything else hurt and bothers and your body is going through so many changes that when it came to clothes I didn't care much if they matched, were stylish, were anywhere near IG-perfect, all I wanted was comfort. So invest in a pair of sweats and live the best life. Make sure the waistband sits away from your incision to help healing and enjoy.
My feet were SO swollen after both my C-sections that wearing "real" shoes was out of the question. Enter my love for Crocs. These bad boys might not be the most stylish, but they are by far the most comfortable and easy to wear. Especially during the last trimester of your pregnancy. Even more so after a C-section because you don't have to bend over to put them on or take them off and they are wide enough to be forgiving to your post-surgery feet.
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