Having a c-section is nothing to be sniffed at. It certainly isn’t an easy way out of childbirth. Yes, it might be easier than having a normal birth, however the recovery and aftermath is incredibly tough. As a mum who just endured her second c-section and survived getting through the first week, I wanted to share my top tips for any mums who are going through the same thing, or about to have a c-section and are worried about the recovery period.
Remember it’s major surgery
A c-section is major surgery, and the sooner you accept that the better. It might seem like an everyday operation as they take place all the time, so many women have them, and you are awake. But it is major surgery. It will take you time to recover, and you will not be able to be superwomen afterwards. So make sure that you have plans in place to help you are home, to help with childcare, and also to make sure that someone is looking after you. I’ll be honest once you are home, you will not be able to do a lot, and any household tasks will need to be put on the back burner for some time.
Keep on top of the meds
This goes without saying. I am currently in between alternating doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen, and probably will be for the next few weeks ahead. I have some hours where I feel fine and I wonder if I do still need to continue to take the painkillers, however if I don’t the soreness starts to slowly creep up on me. I can’t emphasis how important it is to stay on top of the medication even if you feel that you don’t really need it.
Rest, rest, rest
Please don’t try to be up on your feet the moment you return home from hospital. Go to bed and stay there for at least a week. Resting is one of the only ways that your scar will heal. I found laying down the only position to be comfortable, as just sitting on the sofa was enough to bring a horrible burning sensation to my scar. Use the rest to look after yourself, but also to bond with your baby too. If you’re breastfeeding this is a brilliant time to get that off to a good start, and try to avoid having too many visitors. Trust me the last thing you’ll want to be doing is hosting people, unless they are looking after you.
Have childcare in place
If you already have little ones make sure you have childcare in place particularly for the first couple of weeks. You won’t be able to lift them, play with them, or virtually do anything with them. Having my husband, parents and my husbands parents around has made a huge difference. There is no way that I would be able to look after my toddler during this time. Yes, I feel bad about it, but it’s not forever, and it’s really important for your recovery to rest as much as possible.
Don’t beat yourself up about breastfeeding
This time round we have gone for more of a combi-feeding approach which is working well. It gives my husband a chance to feed our newborn, but also gives me a break too. Picking up a newborn who feeds every 10 minutes is really tough in the days following a c-section, so if you need to bottle feed please don’t feel bad about that. I broke myself trying to exclusively breastfeed my daughter, and it made the early days very hard and not at all enjoyable. A good tip I learnt in hospital was to get a My Brest Friend feeding pillow, and I can tell you it was a lifesaver, preventing baby from lying on your scar and it also acts as a nice pillow for baby to sleep on after.
Lastly remember it gets better
As each day passes after a c-section you will start to feel better. This time last week I had just taken my first steps, and the pain was excruitiating. Going to the loo and sitting up in bed was a nightmare. But now a week down the line I can walk, pick up baby and do some very light household chores. I’m not over-doing it, and resting as much as I can, but the difference a week makes is huge.
So for anyone who has just had a c-section or is about to, I hope that you have found this post useful. Please remember it is major surgery and the best way to recover is to rest.
Oh and congratulations! Enjoy this precious time with your newborn.