However, once you are released from the hospital, your C-Section recovery at home could be challenging. You’re not only recovering from major abdominal surgery; you also have a new infant to care for at the same time. Not to mention much of the help you received in the hospital you won’t be getting at home.
Yes, your C-Section recovery at home can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little recovery planning and understanding what it takes to fully heal properly you can have a recovery at home that is quicker, easier and a lot less painful.
When I was recovering at home after my first C-Section not only did I have a lot of pain, I underestimated the C-Section recovery timeline and how long it would take to fully recover. But my biggest challenge was fatigue. I couldn’t get enough sleep. Those 2-3 hour feedings were draining and they certainly affected the quality of bonding.
There are many c-section challenges that you can encounter when you get home however these are some of the most common challenges and a few remedies that may help for making those first few weeks at home a lot less challenging and your time with baby a lot more enjoyable.
SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR C-SECTION RECOVERY AT HOME
1. Prepare your Home for yourself as well as your baby
We spend a lot of time preparing our home for our new baby but it’s important to prepare for your home for your C-Section recovery as well. Coming home after surgery to a lot stairs, cleaning, no groceries, supplies or necessary comforts can turn a joyous occasion dismal. This is your baby’s most precious time, you want to enjoy and relax, not stress and be uncomfortable.
Here are some things that will help.
Set up a personal area of your own. If you have a multilevel home, set up an area on the first floor that you can make your own space. If possible have a bed and a comfortable chair in an area that’s convenient. Anticipate the clothes you’ll need along with your toiletries, books, computers and personal effects you’ll need over the next several weeks. Have all these things prepared and arranged before you go to the hospital.
Get a maid service to clean. While you’re in the hospital arrange to have a cleaning service or your favorite cleaning lady do some cleaning. For example, change your bed sheets, tidy up the kitchen, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, dust, water plants, clean the fridge, etc. Personally, I hate coming home to a messy, dirty house so having things clean and tidy always puts me in a better mood.
Get some comfy pillows. Pillows work great for helping you maneuver in and out of bed. They can make your chair more comfortable and easier to get out of.
Go grocery shopping and stock up. Before delivery make a thorough list of all the groceries you’ll need over the next several weeks. Do bulk shopping if possible. Make up meals in advance that you can freeze so meal preparation is easier.
Also, think ahead and have foods on hand that will boost your energy. Have plenty of fruits and veggies around. I loved smoothies made with plain yogurt, orange juice and honey, that always gave me the energy boost I needed. Of course keep taking your prenatal vitamins, especially if you are breastfeeding.
2. Personal care
Avoid baths or using a Jacuzzi. They can breed bacteria that will infest your incision. Also don’t use oils, creams or lotions on or around your incision.
Don’t be anxious to jump back into wearing your regular clothes, and don’t feel depressed if they are a little snug. The extra weight gain will come off in time. Have clothes on hand that are comfortable and loose.
Constipation after a C-Section can be another challenge, so have things on hand like prune juice, orange juice, flax seed, apples, bananas, bran and honey. If your gas and constipation are really bad, ask your doctor to prescribe something.
3. Take Special care of Your Incision
Once you leave the hospital, your C-Section incision care at home is now up to you, and believe me, you don’t want to delay your recovery with an infection.
Start each day by cleaning your incision by simply allowing soapy warm water to run gently over the area as you shower. Don’t scrub your incision or put pressure on it, be very gentle by letting soapy and water merely run over it. When drying the are I prefer letting it air dry or patting it very gentle with a soft towel.
When dressing your incision be sure to wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap first. Keep it covered for as long as your doctor recommends. If it appears a little red in spots simply put some topical bacitracin or neosporin on the red areas. This is a safe anti-bacterial cream that will help fight any bacteria.
4. Keep Your Pain at Bay
The hardest part of your C-Section recovery at home will be dealing with pain and discomfort.
If you have pain medication, take it. In fact, take it just slightly, ten minutes or so, before it’s time to take your next dose. This will keep your pain from becoming too difficult to manage.
One of the best natural pain relievers for C-Section moms is to wear a belly binder. I don’t recommend any binder, instead I’d suggest wearing a C-Section abdominal binder. An abdominal binder designed for C-Section moms will be more comfortable. They are much less rigid and don’t have the pressure points most stiff binders have. This can work wonders for helping you move more freely throughout the day with less pain.
If you feel less pain, you’ll have more energy, that goes a long way for improving both your physical your emotional well being.
5. Breastfeeding Considerations.
Comfort is important when breastfeeding after a C-Section so use a good pillow when breastfeeding. A regular bed or sofa pillow will work but a breastfeeding pillow like the Boppy pillow for example has a unique U-shape that holds baby in such a way that she is not putting pressure on your body. Using a pillow is a good idea whether you are breastfeeding or using a bottle.
6. Be Patient About Getting Back Into Shape.
Try not to be overly concerned with how your stomach looks. Your muscles were stretched by the c-section so you’re going to have a little overhang above your c-section scar, this is normal. In time your ‘pooch’ will diminish. Breastfeeding helps tremendously with getting your uterus back in shape so keep up the breastfeeding for as long as you can.
If you’re anxious to get back into shape, that’s a good thing, but take your exercise carefully and slowly. I always recommend you do only post C-Section exercise that will safely and effectively help you target those problem areas without causing injury, that’s extremely important to your health and continued safety.
7. Rest When Baby Rests.
You’ll hear that a lot. Unfortunately resting when baby rests isn’t always doable. But if you can find it in your schedule to nap when baby is napping, even 20-30 minutes can help you feel refreshed.
If you ever feel overly fatigued, try walking. Strenuous exercise within a few days of surgery isn’t recommended, but low impact exercise like taking a walk can help gradually restore your daily energy levels helping you to feel refreshed. It it’s possible, take baby with you 🙂
8. Ask For Help!
If you’ve got other children at home, get someone to watch over them. This doesn’t have to be long term, having someone even for just a few days helps.
If family can’t help, hire a sitter, ask a friend or get help from your local church. The first few days home with your baby after a c-section can be an adjustment and you will need as much time as you can to recover and bond with your new baby.
Don’t let your C-Section recovery at home catch you off guard. Keep these challenges and remedies in mind for helping you recover faster and more comfortably. Make this recovery time at home memorable, not miserable.
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