Disclosure: I am not a licensed physician, this post was created from experience and from advice I received from my doctors and midwives. Please consult with your doctor to see if these recovery suggestions will work for you. I received products from Kindred Bravely in exchange for an honest review. As always, the thoughts, ideas, and expressions written are 100% my own. Please visit the disclaimer page for further information.
Whether your C Section was planned or an emergency, one of the hardest things to do is recover from it. If you already have kids at home, taking care of a newborn, your kids, and recovering is a whole other beast. Each recovery is different. Some women bounce back while others are out of commission for at least a week. I’ve had three C Sections and all of my recoveries were different. With my first son, I couldn’t even move for two days. On the third day, I was in a wheel chair and shuffling around the halls for not even five minutes before I asked to sit back down. With my second surgery, I was operated on in the afternoon and walking the next morning. I’m only a few days into my recovery with surgery #3 but after comparing all of them, I found some similarities and things that are necessary to help make a C Section recovery go by faster.
Immediately after surgery (recovering in the hospital)
Water Bottle – You need a water bottle; I cannot stress this enough. After the nurses take the catheter out, you need to pee on your own (I think I might be a hospital requirement? – to make sure everything is working properly?). You need to pee out all the fluid and medicine you had in your body. You need to drink water to flush all of that out. You need to drink water to nourish the cells in your body that are helping your body heal! Yes, the hospital will provide a small pitcher and some small styrofoam cups, but drinking out of a small cup isn’t is as satisfying as chugging from a water bottle!
Abdominal Binder – You just had your muscles cut open and your guts moved around to get a human out of your body. My husband made the mistake of looking over when he was walking past me to cut the cord. He said “it looked like a cannon ball hit you like in those cartoons”. Hah. Thanks, babe. Simple things like coughing, sneezing, or even spitting out your tooth paste become difficult. You totally take for granted your core muscles! Getting in and out of bed, walking, and staying upright is really hard. Having the compression of the abdominal binder helps when you do day to day tasks. With a binder on, you won’t feel like your insides are going to fall out or your incision will bust open. Wear it only during waking hours and for as long as you can tolerate. I have a hospital grade velcro one that you can throw in the wash. It is NOT aesthetically pleasing, but hey it does the job and it does the job well! Some women opt for a cute one or even a corset. I personally love the white velcro hospital grade one because you can have it as tight or as loose as you want and it’s one size fits all.
Water Bottle – You’ll still need to drink lots of water when you go home! A trainer told me, take your weight and divide it by two. That’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking a day. I always aim to go through 3 big water bottles a day.
Abdominal Binder – If you decide to nurse, or not, an abdominal binder will offer support as you hold your baby. Whether you’re sitting on the couch, doing things around the house, or nursing, it supports your back and pelvis that may have been thrown off or misaligned after 10 months of carrying a baby and extra weight. Again, don’t sleep with this on!
Frankincense/Rose Hip Oil – If your scar is gnarly or you have crazy stretch marks that make you feel a little self conscious, using a mixture of frankincense oil with rose hip oil as a carrier will help reduce the scar and break up the scar tissue of your incision. Applying this mixture on your belly will help fade any stretch marks and scar tissue. Frankincense is known for its regenerative qualities. Rose Hip Oil is a quick absorbing carrier oil that helps repair damaged skin, reduce wrinkles and scars, and helps with skin regeneration as well. After you rub this mixture on your belly, rub the excess on your face for a DIY anti-aging serum! When your incision is healed, putting this mixture on your scar will help heal and fade the scar. By massaging the serum over your scar will help break up any scar tissue that could form.
Kindred Bravely C Section Underwear – Kindred Bravely has Special C Section underwear that I absolutely love. They are full coverage and high waist and a really good transition piece from the mesh hospital undies. They are soft and come in dark colors in case of any leakage. This underwear is the perfect alternative to saggy, full coverage, briefs (that come in like a 7 pack at local department store) because the waist stops up by your belly button. I like to think of this underwear is “fashion forward” because everything is high-rise now: high rise swim bottoms, high rise jeans, high rise skirts! I feel like underwear now is all low rise or cheeky, which sucks because with cheeky underwear you don’t have enough surface area to properly hold in a postpartum pad and the low rise waist band stops right where your scar is. This is totally superficial, but even though these are high waist, full coverage underwear, they are very pretty. Wearing this underwear makes you feel a little more human. Normally, I wear a tank top and my abdominal binder over it to protect my incision. This underwear makes it so I don’t have to!
image via kindredbravely.com
Kindred Bravely French Terry Nursing Bra – This bra has no elastic and no underwire. It’s soft and stretchy without suffocating, if that makes sense. Technically this is a “sleep bra” but its supportive enough for you to wear while walking or doing yoga. I wore this bad boy when I was pregnant and I’m currently wearing it. My ribcage didn’t change, but I knew once my milk came in my cup size would. This bra keeps up with the ever-changing cup sizes of the nursing mama without sacrificing shape or support! It’s also soft enough that you won’t need nursing pads for your sensitive nips.
Kindred Bravely Nursing Tank – This tank is sent from the heavens above. Its an extra long nursing tank that hugs your middle. It’s not constricting like an abdominal binder or spanx, more like a hug to keep everything in. This tank is essential when you’re sleeping or if your abdominal binder is in the wash and you feel like you’re going to fall apart. (PS. You DON’T want to sleep with an abdominal binder on!) I’ve used it when I’m out and about. It keeps your midsection covered while you’re nursing, so you don’t have to fumble with staying covered. Also, the tank doesn’t ride up! If you have other kids and you have to chase after them, bend over to pick something up, or reach for something high, you have the peace of mind that you’re going to stay covered and “hugged”.
4 days post partum with my Kindred Bravely Nursing Tank and a fresh new baby
Mother’s Milk Tea – I don’t know about any other C Section Moms, but I noticed that it took a while for my milk to come in and when it did come in, I had to work for every ounce. Maybe it’s my genetics or the method that my baby was delivered but I looked up C Sections and Breastfeeding. Apparently, when you have a C Section your body doesn’t release a certain hormone that it releases when you give birth naturally. So I struggled with my milk supply. I went to the natural food store and found this. It’s an interesting flavor. By interesting I mean horrible. It tastes like black licorice. I hate black licorice. If you let it cool for a while and chug it, it’s almost worth those few minutes of gross taste when you have lots of milk coming in for your baby!
Boobie Bites – There are a few recipes out there for Boobie Bites. They’re little cookies that help boost milk supply. They’re semi-healthy, really yummy, and they give you lots of energy!
Walking shoes – You need to go outside and go for a walk. Light walking will help you recover! Fresh, oxygenated blood going through your veins heals you faster than you sitting on your couch, promise. Also fresh air and sunshine will help boost your mood after you have a baby. Baby blues are normal, so put on your walking shoes, put the baby in the stroller or in a carrier, and walk up and down your street. Get some fresh air, get some sunshine, and heal faster!
Evening Primrose Oil – EPO is a pill that you take by mouth. My midwife suggested it when I was pregnant with Isaac because I was really trying hard to have a VBAC. Evening Primrose Oil is used to induce labor, you can begin taking it daily after 38 weeks of pregnancy. I continued to take it after pregnancy because it helps the uterus contract. My midwife said that it’s a natural treatment for PMS and it helps balance out your hormones. There are a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in EPO and that’s what helps regulate the hormone levels. Since this helps with regulating hormone levels this will also help with the symptoms that go along with it – I noticed reduced cramping, not as much post partum hairloss, and I wasn’t as moody, weepy, or grumpy.
Moms! C-Section or not, what were your postpartum recovery necessities? What advice can you give someone who will be delivering soon?