Once you see that plus sign and the doctor confirms you are expecting a little boy or girl, a cesarean section is probably not on your mind, let alone how to recover from one. For me, I was too busy picking out baby clothes, making sure the nursery was complete and that my hospital bag was ready to go. While I prepared for a natural birth, my oldest son, now 21, and my body, had other plans. While I wish I had known a few recovery tips back then, my three other children and C-sections taught me some tips that allowed me to bounce back from surgery and enjoy my new little family addition.
Take Advantage of the Nurses
After your C-section and the delivery of your baby, the nurses take the baby to the nursery to allow you to recover. Once you leave recovery and return to your room, the nurses bring your little one to feed and bond with. After spending time with your little one, the nurses will offer to take the baby back to the nursery to allow you to rest. While many mothers choose instead to room with their baby, I suggest taking advantage of the nurses and extra help while you can. I choose to room with my oldest son, but later learned that taking advantage of the extra rest would have increased my healing time, allowing me to spend more quality time with my baby when we went home. You will have plenty of sleepless nights ahead of you, so take advantage of the rest while you can.
Hit the Track
While you may be sore and stiff after your baby is born, it is important to get up and get moving. After your doctor clears you to get up, overcome the urge to relax in bed and get moving. Instead of letting the nurses bring your baby to you at feeding time, let them know you will walk down and get her. As someone who worked in the medical field, this one was easy for me. I hated being a patient. I liked my own bed and my own food. I knew that the sooner I was up and moving, the sooner I could go home. With my first son, I was in the hospital for four days, but went home after two days with my youngest daughter. Just remember to take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard.
Forget Losing the Baby Weight
While you may be anxious to cut some calories and get a jump-start on shedding the baby weight, give it sometime and take in those calories. Your body needs to heal and needs nutrients to do that. This is especially true if you plan to breastfeed your little one. Your body needs the extra calories to heal, as well as produce milk for your baby’s tiny tummy. Take this time to enjoy your meals and leave the calorie counting for a few months.
Leave the Heavy Lifting to Daddy
This is one tip I wish I had listened to after my first C-section. Your doctor will advise you not to lift anything heavier than your baby’s weight. Follow these instructions. As a woman that has always been very independent and spent many hours in the gym lifting, I figured I could just ignore this one. Well, a couple torn stitches proved me wrong and slowed my healing. Until you heal completely, let your husband or other family members move furniture or bring in the 50-pound bag of dog food.
Relax and Enjoy Your Beautiful Little One
This one was difficult for me with all the C-sections, but really is important for your physical healing. Take the time to relax and enjoy your new little boy or girl. Spend the day on the couch bonding with her, looking into her eyes or watching her sleep. Do not stress over a sink full of dishes or the floor that needs mopping. They will still be there and the world will not end if they stay dirty until someone else can do them. Give yourself time to heal and enjoy.