Recovering from a c-section delivery is difficult for many moms compared to a typical vaginal birth. And if you have a young toddler running around at home while you are trying to recover, it can be even more challenging.
After leaving the hospital, you have to start to really find balance in your life as a mom of two, but with a c-section incision and pure exhaustion, it can be hard to find out how to take care of yourself, a newborn, and an energetic toddler.
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I was in this exact situation when I had my second baby. Our daughter was 3 years old and very rambunctious. We knew that I was going to have a scheduled c-section ahead of time so that did help a bit, but we still were worried about how I would balance it all.
Since I had had a previous c-section I knew what to expect for my recovery, but this recovery would definitely be a lot different with two kids to take care of. Thankfully, within the first few days of being home, I was able to get into a pretty smooth routine to help my toddler adjust and allow myself the time I needed to recover.
1. Be Prepared
One of the first things I did when I found out I was having another c-section delivery, was get everything prepared ahead of time. This was helpful because I didn’t have to do much when I got home after my c-section. I was literally able to just rest and take care of basic needs.
So try to get everything ready for bringing your baby home before you head out to have your c-section.
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2. Prepare Your Toddler
Another huge tip is to prepare your toddler for your c-section recovery. This was very helpful with my 3-year-old. She, of course, didn’t completely understand everything that was going to happen but had some idea.
We explained to her that the baby was in my belly and we were going on a specific day to get the baby taken out. And since I knew I was having a c-section again, I explained that the doctor was going to have to cut a little hole in my belly to get the baby out. This made it easier for her to know what to expect.
Now not all toddlers are as understanding as mine was about this so you can definitely leave out the fact that your belly will be cut open if that would bother them.
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3. Meal Planning
One great thing I really did miss when coming home from the hospital was having my meals cooked for me. I know many people don’t like hospital food, but I sure did. It was nice not having to cook and clean up after every meal.
Of course, once I got home, I had to get meals prepared, cooked and cleaned constantly. It felt like as soon as I cleaned up one meal it was time to make another one. And to be honest, we ended up eating out a ton because I was just so tired.
This is one reason that meal planning before your delivery date is so crucial.
Just getting together and preparing around 4 weeks of freezer meals can really take the guessing out of dinner and give you more time out of the kitchen.
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4. Get Help If You Can
If you can get a family member to come over and help you out for the first few days or so while you recover from a c-section delivery, take them up on it. Having an extra person to help you with your toddler and your newborn can give you time to rest and take care of yourself as well.
What if I don’t have family around to help?
I completely understand. My husband and other family members had to go back to work as soon as we came home from the hospital, so I was left alone with both the toddler and newborn baby during the day.
So if you can’t get help during the day, take advantage of the time in the evening when your husband is home to help with taking care of the kids. Even if it’s just for a short time, take some of it for yourself.
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5. Explain to Your Toddler About Your Incision
When you come home after being at the hospital for a few days your toddler is bound to miss you and want tons of affection. However, one important thing to do after a c-section is to explain to your toddler that you are hurting and to be gentle.
Now I didn’t ever show my daughter my incision or anything but I just explained that mommy had an owie on her tummy and to be very careful when coming up to me. This was very good for preventing her from jumping on me later on.
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6. Treat Your Pain
Remember that when you have a c-section, you are going to have some pain. It’s not anything to shrug off. Sometimes the pain can be very intense, especially if you are not taking the pain medications that you were prescribed when you need them.
There is nothing at all wrong with trying to wean off of them as you start to feel better but don’t stop cold turkey or try to deal with the pain. Making yourself comfortable so you can be there for your newborn and your toddler is what matters.
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7. Walk As Much As You Can
After having a c-section, as soon as you are able to walk, your nurse will have you up and going. This is very important for promoting good blood flow and preventing blood clots. It also helps you to recover and get your body back to normal.
So try to walk around the house, but don’t overdo it.
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8. Get A C-section Belt
One product that is really great for helping a c-section tummy is a postpartum belt. These belts wrap around your belly and help to keep everything tight to your body to help with healing and also pain.
This was so helpful in keeping me more comfortable to move around and keep up with my toddler.
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9. Use A Boppy Pillow
Think a boppy pillow is just for breastfeeding?
Let me just say that I love the boppy pillow. Until I actually gave birth, I didn’t really know how awesome it was and how many ways I would use it.
So the most common way to use a boppy pillow, of course, is to help you set your baby in a position for breastfeeding. However, I found it useful for any time I held my newborn to have a barrier between my incision and him, and also when my toddler wanted to hug me.
It really did keep my c-section incision safe and made holding my kids more comfortable.
10. Don’t Lift Your Toddler
This may sound insensitive, but trust me. After you have a c-section, your midsection is at risk for opening up if you are overexerting yourself. This is why most obgyns recommend that moms who’ve just had a c-section only lift things as heavy as their newborn baby.
So how can I hold my toddler if I can’t lift them?
I had a very affectionate toddler that always wanted hugs and kisses, so I taught her to climb on the couch with me and give me hugs and kisses there. This made it easier on my body and she still got the attention she needed.
11. Keep Your Toddler Busy
Is your toddler very active and always looking for something to do?
My daughter was always going and needed something to keep her busy most of the time. This is why I got her into doing little crafts, coloring, and doing puzzles. Keeping her busy not only kept her happy but also gave me some time to sit down and relax or breastfeed the baby.
12. Give Your Toddler Helpful Tasks
It’s only natural that your toddler will want to do what mommy is doing and take care of the baby. This is why giving them little helpful tasks can not only help you out but also keep them busy.
My toddler loved helping me get diapers, wipes, or even clothes for the baby. She was also great at making faces and singing to him.
13. Rest When You Can
One of the best things you can do for your body after a c-section is to rest. However, with a toddler running around it may seem impossible.
So if your toddler takes naps try to nap when they do, or when your husband is home try to take a quick nap while he plays with the kids. Whenever you can squeeze in some rest try to. Your body will thank you.
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