How can I care for my baby while recovering from a C-section? Postpartum Recovery

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mom and newborn
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As with any major surgery, the recovery process that follows a Cesarean section can be challenging. And not only are you trying to expedite your own healing process, but you also want to do your best to care for your newborn. Here, tips from experts and moms that can help you heal and save you some stress as you navigate new motherhood after a C-section.

Rest & Avoid Heavy Lifting

"A C-section is a major abdominal surgery. Rest is a very important part of the healing process. While recovering, it is helpful to have another adult at home to help you with your household chores, to help with meal preparation, to help drive you to newborn appointments, and to help take care of other children at home. It is important to avoid strenuous activity and lifting after a C-section to avoid incision separation. Most obstetricians recommend avoiding lifting more...

"A C-section is a major abdominal surgery. Rest is a very important part of the healing process. While recovering, it is helpful to have another adult at home to help you with your household chores, to help with meal preparation, to help drive you to newborn appointments, and to help take care of other children at home. It is important to avoid strenuous activity and lifting after a C-section to avoid incision separation. Most obstetricians recommend avoiding lifting more than 10 to 15 pounds in the first few weeks after surgery. This means that you will probably have no problem carrying your newborn -- however, you must be careful lifting from a lying or seated position because this can put more strain on your abdominal muscles. In these cases, it may be better to put your baby down in a safe place, rise to standing on your own, and then lift your baby up. If you have a toddler at home, you must avoid lifting them for at least a few weeks after the surgery. Remember, taking good care of yourself will allow you to resume your normal activities and responsibilities quicker." -- Dori Anchin, MD, pediatrician at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York

Take Care of Yourself First

"Your body is healing from a major abdominal surgery, and at the same time, you and your baby are just getting to know each other's habits and routines. The best advice I can offer for caring for your baby is to take care of yourself first. Make sure you attend your follow-up appointments with your provider, take a walk outside at least once a day, or treat yourself to a pedicure. It would also be a great idea to develop a support plan for those days when you could use a little help."...

"Your body is healing from a major abdominal surgery, and at the same time, you and your baby are just getting to know each other's habits and routines. The best advice I can offer for caring for your baby is to take care of yourself first. Make sure you attend your follow-up appointments with your provider, take a walk outside at least once a day, or treat yourself to a pedicure. It would also be a great idea to develop a support plan for those days when you could use a little help." -- Juliet Mushi, MD, FACOG, obstetrician-gynecologist at Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

"Get help! After a C-section, it takes two-ish weeks to not be in pain. So, hopefully, your partner, mom, friend, or a doula or nanny can be there for you." 

Find the Right Balance

"Know your limits. Rest, but not a lot. I would sit for too long and would hurt when I got up. But at the same time, if I walked around too much, I would hurt. It's a fine line."

Keep Necessities Close

"I kept a bassinet right next to the bed with a basket on my night stand, filled with diapers, wipes, Aquaphor, burp cloths, and a couple changes of baby clothes. That way, if I was hurting a lot, I didn't need to go far and overdo it. I also pre-made a lot of homemade and healthy dinners to freeze, so I didn't have to cook and knew I was eating right!"

Try Not to Stress Too Much

"Don't stress too much! Everything you're going through is normal, including the crazy emotions. Do not be afraid to ask for help and don't overdo it. And walking around is good for the healing process."

Don't Rush It

"If others offer to help with things, or to hold the baby for a little, so you can heal, let them! Also, don't rush the healing process. Your baby needs you at your best!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.