Giving birth ain’t easy, regardless of how you deliver your little one. I still remember having to be rushed into the operating room for an emergency C-Section. I was terrified and ill-prepared, to say the least, during the next few weeks at home.
So to make after birth easier for you mamas, I have compiled the 7 most essential things you need post-surgery!
1. Granny Panties
Ladies, now is not the time to be sexy. You are going to want to toss those high-cut cheeky bikini thongs out of the way for the next few weeks (don’t worry, they’ll be back before you know it). The larger the underwear, the more comfortable you will feel. You will most likely have Tummy Pads, which are going to need room! While I didn’t know about these before having my kids, the C-Panty looks fantastic, and I wish I had known about them sooner! Not only do these look super comfortable, but they have a silicone panel to reduce scarring, redness, and itching!
2. Scar Cream
Scarring…one of the biggest concerns a mama might have after going under the knife. I remember almost fainting when I saw my scar for the first time after surgery. I have found a variety of tried and true scar creams that have GREATLY reduced my friend’s scars as well as my own. La Mer The Concentrate may be expensive, but that’s because it genuinely works! You can see by the hundreds of 5-star reviews just how well this miracle cream works on all scars, but especially on c-section scars.
Want something a bit more affordable? Other moms swear by New Gel+ Silicone Strips, which are great because they can be used on both new and old scars (so if you’ve already had a C-section, it’s not too late!). I’ve also known a few moms who love the “Earth Mama” Products (such as the Healing Salve), which are easy to find at your local Target. I used Mederma Gel Scar Treatment along with Vitamin E capsules on my incision, which definitely helped fade the appearance and color of my scar. Whatever method you choose, remember to always consult your doctor before using, especially if you are breastfeeding, ensuring your product won’t have any adverse effects on you or your little one!
3. Large Overnight Pads
Remember the pads you wore as a young teenager with your period? They’re back, ladies. Thankfully, companies like Always have improved them significantly! I may have been the only woman on the planet who didn’t know that you bleed after a C-section, just like someone who had a natural delivery would. While the hospital did supply me with some, it would have been good to know I needed a large box at home following birth. And don’t be shy, the larger, the better!
4. Nursing Pillow
Whether you are nursing or not, a nursing pillow is going to be your new best friend. Because women post-C-section should avoid lifting or putting any strain on your abdominal muscles, a nursing pillow greatly alleviates holding your baby and putting pressure on your back or stomach. I used the Boppy, which I would recommend to any new mom. I love that the covers are interchangeable, so with milk spills or throw-up incidents, you can toss the cover in the wash and easily replace! Ergobaby and My Breast Friend are also some pillows my friends have raved about.
5. Water and Ice
While this may seem like an obvious staple, I was insanely parched after my surgery. I couldn’t get enough ice and would literally buzz my nurses every hour for a refill if my water wasn’t cold enough. (I swear I was a really low-maintenance hospital guest other than this). Once I got home, I still wanted lots and lots of water, so I used my Swell bottles to keep water ice cold instead of having to go back and forth for ice in the kitchen. Water is an integral part of your recovery, your milk production if breastfeeding, as well as helping prevent constipation (those Pain-Killers are no joke on your digestion track). So grab your favorite water bottle and have it handy post-surgery!
6. Comfy Pants
Another obvious staple that can be easily overlooked is the perfect loungewear! After giving birth, I assumed that my “go-to” lounge pants would be sufficient enough to hang around in. They ended up being too big and baggy, which actually affected my surgery scar more because I kept lifting them and retying them around my midsection. Yoga pants weren’t any better as they were super tight around my scar, and I felt as if I was stuffing myself into them. This was when a friend told me about Cuddl Duds. While the name was a little off-putting, these pants came to the rescue in a big way! Not only are they soft and stretchy, but they have no annoying drawstring or uncomfortable elastic waist. The best part about them is they are cute, so I didn’t feel like a complete slob wearing them around the house. Since birth, I’ve actually bought a ton more Cuddl Duds just because they are so comfortable and can do a quick errand or walk the dog in them!
While this may seem like a silly essential, it is by far the most important! After my C-section, I had several friends and family members look at me and ask strangely, “Oh, you had a C-section?” Even though my baby was in distress, and I had no choice, I still felt guilty in the following weeks about how I didn’t have a natural delivery. I could barely move around the house, faced a raging case of the baby blues, and was in a lot of physical pain. The only thing that stung more than the actual incision was the comments other well-intentioned moms would make about how I took the “easy way out” or was “so lucky I didn’t give birth the hard way.”
While I would hardly say that being cut open in a complete state of panic and recovering from major surgery was “easy,” the comments did start to upset me. A few weeks later, with my physical strength improving and beginning to adapt to life with a newborn, I began to feel much better about it. Besides a strong and brave mother, who else could undergo such a scary thing as giving birth, whether it was the way you had always planned or not? In the following months, I had resolved to be happy that I made the appropriate and best medical decision for my daughter. I have spoken to many other moms who also carry around the C-Section guilt, but I have also been pleasantly surprised by the ones who “wouldn’t have had it any other way!”
Regardless of how you gave birth, the truth of the matter is this…you did. You are a mama who had a baby, and that makes you a truly tough woman. So wear that confidence with pride, ladies, and don’t ever let anyone else take that away from you.