Did you know that over 30% of births are C-section deliveries? It’s much more common than most realize! When I was pregnant with my first baby, I never even considered what it may be like to have a C-section until I found out at a third trimester ultrasound appointment that my baby was breech (bottom-side down instead of being in the correct head down position). After discussing options with my doctor and husband, we decided that a C-section would be the safest delivery for baby and me.
Since C-sections are so common, I really didn’t think much about how challenging recovery may be. Fast forward to my first day postpartum… WHAT THE HECK?! I can’t get up, I can’t pee by myself, I’ve been sliced open and OUCH!! And, now I’m only sleeping at 3 hour intervals and have a little infant who wants to suck on my nipples ALL. THE. TIME. … HELP!!! No one told me it would be this HARD!!
So, I’m here to tell you that C-sections are not easy, especially for you mamas who may have labored and attempted a vaginal birth and/or had difficulty with pain management during the C-section (like me). In speaking with my husband about this (who is a surgeon), he believes that if you don’t get ahead of the pain before it starts, it can be a much more difficult recovery. Some of the C-section moms I’ve talked to who had good pain management walk out of the hospital two days later like it was no big deal. But, other moms I talk to who had a different surgery experience hardly get out of their bed for the first four days!! I never knew this prior to my first C-section, so it was a bit of a shock when I was struggling with lots of pain afterward.
I’m also here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be so shocking like it was to me if you feel prepared. I have put together a list of my most favorite products I used post C-section. I literally ordered several of these products on my iPhone from my hospital bed to have waiting for me when I arrived home! Because I found these so helpful, I’m always emailing and texting this list to my mama friends who are either planning a C-section or when I find out their vaginal birth turned into an unexpected C-section delivery. I’ve had a couple of girl friends sincerely thank me for sending them this list, because they, too, were surprised at what a challenge the first couple weeks would be post delivery.
Most importantly, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay and totally normal to be scared prior to going into your C-section surgery. I chose to have a C-section with my second baby (who was not breech) and still was totally freaked out the days leading up to the surgery. But, that C-section went SO SMOOTH and recovery was way easier for that baby than my first baby (I’ll have to tell my birth stories another time to fully get into the nitty gritty details). You can have a really good experience!
I know from speaking with my mama friends that vaginal delivery is not a walk in the park either! I recommend talking with a trusted friend (and your doctor!) about your fears whether you’re going to have a vaginal or C-section delivery. It’s good to hear honest feedback from mamas who’ve been there. Plus, they’ll likely reassure you, like I’m about to now, that it’s all TOTALLY WORTH IT! Your few days of discomfort and frustration will be filled with a lifetime of love from your precious new baby.
Check out my list of the top nine items for C-section mamas, below! This list also includes some items for mamas who plan to try breastfeeding.
TOP 9 ITEMS FOR C-SECTION RECOVERY (WHILE BREASTFEEDING):1. Belly Binder: Belly Bandit – B.F.F. Post Pregnancy Belly Support Band
I had this wild feeling post C-section like all my insides were jumbled up and going to fall out… Okay, I know that wasn’t really what was going on, but still, this belly binder made me feel secure, like it was holding all of me together. It also helps with back support and being able to put on your stretchy pants over your now loose belly. The Belly Bandit brand is AMAZING. I felt like the B.F.F. belly band was made well, durable and held up for wearing it basically non-stop for 2-3 weeks.
2. Compression Leggings: Belly Bandit – Mother Tucker Leggings
Mamas, these Belly Bandit Mother Tucker compression leggings will be your best friend for a month (or two, or three!) post delivery. I wore the heck out of these babies. It helped with all my swelling as a result from the IV’s used during C-section, plus, it kept all my loose tummy skin tucked in. I sincerely think these leggings helped kick-start my “get my pre-baby body back” journey. I wore these so much that I decided to buy a second pair of compression leggings when I had my second baby. But, I didn’t want to shell out the same money, so I bought these dupes: MOTHERS ESSENTIALS Postpartum High Waist Tummy Compression Control Slimming Leggings. Honestly, they were very similar – maybe not as thick as the Belly Bandit brand – but, I think they worked the same!
3. Belly Corset: Belly Bandit – C-Section & Postpartum Recovery Undies
Once I was ready to move on from the belly binder, I started wearing these “c-section recovery undies,” which I actually think is more of a corset, a few hours a day around the house. I liked this more than the binder, because it felt EVEN tighter, supporting my mid-section and helping speed up recovery. I also liked that it had special silver-infused fibers that are supposed to protect the incision site and minimize bacteria. I had a lot of pain in my hips and lower back after my second baby, and I noticed these “undies” helped keep my posture, which helped relieve the discomfort I was having in my hips and back. This also is from Belly Bandit – can you tell I like their products?!
4. Nursing Bras: CAKYE 3PACK Racerback Maternity Nursing Bra
I originally got these CAKYE nursing bras to simply wear at nighttime for easy breastfeeding while trying to get some sleep, but I ended up wearing them all the time! I spent a lot of time around the house the first few months with both babies and didn’t need any complicated nursing bras with snap straps, fitted cups, etc. These bras are so comfy and so easy for nursing! I’m small chested, but I think any size could enjoy having these to wear for sleep or just around their house. I also wore them out-and-about sometimes, too, because I honestly preferred them to many of my other nursing bras.
5. Big Panties: Kindred Bravely High Waist Postpartum Underwear & C-Section Recovery Panties
I heard the stories of many moms wearing adult diapers their first few weeks postpartum but was told that likely wouldn’t be necessary for me because bleeding is usually less for a C-section than with a vaginal birth. Still, there is bleeding, and it can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t wear any of my normal pre-birth panties because they would rub my incision site – ouch! But, I didn’t want to keep wearing the gross mesh underwear they provide at the hospital either! Enter the granny panties!! I bought these Kindred Bravely C-section recovery panties to make me feel human again, and gahhhhh it was such a relief to throw away all those ugly hospital undies!
6. Nursing Pillow: Boppy Original Nursing Pillow
I love the Boppy breastfeeding pillow to not only help with my posture, but it also helped protect my incision site while nursing my newborn. I even used it as a barrier between me and my toddler who had a hard time understanding that mommy had a “boo boo” and couldn’t hold him in her lap like I used to.
7. Large Water Bottle: Takeya Originals Vacuum-Insulated Stainless-Steel Water Bottle, 40oz
Hydration is so important postpartum for recovery and breastfeeding. I drank water non-stop postpartum but was still always thirsty! Make sure you have a large water bottle within reach at all times. I like this Takeya water bottle, because it keeps drinks cold and has a narrow mouth for spill-free drinking. I actually think its better than my Hydroflask, and its half the price!
8. Nipple Soothies: Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads
Another breastfeeding mom recommended these Lansinoh soothies to me, and I’m so happy she did because I don’t know what I would have done without them! Breastfeeding was very painful for me for the first couple of weeks, and these helped relieve the pain so much! I would keep these in the fridge and then stick them on my nipples in between nursing sessions. Ahhhh… relief!
9. Scar Treatment: Embrace Active Scar Defense
I was lying in my hospital bed postpartum watching daytime TV when I saw pro tennis star and superwoman Serena Williams being interviewed about her birth experience, and she recommended Embrace Scar Therapy to help reduce the appearance of C-section scar. Since we all know Serena Williams is a badass who I assume has the highest standards for any product she uses, I immediately got on my iPhone and purchased a set of the silicon therapy pads. I believe it helped flatten and soften my scar, and I’ll be using this therapy again for my new scar that I have from my second C-section. Thanks, Serena.
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.