Question for the Answer Box (i.e. responses from YOU!): I just had a c-section after a very long labor. Do any of you have advice to aid my recovery ? especially for lifting baby when you have no abs to use!?
First, congrats on your new baby! Second, take your pain meds by the clock for at least 7-10 days before attempting to wean off of them, and do NOT try to stop them cold turkey. You can NOT be a good mom when you are in pain, and the meds they gave you are perfectly safe for your baby.
I highly recommend a belly binding of some sort, it can be as simple as tying a long scarf around your lower belly, or the elastic belly support you used during pregnancy, or a proper post-surgery abdominal support with boning & velcro from a medical supplies store. (I think every c-section mom should be sent home with one of these, it's appalling that we aren't!) Good belly support not only helps support & protect your tender belly, it also helps reduce that awful "my guts are falling out" feeling you have after a c-section. And it also gives you a bit of extra stability for picking up & holding your baby.
Do NOT attempt to lift anything heavier than your baby for at least a month. Wearing your baby in a sling or carrier is a lot easier than holding baby in your arms, because it transfers the weight to your back rather than your abdominal muscles needing to hold your arms. Ask for help, demand help, make more trips with a smaller load, put off things until your husband is home or a helper arrives, plan ahead & have your DH move the laundry hamper to the washer. If you wonder if you might be overdoing it, you probably are! Remember, your only job right now is to take care of yourself, and to take care of your baby. The housework can be done by others, or it can wait a few weeks. Yes, it can! And you'll notice that your bleeding will increase when you do too much, so listen to your body and make sure you get enough rest and don't do too much for a few weeks.
Try to avoid lifting baby up from a bent position, try to avoid holding baby out away from your body, and try to avoid all twisting motions in general. Set up a diapering station on your bed. Keep a breastfeeding basket stocked with snacks, a bottle of water, tissues (your milk ducts are sinuses & some women find that when those sinuses start draining, so do the ones in your head!) and a damp washcloth (handy if you get hot flashes from the release of hormones & for wiping up random squirts of milk & spit up) and take it wherever you sit down to breastfeed. Don't even try to lift baby over the edge of a crib for a few weeks. If you don't have a drop-side crib (I know they're technically illegal now but that's stupid IMHO and there are still a lot of them out there and a lot of people who prefer them) then you'll want to use a bassinet or moses basket for a while. Let someone else put the carseat into the car & get it out. Set up a sturdy step stool next to your rocker so you have some stable support standing up from it. If possible, put the baby into a bassinet before standing up until you feel more stable. And whenever possible, squat instead of lean over when picking up baby.
I know it seems like this is really restricting, but the fact is that this stage doesn't last very long. You will heal, you will get stronger, and you will be able to start moving around & moving your baby around with more ease. Cherish these first few weeks because, in retrospect, they will be over so much faster than you expect. One day you'll realize that you don't hurt anymore, that you just stood up while holding baby with no trouble, and while that's great, it also means that your baby is that much older & bigger, too. With my first, it was many, many weeks before I felt good but I had a very traumatic birth, problems with pain medication, and my baby was in NICU for a few days which all contributed to that. My second, which was a c-section after three days of active labor, about eight hours of pushing, and about eight hours of Pitocin to try to finish the job, was a breeze and I had to be very careful to not overdo things because I felt so good, but my body still had so much healing to do. I threw a big welcome pary before he was two weeks old. The house hadn't been dusted but I scrubbed the toilet & DH swept and we called it good enough!
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