How to survive a c-section recovery with a toddler!
Are you about to have a c-section and have little ones under the age of 5 at home waiting for you?
Wondering how in the heck you’ll manage to care for your toddlers while you recover from major abdominal surgery?
Yes, I was there, mama! I’m here to help you with this!
Recovering from a c-section with a toddler at home is VERY different from recovering from a c-section without one! Everything is harder!
Rest isn’t always an option either!
In this post, I will tell you exactly how you can….
- Speed up your c-section recovery fast so you can take care of your other little ones at home!
- What things to buy to keep your toddlers busy so you can spend time with your newborn and sit down for 5 minutes!
- Information on leaving the house with your children and what will help keep you comfortable
- Lifting restrictions including ways to safely put your toddler in their crib
- Recovery tips for moms with potty training toddlers
- Meal planning and more ways to deal with toddler issues after a cesarean recovery!
You might ask is this even possible without having family come stay or your husband take off work?
Yes, this is possible because I’m a prime example of a mom who had zero help after bringing home my third baby and still recovered and cared for all three kids alone.
Was it easy? Hell no! But when you have no choice, you pray a lot and do your best!
Recovering from a c-section normally takes longer than a vaginal delivery, as long as the vaginal delivery had no complications.
In this case, if you know ahead of time that you are having a scheduled c-section, you can prepare yourself and your recovery will be much smoother!
For more tips on what to pack for a scheduled c-section or a free printable c-section hospital bag checklist, click the photos below!
If you know you are having another c-section then the best thing you can do is prepare yourself ahead of time. This means, have family come help you if your husband has to go back to work if this is an option!
The best gift someone can give you after having a c-section and having little ones at home that need your constant attention is relatives or friends taking the younger kids somewhere! Have them take them to the park, the movies, to lunch or anywhere so you can rest and enjoy your newborn!
You will be in pain and very sore around your stomach area. Picking up toddlers is not something you can do!! They’ll still want their mama’s attention and sitting on your lap will even be difficult!
If you can have a friend or relative come over once every day or every other day that first week to keep your little ones busy, this will help you tremendously!
What if you don’t have family around and no one can help?
Have no fear….this was me!
My husband had to go right back to work after I had all my girls but the hardest by far was having my third baby! My family wasn’t around to help me and I had to drive and pick up my oldest daughter every day from school! I do not recommend this at all!
Remember, after having a c-section, you aren’t supposed to drive a car for up to 6 weeks!
However, I had no choice! I couldn’t have her missing so much school so I sucked it up, drove very slowly, and taught my toddler to climb up into her car seat herself. Picking up my toddler was not something I wanted to do unless I absolutely had to!
I feel like hospitals don’t prepare you enough for this surgery. As mothers, we really never get breaks and most fathers don’t have enough time to take off from work as the mother needs once their baby arrives.
So, if you are that lucky mom like me and had no one to help, then I suggest you stock up on these things below for you and your little ones!
Treat the pain
You will be in pain and I felt like the pain seemed to take forever to go away with all three of my c-sections. It literally takes weeks until the pain diminishes but every day does get a little better. The most important thing you can do is take your pain medicine so you can keep up with your little ones!
I did not take any prescription drugs because I was breastfeeding. I was even worried about taking ibuprofen but I did take it because it was the only thing that helped me get though the day. I had 3 kids all under 5 to take care of, once the ibuprofen wore off, believe me, I FELT it! 😩
It’s easy to lose track of time when you are taking care of kids, but be sure to stay on top of your pain meds, whichever type you choose to take because you will feel the pain come back if you don’t! If you do choose ibuprofen, for some reason Motrin worked best and the gel caps worked the fastest for my pain!
If you feel uncomfortable taking ibuprofen, you can take a homeopathic muscle pain relief called Arnicare. I wish I knew about Arnicare when I had my babies because it’s safer to take and more gentle on your stomach.
Always be sure to check with your doctor if you have any questions.
Walk as much as you can
This will be difficult at first but trust me, the more you move, the easier it gets! Take that new baby and your toddlers out for a slow walk when you’re ready. Tell them you’ll have to go slow but it will be great to get some fresh air and get things moving!
C-section recovery belt
Don’t forget to get yourself a belt! You will absolutely need this, especially if you have little ones at home to take care of!
This will not only protect you from your kids jumping up on your lap, but also protects you from any little kicks your baby may give you while nursing them! Not only does it do all that but it also helps bind your stomach muscles back together, help you feel more secure, and some say get your stomach muscles back into shape! For some reason, after you have a c-section and you stand up, it feels like your stomach is falling out.
Yes, this sounds crazy and not very pleasing but it just feels all weird!
A c-section recovery belt or wrap helps you feel more put together and protects your scar! It was one of the best investments I made my stomach get back to normal fast!
Get a nursing pillow
Make sure to get one of these! But what if you aren’t breastfeeding you may ask? Well, you’ll still want one if you just had a c-section and have a toddler at home!
How does a nursing pillow help?
Sit on your couch, lay your baby on the nursing pillow and either nurse her/him or lay her there and give her a bottle. This nursing pillow will protect you from your little ones sitting on you or bumping into you. This will also give you the option to have both of your hands free so you can read books to your toddlers that may be craving your attention since you are stuck taking care of the new baby all the time! Have this next to your couch at all times because you will need it!
Get some books for the toddlers! Enjoy some reading time with them with your nursing pillow without having to worry about someone hurting your scar or stomach area!
Probiotics and stool softeners
You will need probiotics and stool softeners!! Trust me!!! You don’t have time to be constipated after having a newborn and taking care of other little ones at home! I go into more detail about stool softeners and probiotics in this post below!
For more information about my favorite c-section recovery essentials that helped me recover fast from 3 sections, click the photo below!
Lifting Restrictions after c-sections
Your doctor and medical staff will advise you not to lift anything heavier than your baby.
And trust me, you won’t need them to tell you this because you won’t want to! However, if you are home alone with your toddler, there are occasions where you may have no choice!
Talk to your toddler and explain that you will sit down with them but just can’t carry them until your boo boo is better. Show them your c-section recovery belt or wrap and explain that’s where your pain is and in a few weeks, you can carry them again.
Doctors normally recommend a timeline of 4-6 weeks until you can do any lifting or exercise. Every woman is different but I’d advise you to take it easy your first few weeks. The last thing you need is to tear a stitch or hurt yourself and have to go back to the hospital!
What about lifting a toddler into their crib after a c-section?
There are two things you can do here, you can either transfer your toddler to a big kid bed prior to your due date which will make things much easier for you!
Or, you can get yourself step stool similar to the one for the potty I mention below! Every time you need to lift them into their crib, just have them climb up the stool to make the transition or jump into their bed much easier on you! They may even enjoy this more themselves!
If you do use a step stool, remember to remove it once they are in their crib so they don’t try to climb out using it and hurt themselves!
Do You Have A Potty Training Toddler at Home?
***A quick word of advice – If you planned on potty training your toddler a few months before your baby arrived, I would wait!
Remember, you will have to help boost them up on the potty if they are too small and need help. This requires using your stomach muscles and lifting and that’s not something you’ll want to be doing the first few weeks after surgery! Hold off on potty training for a few months if you can! If you already did potty train your toddler, then be sure to get them a stool that’s tall enough so they won’t need help getting on and off the potty.
A step-ladder like the one below will be a HUGE help for you!
Keep The Toddlers Busy!
The best advice I can tell you is to keep the kids busy! The busier your toddlers are, the less hassle they will need from you.
My kids have all gone crazy over kinetic sand and play-doh. Yes, it can get messy but just stick them in the kitchen or a safe place outside and they will go crazy when they see these boxes! Trust me, if will buy you at least 20-30 min of peace! 👇 Click the photos for more info!
Melissa & Doug cutting or their other toys were some of the best gifts my kids got! These toys were a love for all age groups! I even enjoyed playing with these with them!
Or get them painting!
Get them moving! My kids loved tents and tunnels!
If it’s nice outside…..
Water Tables! We actually have the Paw Patrol one on the middle. My daughter has played with it over and over for the last two years we’ve had it! I wish we had one with sand attached because I had no idea how great this would come in handy! Toddlers love transferring water from one cup to the next!
If all else fails, you are exhausted and it’s only 6:30 at night…
Get some glow sticks at the dollar store, turn off the lights, put on some music and have a dance party! It usually wears them out! 😜
Movies or games
You can also stock up on their favorite movies or games to play on the iPad. I was so exhausted at night and once I got the baby to sleep, I was done for the night. However, my toddlers were not! I’d save special movies for them to watch so they would climb in bed with me so I could lay down and we’d all watch a movie together. I tried not having them watch any tv during the day so they were excited to watch something special at night with me and it worked great!
Leaving the house with the kids
At some point, you will have to leave the house with your crew! Even if you only have one toddler and a newborn at home, this will help a ton…..
Get yourself a good baby carrier!
Why a baby carrier after a c-section?
Because a newborn baby inside a carrier weighs much less than having to carry a car seat around! I could not lift a car seat! It just wasn’t an option and to be honest, the thought of lifting that thing after my c-section scared me!! My daughters loved my baby carrier! They also loved being so close to me and slept much better in them! What made the baby carrier even better was that it allowed me to have two free hands to hold onto my other two girls!
Finally, I have to mention meal planning! If you get asked what you need for the baby, tell them to get you gift cards to your favorite take out spots! If you are alone with a newborn and toddler, cooking an entire dinner is one of the hardest things to do! With or without the c-section!!
They all want your attention and let me tell you, dinner time doesn’t get any easier as they get older! As a mom, you are always needed the most when you are trying to cook, I swear! 😩
While you are on maternity leave, you can cook a bunch of meals ahead of time and then thaw them out and pop them in the oven. My husband is not a fan of frozen meals so this was not an option for me! I did a lot of crock pot meals and some of my friends brought over some dinners for us which was so helpful! This is something you will want to prepare yourself for ahead of time because if you are alone the first few weeks, dinner time can be very stressful and exhausting!
If anyone asks you what you need for the baby or yourself, share this post with them!👇
Hope these tips on how to survive a c-section recovery with a toddler are helpful to you! I know how exhausting and difficult the first few weeks can go mama! Hang in there and remember every day you will get stronger bit by bit and things will get easier!
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