How to support a mother after a caesarean, especially when that mother is you!

How to support a mother after a caesarean, especially when that mother is you!

I was lucky that I knew in advance that I was going to have my caesarean  section, so I had some time to prepare and a revised birth plan. That said, I’m not sure that I really understood how difficult it might be, or the practical ways that my life could be made a little easier. I’m not talking about pain management, as I found paracetamol and ibuprofen more than sufficient, but I mean the psychological effects of being housebound for a little while, and the practical things I didn’t consider.

So here is what I learned in those first few weeks. I hope it might help you prepare a little better and also support a new mum who is in that position.

Get a supply of generic painkillers in the house

There’s nothing worse than being caught out and not being able to get to the shop. Obviously discuss your pain relief and care with your doctor and midwife, but if its bog standard over the counter stuff, stash a few boxes away.

Set up stations around the house for all your essentials

I live in a three story house and there’s no way I was going up and down the stairs every time I needed a nappy or a snack. Little bags or boxes in the rooms you spend the most time is essential – nappies, wipes, nappy sacks for baby, but also think about water and snacks for you. I had stashes next to the sofa and our bed. Trust me, if you are lying in bed feeding a baby at 3am in the morning, you are likely to get thirsty and hungry. Same if you find yourself trapped under a sleeping baby.

Get a TV streaming service

Whether it’s Netflix, Amazon Prime or NOW TV, this is one of my all-time recommendations for new parents. You’re going to keep some peculiar hours as it is, if you’re trapped in the house you need to be able to watch some good TV. Make the most of it now while baby has no idea what you’re watching and before you’re tied to watching CBeebies.

Ask for / Buy Practical Gifts

Between the dressing and stitches, plus lack of time, fancy body lotions may be the last thing on your mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for practical gifts, or to buy them. One of my favourite was a thermos mug. I could make a massive vat of tea and it would stay hot for an hour or two. I’ve written a whole post on practical gifts for new mums.

Sort out your shopping

I thought I was very organised and booked online shopping deliveries so I wouldn’t have to carry bags. I didn’t consider what I would do at the other end when they arrived and had to lift them and move them about to unpack. Ensure that you time deliveries so someone else is there and you can supervise them unpacking for you.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask callers to stop at the shops before they come over if you need milk, bread etc.

Make a list of chores

Let’s be honest, housework can go to hell in handcart in those first few weeks, but there will be some basics that need doing. I wrote down a list of everything that needed doing  so my partner could tick things off, or that visitors could refer to if they offered (only a few did but it was appreciated). If you’re a visitor ask what you could do to help and mean it. Chores could include loading the washing machine, doing the washing up, mopping the kitchen floor, wiping down kitchen surfaces, washing bottles or emptying the rubbish bin. My view is that if they’re not happy to help in a small way, then they’re probably not priority visitors and they can wait till you’re feeling more yourself. The best gift I had post birth was my mother in law standing at the ironing board for two hours.

Find ways to stay in touch

I was very lucky to have a great bunch of mummy friends who had babies around the same time, and while we were all up against it in those early weeks, we kept in touch through WhatsApp. It was a great way of reaching out in those early hours when I was frazzled, or had a question about my section scar feeling weird.

Get out when you can

You might not be able to drive or walk far in those early days, but if you can walk to the shop and get out for a coffee with someone else if they can drive and do pram duty, you will feel better for it. My first venture was a walk to the shop at the end of the street with my partner, and I felt king of world!

Have you had a caesarean section? What tips would you give for managing in those first few weeks?

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17 Comments

  1. 7th February 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Lots of great tips!

    I had a C-section also, and was aware this would be case, so I feel like I was able to prepare quite well. The one thing I would say to anyone having a C-section is be kind to yourself, and know everyone’s journey is individual. Of course this could apply to birth of any kind, however personally I really struggled after my C-section seeing others get up and about a lot quicker than myself on the ward and things of that nature. I did have complications after my C-section, but they weren’t immediately apparent, which is why it took me longer to get sorted, and I’m so glad to have not pushed myself as it could have been a lot worse. Be kind to yourself.

  2. 31st January 2018 / 9:04 pm

    I’ve had two c-sections, so this post really resonated with me. All of these tips were brilliant and something I wish I had printed out for everyone just after I had my operations. Thanks for linking this to #thursdayteam

  3. 31st January 2018 / 8:31 pm

    I hated the thought of a caesarean and it was the thing that scared me the most about giving birth (this is because i have a phobia of hospitals) I was lucky that I didn’t need it. These are all really great tips. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

  4. Mackenzie Glanville
    31st January 2018 / 8:45 am

    I have to say I never thought of a thermos that is the most brilliant idea, my tea always went cold! I had a C-section with baby 3, I wasn’t prepared for that to happen at all, Iw ent to the doctors office the morning when I was 35 weeks and she did a scan and sent me straight to have a C-section. It was such a hard recovery emotionally and the pain was terrible compared to my two previous vaginal births. The hardest thing was not being able to take child two out of her coat without help I felt so bad as she would cry that she only wanted me to pick her up. Thank you for sharing this, I don’t think people understand how hard it can be, it is emotional and it is a major surgery. Thanks for being part of our linky #ablogginggoodtime

    • 31st January 2018 / 9:18 am

      Bless you, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to cope with a new baby and section, plus another child. In my ward there was a woman who was on third section and my husband had to help pick up the baby for her as she was in so much pain. He helped her shuffle to the toilet too, while I kept an eye on baby. It never crossed my mind how difficult it would be. I struggled emotionally with my husband taking our son out for the first time as I felt it should be me. It was awful.

      • 31st January 2018 / 10:23 am

        I know it is such a hard time when we are already so hormonal too, I truly loved this post and have chosen you as my featured writer for this weeks #ablogginggoodtime, stop by Thursday and garb your badge xx

        • Helen Treharne
          31st January 2018 / 10:41 am

          Oh wow. Thank you! I’m truly flattered.I could never have imagined when I started my blogging journey four months ago that my experiences would resonate with so many others. If someone goes away with one good idea that makes their life easier or helps someone else it will all be worthwhile.

  5. 30th January 2018 / 11:15 am

    This is great advice. I didn’t have C section with either of my girls and I don’t actually know many people that did. This is will really useful for me to know how I can helps friends in the future. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • 30th January 2018 / 11:29 am

      I was the same Laura. One of my NCT friends had a section three weeks before me, but that was it. I didn’t really consider how difficult some things would be. I expected to be uncomfortable but it was silly things like putting shopping away that I didn’t even consider, or how I’d get the pram over the step by the front door. I thought “hey I can’t drive but I’ll just walk”….mmmmmmm . It’s major abdominal surgery when you stop and think about it. If it wasn’t to do with birth we would expect people to rest in bed!

  6. 29th January 2018 / 7:15 pm

    I think this is all great advice for whether you had a section or not – those early baby days can be brutal! We should have organised our pain relief better first time around – I got a bit overconfident and didn’t realise I would be taking it for so long. And Netflix is an absolute must for those first few months – it’s got me through some very tough nights! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • 29th January 2018 / 7:39 pm

      Thanks for organising it. I will be back again this week.
      I agree! It’s impossible to imagine how tough those first few weeks can be. The c-section was the easy bit. Having a baby that woke every hour on the hour for a feed was brutal – I don’t think I could have chosen a better word myself. Still, all worth it 😀

  7. 26th January 2018 / 12:00 pm

    These are great tips – I love the idea of having bags of important “stuff” stashed on every floor, or in every room. I didn’t have cesarean sections but I did this anyway because we also live in a 3 story home. And getting a good thermos or insulated mug is genius!
    ~Jess
    #StayClassyMama

    • 26th January 2018 / 8:41 pm

      Being in a three story house was why I did it too! Someone in a breastfeeding support group I went to suggested it. I went to prepare before I was pregnant and so glad I took that tip onboard. We had changing mats on every floor!

  8. 25th January 2018 / 10:29 am

    I wish I’d thought of many of these when I had my two sections. Neither really went to plan and I was quite poorly afterwards. The flask is a great idea! And not being afraid to ask for help. I don’t think I really saw anyone after my first as well as we’d just moved house so I knew no one. It can be quite isolating. Great tips for new mums! #ThursdayTeam

    • 25th January 2018 / 11:40 am

      Thanks Kristie. I wish I’d thought of them at the time too!

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