Brave New Motherhood
5 Tips for Recovering from a C-section with a Toddler

preparing for a c-section with a toddler

C-section with toddler

A C-section is no walk in the park. It’s a major surgery that involves incisions through the abdomen and uterus to reach that sweet little bundle of joy.

Sometimes, a C-section is completely unexpected, while other times it’s planned. No matter how it happens, the new mom is faced with a recovery that will require lots of rest, patience, and encouragement. She’ll need help, she’ll need support, and if she has a toddler at home, she’ll need these tips! 

If you’re a toddler parent who is planning to have (or recently had) a C-section, here are some tips to help you recover.

help after c section

1. If you’re having a scheduled C-section, create a plan for help several weeks before your due date.

One of the biggest struggles you may face when recovering from a cesarean delivery with a toddler at home is simply not being able to keep up with them. Your toddler will likely want to play, run around, and have fun, but you won’t be able to for a few weeks. Your body NEEDS to recover. 

Instead of trying to figure out how you can keep up with your toddler after surgery, have a plan in place that enlists the help of friends and family. You could create a schedule or calendar showing who can come over on which day to spend time with your toddler. If your budget allows, you could hire an in-home caregiver or a postpartum doula.

What’s important to remember is that you shouldn’t expect yourself to do it alone. Accept help. It’ll pay off, and you won’t regret it.

2. Stock up on loose, comfortable clothing.

Tight, itchy clothing after a C-section is a no-no. Stay far away from anything too compressive or irritating, and stock up on soft, breathable clothing made for postpartum instead.

If you have a cesarean during the fall or winter, you’ll love cuddling up with a super-soft, oversized sweater and a long-sleeve nursing nightgown that doubles as a dress.

If you have a cesarean during warmer weather, keep cool and comfortable in these high-rise swimsuit bottoms that are perfect for postpartum moms! Wear them as you soak up a little sun, and once you get medical clearance, take them for a dip!

For more tips on what to wear after a C-section, read this blog.

telling toddler about new baby

3. Keep your toddler in the loop.

Your little one might not understand exactly what you’re saying, but you can try to explain that you will have a wound and will need to rest.

You can talk about it weekly or even daily as your due date approaches. Here are some fun ways to include your toddler in the upcoming birth and C-section:

  • Create a “countdown to baby” calendar together.
  • Let your toddler help fill up your C-section recovery basket with all the essentials a belly birth mom could ever need (like these recovery panties).
  • Read some books about welcoming a new baby.
  • Let them help prepare the baby’s nursery/sleeping area. 
  • Make a “job chart” of their responsibilities once their baby sibling comes home (e.g., make sure diapers are stocked, bring Mom her water bottle, practice using a quiet voice around the new baby).

pillow for cesarean

4. Use a nursing pillow.

You don’t need to be breastfeeding to benefit from a nursing pillow after a C-section. Nursing pillows allow you to prop your baby up above your incision, therefore minimizing the pressure on your abdomen.

(If you are breastfeeding, take a look at these C-section-friendly breastfeeding positions to find the positions most comfortable for you and these must-read tips.)

So if someone gifts you an extra nursing pillow, don’t return it. Store it where you’re likely to hold or feed your baby (e.g., the living room) — a simple hack that goes a long way and will make your cesarean recovery that much easier. You can even enlist the help of your toddler to bring you your nursing pillow(s) when needed!

5. Get rest, but get moving too.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you take it easy, but… don’t rest TOO much. Now, this doesn’t mean you should be jumping at your toddler’s request to play hide-and-seek, but it does mean you should try to get up a few times throughout the day (and always follow your doctor’s advice). 

These little bursts of effort can include walking to the bathroom, grabbing a snack, walking around inside your home — simple things to keep your body moving without causing too much stress.

As a toddler mom, I spend many days on my feet. Recovering from a C-section isn’t the time for that, and believe it or not, our littles understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Let them in on what you’re dealing with. Soak up all those extra snuggles from both your newborn and your toddler. You’ve got this.