24 Must-Haves For C-Section Recovery To Help You Heal Fast

Are you having scheduled C-section and preparing your new mom postpartum recovery kit? Or maybe you just have undergone emergency Cesarean section and wondering what essentials you should get to speed up healing? In this article I’m sharing 24 must-haves for your C-section recovery to help you heal fast – they are game-changers for those first weeks!

Must-Haves For C-Section Recovery

Becoming a mother is one of the most selfless things we women do. Whether it is a natural birth plan or a Cesarean section, all moms anticipate their baby’s arrival with a mix of happy, anxious, and nervous emotions.

Despite many women’s wish to proceed with a natural birth plan, sometimes it is just not in the cards. You might need an emergency C-section to save the baby and yourself; other times maybe your doctor scheduled a cesarean birth ahead of time to avoid certain health complications.

In my case, opting for a C-section delivery was necessary because of baby’s decreased heart activity. The road to recovery was a little bumpy, but I had my C-section recovery kit that proved to be a life saver, that’s why I want to share it with you.

However, this is just my personal experience, please ensure you stick to your healthcare provider’s C-section recovery guidelines.

Remember, a C-section is not the easier way. C-section mamas need to take care of their new babies while recovering from major abdominal surgery and dealing with all the postpartum challenges. That’s why you should use all the support you can get to speed up the recovery and make your life a little easier!

This article is not a substitute for medical advice or consultation. It contains affiliate links.

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❤️ Super stretchy and comfy
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❤️ High-waisted - they sit above your incision and nothing digs in or irritates your skin
✖️You'll need to stock up on a few packages which means the cost adds up
❤️ They provide support to your weakened abdominal muscles
❤️ They help to minimize swelling and thanks to gentle compression they protect the body against clots
❤️ They shape your tummy and legs - they look so flattering!
✖️Not all moms like leggings, some prefer joggers
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Recommended by 45,000 verified buyers!
Recommended by 93% of verified buyers!
Recommended by 95% of verified buyers!
Moms' Favorite Choice
Preview
Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter Cream
Best Features
❤️ Only USDA-certified organic ingredients - safe for baby to ingest
❤️ No need to wipe it off before breastfeeding
❤️ Whether you're nursing or pumping, it will help to heal (and prevent) sore & cracked nipples, plus it doubles as lubricant for pumping
✖️Not all moms love cocoa butter smell
advantage
Recommended by 45,000 verified buyers!
Preview
Mesh Disposable Must Have Postpartum Underwear
Best Features
❤️ Super stretchy and comfy
❤️ They keep maternity pad in place
❤️ High-waisted - they sit above your incision and nothing digs in or irritates your skin
✖️You'll need to stock up on a few packages which means the cost adds up
advantage
Recommended by 93% of verified buyers!
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Preview
Kindred Bravely postpartum leggings
Best Features
❤️ They provide support to your weakened abdominal muscles
❤️ They help to minimize swelling and thanks to gentle compression they protect the body against clots
❤️ They shape your tummy and legs - they look so flattering!
✖️Not all moms like leggings, some prefer joggers
advantage
Recommended by 95% of verified buyers!
Availability & Price

Last update on 2024-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Do I Need For Recovery After C-Section?

1. Maternity Pads

After giving birth, you will experience vaginal bleeding for the next few weeks, irrespective of the fact that it was a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section. Regular menstrual pads just do not cut it. Postpartum bleeding may last for about six weeks postpartum, so trust me when I say you will need a LOT of maternity pads.

Frida Mom Postpartum Maternity Catch All Pads
Frida Mom Postpartum Maternity Catch All Pads

Usually, the postpartum pads are soft, long, and very absorbent. These postpartum pads made my recovery a breeze. I could get around the house without worrying about leaks or discomfort.

If you are looking for postpartum pads that offer maximal absorbency, especially through the night, check out these sanitary pads designed specifically for postpartum mama. If you have sensitive skin prone to irritation and allergic reaction, they may be just right for you, because they are made from organic cotton.

2. Disposable Mesh Underwear

Remember those mesh undies they gave you at the hospital? Those were good, right? I cannot emphasize enough how much easier your postpartum recovery will be once you stock up on mesh underwear.

This disposable mesh underwear will help support all the recovery layers while keeping the pad in place, making it one of your favorite items in the C-section recovery kit.

Frida Mom Disposable Mesh Stretchy Postpartum Underwear
Frida Mom disposable postpartum undies are high waisted so they sit above your incision, they are mesh and super stretchy

A new mom just has too much on her plate; worrying about stained underwear should be a thing of the past. Stock up on this disposable underwear.

3. Loose Or High-Waisted Underwear

You will want to get high-waisted underwear post-delivery because you just do not want anything messing with your C-section incision. Most moms suggest avoiding any tight/regular underwear because it can irritate your incision site.

If you can find postpartum underwear that is high-waisted and loose and fit near your belly button, you are actually doing yourself a favor.

These high-waisted panties will do just fine without you having to compromise on style.

Kindred Bravely Postpartum High Waisted Panties
Kindred Bravely Postpartum High Waisted Panties

4. Bed Pads

Contrary to popular belief, C-sections will not save you from the much-dreaded postpartum bleeding. The uterus begins to bleed within a few hours of having your baby, whether it is a vaginal delivery or a C-section.

It is normal to experience blood clots in the first week. The blood flow tends to decrease gradually, ending around the sixth postpartum week. However, if you experience more than normal bleeding, consider it your cue to rest more.

It is a smart idea to include bed pads like these ones in your C-section recovery kit because they can be really helpful in those early days, especially when you do not want your bedding to be soiled with blood, sweat, or breast milk while you catch up on much-needed sleep.

5. Peri Bottle

A peri bottle is a specially designed bottle that helps you feel clean down there while preventing infection. It also speeds up the healing process. Perineal cleansing is quite difficult when you have a fresh C-section wound.

This simple yet effective invention of mankind assists you in perineal irrigation with minimal bending.

Do you still need a peri bottle after C-section? Yes, you do. In my opinion, this peri bottle from Frida Mom works like a charm. It has upside-down design – meaning no bending or other weird positions – you can simply use it while sitting on a toilet.

Frida Mom Peri Bottle
Frida Mom Upside Down Peri Bottle

6. Stool Softeners

The first bowel movement, especially after C-section births, is no joke. You might feel like your abdomen is being ripped apart. This is where stool softeners come into the picture.

Your delivery nurse will give you a stool softener on your hospital bed, and even if you do not have that first bowel movement during your hospital stay, continue using a stool softener during your initial few weeks1.

Tip: Remember to avoid straining the abdominal muscles during the act.

7. Hemorrhoids Pads

It is quite common for women to experience hemorrhoids after vaginal birth or even if they had a C-section. The increased abdominal pressure for nine months often leads to them1.

These cooling pads for hemorrhoids provide instant pain relief while keeping irritation at bay.

They may resolve on their own within 6-12 weeks2 after birth, but it is always advisable to consult your healthcare provider before using cooling pads or any other remedy.

8. Pain Medicine

There is no easy way to say this; C-sections are painful. You go through a major surgery and you have to take care of your new baby and yourself. Movement is very important for your C-section recovery, especially in the first week to avoid getting blood clots.

According to one study3, C-section patients are more prone to postpartum depression, pain being one of the leading causes.

The best way to deal with this is to take your painkillers religiously as advised by your doctor and continue them at home till the pain subsides. Always consult with your OB-GYN if you’re concerned, especially if you are breastfeeding.

9. Gas Medicine

Gas medicine is one of my top must-haves from this list of C-section recovery essentials. Abdominal surgery can lead to constipation and flatulence4. All this extra gas can make you really uncomfortable.

Gas medicine will relieve the gas and you’ll be able to function better.

10. Prenatal Vitamins

Your body needs all the essential vitamins to brave through the start of your parenting journey. Keep using those prenatal vitamins your doctor recommended during your pregnancy.

Vitamin supplements will ensure that your breast milk supply stays steady while boosting your section recovery.

11. Tummy Pads

Abdominal pads are an essential part of C-section wound care, helpful in keeping the wound safe from postpartum sweats. Remember to change your tummy pad if it gets dirty or wet.

I recommend tummy pads like these ones – they are very absorbent and leak-proof.

12. C-Section Scar Cream

C-section leaves us with a noticeable scar, one that reminds us of our resilience and strength as a mother. That being said, it is perfectly fine for some mothers to use a scar cream to fade it.

Earth Mama Organics Scar Balm
Earth Mama Organics Scar Balm

I loved this scar cream and it worked wonders for my scar. Use the skin salve regularly to promote good recovery of the incision wound.

13. Hot & Cold Pack

Hot and cold packs help provide pain relief and are usually present in every household. If you want to avoid popping pills, these are the right choice for you. Ice packs can be helpful in managing the stitches’ pain.

These reusable hot and cold packs help relieve pain and are recommended by many moms. I really like that they come with washable covers included (you don’t have to pay extra like with some other brands!).

Hot and Cold Packs

14. Postpartum Belly Binder

Our abdomen tends to loosen up following a cesarean section. An abdominal binder can help support our muscles and protect the wound. A belly binder is definitely one of the favorite must-haves of C-section moms.

An abdominal binder can provide support, especially when you are out and about. Remember to remove it when sleeping or resting. Hundreds of moms recommend this belly binder from Belly Bandit.

Belly Bandit Postpartum Belly Wrap
Belly Bandit Postpartum Belly Wrap

Another option, and more affordable price, is this postpartum belly wrap that is gentle on the abdominal muscles and wraps snugly without being too tight. I like the fact that it’s cheaper than Belly Bandit and still gives you the same results and support.

15. Loose Joggers

One of the favors you can extend to yourself is to avoid getting into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Loose clothing is crucial to promote incision site recovery as well as keeping you comfortable.

The last thing an exhausted mama needs is tight clothing irritating her incision. Trust me, you’ll get back to your pre-pregnancy size sooner than later.

Kindred Bravely Joggers
Kindred Bravely Joggers

If you struggle with finding decent loose clothes, these super comfortable joggers are just for you. Best thing about them? They come in tons of cute colors and 2 different lengths so every postpartum mama could find something that fits her!

16. Postpartum Leggings

Postpartum leggings can provide support to your weakened abdominal muscles while minimizing swelling. The best thing is that these leggings provide compression that is needed to protect the body against clots after major surgery.

Many moms rave about these leggings that support the tummy while giving great shape to the legs. The best thing is that you can keep the waist panel up to smooth out your postpartum bump or fold it down.

Kindred Bravely Leggings
Kindred Bravely Leggings have foldable waist panel to always support your belly

To see more options in different styles and prices – check out my list of leggings suggestions for you to decide from.

17. Nipple Cream

Breastfeeding (or pumping) can lead to chafing of the nipples which can hurt like anything. The best treatment is nipple cream. It will soothe the skin around the nipples and speed up healing.

This nipple cream from Earth Mama Organics is the best one out there because it has natural ingredients and you do not need to wash it off before breastfeeding, making it easier to use. You can find more options for natural and safe nipples balms here >>

Nipple butter for dry, sore and cracked nipples is one of the must haves for c-section postpartum recovery
This is one of the best nipple butters for dry, sore and cracked nipples from breastfeeding or pumping

18. Nursing Pads

When your milk comes in, nursing pads can be handy to deal with breast milk leakage. These soft and reusable pads are pretty much the best nursing pads.

There are also other types of nursing pads like disposable and silicone ones. I also have a post with tips on how to use breast pads – make sure to read it if it’s your first time using these pads.

19. Nursing Bra

One of the C-section recovery essentials is a good nursing bra.

It helps you feed your baby easily while keeping you comfortable. Here is a fabulous nursing bra that will take your nursing sessions up a notch, while being easy on the breasts.

Kindred Bravely Nursing Bra must have for c-section recovery
Here you can see the best nursing bra EVER: Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime – it has clip down cup for easy nursing access and fits nursing pads to prevent any milk leakage

It provides good support for boobs, there’s no underwire so nothing digs in, and the fabric stretches to accommodate your changing bust. BTW, did you know that it can change during one day by size or two, when the milk comes in and when you empty the breasts?!

20. Nursing-Friendly Nightgown

Investing in a loose and cute nightgown to feed your baby will keep you comfortable and confident.

I created this list of best nursing pajamas and nightgowns, and my absolute favorite is this adorable nightgown because the waistband is above the incision, and its lace is SO PRETTY. Who said postpartum mama cannot look sexy?!

Kindred Bravely Lucille Maternity Nightgown
Kindred Bravely Lucille Maternity Nightgown

21. Nursing Pillow

A nursing pillow is a mom’s best friend, whether bottle feeding or feeding baby your breast milk.

This nursing pillow will help you sit upright while holding the baby in your arms and reduce strain on your neck and back.

22. Bedside Sleeper Bassinet

Getting a co-sleeper bassinet will help you care for the baby without having to leave your bed. This is especially helpful in the initial phase after a C-section when movement is painful.

Choose a bedside bassinet that you can place right next to your bed and adjust its height to your mattress. This way you will keep your newborn close to you, without the need to sit up or scoot down the bed to check on your little one.

Dream On Me Bedside Sleeper For C-Section Moms must have for recovery after c-sectionCheck Available Colors

23. Nursing Station

With so many things on your mind, it is nice to have a space designated for nursing and changing your baby.

Get a comfortable chair for nursing and have an organizer cart nearby with all the baby essentials you could possibly need; diapers, wipes, napkins, toys, blanket, nipple cream, nursing pads, water, snacks; you name it.

24. Pelvic Floor Exerciser

It is very important to exercise the pelvic floor muscles, especially after giving birth. Kegels can help prevent urinary incontinence.

You can read here about the differences between Perifit and Elvie, two of the popular pelvic floor trainers.

C-Section Recovery Must-Haves – FAQ

Here are a few questions that have probably crossed your mind regarding C-section recovery and preparing your recovery kit.

What Do New Moms Need In The Hospital For C-Section?

Whether it is a planned or emergency C-section, these can be useful in those first few days after birth at the hospital:

  • Important documents
  • Underwear
  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Nursing bra and pads
  • Maternity pads
  • Phone chargers and cables
  • Mouth freshener
  • Socks
  • Nursing gowns
  • Belly binder
  • Comfortable footwear
  • Cash
  • Home-going outfit

For a full list check out this article: what to pack in hospital bag for scheduled C-section.

What Should I Wear Home From Hospital After C-Section?

Loose comfortable clothes like joggers and tank top are the best clothes to wear after C-section. You can also opt for a loose nursing-friendly dress (choose a simple one or something with empire waistline).

Remember to avoid clothes that can irritate the section wound and dig into your skin. Choose clothes that are made from breathable fabric to keep you from sweating

How Long Does It Take To Fully Recover After C-Section?

Just like with any surgery, you need around 6-8 weeks after a C-section to feel like yourselves again5. The incision pain subsides in 7-10 days.

Stick to a healthy routine as advised by your OB-GYN to ensure optimal recovery.

Does Recovering From A C-Section Hurt?

There will always be an element of discomfort, especially in the beginning6. Remember to ask for help when needed, because you need all the support you can get mama!

Pain

Your incision is quite stingy initially but it heals in around 6 weeks, so the pain gradually decreases.

Cramping

Breastfeeding may lead to cramping due to the hormone Oxytocin, which makes the uterus contract.

Sore Breasts

Your breasts experience tenderness as they get accustomed to milk production.

C-Section Wound

Your doctor will want to remove the stitches or staples after a week or so of putting on the abdominal tape, used after removing the initial gauze dressing from the wound7. From there on, the wound will heal nicely without reinforcement.

Hemorrhoids

These can cause discomfort around the perineum and difficulty in passing stools.

How Long Will I Bleed After A C-Section?

It is normal to bleed for up 6 weeks. If you notice the bleeding getting heavier instead of lighter, consult with your doctor.

Why Do I Still Look Pregnant After My C-Section?

The uterus takes around 6-8 weeks to go back to its normal size. It may take even longer for some mothers. If the pregnant belly look persists for a longer duration, please get checked for diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation)8.

Can I Use Tampons After A C-Section?

Doctors recommend to avoid using tampons till the 6th-week checkup to avoid any infection.

What Symptoms Should I Look Out For & Seek Help?

If you experience any of these alarming symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider on an urgent basis:

  • Severe headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Blood clots (the size of a golf ball)
  • Lower belly tenderness
  • Fever
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Incision site redness/ drainage
  • Shooting breast pain (accompanied by fever, redness, or a lump)
  • Sharp pain in the leg (with swelling, redness, and hardness)
  • Overwhelming sad/anxious emotions

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

References:

https://www.thebump.com/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/

https://www.nhs.uk/

https://www.healthline.com/

https://www.webmd.com/

Sources of pictures:

Pictures with littlebabygear.com logo belong to LittleBabyGear.com

Pictures of Frida Mom postpartum essentials belong to Frida Mom Brand. Source: https://www.instagram.com/fridamom/

Pictures of Kindred Bravely maternity clothes belong to Kindred Bravely Brand. Source: https://www.kindredbravely.com/

Pictures of Earth Mama Organics skincare essentials belong to Earth Mama Organics Brand. Source: https://earthmamaorganics.com/

Picture of belly band belongs to Belly Bandit Brand. Source:https://bellybandit.com/

Pictures of bedside sleeper belong to Dream On Me Brand. Source: https://dreamonme.com/

Pictures of hot and cold packs belong to HI FINE CARE. Source: www.gosupps.com


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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