How do you help your wife after a c-section? Partners of c-section moms find it difficult to predict what kind of help moms need post-surgery. You can never predict how long your partner’s road to recovery will be. You have to be prepared to support her in as many ways as you can and for as long as you can.
How long should dads stay home after a c-section?
The answer to this is: as long as possible! Even if you have family and friends around to provide additional support, your partner will cherish your presence for as long as she can have it. The longer you can afford to spend with her before returning to work, the better. C-sections are much more major than a lot of people make them out to be. Your partner will need all the support she can get.
Ways to support your partner after a Caesarean section
- Do not go inviting friends and family over just yet. Give your family some time to enjoy being a family for a while at least. Your family dynamics will have changed a bit with the addition of a new person. Get into your new rhythm before you allow guests to come in and out of your home. Also keep in mind that your particularly before your newborn starts to get their vaccinations or immunisations, you might not want strangers hanging around them very much. In these times when people can be vaccinated against certain diseases themselves but are still capable of passing those diseases on to others, you must be extra careful.
- Be encouraging. Take note of how well your partner is doing as they recover. Genuinely be encouraging and let her know how proud you are of her. Caesareans are major surgery and you need to recognise that. She will not be back to normal instantly. Be thankful that she got through it safely and frequently encourage her on her journey to a full recovery.
- Look for every opportunity for her to sleep. Sleep when the baby sleeps is what every new mom is told. Well, it is sometimes easier said than done. Particularly when you already have another child or children at home. When the baby sleeps, moms will suddenly be reminded of at least ten things that they have been meaning to do but have not got round to yet. Intervene if you need to. Offer to take on some of the tasks that she has on her mind so that she will have that peace of mind when she does sleep. Push her to get as much sleep as she can because that is the key to her smooth recovery.
- Get her a changing table. These can truly be a lifesaver. My changing table is currently saving my back a lot of stress as I do not have so much bending and twisting to do anymore. Changing diapers or nappies at a changing station with a good height takes the strain off your back and that is especially useful after a c-section. Bending and twisting too often can put undue pressure on your healing c-section incision.
- Offer to administer her injections if she needs them
It is highly likely that your partner will have been given injections to take home to prevent blood clotting. She might find them difficult to do for herself. If you think you are capable and she would like you to, do them for her. Don’t be surprised if she would rather administer them herself though.
- Be her alarm clock for her medicines
As with her injections (above), help her out by reminding her about them everyday. Take note of when each of her medications are due and make sure she does not forget any of them. Take them to her with a glass of water throughout the day if you can.
- Cook if you can
Wondering how to support your wife after a c-section? This is one of the biggest things you can take care of. If you know that she enjoys your food, this is the time to fully take on the task of cooking for the family. Eating is something none of us can get away from and so food will always be on her mind particularly if she would normally be in charge of putting something together for the family each day. Now she has not only that to think about but also making sure that she has food that is nutritious enough to aid her recovery. Not being able to stand for long enough to make food will be frustrating for her but not if you happily cook or arrange to have someone cook for you all.
- Put together the crib and anything else that needs assembling before she arrives home from hospital
The feeling of knowing that the house is ready for baby will go a long way in making your partner feel supported and able to enjoy motherhood after a c-section. Ideally you should have everything set up and organised at least days before you leave for hospital. However, if you were unable to find enough time for that, you must make sure as many things are set up the day she gets back home as possible.
- Help her to get in and out of bed and up from chairs
This might seem unnecessary to you. It might seem simple. While she is recovering from a c-section, it will not be simple for her. Those basic movements become difficult and without support, she could easily put a strain on her healing incision. Physically support your partner by helping her to stand up and sit or lie down at all times or until she lets you know it is definitely easier to do those things on her own.
- Do not push her to exercise
There is a time for everything. Including exercising. The first six weeks after any kind of birth is unlikely to be a good time for any sort of exercise unless your partner’s doctor has okayed it. Especially after a c-section, the last thing you should be doing is pushing your partner to do anything but sleep, relax and generally take it easy.
- Make changing your baby’s diaper a part of your routine
If nappy changes are an activity you have never done before, you need to get a quick lesson on how to do them before your baby arrives. That is because diaper changes can be painful for her to do after a c-section as well. You can get relatives or friends to teach you. Take on that duty and see it as extra bonding time with your baby.
- Doing any serious housework is out of the question
Speaking of possibly painful movements such as nappy changes, a definitely painful activity for your recovering partner will be vacuuming. Infact, any kind of heavy housework like sweeping, taking out the trash and standing to wash dishes could take a toll on her. Take on the task of doing as much housework as you can to limit the amount of stress that your partner puts her body under.
- Get her some comfortable c-section friendly underwear
These are great because they are made to ensure that the waistbands are not cutting into her incision site. They are also usually soft enough to prevent friction against the healing incision. In addition, they are fitting enough to provide support to your partner so that she feels like her now empty belly is being held in.
- Offer to feed the baby with expressed breastmilk or formula
Your partner will sometimes feel too tired to nurse your new baby. If she can express some breastmilk or if your baby is drinking formula, offer to do some feedings so that your partner can get some extra much needed sleep.
- You finally have permission to ignore her
Is your partner one of those stubborn ones who insists that she is perfectly fine and able to do everything for herself? Don’t take her word for it. Ignore her claims and continue to offer to do everything for her. When she says she is fine, assume that she really isn’t. It is not acceptable for her to do any rigorous work under your watch.
- Don’t make her ask several times
She will be tired and achy. She will also likely be at least a little sleep deprived. If you make her think you are there to help her when she needs you, make sure you really are there. Don’t make her ask for things several times before you do them. That in itself will make her feel tired, alone and unsupported.
- It’s not about you
You might feel neglected sometimes. You might be feeling like it’s all about your wife or partner and no one cares how tired you are. Don’t worry. That’s only temporary. No situation is permanent. Your partner will heal and things will go back to normal. In the meantime, it’s not about you. Don’t take anything your partner says or does personally. She is exhausted and possibly in quite a bit of pain as well. Take all that into consideration and be nothing but patient and understanding. Oh, and don’t complain to her about how you are in need of attention too. There isn’t much she can do about that at this point.