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If you’ve delivered by cesarean section, your recovery looks a lot different than a vaginal birth. After my surprise C-section, I was totally unprepared for what I needed to help me while healing. You see, the baby gift list I made pre-baby only contained things for, well… my baby and maybe a few push presents for myself. Since my C-section wasn’t planned, I wasn’t prepared and had no back-up list in place.
I missed the memo that told me about the deep stomach burn I’d feel when laughing, and I totally didn’t realize that after a non-vaginal delivery, stuff would still be leaking from my vagina. I would’ve pawned my entire stash of baby wipes for a list made by moms who’d actually had C-sections! I mean, nobody even told me how badly I’d need a glider or high waisted undies during my postpartum recovery!
We partnered with Mallory Whitmore, the one and only The Formula Mom, who crowd-sourced her followers to come up with a list of must-have C-section recovery items. These are the best of the best, so get ready to own your healing journey with products and hacks that will comfort and support you after your expected, or unexpected, C-section.
16 Must Have C-Section Recovery Kit Items
1. Best C-section recovery panties- Belly Bandit Recovery Briefs
After your cesarean section, your midsection will need love, care, and as few belly laughs as possible during your healing process. This is where Belly Bandit Recovery Briefs have got you covered…um, literally. These panties offer your tummy support while also protecting your tender incision site. Easy to slide on and off (thank goodness) the Belly Bandit is soft and comfortable and made with silver-infused fibers which help eliminate bacteria and odor.
2. Best C-section recovery belly binder- Upspring Shrinkx Belly Wrap
All moms need support after giving birth, and this belly binder might be more supportive than your partner. A super must-have in my C-section recovery kit, this wrap supported my weak and sore abdominal muscles in a way no propped-up pillow or warm compress could. This band is easily adjustable and can be worn daily to help minimize pain and swelling. It even has built-in back-boning to offer back support! I was surprised to discover that the band improved my range of motion, so I could take care of my newborn with less pain during those first weeks. Amazon reviewers love it as much as I did!
3. Best C-section recovery postpartum underwear- FridaBaby Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Boyshorts
Frida Mom knows her stuff, and these disposable briefs are better than the mesh underwear the hospital hands out. They’re designed stretchy to keep pads in place without making you feel uncomfortable. Bobbie Mom, Angeline, highly recommends them and adds that their high-waisted underwear is comfy!
4. Best C-section recovery diaper-style disposable underwear- Amazon Basic’s Protective Underwear
Even though you’ve had a cesarean section, you may bleed from your vagina for up to six weeks. This is where investing in postpartum underwear becomes a necessity. Postpartum underwear works to control moisture and keep your skin dry and healthy. Amazon Basics uses Dri-Fit technology and contains a cotton top sheet to prevent rubbing and has a “dual odor system” that neutralizes odors. This has more than 39,000 reviews on Amazon— women are loving these for everything from incontinence to postpartum recovery.
5. Best C-section recovery kit- Frida Mom C-Section Recovery Kit
If you’re looking for some one-stop shopping in your C-section recovery kit, then look no further than the Frida Mom. This contains all the big essentials for your recovery with items like an upside-down peri bottle, disposable postpartum underwear, and an abdominal support binder. This was designed with C-section mamas in mind, so there are other excellent things inside such as silicone scar patches (a lifesaver) and “skip the shower wipes.” Let the Frida Mom kit think of everything, so you can think about your recovery and your little one.
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6. Best C-section recovery abdominal hot and cold packs- Trek Proof Hot And Cold Gel Wrap
More than 17,000 people have reviewed this gel wrap set on Amazon, many of them postpartum moms who know that when dealing with the pain a C-section causes, hot and cold therapies can really help. After this type of major abdominal surgery, you may feel a warm compress eases your belly pain, and don’t forget using a cold pack can reduce swelling and stop itching around your incision site. Reusable hot and cold gel packs are fast and simple to use. Stick them in the freezer or pop them in the microwave and you’re good to go. These are non-toxic and BPA-free, so use them whenever your sore parts need a little (or a lot of) TLC.
7. Best C-section recovery compression and support leggings- Ingrid & Isabel Basics Postpartum Leggings
Ingrid & Isabel Basics designed these leggings for new mamas to give you the right amount of compression for your belly while you care for your baby, do all of your errands or are busy folding all of those burp cloths. A comfy essential to add to your wardrobe, and your list of C-section recovery items, these leggings are machine washable and safe to dry on a low setting. These will carry you from pregnancy through postpartum, so definitely a worth-while investment.
8. Best C-section recovery step stool- Delxo 2-Step Ladder
Abdominal muscles go through a lot during pregnancy and post-op. Your regular 6-pack turns into a 1-pack, and regaining your core strength takes time and care. After my C-section, I needed help getting in and out of bed, and hoisting myself out of the car felt like leaping from a tall building in a single bound. This is when a step stool came in super handy. The Delxo is just the ticket with its non-slip step and easy-to-hold handle.
9. Best C-section recovery grabber tool- FiPlus PowerGrip T9 Grabber
Trust me, you need a grabber postpartum. A grabber tool is great to have because this prevents you from bending over to retrieve that fallen diaper or reaching up too high to grab that a cup on the top shelf—your core will thank you for the time off. The FiPlus has texturized rubberized ends with an easy grip handle to help you get whatever looms just out of hand. Overreaching can be painful with an abdominal scar and sore muscles, so let a grabber tool help you out. I saw a mom using a grabber on IG recently to take the laundry out of the washer— just one more thing our partners will never understand.
10. Best C-section recovery skin and scar balm- Earth Mama Organics Skin & Scar Balm
This skin and scar balm is made with organic ingredients that aid in your body’s natural healing ability. The herbs and oils Mama Earth has mixed together help reduce the appearance of C-section scars and stretch marks. A big bonus here is that there are no artificial fragrances to irritate a new mom’s sensitive nose. Make this part of your self-care routine during your recovery time.
11. Best C-section recovery pail reliever- Amazon Basics Ibuprofen
This type of over-the-counter medicine falls into the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) classification which is known to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. When you and your doctor design a birth plan, take a minute to come up with a pain reduction plan that works for you, too. If taking ibuprofen is on your list (and is doctor recommended), know that this pain reliever helps reduce muscle aches and can soothe the pain associated with your C-section incision.
12. Best C-section recovery stool softener- Colace Stool Softener
After my cesarean birth experience, I had no idea how much I’d be focused on poop—my own and my little one’s. I couldn’t leave the hospital until I went #2 and that was only after being given a stool softener. All the heavier drugs left me constipated, and I felt this way for several weeks. Colace relieves symptoms of constipation so you can concentrate less on your bowel movements and more on your newborn’s. (If you’re breastfeeding check with your doctor before taking a new medicine.)
13. Best C-section recovery nursing pillow- The Boppy Pillow
This pillow is everything! Created by a mom who knows, the Boppy Pillow is firmer than a regular pillow and its c-shaped design offers support to your back and arms while bottle or breastfeeding. One C-section side effect is having tender feeling inside the abdomen, and I certainly wasn’t able to hold my infant for long periods of time without support. The Boppy was the perfect shape and height for feeding time and cuddle time, and I didn’t leave home without it for the first few months.
14. Best nursery glider for C-section recovery- Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider
15. Best C-section recovery back pillow- Ziraki Large Shredded Foam Lumbar Pillow
While your usual bed pillows might be your favorites, after a C-section you’ll need a firmer option to give your back and belly the comfort you need. C-section moms recommend a supportive back pillow to help, and one that’s constructed to keep you sitting up rather than reclining gives you that little bit of extra that’s a must.
16. Best C-section recovery incision pillow- Sobakawa Traditional Buckwheat Pillow
One of my husband’s go-to methods to help me feel better was to make me laugh—admittedly not helpful after a C-section. Laughing, coughing, and sneezing increased my pain levels, but gently pressing a small pillow over my sore belly lessened the pain and decreased the chance of my incision opening. Buckwheat pillows are traditional, and many women who’ve gone back to using them swear by them! One woman on Amazon said, “The buckwheat filling is so much more supportive and comfortable than traditional foam or feather pillows. It conforms to the shape of my head and neck, providing the perfect amount of support and alignment. I have noticed a significant improvement in my posture and overall comfort since switching to this pillow.”
Do You Need A C-Section Recovery Kit?
Recovering from a C-section is a process that takes time and care. Each of these hand-picked items in our C-section survival kit can help you accomplish this with less stress and many of them provided me much relief from the pain associated with my surgery. All of these can support you in taking care of yourself as you care for your newborn. But remember: Offer yourself the love and compassion you need, too. This could look like asking your partner for help or asking for a small buckwheat pillow for all the giggles bound to happen when beginning your motherhood journey with your little one.