Have you had the experience of going to create your baby registry, standing in the aisle of a big box store, and feeling paralyzed by all of the choices?  So have we, and we want to help you out. Welcome to our Whole Mamas Must-Have series, where we share our recommendations. Today we share our picks for C-section recovery. Although each family’s needs vary, these products come highly recommended by our team and members of our community.

From Chelsea, Content Manager for Whole Mamas:  I am a two time C-section mama. I polled our community on Instagram and Facebook to ask about C-section recovery. You’ll also see my comments sharing my personal experience throughout. Some of these recommendations are specifically for C-section mamas while others will be helpful for general postpartum recovery. 

First things first: work on acknowledging and accepting your birth story and the recovery needed

From Chelsea:  You can read more about my birth stories here, but long story short, my first was an emergency C-section after 56 hours of unmedicated labor and the second was planned. In a culture that often reveres unmedicated, vaginal birth, it can feel difficult to have a different experience or make sense of how your birth happened.

Need help processing your entry into motherhood? Try this method of self-inquiry.

Follow the advice of @bmullady on IG, whether you had a planned or unplanned C-section: “[It was important to] acknowledge and accept that I not only had a baby, but also major abdominal surgery. When I asked myself if I would expect my husband to do half the things I expected myself to do after surgery I finally gave myself the rest I deserved and needed in order to heal.”

@Oldladybabies said, “Get moving ASAP, but take it easy. Go for little walks around the block. If unplanned: you’re not a failure because your birth didn’t go as planned.”

Another tip for C-section mamas from @annrose19 on IG, “Don’t be a hero and skip the pain meds!” 

From Chelsea:  I took all the meds they offered me in the hospital, and by the time I went home, I was able to get by with ibuprofen. Remember, this is a major abdominal surgery. Guilting yourself over pain meds will not help your recovery! 

Listen to Jessie Mundell discuss C-section recovery on the Whole Mamas Podcast.

Practical items

Most likely, your hospital will provide a belly binder for postpartum. When you go to do your tour, make sure to ask, and if not, you can buy one from Amazon. This will help to stabilize your core and your incision site, making movement, laughter, and coughing way less painful. Try to have a good balance of wearing it and taking it off, as it can definitely cause back stiffness when worn constantly.

You may like to purchase high waisted panties that will comfortably rest above your incision. UpSpring Baby and Kindred Bravely are two highly recommended brands! If you haven’t already, invest in some nice, high-waisted maternity leggings. Your postpartum belly will still be expanded, so you’ll probably find yourself wearing them well beyond pregnancy! You’ll probably want some comfortable nursing tops for the first few weeks after baby comes!

@e.hartman said, “Get pants and underwear that are high waisted! Get a size up so you can stuff everything in there, I was very bloated/swollen afterwards and it took awhile to go down. So glad I had the oversized sweatpants and underwear to not only accommodate my belly but also not bother my incision site!”

From Chelsea: Once your incision heals, it’s a good idea to start doing gentle massage to your scar to help healing and prevent adhesions. Talk to your doctor at your 6 week appointment to make sure it’s a good time for you to start. I really liked the ritual of using this C mama healing salve and gently massaging my scar for a few minutes before bed.

Set yourself up for success

Create an “essentials caddy” that you can fill with things you might need while you’re resting in bed. Pick a basket with handles for ease of transport so you always have what you need nearby. You may want to set up more than one comfortable area throughout your space so that you don’t get cabin fever from being in one spot all day. @_wholehealthymama_shared that she loved, “having a comfy, supportive chair to spend my days in with the baby in those early weeks so I only went down the stairs in the morning, and back up at night for bed. “

Fill your essentials caddy with books, a water bottle, your phone and charger, and one-handed snacks. @wholly_amanda suggested having mints or lollipops on hand to help avoid coughing if you get a tickle in your throat. If you’re looking for book recommendations, we love Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts by Karen Kleiman. It’s a reminder that you’re not alone! 

Listen to Karen on the Whole Mamas Podcast.


Anything we missed? Let us know your must-haves on Instagram or Facebook. Curious about our other picks? Check out our Amazon storefront for more recommendations!

Note: Some of the links contained in this website are affiliate links. This means that we may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. We only recommend products and services that we know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not.