“Giving birth is just the beginning of the lifelong journey of getting to know and love your child” - unknown
The date was set, my bag was packed and I felt ready to meet our little baby. This wasn't how I was hoping it would be when we found out we were expecting her but this was our only option. Very early on we realized that I had complete placenta previa. I held my breath the whole 30 weeks after we got that news hoping and praying everything would go smoothly. We had a few tense moments when we thought she might come extra early but she stayed put until 35weeks and 6days. One day before our scheduled c-section I went into labour - it was not good. We rushed to the hospital where the nurses rushed around me trying to get me hooked onto monitors, checking my bleeding, getting me into a gown, paging a surgeon, getting me ready for surgery... it was hectic. I can understand why an unexpected experience like that would traumatic. There was no time to think, everyone was moving so fast... I am so thankful that we knew that this was going to happen and that I had my husband and midwives with me. They were such an important support and source of calm during the chaos of an emergency c-section. Thankfully everything went smoothly and both baby and the placenta were delivered without complications.
Later that day I wanted to cuddle her and slowly took out my trusted stretchy wrap that had held my first two babies close, but for the life of me I could not put it on! I couldn't raise my hands above my shoulders without having intense pain in my abdominal region. I was shocked at how much my upper body mobility was affected. I tried a few times before realizing that this wasn't going to work so i asked my husband to bring me a ring sling.
That did the trick! The ring sling was much simpler to put on and adjust without moving my arms too much and it held her tiny 5lb body so snuggly against mine. Once we were home I realized was a necessity the sling was because it held her close and allowed me to be mobile to care for myself as well as my preschooler and toddler. My overall mobility was really affected by the surgery and I needed my hands free to help steady myself whenever I needed to get up and walk around our home. Babywearing was a crucial skill to help us when I was occasionally home alone with the girls during those early days. I had never imagined that I would be so physically impacted my this birth and am so thankful that babywearing helped my preterm baby and I heal and thrive after a c-section.
If you are planning to have a c-section or just want to be well informed and prepared no matter what happens, here are 8 reasons why babywearing is so amazing after a c-section.
1. Reduces Pain
Carrying your baby in a well fitted and supportive carrier distributes their weight evenly across your body, which can help alleviate post-operative pain and discomfort.
2. Encourages Movement
Babywearing allows you to move around more freely, which can help improve circulation and prevent blood clots from forming. You will be told to get up and move shortly after your c-section however, this may not be the easiest to do while holding your baby in arms so having them secured on your body with a baby carrier you will be able to move about safely with your baby.
3. Provides Hands-Free Mobility
With your baby in a carrier, you have your hands free to steady yourself, or do other things, like care for yourself or your other children, without worrying about leaving your baby alone or feeling like a juggler.
4. Reduces Stress on Incision Site
By keeping your baby high up on your body, you can reduce strain and pressure on your lower abdomen and the incision site which is very sensitive. You may also use a wrap or sling around your core to help in the same way that a belly band would give you some support.
5. Promotes Rest and Recovery
By wearing your baby, you can keep them close while you rest, which can help you recover more quickly from your c-section.
6. Builds Strength
As you carry your baby in a well fitting and comfortable carrier, you engage your core and back muscles, which can help build strength and improve your posture.
7. Provides Emotional Support
Babywearing can provide emotional support during what can be a challenging and emotional time, helping you feel more connected to your baby and more confident in your ability to care for them.
8. Facilitates Skin to Skin
Babywearing can help you start enjoying keeping your baby close and reaping the benefits of skin to skin contact right away which will help:
regulate your baby's heart rate and breathing
encourage baby to feed
make both of you feel calm and start to bond with one another,
regulate baby's temperature
regulate mama's hormones
and so much more!!
After a c-section, it's important to choose a baby carrier that distributes the baby's weight evenly across the your body and does not put pressure on the incision site. Here are some baby carriers that are ideal for use after a c-section:
Ring slings: Ring slings are a great option after a c-section because they don't have a waistband and can be worn nice and high away from the incision, which can be more comfortable than wearing a carrier that puts pressure on the abdomen.
Wraps: Wraps made of stretchy or woven fabric conform to your body, providing a customized fit and distributing baby's weight evenly.
Meh Dai: These Asian inspired carriers have a waistband but because it is apron-style and is tied around the ribcage in does not put pressure on the incision site and helps distribute baby's weight across your torso.
Traditional Baby carriers: Traditional wisdom has stood the test of time and most traditional baby carriers can be used to keep baby close, high up and away from your incision.
It's important to note that every mother's recovery is different, so it's crucial to listen to your body and choose a carrier that feels comfortable and supportive for you. Most health care providers do not have baby carrier knowledge so once they clear you to pick up and hold your baby, it's important to consult with a babywearing educator if you have any questions about using a baby carrier after a c-section to ensure that it is well fitted and supportive for you and your baby. My best advice is to learn about babywearing before your baby arrives so that you are prepared and have a support network once they are in your arms.
Are you a fellow c-section mama? How was your babywearing-after-a-c-section experience? Did you know you could babywear right away? I'd love to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment!
Karla is a mama of four and CBWS Trained Babywearing Educator with over 11 years of babywearing experience.