Taking care of a toddler can be challenging, then to add in a newborn or two, following the restrictions from a major surgery and it’s damn near impossible. I want to share some helpful tips, tricks and items I used religiously to help care for my toddler while healing after a c-section.
This is no easy feat. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back, you are one bad chick! You can totally do this, I know because I did it, too! Skip to the bottom if you just want to see the goods needed!
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A look into my twin pregnancy.
All through my twin pregnancy I was limited (HELLO! High risk pregnancy!) in how much I could lift and how active I could be on a daily basis. With my toddler measuring well above her age I was urged to only lift her when necessary. I found it necessary quite often, as I brought her to and from her care giver, and just the usual day-to-day activities! I was placed on moderate bed rest at 31 weeks and maternity leave began! My job was very active and I had scaled back as much as possible but still had clients I was working with on a daily basis. So, I was a little relieved when my doctor suggested to start maternity leave. She knew as long as I was at work I would work! Since I would be home all day my daughter stopped going to the care giver and I took care of her, with some help from my family. Probably not what my doctor had in mind for moderate bed rest.
By 36 weeks I was on restrictive bed rest, my blood pressure was high at one visit and we wanted to be on the safe side. No more lifting my daughter, and very very little activity. It was awful. When you hear bed rest you think of binge watching netflix and relaxation. It was not like that at all, laying in any position caused serious aches and pains. After the second day I had a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) kicking in and I was over it! But I followed doctors orders and was able to keep those babies in until our scheduled c-section at 38 weeks!!! YAY!!
The backstory was to give a little insight into how badly I just wanted to hold my daughter and not have someone fuss at me for picking her up. That happened a lot.
Child-birth is an amazing miracle, any way you slice it! I had c-sections with both of my pregnancies, due to a previous hip injury. It is a major surgery with restrictions for a full recovery, the main one is lifting no more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks! With my first child this restriction wasn’t a problem, but bringing home twins and having a toddler made it a bit more complicated! Add in transitioning from a household of 3 to a household of 5 and learning how to care for three babies needs. The transitions started with a bang!
I never considered one of my biggest struggles after the twins were born would be caring for my toddler, Belle. I was only thinking it would get easier, because I wouldn’t have the big pregnant belly (and boy, was it a big one) anymore! I was so focused on getting these babies safely here and being off of restrictive bed rest. I didn’t consider the restrictions that came with recovering from a c-section. It wasn’t even my first one. Where was my head?! The tips in this article were gathered from my many struggles while recovering and caring for my toddler.
Here! are some great skills to teach your toddler before the new baby!
Some of the daily struggles I faced were getting my toddler into and out of her crib, the car, car seat, high chair, potty, bath, washing hands and just the normal everyday “Pick me up!”‘s! So many difficult areas when you can’t lift your toddler and you don’t have around the clock help!
Helpful tips to make caring for your toddler easier while focusing on healing after child-birth.
◊Step stools. After my c-section my toddler, then 21 months, used step stools EVERY DAY and in EVERY WAY!! This is a must have item for postpartum healing. I used step stools to get my daughter safely into her car seat, high chair, bath tub, and in and out of her crib with me guiding her. I also used a step stool to get her into my bed for lots of snuggles because having newborns can be tough on everyone! You have to get creative when you cannot lift your toddler for 6 weeks. Yes, I called my doctor and no she wouldn’t budge on the 6 weeks part!
♦Toddler High Chair. You will have many, many times you need your toddler securely seated and safe while you nurse, put baby to bed, or change a big ole’ blow out! That is some thing you will not want your toddler “helping” with! (I’ll give you a hint, toddlers think poop is hilarious EVERYWHERE!) Learn from my mistake get the toddler chair before the baby! This chair is amazing! It comfortably fits my toddler and gives her room to grow! You can attach the toddler chair to a seat or pop out the legs from underneath and use it as a little chair on the ground! It also folds into itself and is easily portable for trips to Grandma’s house!
◊Seated Toddler Activities. This is very important! You’ll want your toddler to pair the high chair with FUN (& food) so it’s not a struggle to get them to sit! I am sharing some of my favorite toddler activities and a book that is FULL of activities for your toddler! You can always go old school and just turn something on the tv. You do what works for YOU!
*Make sure the activities you give your child do not contain small pieces. They are toddlers and do need adult supervision 🙂 but this should buy you 5 to 10 minutes. (depending how awful that babies blow out was!)
♦Potty Chair. This chair is a life-saver for busy moms! It gives your toddler the ability to potty independently! Picture it with me, you just got the latch right and are feeding your newborn baby (or babies 🙂 and your toddler has to pee!! You’re already feeling pulled in all different directions, but now you can send your toddler into the bathroom alone. Sure you may have to rewipe after. Total game changer!
◊Bath time. The first couple of weeks after the c-section my husband gave baths, or my toddler would take a shower. She loved the shower. But after a couple of showers she was over it. I get it. You can’t splash, barely any bubbles and the toys just aren’t as fun in the shower! Basically no fun! So bath time returned, to get her in and out of the bath I used one step stool on each side of the tub. I would let the water drain first then put the stools, wrap the towel around her and hold her hands while guiding her out. Things are slippery, be careful!
⇒Learn from my mistake: Do not give your toddler a bath close to babies feeding or nap time!! Still a newbie mom to three, I started to give Belle a bath right as her sisters woke from their nap and started to cry that sad, needy newborn cry. I gave the quickest bath ever and got Belle out but it still took 5 to 10 minutes. Listening to a baby cry that long is the literal worst! Give your toddler a bath after baby has been fed, is happy and in safe place!
I wish I had some of this information before my twins were born, but I am so happy to be able to share it NOW!! I hope this makes the transition a little easier on you, your toddler AND newborn (or newborns:)
I’d love to hear what was a must have after your c-section or vaginal birth!