Updated: Apr 6
April is International Cesarean Awareness Month so I thought it would be a good time to write about carrying after a c-section and things to take into consideration. Having had 3 c-sections myself and working with countless families in similar circumstances, here are my top tips!
First and most importantly, listen to your body However your birthing experience has been, your body has been through a huge event and needs time to recover. With a c-section, you've had major abdominal surgery, maybe after a long labour and certainly after little sleep. Now, having said that, I know it's not always possible or wanted to stay in bed and rest. It can be a lxury that not everyone has (and that's a wholeeeee other blog post!) So it's really important to take notice of how you are feeling, not to overdo it and build up carrying if at all possible. Carrying in a sling/carrier may feel easier that carrying in arms, but again this is very individual. For most people, it's not an option not to carry your baby around even if it is just around the house so using a sling or carrier may help to distribute the weight more evenly and help you get about a bit easier, particularly during the initial weeks of pain and swelling.
Consider the type of sling/carrier you are using and how You don't need to buy a specific sling/carrier with a c-section in mind. Carrying high (baby's head on the hard part of your chest) and close to your body will help you to keep comfortable, avoid the healing wound and sore abdomen area. This is no different to how we would recommend carrying in any circumstance. With a stretchy wrap, you may wish to tie behind you so as not to put any pressure on the abdomen. These are a great option as the material is moveable and can be placed where is comfortable for you rather than being in a fixed position. A Close Caboo can also work well for a high carry and you can position the rings at the top if this is causing a comfort issue.
Woven wraps are very versatile if you use a carry that avoids any direct pressure, such as a Front Wrap Cross Carry.
Meh Dais and Ring Slings can also be placed to avoid such pressure or discomfort. Some may be concerned about the placement of the waist on a Meh Dai but with a smaller baby it is usually tied around the rib area, depending on your body shape. With all sling/carrier types, it is worth considering where baby's feet will sit as this is also body shape dependent.
Buckled carriers are probably the most likely option to be more difficult to fit comfortably. Ones with a softer waistband such as the Mamaruga Zensling, Ergobaby Embrace and Izmi Baby are likely to be easier and put less pressure than the larger structured waistbands of other carriers. This is by no means a definitive list and everyone is different so it's important to keep that in mind. In this photo, I am 1 week post c-section with baby number 3 (and c-section number 3). Baby is being carried in a Connecta Baby Carrier where the waistband is at my rib area, therefore putting no pressure on my abdomen at all.
3. Take the opportunity to encourage others to carry, if you would like to
This is a great time to get the non birthing parent, partners or other family members involved in carrying if you feel happy with this. It can be a lovely way for them to bond and be close whilst simultaneously giving you 5 minutes!
4. Get professional support
If you are carrying post c-section and you have concerns or questions, please do get in touch with us or your local sling library. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org