The entire post is a definite must-read and must-bookmark-for-future-reference, but here's an excerpt from the section on recuperating while in the hospital:
- Get as much help as you can from family members, your partner, nurses, and other hospital staff. That is what they are there for and during the hours, and days immediately after your surgery, you will need it even if you do not want it.
- Stay hydrated and eat. You may not want to eat, but working on eating a well balanced and healthy diet, as well as staying hydrated (stay away from sugary drinks such as fruit juice and soda) will help to make you start to feel semi human again.
- If private rooms are available opt for one so someone (family member or friend) can stay with you to help you during this time.
- Use a pillow between your legs, and/or on your side to help sleep to be more comfortable. In the days, and even weeks following your cesarean it will not be easy to get comfortable. This is completely normal. It took me almost a full 2 months to even get comfortable in my own bed at home after my second c-section.
- Take pain medication that is being offered if you are in pain. With my first child, I was breastfeeding and was overly concerned about any of the medications being transfused though my milk so I opted for over the counter pain medication such as motrin instead. But it certainly made my recovery longer, and made taking care of my son harder. (As ICAN recommends, ask your provider about a stool softener, as narcotic pain medication can cause constipation.) [See Dou-la-la's note below.]
- Get up and walk around. It may hurt like hell, but it will help to get you back on your feet sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more painful it will get up, and the harder it will be.
- The use of a pillow to protect your stomach while coughing, standing up, nursing or moving around in bed is a smart idea.
- Do not hesitate to ask for a lactation consultant in the hospital. Breastfeeding after a cesarean section is more difficult not just for mom because of her incision, but also for baby. Check out the ICAN white paper on Breastfeeding After a Cesarean.
Perhaps you've been lucky enough to have missed this scenario, but I, at the intersection of those with lactating breasts and those with mental illness, have seen it far too often: a woman goes to her psychiatrist, generalist, family doctor, nurse practitioner, or psych nurse, for help with, oh, depression (postpartum or otherwise), or anxiety, or mood disorder, or sleep problem. Being a careful parent and a conscientious patient, she discloses that she is breastfeeding her child, so that she and her health care practitioner can find the healthiest, most appropriate medications for her (should they mutually decide medications are necessary).(Read on, it's well worth it.)
This is when, in a sane society, her physician or nurse would nod, draw on hir vast knowledge of and experience with medications appropriate for breastfeeding, and say "No problem, that only rules out a very few classes of drugs, there are lots of things we can try still." Or, barring that, would reach for the copy of Hale's zie keeps handy in hir office, or would call one of the many breastfeeding-knowledgeable pharmacists zie keeps on file as references. The woman and the health care provider she employs would then work together to pick a medication most appropriate for her particular situation.
That is not what usually happens. Too often (ever would be too often), the physician, upon hearing said disclosure, automatically replies "I don't want to give you anything until you wean/terminate breastfeeding/stop doing that."
There is so much wrong with this situation, I hardly know where to start.
Many, MANY more medications are perfectly safe for breastfeeding moms than some physicians and other care providers are aware, and in the cases of some medications that are unsafe for breastfeeding moms, it is usually just a matter of substituting another medication that has equivalent benefits for mom, and no side effects for baby. Some doctors know the difference, but alas, some don't. This is where being your own advocate is vital!
THE bible for medication and lactation is the Thomas Hale guide. Owning the book is a great idea if you're a nut like me (plus it's fun to throw "lactational pharmacology" into casual conversation), but if not, do check out his website and bookmark it for future reference.
Tangent aside - thanks again, Birth Activist!