Having a c-section is hard enough without having multiple kids at home. Survival becomes a lot harder when you have several children who all need your help at one time, and you’re recovering from severe abdominal surgery. Let’s just say; it can feel daunting and scary at times.
I know exactly how you feel. My youngest is only 19 months old, and she is the youngest of four kids. When we brought her home, I had three other kids who needed my help and love, and my third child is quite a challenge.
So, to ensure all of us survived the first few weeks after we brought baby home, I came up with survival tips that all moms need to know.
I’m serious, and that’s not all.
I’ll let you know not only what you need to do to survive a c-section with multiple kids at home, but how to thrive as well. This shouldn’t be a time that anyone looks back at and shudders, thinking of the nightmare.
Bringing your baby home should be a time that you cherish, no matter how many other kids you have at home.
15 Tips You Need to Survive After a C-Section:
Ready to dive in? I thought so!
Get Everyone’s Sleep Schedule on Track Ahead of Time
Survival starts before your baby even arrives. Depending on your children’s ages, you might need to make sure everyone has their sleep schedules on track before the baby arrives. The last thing you want to deal with is children who refuse to sleep when you have a newborn baby to handle as well.
Preparations need to start months in advance. I recommend working on sleep schedules from the time you are 20 weeks, at least, if you haven’t already.
Before you wonder, no, I’m not recommending that you let your toddlers or other children cry it out. That’s never what I recommend.
Instead, I suggest you focus on having a set family schedule. Plan to have dinner at the same time. Start baths at the same time, and follow the same schedule each day. All children adjust to a schedule, and their bodies naturally fall into those routines.
Create a Chore Chart for Appropriate Ages
Depending on your children’s ages, having a chore chart is a fantastic idea. Children as young as three or four years old should have regular tasks that they perform, working together as a family unit. Young children can help put away folded towels, pick up dirty clothes in the bathroom, feed the family pets, and pick up toys.
I suggest that you start a chore chart well in advance. Families that run like a well-oiled machine don’t struggle as much when a new baby arrives.
Make Plenty of Freezer Food Before Baby Arrives
Third, make sure your freezer is full of food before your baby arrives. Not only should you have dinner prepared, but I suggest you have breakfast sandwiches and burritos, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and more. Create easy lunches that freeze as well.
When your children are hungry, you can quickly make their meals without too much stress.
Keep Your Pantry and Fridge Full
Do you want to go grocery shopping as soon as you get home? Chances are you don’t!
That’s why you need to keep your fridge and pantry full in those final weeks before you have your surgery. When you come home, you’ll have all of your snacks on hand, and you can settle into your house for a few days without needing to leave.
Create a Standard Grocery List for Pick-Up
Depending on your local grocery store, you might be able to use their apps to create a grocery list that you can reorder with the click of a button. Before you have your baby, create a standard list of items you always need. Then, when rations for the troops run low, you can click a few buttons, and pick it up from the store.
Bonus points if your partner or family members are willing to pick it up for you.
Use InstaCart or Other Delivery Services
If you have the services in your area, I highly recommend that you give InstaCart or other delivery services a try when you have a baby. Your kids don’t want to go to the grocery store. Trust me; they loathe it as much as we can’t stand when they refuse to go to bed at night.
So, use these services to your advantage. If it’s one more thing you can do to lighten your load during this transitional period, do it! Spend this time focusing on the new baby and your family.
Stockpile Playdough and Craft Materials
If your kids are like mine, I know the best way to keep them distracted throughout the day is with playdough or craft supplies. You might not like playdough, and honestly, I get it, but this is about survival, my friend.
Here’s what I mean.
Before your baby arrives, create a stockpile of playdough, cookie cutters, glue, construction paper, pompom balls, sequins, and more. Whatever you want to buy, buy for your children.
Then, when your children are bored, take out the box and give them an activity to keep them entertained. Bonus points if you sit down with them for craft time, but we know that doesn’t always happen that way!
Have Movie Days
I try to keep screentime limited, but I break that rule completely when I have a new baby. Don’t be ashamed to embrace screens during this time.
One of my favorite ways to embrace screen time and time with my kids is movie days. Pick a few movies that you and your kids love. Make some snacks, such as popcorn or a tray with crackers and cheese, and snuggle on your couch with your kids and the movies.
Doing this serves a few purposes.
One, your children are spending time with you, and they might feel a bit neglected at this time. Snuggling and laughing with you reminds your children that you love them.
Two, it keeps them close, and that means you can keep an eye on them. Last, it entertains your children. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Be Ready to Cuddle on the Couch A Lot
Kids can quickly feel neglected or displaced when a new baby arrives on the scene. To counteract that, make sure you ask your children to cuddle with you often.
Sitting somewhere like the couch allows you to be more accessible to them. They are free to come you, and sitting on a sofa gives you plenty of space to breastfeed in one arm and cuddle with the other.
You can find me on the couch all the time, reading a book to another child with my baby in arms. I might be completing a history reading, helping a child with their handwriting, or even cuddling with my husband.
Involve Your Kids with As Much As You Can
It’s easy to push our children away and not allow them to help. Let’s be honest; their help can make things harder for us.
When we have a new baby, now is not that time to push them away. We need to embrace their help and encourage them to participate with their new siblings as much as possible.
Allow your children to help swaddle the baby or change his diaper. If you give bottles, let your children feed the baby. Older kids have open arms who can hold their new baby siblings so that you can grab a quick shower.
Encouraging children to take ownership and participate as a family is always a good idea. It also fosters bonding with their new baby sibling!
Take Offered Help
When a neighbor offers to have your kids come over and swim, let the kids go over. If your grandmother offers to hold the baby so you can take a shower or nap, do it.
The more help you receive, the easier you can recover. It’s easy to let our pride get in the way. We don’t want to accept help, but if your family is willing to help with your older kids, let them do so.
My kids spent the night with their grandparents when we bring a new baby home. My parents often took them someplace fun at least once or twice during this period as well.
So, if anyone offers help, take it. It can help make sure your kids are happy and having fun. It’s not easy during this first four to five weeks to have fun with our kids. We’re recovering from surgery! So, if someone else can offer a fun day for our kids, take it. They’ll come home happy and ready to see you and the baby.
Keep Snacks and Juice Boxes Near You
Standing up and down for snacks or juice boxes for your toddler is a pain – literally.
Do you know what I mean?
Standing up after a c-section can feel like your incision is about to rip open. While you do need to walk and move to heal, moving too much can be detrimental to your recovery.
Instead, one trick I learned is to keep a basket of snacks and juice boxes or water bottles near my recliner or couch. These snacks might be goldfish crackers, apples, pretzels, peanut butter crackers, granola bars, or more.
You fed your toddler, you have snacks close by, and you don’t have to stand up repeatedly. It’s a simple solution to a serious situation.
Hire a Mother’s Helper, If Possible
This tip is only applicable for some people, but if you have it in your budget to hire a mother’s helper, it’s a great idea.
Never heard of a mother’s helper? Let me explain.
A mother’s helper is often a teenager or a college student. Their job isn’t to act as a babysitter, although they might watch your kids from time to time. Instead, her goal is to be your helper.
That means she can help you complete chores around the house. She can entertain the kids, complete a craft with your kids, take them on a walk, make lunch, or help you in general.
Grab Some Board Games
Here is another way that I keep my kids busy when we have a new baby. I surprise them with new board games and card games.
We love board games, and they encourage kids to work together. I can play games of Go Fish or Uno when I’m nursing a newborn baby.
Board games keep your children entertained, encourage family time, and is an excellent use of your time. Plus, if you’re trying to decrease screen time, it’s the way to go.
Keep Their Routine As Close to Normal As Possible
To ensure your children have the easiest time adjusting to life with their new baby sibling, try to keep their routine as close to normal as possible. That is challenging when you have a baby in arms, but it’s crucial for the smoothest transition.
Work hard to keep their sleep schedule lined up. Your partner needs to work hand in hand with you. If they have school to get to each day, get them there. Do whatever you have to do to keep their lives as normal as possible.
Yes, you just introduced a new life to your family, and the boat is going to rock a bit. Your kids don’t want that boat to flip over; they enjoyed their life beforehand. Try to keep changes to a minimum.
Even if you use all of these 15 tips, kids are still going to struggle when you bring a new baby home. That’s just normal. Your little ones might push the boundaries, act out, or struggle with no longer being the baby.
That’s all considered quite reasonable, and it’s impossible for it to not happen, at least to some degree. The best thing that you can do is hold your same boundaries in place, increase your attention given to your kids, involve them as much as you can, and show them that you love them just as much as you did before the new baby arrived.
While this time might be hard, it’s a few short weeks, and then it’s just a distant memory. Make sure it’s a good memory full of bonding time as a family rather than cries and screams.
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.