When you are recovering from a caesarean section, you have to really look after yourself. Any discrepancy in doing so can result in you falling ill or unable to do anything. More importantly, you need to look after yourself in order to be able to look after your baby (or babies). You can (and should) of course take help from your loved ones but babies are always going to need their moms more than anyone else.
To read about yummy Indian food you can have post-delivery, skip over to the section: "What To Eat After A Cesarean Delivery".
What You Should And Should Not Do After A C-Section
Now, your doctor may have already told you a few guidelines as to how you should allow your body to recover after a c-section. You should avoid climbing stairs or any such strenuous activity until your body recovers from it completely. You should also take proper care of your back and avoid lifting any weights. Sitting up and lying down comfortably may take some time but you will get there eventually.
One thing you can do is opt for a post-delivery massage to help your body heal. This will definitely help with any lower back pain or joint pains that you have. This is not just applicable to c-section - it is also applicable to normal deliveries. For caesarean section, you should the area of the scar during the massage. You can get a super gentle massage over the area once your scar has healed completely and your doctor says it is ok to do so.
What To Eat After A Cesarean Delivery
After a caesarean section, your body needs all the energy and nourishment it can get to help recover from it faster. So you need to make sure you are consuming enough of all the nutrient groups: proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. You also need to drink plenty of water and get enough rest for you to be able to recover from it. We know that your baby is probably going to be keeping you awake at night. Take help of your spouse and other family members so that you can take a break from your mom duties and get some much-needed and well-deserved rest.
As for your meals, it is better to eat several short and quick meals throughout your day. Now let’s get into what you should eat as you allow your body to recover:
1. Start the day with milk
Your body needs its calcium in order to function properly. So first thing in the morning, wash your face, go out in the sunlight (or near a window if you aren’t able to go out yet) and have a nice warm glass of milk. The Vitamin D from the sun will allow your body to absorb the Calcium better. Sip on it slowly and allow your body to adjust to it - this way you won’t feel uneasy or have any tummy problems. Drinking milk on an empty stomach helps absorb the nutrients better.
2. Soaked almonds
At night, before you go to bed, soak just a handful of almonds (around 10) in water overnight. Have these soaked almonds after the glass of milk. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as proteins. This alone will keep you feeling full in the first half of the morning.
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you have to make sure that you include all the food groups in your breakfast. There are several healthy options for you. You can either have a nice and wholesome Rava upma with lots of vegetables and nuts like peanuts and cashews. You could also opt for a vermicelli upma or a ragi vermicelli upma again with a whole lot of vegetables and nuts. Other dishes you can try are idlis with a mixed vegetable sambar, appam with vegetable stew, bread toast with omelette, oats with vegetable masala and roti with sabzi. Whatever you chose to have, make sure to finish up with some curd.
4. Mid-morning snacks
Yes, you get to pamper yourself the way you did when you were a child. You deserve it after all those sweet little mommy sacrifices you made. You can have a pomegranate when you get hungry. This is good for your blood and to help regulate your digestion. You can eat an apple or banana if a pomegranate is not available. The fibre in these fruits will help make you feel full and also help you digest the food and absorb nutrients better. It is also great for any sweet cravings that you have. Later on, you can have some coconut water to help solve all digestion problems and also to help prep you up for lunchtime.
For lunch you can again include all the food groups in your meal. An ideal lunch would consist of rotis, dal, a vegetable curry and some paneer. You can have either palak dal or palak paneer in order to meet your iron intake. You could also include the spinach as part of the vegetable side dish that you are going to eat. You can follow this up with some jeera water or ajwain water.
6. Afternoon snacks
By afternoon, say around 4 pm, you would feel all tired and hungry again. So make sure to keep your afternoon snacks ready. You can either have another glass of warm milk along with a dry fruit laddoo or combine the two and make a dry fruit milkshake. This will enhance your lactation and ensure that your baby gets all the nutrients they need for their proper development.
7. Late afternoon snacks
This would be the last snack you have before bedtime. It is best to have this snack by 6 pm - not any later than that. You can have a nice soothing mixed vegetable soup at this time. This will help hydrate your body while at the same time nourishing your body to help regain the nutrients lost while breastfeeding. You can also have some dry fruits and nuts as they are loaded with a lot of nutrients and not too many calories without adding on the calories. You can follow this up with some ajwain water about half an hour before dinner.
Ideally, dinner should be light so that you can sleep peacefully and are able to digest your food. Have 2 phulkas with some sabzi and dal. You can follow it up with some mixed vegetable raita. Add beetroots to the raita as this is really good for your blood. The curd will again, help with the digestion process.
9. A glass of milk before bedtime
This will enable you to sleep better and to strengthen your bones. After the cesarean section, the extra calcium is required to make your bones strong again and also to help with lactation. You can also have some more soaked almonds now as it is very beneficial for your baby’s brain development.
10. Stay hydrated
Apart from these points mentioned, you should make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Take one glass of water before every meal. This helps with digestion and will reduce any symptoms of heartburn that you have. This will also help you improve your breast milk supply and speed up your recovery.