Whether your Cesarean birth was planned or not, postpartum recovery is tough. After a C-Section it’s difficult to stand up, difficult to walk without hunching over, and don’t even get me started on laughing or sneezing while that incision is still fresh. Picking up a car seat? Oof.
Your obstetrician will tell you you should not lift anything heavier than your baby + car seat, but I’m 99.99% sure they only say this because there is no way you can function as a mother without being able to do that. But what does this OB advice mean? It’s about as good as “Okay, it’s been 6 weeks since your first ever major abdominal surgery (or second or fifth). You are totally 100% ready to do the workouts you did before 9 months of growing a human baby and subsequently having them sucked out of you. No restrictions or guidance needed.” *eye roll* Here are some beginner postpartum exercise tips & basic diastasis recti-safe workouts.
Jump to a Section:
- 1. Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base – Seat to Stroller
- How About Convertible Car Seats?
- 2. Graco SnugRide 35 Lite Infant Car Seat
- What About Babywearing Wherever We Go?
- 3. Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat
- Best Strollers For C-Section Moms
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I am not a medical professional, so please consult your physician before attempting any of these suggestions.
The Spectrum of Car Seats
Car seats vary dramatically in size and weight. Carrying one of the lightest infant car seats, the Graco SnugRide 35 Lite– which weighs in at 7.2lbs (about 3.3 kg) would be a much different experience for your sore abdomen than one of the heaviest car seats on the market, the Chicco Fit2– which clocks in at 12.1 lbs (about 5.5kg).
Babies also vary in size. A newborn premie could be a tiny 4 or 5 pounds as opposed to an overdue or sugar baby whopper that rocketed out at 10 pounds. To keep it simple, let’s just focus on finding the lightest and easiest to maneuver car seats.
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Best Infant Car Seats for Postpartum Moms After Cesarean Births
No guys, not a clip it out of the base and clip it into a stroller. No. It IS the stroller! Can you believe that?? Maybe you’ve seen them out and about before and haven’t noticed them or you have been eyeing them for a while, but this is super cool and feels like straight out of The Jetsons. It’s a car seat that extends into a stroller. Pretty snazzy.
Pros of having a Doona Car Seat to Stroller System:
The Doona comes with rave reviews from new moms, moms of many, and even C-Section moms. This car seat-stroller combo eliminates the hassle of dragging a stroller out of your trunk and hoisting the car seat into it, or even heaving the car seat up into the shopping cart. Let me tell you, this was a nightmare. I almost cried on various occasions trying to get my son’s car seat in and out of grocery carts (it’s not safe to put the car seat in the kid basket, you have to put them into the actual cart). I finally bought the incredible Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock, which was a lifesaver. It makes it so you can either secure the car seat in it or buckle your baby right in. It still has some upward motion hoisting going on, but it’s way easier to maneuver than straight down into the cart.
The Doona would be able to slide out of the car and glide down sidewalks and store aisles with ease. Someone even mentioned taking it into Ubers, airplanes, full elevators, and even beaches (carry it as a car seat over the sand then prop it up on the wheels when you arrive at your picnic destination).
Cons of the Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base – Seat to Stroller System:
It is heavy (30 lbs) so should mainly be taken out by spouse or wait a few weeks after recovery. Best for shorter cars so you don’t have to heft it up as high.
It is rated for babies less than 18 months, so they might grow out of it faster than other infant car seats.
Hefty price tag. Most reviewers emphatically stated the Doona was worth the price, but of course, there were those who said it wasn’t. The biggest complaint was how heavy it was and how quickly their kids grew out of it.
How About Convertible Car Seats?
No, I am not an advocate of “convertible” car seats for newborns. What is a convertible car seat? It’s not one specially made for the Chevy Corvette or the Porsche Boxster. It just means one that is made for kids 4-30+lbs and can’t be taken out of the car with a handle, or it does have a handle and is obscenely bulky and cumbersome.
Look at these monsters
It is one of the lightest infant car seats on the market (7.2-7.44 lbs, compared to the market average of 10-20 lbs) and can fit babies from 4-35 lbs. It does not have the bells and whistles that came with the Doona, or even high-end car seats. The Snugride SnugLock 35 is the next version up and only weighs 8.5 lbs. This version has better crash test results for a higher price.
Pros of the SnugRide 35 Lite Car Seat:
This infant car seat easily clips into the accompanying stroller.
Excellent value. Most reviewers agreed it was a great price for function and longevity.
Cons of the SnugRide 35 Lite Car Seat:
Some reviewers said it occasionally gets stuck in the car base, so you have to do some jiggling which could wake a sleeping baby.
Some said the stroller was heavy and bulky. This can be remedied with a different stroller, although the car seat may not clip into it securely.
Has lower than average crash test results, which is one reason to bump up to the SnugRide SnugLock 35. But, some reviewers said it did great in a crash. Definitely replace after a crash or intense drop, as always.
What About Babywearing Wherever We Go?
Taking a baby in and out of their car seat at every single stop? Especially a sleeping baby? No bueno. I like to keep my kids in their infant seats until their heads are an inch to the top. They are usually a solid year & a half or two when that happens. Legs sticking out of the infant car seat don’t matter, it’s all about how far away the head is from the top of the car seat. It is so easy-breezy to get them in and out of the car, especially when they are sleeping and it helps keep them asleep longer, so I want to preserve that.
And babywearing while out and about gets very tiresome. Trust me, I tried it. You run into the whole sleeping baby thing again (taking them in and out & jostling), trying to clip or tie things while you’re balancing a baby & trying not to twist too much to strain a healing scar, but also being kicked by the child- who may or may not be screaming- on your tender incision is no fun. Plus, walking around with 5-15 lbs constantly straper to your torso gets annoying, especially if you babywear at home. Meh. Just get an infant car seat & stroller and maybe a shopping cart hammock. Or skip the trip altogether with Walmart+ grocery deliveries. Pay a nominal annual fee for unlimited same-day deliveries.
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This is the car seat we got! It is pretty lightweight and has a great handle for carrying the seat at various angles (which makes it pretty easy to pop in and out of the car). It is a solid, mid-range car seat, and one of the most narrow infant car seats around. We got it because we still had all three of our kids strapped into our trusty 2013 Honda Fit- a tiny mini hatchback.
We were able to fit the Diono Radian, Combi Coccoro and the Baby Trend EZ Flex. I thought about getting another Combi Coccoro because it is an awesome, super-narrow “convertible” car seat that can fit 3-across (aka, three of the same car seat can sit buckled side by side in most vehicles), but I enjoyed the ease of an infant car seat. I didn’t want to have to unlatch the entire car seat to not wake a sleeping baby again (yep, we’ve done that). Diono Radians also fit 3-across, but they are not newborn-infant friendly. I knew I would have many children and that by the time my kid outgrew a car seat there would be another one to take their place, which is why I didn’t mind having various types.
The Baby Trend EZ Flex is also 3-across friendly, making it great option if you have multiples (twins, triplets, etc).
How about the best strollers for after a C-Section?
Maybe you already have a car seat but you are not impressed by the stroller & want something lighter + easier to handle, or your first baby was a singleton and then you were surprised by multiples with your next pregnancy so you’re trying to figure out how to maneuver so many kids. I have the *perfect* stroller for you. It’s even Disneyland approved.
Read this post to learn more about the incredible Zoe Strollers. Discover the company that not only makes single & double strollers but the best, lightest, and most affordable triples and quads, too!
Choose What’s Best For You
There are a massive amount of car seats on the market. Do your research and read reviews. Keep in mind the unique needs that come with having a Cesarean birth. Get a car seat you feel comfortable holding in various positions, one you think is easy to get in and out of a car, and a stroller that is light and easy to maneuver. Consider getting a shopping cart hammock to make store trips easier. Make your life even easier with Walmart+. Skip grocery carts & checkout lines and opt for unlimited groceries delivered right to your door. Most local stores have grocery pickup now (thanks global shut-down!), but each of those still involve putting pants on and hauling a baby + car seat into the car.
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What has been your favorite car seat? Which ones do you hate?
Make sure to find out more about preparing for a C-Section and how to have the best recovery afterward.