Our Plastic Surgery Blog

How Long Do I Need Help with My Kids After Surgery?

December 5, 2013 by

Welcome to the first installment of our Real Life Recovery series. Because so many of our patients are moms (and moms are the best!), we’re making our first article in the series all about you.


beautiful mom-childIf you’re a mom, your decision to have cosmetic surgery comes with a unique concern. Will you be able to care for your kids as you recover?

The most popular procedures with moms—breast lift and augmentation, tummy tuck, and liposuction—do come with some limitations on physical activity during the initial weeks of recovery. But that’s no reason to postpone your new look until you’re an empty nester. With smart planning, your recovery can go smoothly for you and your kids.

Arrange for around-the-clock help for the first week
After any cosmetic surgery, you’ll be out of commission for at least 1 or 2 days, longer if you’ve had a tummy tuck. Make your early days of recovery less stressful by planning ahead.

You must have someone stay with you 24/7 during the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Well before your surgery date, arrange for someone to stay with your kids during your procedure, as well as someone to care for you when you come home. Don’t forget—you will also need to have another adult drive you to and from the surgical facility.

You should feel up to walking around and even going out for small errands after a few days; just expect to get tired more quickly than usual. It’s best to have someone else take your kids to school or team practices for at least 3-5 days following breast surgery and 2-3 weeks after a tummy tuck. Doing so will allow you to rest as needed without the added stress of playing chauffeur.

This may be a great time for grandma or grandpa to come for a lengthy visit. Your kids will enjoy being spoiled, you will have trusted help available at a moment’s notice, and what grandparent doesn’t love more time with their grandkids? It’s a win-win!

Now for the #1 question we hear from moms…
How soon can I pick up my kids after plastic surgery? After the first week or two, you can get back to most of your mom duties, with one major exception: lifting.

We know, it’s tough to imagine not picking up your little one for a single day, much less several weeks! But you need to follow your surgeon’s instructions. Lifting heavier objects (even a 25-pound child) too early can stress your incision sites before they’ve had a chance to heal, delaying your recovery and possibly widening your scars.

You can still stay close to your children and make sure they feel cared for. Have them climb up on the couch next to you and read together, or eat breakfast in bed together one morning.

When you are ready to lift again, use proper form. Squat down, hold your child close to you, and lift using your legs. This will alleviate strain on your chest and abdominal muscles (and give your glutes a little bonus work too). Most patients get the green light to lift again 3-4 weeks after breast surgery and 5-6 weeks after a tummy tuck.

Getting back to super-mom status
As your incisions heal, it’s important to keep your blood pressure at a normal level. While light activity is encouraged when you feel up to it, more vigorous games of tag will be off-limits for 2-6 weeks. And swimming? Expect to wait a month or two before you’re allowed back in the pool or the ocean. Waiting helps reduce your risk of infection.

If you have more questions about recovery from plastic surgery as a mom, give us a call! A lot of us have first-hand experience, as we also had cosmetic surgery while we had little ones at home. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about child care after plastic surgery. In the meantime, you can get a ballpark idea for how long it might take to return to full-time mom mode after your procedure with our cosmetic surgery timing calculator.

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