Here is a list of the most helpful items/tips that I have:
1. Robes/Zip or button up shirts and gowns. For the first week or two, it will be very difficult to pull a shirt or gown over your head.
2. Bras without under wire. I've healed pretty fast, so I'm able to wear these pull over type bras: http://www.hanes.com/onehanesplace/brands/our-brands/just-my-size/just-my-size-seamless-bra-25292 They are SO comfortable, and provide adequate support. I would only recommend them for use around the house, because your nipples will be quite evident. What I would recommend for most people is a sports bra that zips in the front (I have one that hooks, and the hooks always come apart), and that is made of thick material.
3. Spanx! They will most likely provide you with a compression garment and bra at your pre-op appointment, but you will want a few clean back ups.
4. Lanacane spray. It is anti-bacterial, and it is a topical anesthetic. It will help with any pain at drain or incision sites.
5. Triple antibiotic ointment with pain relief. This has helped to reduce some of the pain at my drain site. My doctor provided me with a small packet of ointment, but I ran out pretty quick. You will go through a lot of this cleaning your BB and drain site a few times a day.
6. Ask your surgeon if they will provide you with a hydrogen peroxide solution to clean your drain and belly button. They most likely will, but if not, you can make a solution of 1 part HP and 2 parts water.
7. Q tips! You will need these to clean your BB and drain site. You probably already have some on hand, but if not, definitely pick some up.
8. Anti-bacterial spray. I use this often on my bedding, pillows, door handles, etc. Just to make sure that my surroundings are sanitary.
9. Aroma therapy oil and a diffuser. There are different oils. Some promote energy, relaxation, positivity, etc. Plus they smell good. I keep my aromatherapy near my bed and use lavender oil at night to rest and relax.
10. 2 wedge pillows. One for your upper body, and one for your legs. You will want to be elevated when you sleep/rest, to help with circulation. Also, the more elevated your upper body is, the easier it is to get out of bed on your own if need be.
11. A lot of pillows. I use my wedge pillow, with another pillow on top for my head. I use a pile of pillows for my legs, but the reason I suggest a second wedge pillow is because it would be easier and more stable than a stack of pillows. Also, for the first week or so, you will want two pillows at both sides to elevate your arms. This helps to alleviate soreness and tightness in the breasts if you've had a lift, implants, or both.
12. A neck support pillow. You can get a contoured pillow, or simply one of those airplane pillows that wrap around the back of your neck. After a mommy makeover, you will be sleeping elevated on your back with your arms at your sides for a while. If you don't have proper neck support, your neck will lean to the side and you will wake up sore. I would most recommend an airplane pillow. It helps a lot when you want to sit up and watch TV or read or surf the web.
13. OR you can avoid all the pillows and whatnot if you are lucky enough to have a recliner that you can sleep in! I've often wished that I did. I've heard a lot of women say that this is a great option for sleeping for the first week or two. If your recliner isn't electric, you may need help pulling the lever to operate it. Also, you will want to pull the lever very gently and slowly. If you have any sudden movements, it will hurt.
14. If you need to get out of bed on your own, an easier way of doing this is to be elevated, roll over on your side, and use your arms to pull yourself out of bed. Obviously, it would be best to have someone to help you out of bed.
15. You will need help with most everything for the first week especially, and even for the second and third week, depending on how you recover. Make sure that you really prepare your caretakers for this. They need to understand how vital it is that you rest as much as possible, especially for the first two weeks. This means that they will be taking on your responsibilities such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, driving, running errands, etc. They also need to understand that they may have to help you with a lot of things, such as getting up and down, walking around, using the restroom, bathing, etc. If they aren't well prepared and knowledgeable about this beforehand, they may feel like you are being too "asky." This is never the case, and you should not feel guilty for needing plenty of time for some R&R.
16. Get a shower chair, or a plastic chair that you can fit into your shower. Standing for too long will make your back very sore. Also, a detachable shower head is a good idea. For the first little while, it will be hard to wash your hair and body, as your range of motion will be very limited. Having someone to help you do these things is ideal.
17. REST! Do not overdo it! Even if you wake up one morning feeling great, take it easy. You may not feel it immediately, but it will catch up to you in the evening or the next day and you will feel like crap.
18. Vitamins! I've been using gummy vitamins. I take a prenatal multi, a prenatal fiber and calcium, hair skin and nails, and vitamin C. The reason for the gummies is because I don't want to run the risk of choking on a horse pill. Choking, coughing, gagging, sneezing and laughing will hurt very badly and you want to avoid it at all costs! Especially if you are having muscle repair.
19. Sugar free fiber powder. I mix it into my water every day, and it helps keep me regular. You will get constipated with the pain meds.
20. Stool softener. This will help a lot. I take 1 in the morning and 2 at night. Also, when you need to have a BM (this is going to be the most disgusting thing you've ever heard, but it will save your life), if you feel that it won't come out unless you push, take your thumb, insert it into your vaginal canal, and push downward. This will help to void the excrement, and will also help you avoid the severe abdominal pain that comes with pushing. It also makes going poo easier, because even with the stool softener, you may have hard stool that is difficult to pass.
21. Back scratcher. Your pain meds will make you itchy, and you will not be able to reach your back or legs. The back scratcher helps tremendously.
22. Arnica tablets. You can find them at a health food store for under $10. This will help the bruising and swelling tremendously.
23. Arnica gel/lotion/cream. Rub on any bruised or swollen bits, but avoid rubbing on incisions.
24. A grabber. keep it by your side. Reaching will be difficult and painful for a while.
25. if your surgeon doesn't provide you with a spread sheet for your meds and drain, make your own. You or your care taker will need to keep track of how many meds you've taken, and what times you've taken them. You will be hazy and may forget if it isn't written down. It is very important to keep up with your pain meds, muscle relaxers, antibiotics, vitamins, supplements, etc. It will help you to avoid excess pain and discomfort, and to heal faster. You will also need to keep track of your drain output. Try and empty it at the same times each day. Record the date, time, output and color. Your doc will probably provide you with the spread sheets, but make back ups and extras just in case.
26. Diet! It is very important to get plenty of lean protein, veggies and fruits. However, be careful with the fruit. Look for things with less sugar content, such as berries. Avoid sodium, or else you will blow up like a balloon. Avoid excess carbs and sugar, this has helped my drain output slow down a lot. Eat plenty (but don't overeat), your body needs the extra nutrients. Raw veggies are good for digestion. Premier protein shakes are awesome, as are quest bars.
27. Take a good quality probiotic. It will be expensive, but it is worth it. You can find this at the health food store in the refrigerated section.
28. Ask your doc to prescribe you something to treat a possible yeast infection after your antibiotics are done. You can buy monistat, but if your insurance pays for your prescriptions, its free.
29. Get a large water bottle with a lid and straw. I got a 30 oz one from the hospital, and it has helped me to stay hydrated and not have to make tons of trips to the kitchen for water. Keep it by your bed.
30. Do some spring cleaning before your surgery! Make sure you wash and disinfect your bedding (and everything else for that matter), clean and dust the house, get rid of allergens, do your laundry, etc. You can also prepare some healthy freezer meals, so your caretaker (i.e. hubby who can't cook) or yourself if need be, can just pop it in the oven and be done with it.
31. Don't freak out when you weigh more or look odd after surgery! Swelling and bloating can cause major weight gain, and it will last for a long time. Avoiding sodium and wearing your CG as much as possible will help to reduce this, but it will still be very evident. Also, if your results look odd, especially the breasts, don't flip! This is normal, and it will you will have to be very patient to see the final results. I've heard that it can take up to a year.
32. Don't smoke! If you smoke, quit long before your surgery. You want to make sure that you will stay quit so you're not smoking after the procedure, which is the most crucial time. Plus, you don't want to have nicotine withdrawal while you're recovering. You will cough the crud out of your lungs, and if you are doing this after a TT, it will be extremely painful. Most importantly, you don't want to lose a nipple or have a dead belly button!
33. See if you can spend the first two or three days in the hospital or care facility. These are the absolute worst days! After this, it gets easier.
35. Treat yourself before your surgery! Have a date night with your boyfriend or husband or best friend. Catch a movie and get dinner, maybe go for lunch or a coffee. Do something you enjoy. Get out of the house. Have a spa day or get a mani-pedi. Take a nice day trip. Anything. You will be stuck in the house for a while after your procedure, so enjoy your mobility while it lasts. Remember, a Mommy Makeover is a slow recovery.
36. Set your bedroom and home up to where there are as little obstacles as possible. Make sure your bathroom is easily accessible. Make sure your side of the bed is clear, aside from a night stand for your meds and water bottle/snacks. You don't want a wall or dresser or anything blocking you from easily getting out of bed.
37. Get a toilet seat riser! I would recommend a 6 to 8 inch one. It has been a life saver.
38. Buy a pack of alcohol swabs, or put some cotton balls in a ziplock, and soak them with lots of rubbing alcohol. You will need this for your drain.
39. Make sure you have medical tape and extra steri-strips. They will fall off when you bathe.
40. If you don't have a blow dryer with a cool setting, get one. You will need to dry your tape/strips after bathing.
41. Get some begay or aspercreme! Your back will be sore from all the hunching.
42. You may need a cane for the first few days.
43. Get up and walk around every couple hours. This will help you to get mobile faster, and to increase circulation.
45. Don't be afraid to contact your doc or nurse if you have any worries! Better safe than sorry.
46. GO WITH A BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON! Do your research! You don't want to spend thousands, only to end up with botched results.
47. Last, but not least, FOLLOW YOUR SURGEONS DIRECTIONS TO A T!! They tell you these things for a reason!
These were all the things I could think of. I know this was long, but trust me, it will be helpful! Good luck to all of you who are getting ready for surgery or recovering! May everything go perfectly!