FAQs: Breast Augmentation Recovery Tips – Breast Implants

12 Helpful Tips for the Significant Other During Breast Augmentation

If you are reading this note, I am hoping it’s because you want to be the best caregiver your partner could ever have while she recovers from her BA (or other procedures as well – as in my case). I had blepharoplasty (upper eyelid surgery), articoll injections for lip enhancement and a breast augmentation. I am spending my 6th post operative day musing on what my husband and I learned through this that would be helpful to others. These are suggestions based on our experience. Each woman’s experience is different!

First and foremost, be emotionally prepared to be a caregiver. Your partner will soon be in a position she is unaccustomed to, with a level of helplessness that she isn’t likely to enjoy. She will be forced to ask you to reach for something six inches from her hand, because she can’t bend forward at all, she will ask for meds in the middle of the night and then suddenly have to pee just after you have closed your eyes once again. In other words, there will be no rhyme or reason to her requests, and she needs you to be patient and quietly responsive while she gets through the rough parts. She will not have control over her recovery so you both will have to respond to it, because it’s pretty much in charge of your life for a while. That might be a few days or a few weeks but prepare for the long haul and take wonderful care of her and you will be rewarded more than you know!

I thanked my husband profusely last night for countless small things, in addition to the price he has paid, taking time off work, getting up two and three times/night, etc. But there are things that we could not have known that we want to pass along to others to help them avoid a few of our mistakes.

1. Ice and Ice Packs

I bought 6 small freezable gel packs (about 4” x 6”) and even sewed small flannelette covers for them in advance. The covers were invaluable to soften the impact of the plastic gelpacks but here’s the real tip: LAY THOSE PACKS FLAT TO RE-FREEZE THEM. My poor hubby piled a few into the freezer and then brought rock hard distorted gelpacks to me, which dug into the sides of my hard breasts so severely that they were far too painful to use. And when you want the cooling gel, you REALLY want it now. As a quick source of crushed ice, don’t forget to use your fridge crushed ice dispenser if you have one. Just put it into a Ziploc bag. I (DUH) forgot totally about that. If I were to do it again, I would buy MORE gel packs (12) and keep them in the coldest part of the fridge instead of frozen.

Have soft flannelette clothes ready for wrapping ice packs (small baby cloth diapers would be fine), or just cut up a few yards of flannelette into 15 inch squares (for 4” wide gel packs). They don’t have to be sewn. Do that as a surprise for your partner, with funny fabric to make her smile.

After two days, wash the covers you have used so she is using nice fresh fabric each time.

2. Toilet Lids

Throw the classic argument out the window and leave the seat DOWN. Do not put the top cover down. It is very painful to bend forward for any reason so have that toilet ready for her so she doesn’t have to deal with the seat or lid.

3. Phone Calls

Each time the phone rings, ask in advance if she wants the phone brought to her or if she wants messages taken. Holding a phone to your ear requires surprising pectoral strength, which she won’t have. The person on the other end of the line is not likely going to be thinking of that.

A cell phone left carefully within her reach will be reassuring, if you have to be out of voice range. BE SURE SHE CAN REACH IT. If you have to go out at all, be sure she has everything she needs, and has gone to the bathroom before you go out. Don’t go for long and don’t go if she is not fine on her own for any reason (emotionally or otherwise).

4. Position Changes and Light Headedness

Be aware that light-headedness can be fairly severe for a while, especially if your partner is nauseous. Once she manages to stand up, be sure you remind her to take deep breaths to be sure she does not aggravate the light-headedness with oxygen deprivation. Don’t let her try stairs without being close by in case she becomes faint. Be prepared to support her body if she gets weak, as reaching for her hand will be useless.

5. Beds

If you have a recliner chair, line it with a camping foamie, a mattress pad and use single sheets to make it up for the first few days of sleep. Don’t forget that if it has one of those handles to bring up the feet, once your partner is in it, she won’t be able to reach the bar to get herself out. Encourage her to get her lower back right into the lower back of the chair, to avoid pain over the few days and add a small extra pillow there if there isn’t excellent lumbar support. Sleep close by. Wash her bedding after only a few days to help her feel fresher, no matter where she is sleeping. Use light weight blankets, as ANY weight on your breasts is uncomfortable when lying on your back.

6. Memory

Your partner may ask for you to remind her of things, go over things, or remember things that have been said to you both. She may not recall the order things happened or specific instructions so be prepared to be in charge of the details. She may need to re-hash things considerably or not want to talk about it at all. Go with what she needs and she’ll pass through whatever stage of recovery she’s in, more readily. In my case, I kept remembering some part of waking up from the surgery and suddenly blurt it out to my husband. It wasn’t significant, but somehow, putting the pieces back together was important to me so he listened. He probably was thinking, “Yeah, so??” But for some strange reason, I needed to say it.

7. Food

Do be prepared for nausea and then count yourself very lucky if she doesn’t have it. Plain crackers, a few bowls of Jell-O, a can or two of meal replacement drinks, can go a long way if she gets sick. Don’t cook strong smelling meals for yourself if she is nauseous.

8. Flowers

A few fresh flowers by her bed help bring the outside world in for those few days of imprisonment (unless scents are making her nauseous).

9. What to Say

This is personal of course, but when you are bruised, swollen, and dishevelled, a compliment goes a VERY long way. Be sure you offer a great deal of quiet sincere encouragement and remind your partner that her new breasts are beautiful to you. NO CRITICISM of anything about her.

10. Ups and Downs

Recovery might be a cinch, but I think for most of us, it’s an up and down process. Remember that most of us keep hoping…”Okay, THAT was the worst part and now it’s over”… and if you have some rough hours or a rough day AFTER that, it can be discouraging. It’s not a straight linear recovery climb, its two steps forward and sometimes one or even two back. “I promise you will feel better soon” is probably a fair statement, and “What can I do to help you?” are sweet words. If she has any ongoing concerns, call the doctor for her and get answers quickly. You don’t want her worrying about whether anything is normal or not. Brush her hair and sooth her any way you can.

11. All Better! – NOT

Don’t let her get going too fast once she feels better. Celebrate all the recovery steps but make sure she keeps resting and only adds small jobs at a time to her process of getting back to normal life demands.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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