I gave birth to my second son just over 2 weeks ago, so I’m fresh in the thick of postpartum mommy experiences. We all know the basics of what is needed when bringing home a new baby; swaddles, a crib, a car seat, etc. But what I think we all need to focus more on, for the health and well-being of the entire family, is what does the mother need when she first gets home? What will make this transition easiest for her? Start there and all will fall into line.
Not only has she just completed the most intense, physically challenging task of her life to date, but now she has another life to care for while recovering. She has to learn how to nourish this baby while also not forgetting to nourish her own body and soul.
In a time where it’s still difficult to open up about potential postpartum depression, it’s imperative that mom (and partner) plan ahead with provisions to combat anything that comes there way. For myself, and I’m sure many other women, a key to this is remembering that the mom is a person all her own aside from being a mom. Losing one’s identity within motherhood can cause a downward spiral into a negative place that is difficult to crawl out of. It’s best to counter this risk by planning ahead and pampering the new mother after birth. Celebrate the accomplishment and the huge life transition that is about to happen!
I’ve always enjoyed having all my ducks in a row by being organized and prepared for big events, and birth is no exception.
Here are 20 items that I feel will help a woman transition from giving birth to mommy-hood:
1. Placenta pills – See my other post on why I find them beneficial. In short, they may help boost milk supply, reduce chances of PPD, provide hormone balance, as well as many other potential benefits.
2. A great water bottle – You need around 3.1 liters or 13 cups of water while breastfeeding (and recovering from birth!), so why not make it easily accesible in a fun water bottle? I chose a Life Factory water bottle (the exact one seen in the above image) because it is important to me that it not be plastic or contain any other harmful material. I also favor companies who manufacture here in the USA.
3. A boppy or other nursing pillow – Comfort is key and you’re going to want to be comfortable when nursing that little baby all hours of the day and night.
4. Healthy/delicious snack foods – You’re going to be starving right after birth, just as you probalby will also be starving during a 3am feeding in the weeks to come. It’s a great idea to stock up on your favorite snacks (or make and freeze your favorite recipes) so that you don’t have to bother with going to the store once baby gets here.
5. Poofy Organics “Happy Boobies” Nipple Cream – Take it from a mom who just had bleeding and cracked nipples (we have had latching issues) you don’t want to be stuck at home without this!! It’s different than the typical lanolin (which my son winced at the taste of it), and it is all natural.
6. Dermoplast – Directly after birth you may want to numb yourself in order to go the bathroom or just sit comfortably. I didn’t end up needing it this time around, but this is something that if you THINK you may need it… you will want it that instant and not want to have to send your partner out for it. Hospitals tend to give this out, but you’ll want to check to be sure. I wouldn’t use it long term, but that is my preference.
7. Padsicles – I will be writing up a tutorial on this but these are simply maxi pads with witch hazel and aloe vera put into the freezer to use as a soothing cold pack for your aching/stinging/painful postpartum recovery.
8. Soft night light with easy on/off – You want to be able to see what you’re doing for the middle of the night feedings, and you want it to be easy to use and just the right brightness. We installed soft lighting from ikea behind our headboard that came with two switches which we put near the head of each of our bedsides.
9. Happy Privates Spray from Poofy Organics – Once you’re home you’ll want something to soothe any hemorrhoids or tearing from birth. This USDA certified organic spray has quality ingredients that will help you feel back to your old self in no time. Plus it smells delightful. You can purchase it here and help support a stay at home mom (me!).
10. Nursing Tanks – A variety of sizes of nursing tanks because you will fluctuate a bit in size and what you find comfortable. These are a valuable item to the nursing mom and I can’t stress enough how helpful they will be. I can use regular tank tops but sometimes this will stretch them out and ruin them.
11. Breast pads – Whether it’s organic cotton/hemp/bamboo etc. or disposable, you will need breast pads. I suggest the organic cotton because they’re incredibly soft and eco-friendly. They also will breathe more than the disposable, which is especially important if you’re someone who sweats a lot or will be nursing in the heat of summer.
13. Frozen meals – Prepare meals ahead or ask friends and family to bring it by when they want to see the new baby. This is especially helpful if you have other children at home and will be exhausted as it is, without having to consider what to make for dinner every day.
14. Moby wrap – This is a great way to continue snuggling your newborn while getting necessary tasks done. While we all know it’s important to take it easy and recover, if you have a toddler or other children you also realize that laying in bed all day just isn’t an option! Baby wearing allows moms to eat a meal, play with a toddler, or do a load of laundry without leaving the baby to fuss all alone.
15. Maxi-pads – You will bleed after giving birth and you will continue as you get home. Stock up so you won’t be fresh out of pads and realize you have to send someone to the store in a rush to get you some.
16. Cozy Slippers – These are just nice to have, they are an added comfort that will soothe your aching body when you need it most. You’ll be staying home for a bit so it’s nice to treat yourself to the small things.
17. Sitz bath – Herbs and oils can soothe your body and assist in healing. These can be homemade (although they require a lot of ingredients most of us don’t have readily available) or you can purchase them. Just make sure to clear it with the midwife/OB prior.
18. Portable cell phone charger – Ok, some women may act as though they won’t dare surf the internet while nursing (read: bonding) with their new little babe, but if you’re being realistic… you will. While it’s wonderful and magical and incredible to experience the bonding relationship that is a nursing relationship, it will also get tiresome at some point. It may get difficult to stay awake during a middle of the night feeding. You may work from home and want to check your phone. You might want to tweet/post a million adorable photos of your kids. Whatever the reason may be, not requiring a seat next to an outlet is wonderful! Want to nurse with your phone and enjoy the summer evening? Now your phone won’t die. You’re welcome.
19. Probiotic – I can’t say enough about this! I had to have not one but two rounds of antibiotics within one week of giving birth. One at birth and one after. This does a number on your body, on your gut, and this requires you to repair the damage done. If you’re lucky and don’t require antibiotics, you still can benefit from getting your bowels regular and passing on beneficial probiotics to your nursling. There are only benefits, no downsides to using them. Probiotics have also been known to reduce colic in newborns.
20. Full coverage cotton underwear – You won’t want to be wearing your adorable Victoria’s Secret boy shorts while you bleed postpartum. If you’re like me, you’ll get waves of bleeding as you nurse the first week or two. Just save yourself the potential heartbreak and buy a few packs of full coverage cotton underwear that you won’t miss if they get ruined. Trust me.
What other must-haves did you include in your postpartum loot? There are many more items that could be added to this list. It’s best be sure to really plan out what matters most to you and your family to better prepare for the new addition.