As the days of pregnancy dwindle to an end, moms eagerly await their new addition! Rooms are prepared, baby clothes are laundered, car seats installed, and hospital bags packed. But usually, little thought is put into just what the new mom will need for herself!
With my first child, I prepped for birth, researched mommy-hood, but I had absolutely no idea about what would occur postpartum! I knew I’d be bleeding for a little while after birth, but that was about it. Naturally, I thought I’d regain my supermodel status in a few short weeks and be an instant super mom...
Reality burned. So did using the bathroom. Here are a few of my postpartum essentials, heads up, it's not glamorous:
· For starters, postpartum bleeding is very heavy (much heavier than a period)! Don’t be afraid to buy depends or disposable underwear (you'll thank me!). Overnight pads are helpful, but for the first few days, they won’t save your sheets! I highly recommend sleeping on disposable underpads. I used "chux" pads to protect the floor during my homebirth and found them to be equally helpful after birth!
· When nature calls, it might not feel so natural! Bowel movements may be difficult. If you had stitches after birth, straining any muscles might sound terrifying. Though you are a superwoman for the miracle you've just taken part of, your helpful sidekick will be stool softeners! Don't worry if they become a staple for the first few weeks, even months! Embrace the ease!
Peri bottles (or a good old fashion water bottle) are helpful in preventing burning while peeing and can be a soothing way to stay clean. If you had any tears or stitches, filling your bottle with warm water will wash away any anxiety while using the bathroom. Lastly, perineal cold pack pads are amazing after birth. They're absorbant pads that provide cooling relief and reducing swelling after birth. I always lamented when I ran out of them!
If you plan to breastfeed (and I hope you do!), these are my favorite newborn nursing essentials:
You'll need nursing bras! The dilemma first time moms face is that it is a challenge to properly guess your nursing bra size before you have a baby and your milk supply comes in. Instead of dumping money into bras that wont feel comfortable, I recommend grabbing a pack of sleep nursing bras. They run in small, medium, large, and extra large, and are a soft cotton which allows for room to grow (literally). They offer comfortable support for the first few days and make nighttime feedings so much easier!
If your nipples are sore, I highly recommend "soothies"! They are the sole reason I was able to nurse my children after a difficult first few days. They provide a cooling relief and help heal sore nipples! You'll want these in your hospital bag to use while you and your little one adjust to a proper latch! This get's easier as the baby's neck strengthens, in the meantime, SOOTHIES!
Good quality nursing pads are also essential. I've purchase cheap ones, and they leak. Breastmilk leaking through your bra and on to your shirt is not fun, especially when you have to wear your husbands jacket, in the middle of the summer, to try to cover an awkwardly wet shirt. I've used the TL Organic Nursing Pads, and have purchased three packs. In my opinion, their protection cannot be beat!
The final nursing essential is really a nursing helper. It will save your back, and your arms, and in my case, many trips to the chiropractor. I've used the Boppy Pillow, which was too flimsy. I've also used the Ergo Nursing Pillow which offered a wonderful amount of support for my baby, but the main con is it is expensive. I recommend "My Breast Friend" because it offers wonderful support for babies of all sizes, and is reasonably priced. You also might want to purchase an extra cover for your nursing pillow, breast milk, and spaghetti sauce, will splatter and you'll want to keep your nursing pillow covered and clean!
Did I miss anything? What is your favorite postpartum essential??
Is a wife, mother of four, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps.