Postpartum Must-Haves for Momby Elizabeth MacDonald
You are counting down the days until your pregnancy aches and pains are behind you. But did you know that you will experience a whole list of different after birth pains?
Along with physical complaints, you will also be trying to balance your emotions (and the rest of life). However, this time is special and you should be able to do more than just survive it. Preparing for your postpartum time now can help you feel more relaxed and capable later.
Postpartum Must-Haves for Mom
Build a Gift Card Stash: You will need random things after you give birth that you just can’t think of now, and for most families, the newborn stage is not exactly the most financially bountiful. If you can collect a few cards to restaurants for delivery, Amazon, or any of your favorite stores now, it will pay off later. Bonus points if all gift cards can be used online. (Go with a standard Visa if you have any doubts.)
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is magic. You won’t believe just how many things you can use it for!
Placenta Pills: While you may be on the fence, these are gaining popularity. Regulating your hormones after birth is a must – and what better way than to use what your own body created to do so. You just have to let your birth provider know that you will be keeping your placenta. Make sure to pack a cooler! Search now for a local herbalist or midwife who can have it encapsulated.
Prenatal Vitamins: That’s right, they are not just for pregnancy! These babies should be taken daily throughout your childbearing years.
Herbal Bath: Follow the instructions on the box to make a soothing perineal compress. Or, throw it in a bathtub with Epsom salt and hot water to help ease your sore bottom and promote healing. Save the tea bag and pop it in the freezer for an herbal ice pack and will help make your nether regions feel better.
Peri Bottle: The peri bottle (filled with warm water) will come in very handy for cleansing your perineal area. Use it in lieu of toilet paper in the days or weeks following birth, especially if you have stitches or hemorrhoids. You can also fill the bottle with an herbal sitz bath solution and spray it on tender areas to speed healing and increase comfort.
Herbal Healing Spray (Or a Numbing Spray): There are several natural Mama Bottom Sprays out there (hello, Amazon!), but good old Dermoplast will be your best friend if you are in a pinch. Spray after using the bathroom and feel an instant cooling and relief.
Pads of All Sizes: In the weeks following birth, your uterus will be discharging copious amounts of lochia (blood and tissue – big globs of tissue). The first few days of flow will be very heavy, and then it will taper off over the next two to four weeks. Lochia is discharged regardless of whether you’ve had a vaginal birth or a C-section. If you’re giving birth at the hospital, they’ll provide you with enormous pads and most likely some mesh undies (so you don’t ruin your own). These come in handy for the first week, so grab as many as you can from the hospital before you leave. If you are giving birth at home or at a birth center, you’ll want to pick up some overnight maxi pads (preferably the thick ones). Some women even use Depends or Poise disposables for the first few days of very heavy flow. After that, you’ll probably be able to step down to an overnight or even a regular pad until the bleeding stops.
Granny Panties: You want soft, supportive, underwear that you can just toss after the postpartum bleeding ends.
Tucks with Witch Hazel: These provide so much relief for the days after a vaginal birth. Layer it on top of the pad and use often. It’s amazing what these little circles will do to help with relief.
Padsicles: Here’s a recipe to make them (and store in the freezer) ahead of time.
Stool Softener: Do NOT skip taking these. They will make going to the bathroom a whole lot easier (spoiler alert – it really is not a fun experience right after birth.)
Cooling Gel Nipple Pads: The amazing glory of cooling your nipples off while learning to breastfeed is indescribable!
Reuseable Breast Pads: Use and wash. Repeat.
Nipple Cream: If breastfeeding is hurting your nipples, the latch is not 100%. There is not a painful period that you have to go through. Pain means you need a good lactation consultant ASAP. But if your nipples are hurting, go for an organic version of nipple butter/cream.
Mattress Cover: Your mattress will thank you. There will be baby pee, breastmilk leaks, possible blood leaking at night and just random other things that will happen on your bed. Keep that mattress protected.
Waterproof (washable) Pad: Your sheets will thank you. By keeping a waterproof pad under you at night, you won’t have to wash the sheets if you have a blood or milk leak.
New Sheets (Or a wonderful back up set): This is a follow-up to the above. You will be changing sheets frequently.
Arnica: Taking arnica consistently during labor will help decrease the chance of swelling after delivery. You then keep taking them for about 12 hours after delivery, or longer for swelling or soreness.
AfterEase: With each birth comes stronger after birth pains. You don’t realize this until you experience them. By mixing just a few drops of After Ease into your water, you will help tame the pain.
Lounge Wear: You will be lounging around for a few weeks, and nursing often. Make sure that your clothing is not restricting and makes you feel happy.
Nursing Bras: Your breasts are going to swell as engorgement occurs, but they will settle after a while. Skip the underwire and opt for comfort.
Frozen Peas: Oh the engorgement pain! Two bags of frozen peas will help.
Breast Pump: If you plan to go back to work, you'll need to start building your freezer stash soon after birth.
Luxurious Bath Products: This is a splurge and not necessary, but highly recommended. Your postpartum period is the perfect excuse to lie in a bathtub multiple times a week. When will that ever happen again? Splurge on essential oils, sugar scrubs, face products, anything that makes you feel pampered. Read labels though – NO CHEMICALS.
Books, DVDs, Magazines, and Netflix: All-night nursing sessions are going to happen. All-day nursing sessions are going to happen. You will do a lot of sitting. There is only so much daytime (or late night) TV you can handle.
Belly Wrap: These are great to get things going back in place. They provide abdominal and back support, in addition to helping the uterus shrink.
Heating Pad: Cramping and back pain are just a few ways you can use a heating pad. (Don’t lay your baby ON the pad!)
A Wrap or Sling: Keeping your arms free is a must. Keeping baby on you is a priority. Accomplish both with a supportive, comfortable carrier.
Snacks: Think high protein and snacks that you can grab and eat quickly with little prep. While you are still pregnant, make some of your favorite items and freeze them. Keep in mind that some foods boost milk supply (almonds, oats, etc) so try to include them whenever possible.
Giant Insulated Water Cup: Grab one with a handle and lid – maybe even a straw.
Freezer Meals: Invite a friend over to help, or just mom up and do it. Take a weekend to shop, prep, and store about 20 dinner meals, snacks, and any other food item that will help you relax through your postpartum time.
Busy Boxes for Older Siblings: Order a few sticker books, movies, kid-friendly needle points, or other activities that can buy you time postpartum.
Anything to Make your Life Easier: Paper plates, paper towels, plastic utensils. ANYTHING that eliminates tedious chores.
The ability to say "YES!" and "Thank You" – Say yes to friends who want to bring meals or help in any way, shape, or form!