A few weeks ago I shared with you some of my favorite baby items, today I wanted to go the opposite route and share with you some of my favorite new mama essentials, because let’s face it after you have a baby there are several things that a new mother needs (besides a nap) to help adjust to a new way of life and the pains that your body will be experiencing once you deliver your baby.
Just as a warning, this post might be TMI but they are things I wish somebody would have told me to stock up on and I’m also going off my own personal experience of having a natural delivary and exclusively breastfeeding afterwards. I have no frame of mind of what the recovery is like after have a C-Section so I’m not trying to be exlusive, I’m simply sharing some of my own personal experiences.
So now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about some things you are probably going to want to stock up on in the few weeks leading up to your precious little one being born.
Jumbo Maxi Pads
For what ever reason I was completely oblivious to the fact that after I gave birth to my first baby I was going to be bleeding for the next four to six weeks. Somewhere I missed that bit of information in my pregnancy book and birthing class. For my second baby, as well as this current pregnancy, I was much more prepared and had stocked up on some maxi pads.
You will need some big ones at first, most women have a heavy flow similar to a heavy period that lasts for a few weeks and is normal. It’s not safe to wear tampons during this season so that’s why you need to stock up on some absorbent pads of your preferred brand.
Homemade Feminine Hygiene Comfort Products
Your poor lady parts are going to be in need of some tender care for about a week after you give birth, maybe longer if you have stitches from a tear or episiotomy. The hospital will probably give you a sample or two of cooling pads or a cream to take home but with new health care laws and rising costs, I have been told that most hospitals are cutting back on some the freebies they hand out to new mamas.
The good news is that with a few simple and natural ingredients, you can make some of your own feminine comfort products.
Witch Hazel will be your best friend postpartum. Not only can you use it rub on swollen body parts and unsightly varicose veins, witch hazel is also a wonderful treatment for two common yet uncomfortable symptoms new mama face… a sore perineum and hemorrhoids.
One of my favorite comfort products to make, and one I used a lot during the first few days after giving birth, are homemade perineum cooling pads, or what I like to call Frozen Padsicles 🙂
I usually like to make and freeze a least 10 a head of time, but you can make as many as you think you might need.
- Jumbo Maxi Pads
- 1/4 cup of Witch Hazel
- 2-3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 1 TBSP Pure Aloe Vera gel
- spray bottle
Mix the witch hazel, lavender, and aloe vera together in a bowl until well combined. Pour the mixture into a small spray bottle. Unfold each pad but leave the pad attached to the paper so it doesn’t lose it’s stickiness. Spray the pad with the mixture until the surface is damp, but not soaked Wrap each pad in foil and store them in the freezer.
The witch hazel and lavender will help reduce any swelling as well as comfort any uncomfortable itching or pain, while the aloe vera and coldness from the freezer will be very soothing. These are also very helpful to sit on if you are tender from stiches down there, trust me I was so sore from my first pregnancy these frozen gems came in very handy!
Another useful homemade remedy to make ahead to use is a Refreshing Perineum Spray.
You will probably receive a peri squirt bottle from the hospital to rinse yourself off after you use the restroom but sometimes you need more than just water to feel refreshed and comfortable down there. All you will need is a few ingredients, the exact same that you used to make the cooling pads above.
- small spray bottle or peri squirt bottle
- Equal parts witch hazel and water
- 2-3 drops of lavender Essential Oil
Combine all ingredients into the bottle and shake well before each use. Spray a little to your perineum each time after you use the restroom. This is also very soothing for helping with hemorrhoids too. And in case you have a very uncomfortable case of those little annoyances, simply apply some witch hazel directly to a cotton pad or cotton ball to gently apply to the itchy, sore spot.
I am a huge fan of pure lanolin cream! I use it for just about everything- sore and cracked nipples, cracked and dry lips, hang nails, cracked skin around my fingers and as a moisturizer on other rough patches of skin.
When you first start nursing you are going to have some sore nipples, that’s just the fact of it but lanolin cream can really help ease some of the discomfort. You can also apply pure coconut oil to the nipples to relieve sore and cracked nipples too, which is completely safe for baby as well.
Nipple Cooling Pads
I had some nursing struggles with my first but my second latched on like a pro. Unfortunately she latched on hard and resulted in a poor latch that I had to work with a lactation consultant (if you have access to a good lactation consultant from your hospital, use her because they are amazing!)
While I was still in the hospital, she brought me a set of cooling hydrogel pads to place over my nipples and oh-my did those ever feel so good!
I bought another few sets to help me cope with the first week while we both got a hang of nursing. I’ve also already stocked up and bought a set to use in preparation with this upcoming birth as well.
Cloth Nursing Pads
I personally perfect natural cotton nursing pads than the disposable ones mainly because I think they are more comfortable, not to mention cheaper and reusable.
I only had to use them the first month as my body was figuring out how much milk to produce and cloth nursing pads are absorbent enough to prevent the embarrassing leaky milk stains on the front of your shirt every time your milk lets down in the most inconvenient of places… like when your newborn baby starts crying while you are having a conversation with a family at church (yes that actually happened to me!)
A Good Nursing Tank and/or Bra
During the first few weeks I prefer a nursing tank because I can wear it layered under a cardigan or shirt while I’m lounging at home with the baby. Plus they provide a nice amount of coverage on the mid-section as you are trying to figure out how to nurse while out and about without showing every bit of skin.
Not all nursing tanks and bras are created equal though and due to increasing and decreasing breast sizes during nursing, it’s always hard to find a good, supportive fit. The good news is that you only have to wear these during the season of nursing, but do take the time to find a supportive one that is comfortable yet not too tight.
eReader, Smart Phone or Remote Control
You will spend A LOT of time on the couch or in a comfortable chair nursing day and night and while the “experts” say to spend that time bonding and cherishing the closeness of being with your baby, you will quickly become very bored.
I loved nursing my kids and am very much looking forward to nursing again, but after a while I needed a book to read or to watch an episode of just about anything that was on TV. Unless you are super talented, it’s hard to read a traditional book one handed which is why it’s nice to have an eReader or a reading app on your smart phone. I personally love my Kindle and have already started adding book titles to read. I’ve also been stock piling our DVR with shows to keep me entertained when my eyes are too tired to read.
Water Bottle and One Handed Snacks
You will never be more thirsty or hungry than when you sit down to nurse so it’s always a good idea to keep a stash of some simple snacks that you can eat with one hand (remove the packaging before you start nursing) and a large bottle of water.
I prefer a water cup with a handle and a straw so that way I never spill water on the nursing baby.
Also it’s a good idea to prepare snacks for your other children before you sit down to nurse because it never fails… the kids don’t need anything from you until you are unavailable to get up to get them a snack!