Throughout pregnancy families spend a lot of time preparing emotionally, physically and materially for the birth and the new baby. The postpartum time period can often be somewhat overlooked -but it is certainly a very, very important time in the parenting journey! During this time you’ll be resting a lot (see our blog on rest guidelines here) and you’ll be getting to know your new baby. You’ll be spending most of your time skin to skin with baby in bed but there are definitely some supplies that can be helpful to have on hand!
For mamas, remember that you just had a baby! You did an amazing thing and worked hard to bring this new life into the world. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself. Here are some things that mom’s often find helpful:
- Nipple Cream -Motherlove is a brand many moms like. Coconut oil can also be used as nipple cream.
- Breast Pads -To help manage any leaking. These can be disposable or reusable; for example Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads or Avent Washable Breast Pads
- Hydrogel Discs -For breastfeeding moms who are experiencing any cracks or blistering of their nipples (or early signs of these things) Medela hydrogel discs or Lansinoh gel soothies can help to heal nipples quickly. They can be purchased from Babies R Us as well as Target.
- Witch Hazel & Cotton or Tucks Pads -Hemorrhoids are very common postpartum and some women find it’s nice to have things on hand in case they need them. Tucks pads can be purchased from any drug store or you can make your own with witch hazel and cotton pads.
- Maxi Pads -Any brand of these is just fine. Some women find it’s nice to have organic or chemical free pads when they are healing from a birth because they are less irritating to the tissues, such as Natracare.
- Frozen Pads -In the first couple of days it can be useful to have some ice packs or frozen pads on hand. In your birth kit, there is a one disposable ice pack but if you think you might like to have more than one it can be helpful to make some ahead of time. Some women choose to put witch hazel on pads & then freeze them to aid in healing. Frozen pads can also be easily made postpartum simply by tearing open the top of a newborn diaper and putting ice cubes inside the opening.
- After Ease Tincture by WishGarden Herbs -This tincture is designed to help with afterpains (cramps felt after the birth of the baby and placenta). Afterpains are generally more uncomfortable with more babies so not all women feel they need this. It can be a nice addition or substitute to pharmaceutical pain medications, such as ibuprofen.
- Ibuprofen -For afterpains, muscle soreness or other discomfort. Your midwife will go over dosage with you before leaving your home if you choose to take some.
- Arnica (Pellets or Oil) -Arnica oil or pellets are derived from the arnica montana flower and are used for pain relief primarily with muscles and tension. The oil can be a really nice massage oil, especially when a mom has muscle soreness from various positions during for many hours of labor.
- Heating Pad -To help with muscle soreness, relaxation and comfort.
- Lip balm, hair ties, bobbi pins, deodorant and pre-packed facial wipes (for example these Burt’s Bees wipes) for some bedside table self care!
- Kindle, books or Netflix -As you’re hanging out in bed with your baby and breastfeeding often you may find you want something else to occupy your mind. Having a tablet of laptop handy (and possibly headphones!) can be nice for movie watching. If you have a free hand you may want to use to do some reading as well.
- Journal and pen -This can be used to keep track of breastfeeding times, numbers of diapers, baby’s temperature or you may want to write down things related to your birth, questions for your midwife, cute things your older children say -anything and everything!
As your resting and spending time with your new baby, it’s important that you remember to keep eating well and drinking often! Since you’ll be staying in bed for the first week your partner or other support people will be bringing you your meals in bed. It’s important to keep snacking between meals and some women find it helpful to have a basket or stash of snacks on their bedside table. Since you’ll be doing a lot of breastfeeding you may only have one free hand a great deal of the time. Some easy, one handed (and protein-rich!) snacks can include:
- String Cheese
- Deli Meat
- Trail Mix (great for bedside)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Protein Smoothies
- Granola Bars (great for bedside)
- Apple Sauce Pouches
- Oatmeal Pouches
- Soup cups
- Fruit (fresh or dried)
- Buffalo or Beef Jerky
It’s also important that you stay well hydrated as your body is now producing milk! Some families like to keep a pitcher of water on mom’s bedside table so she can refill her own glass or bottle without having to ask someone else every time. Some other drinks that can be nice to have stocked up in your fridge or cupboards are:
- Smart Water
- Vitamin Water
- La Croix or other sparkling waters
- Coconut Water
- Emergen-C packets
- Mother’s Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals (available from Whole Foods and many co-ops)
During your postpartum time it is also important to remember to keep taking your prenatal vitamins and supplements. If your supplements don’t need to be stored in the fridge it can be helpful to place them on your bedside table or somewhere in your bedroom so that you don’t forget them.
What are other things you thought were useful during your postpartum time? Share in the comments!