Having a baby is, without a doubt, the most exciting and amazing time in a woman’s life. And, if you’re anything like me then you’ve invested an embarrassingly huge amount of time into “nesting” before baby arrives. I know for me that I carefully and strategically curated every single item that I had waiting at home and every single item that went into my hospital bag. Every item thoroughly researched and meticulously packed weeks in advance. I double, triple, and even quadruple checked my whole bringing-home- baby “checklist” a bunch of times!
You know what I barely thought about at all though? What I personally would need as a postpartum mom. I think a lot of moms (whether they’re brand new or veterans) do this because it’s sort of just a natural occurrence in motherhood- to forget all about your own needs while simultaneously stressing to death about what your baby might need!
So, since I barely put any thought at all into the postpartum aspect of things, there was a bunch that I had to make hubs or my mom run out and get for me. With baby #2, I had a way more realistic idea of what I needed waiting at home and it sure did help!
Like I was saying, as moms, we forget our own needs a lot. That’s an awful shame and we should really stop normalizing that one. I can’t stress to you enough, how much better you will feel , how much more you’ll enjoy your newborn, and how much more capable of keeping up with caring for a newborn that you will be if you take the time to care for yourself as well.
Before we begin though, let me offer this totally glamorous disclaimer: The postpartum period is when most of the amazing stuff your body does (like growing a sweet, squishy little human!) is all done and more of the totally gross stuff happens. This is the stuff a lot of us don’t want to talk about but I’m about to so if you’re squeamish like that then you should run while ya still can!
Here’s what you’re going to need:
1.Super Absorbent Pads.
Always Maxi Overnight Pads are great to have waiting at home and in your hospital bag. Most hospitals will have some there to offer you as well but I suggest you have even more on hand because Lochia, the bleeding that occurs after birth, can last for weeks and weeks (yes, even if you have a c-section!) and your doctor or midwife will for sure tell you not to use tampons, a diva cup, or anything like that during this time.
2.Comfortable or Disposable Underwear.
If the hospital that you deliver at offers disposable underwear – take all that you can! Hey, they’re not going to be on the cover of Victoria Secret anytime soon but you’ll appreciate being able to toss them if you bleed on them and they really are so flexible that they’re pretty comfortable. I only used these the first couple of days and then I just wore comfortable underwear that was a size or two larger than I would normally buy.
The hospital will usually provide you with a peri-wash bottle, which is basically just a squirt bottle that you’ll fill with warm water and use to rinse off after each time you use the restroom. Fill, use the restroom, rinse, and pat dry. It’s pretty simple really.
4.A Non-Laxative Stool Softener.
Colace should work just fine and I recommend this to any new mom, no matter how you deliver and no matter what your birth plan is. If you have a normal vaginal delivery, you may have hemorrhoids and even if you don’t you will still probably feel strained from pushing. If you had a c-section you may also be too sore to bare down at all. If you had any medications administered during labor and delivery – some of them slow down the digestive tract and can temporarily lead to constipation. Regardless, taking these in the first few days postpartum will keep you from being uncomfortable when nature calls.
5.A Belly Wrap.
My sister sent me a Belly Bandit and it is the bees knees! It’s an easy to use, bamboo based wrap that goes around your belly. It retrains your waist super quickly and provides compression support. It feels great on but it also helps you look more like yourself a lot sooner too.
6.Breast Feeding Essentials.
Make sure you’re familiar with your breast pump in advance. Even if you never plan to bottle feed you may still need one. Have milk storage bags handy. Have Lanolin waiting to soothe sore nipples. While you’re at it you may even want to have softshell nipple shields handy to keep your clothes from chaffing them. Breast feeding is all natural and so great for you and baby but that doesn’t mean it’s super easy. Even if you don’t face any serious breast feeding challenges, you will likely still get sore in the beginning so plan and prepare with our own comfort in mind.
7.Nursing Friendly Pajamas, Shirts, and Bras.
You don’t want to wait until you get home with your baby to realize that you don’t own anything that’s easy to nurse in. Specialty stores, like Motherhood, make all of these items. I own many items from Motherhood and I totally love a lot of them but, I have to tell you that now-a-days even most run-of-the-mill department stores like Target or Walmart will offer options that are also great and usually half of the price. Things that can come down in front easily or that button down are easiest.
8.Ice Packs or “Pad-Cicles”.
In both of my labor and delivery experiences the nurses brought me a newborn diaper filled with ice immediately after delivery and it seemed to work really well for me. So, I haven’t tested any “pad-cicle” recipes but if you have one that worked well for you- please share! Either way, I recommend that you do something immediately following delivery to address swelling and discomfort before it really has a chance to kick in.
And … that should just about do it! Naturally, as an individual, you’ll figure out what works best for you and what you prefer but these should be the bulk of the most important stuff. Some that you may or may not have been expecting. Either way, I hope it was helpful and know that here at Mostly a Mom – I’m wishing you a safe and swift delivery!
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