So you're having a baby. Congratulations!
As you probably know, after your birth, things are a going to be little uncomfortable, to say the least. My home birth recovery came with plenty of surprises. I quickly ran out of adult diapers, my nipples were raw from breastfeeding and my peri bottle was always full in order to avoid the dreaded sting while using the bathroom. Overall, I feel I was pretty well prepared for my postpartum recovery. However, there were a few areas I unfortunately overlooked (breastfeeding woes) and I definitely paid for it! Here are a few of the postpartum supplies I did have, along with a few I discovered during the process.
1. Nipple Shields
I honestly had no idea how hard breastfeeding was going to be. Samuel had a tongue tie but was still able to latch on at first. Unfortunately my nipples became raw and cracked during those first few days and the pain was just unbearable. I started Googling (of course!) and discovered nipple shields. I had no idea these existed but once I found them, I sent Nate halfway across Oahu to a Walmart that had them in stock. He bought the 24mm Lansinoh & Medela brands so I could try both.
That same day, my midwife came over and did a small snip on the baby's tongue tie. However, I have no idea if that worked or not because I started using nipple shields that day and we're still using them almost six weeks in. I take the shield off during feedings to see if he'll latch but he's just not interested. I plan to keep using the shields until his mouth is a little bigger and/or we decide to do a tongue tie revision. Anyway, I think they are worth having just in case you end up in my same situation!
2. Nursing Tanks + Nursing Pads
Since my breastfeeding struggles were so painful in the beginning, I couldn't stand wearing a sports bra, much less a "real" bra. I lived in nursing tanks for the first several weeks. They are so convenient for quick access feeding. I slept in them also but learned the hard way that you should also wear nursing pads if the tank top doesn't already come with them. It can get a little leaky!
3. Adult Diapers + Padsicles
I had about ten adult diapers that came with my birth kit. However, I went through these very quickly and had to send Nate out to buy more. I strongly suggest stocking up on these and extra pads! You'll need it for the postpartum bleeding that occurs after birth.
Now let me tell you about these padsicles. There are several different concoctions you can use on these pads but the gist of it is that you wet them with water then freeze them until needed. They work as a numbing aid for your sore and tender lady parts and are quite effective as a natural pain reliever. Almost immediately after birth, one of my midwives put a padsicle in an adult diaper and helped me put it on. It was nearly too cold for comfort but it was exactly what I needed to take the edge off after birthing a 15 inch head. (Ouch!)
4. Easy-To-Grab Snacks
This one is important! I had gained 30lbs. during pregnancy and lost 25 of them within about a week or two. This startled my midwives and they encouraged me to pack in the calories because I was losing too fast. I admittedly had felt too busy and stressed with the baby to put my nutrition first. I had to make time to feed myself so that I could effectively feed my baby. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding can be a great time to eat snacks so I now keep a few specific items ready to go for when the hunger hits. Some of my favorites are these Gerber pouches, KIND bars and Nature's Bakery Fig Bars. I also love blueberries + greek yogurt + honey, apple slices, peanut butter crackers and pieces of watermelon. If you can eat it with one hand while feeding the baby, great!
5. Earth Mama Perineal Spray
As you've probably heard countless times by now, your lady parts are going to be sore after labor and delivery. As I mentioned above, padsicles are a great natural pain reliever and I used this spray when making my stash. I lightly wet the pad with water then spritzed each one a few times with the spray for a little extra relief. The Earth Mama Perineal Spray contains just a few natural ingredients but it's the witch hazel and cucumber that act as a cooling agent to soothe your aching "downstairs mixup."
6. Peri Bottle
If you're having a hospital birth, you may be given a peri bottle after delivery. However, due to it's sprayer design, the Fridet Momwasher is much more user friendly and offers better "aim" at your lady parts. Using the restroom after birth can be uncomfortable for many reasons and trust me, the last thing you want to do after pushing a baby out is wipe yourself with rough toilet paper. Get a Momwasher and thank me later!
This one probably should have been at the top of the list! Just because you aren't pregnant anymore does not mean you should stop taking your prenatal vitamins! I was actually taking prenatals before conception to build up folate in my system. My daily regimen is three Garden of Life raw prenatals, one Garden of Life prenatal probiotic and one Ocean's Mom prenatal DHA. Vitamins are essential to a growing fetus' health but they are also essential for breastfeeding and postpartum recovery. I also take vitamin C from time to time. Of course you still need to eat a healthy, balanced diet along with your vitamins!
8. A Comfy Robe!
This one is pretty self explanatory. One of my favorite postpartum items has been my fuzzy bathrobe. After giving birth, I highly doubt you'll want to slap on your old skinny jeans anytime soon. Having a comfortable robe around is great for postpartum lounging and snuggling with that new baby.
So there you have it!
Hopefully some of these items will come in handy for you during your postpartum journey. It can be a little bit of a crazy and challenging time but enjoy it while it lasts! Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you need it and remember, these babies grow up so quickly. Whether you believe it or not, one day you're going to miss this time together!
What were some of your postpartum must-haves?
Leave a comment below for the mamas to be that may be reading!