I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a little while and finally decided just to sit down and write it out in case any of my friends having babies soon would like some thoughts on these things!
Right now, I’m 15 and a halfish weeks pregnant. In preparing for my next delivery, I started thinking back to the things that helped me and that I enjoyed using before, during and after delivery last time and the time before that. A lot of this will be specific to mamas planning on nursing or pumping, as that dictates a lot of the usage of many of these things, but there are of course the general things for postpartum as well!
Another quick side note before I dive in is that both of my deliveries were done vaginally, so if you are a c-section mama there are likely a lot of things I’d be missing or some things you may not want to use because your recovery would be just a little different! If you’re planning on nursing, there still may be some things here for you, but I don’t have any experience or insight on c-section recovery.
First of all, every mama is different of course, so take this all with a grain of salt, use what you want and leave the rest alone, It’s really up to you.
One thing I used regularly through both my last pregnancies to help prepare my body for labor and delivery was Prenatal Yoga. I used a DVD, however there are lots of resources on YouTube these days as well. Doing yoga, and specifically squats, is a great way to work out your pelvic floor and prepare it for labor.
Taking your prenatal vitamins, eating well, staying hydrated, going on walks and spending time on a yoga ball are all some other things to prepare you for having your baby.
Another highly recommended supplement is to drink Raspberry Leaf Tea. It’s not actually a tea, as it doesn’t use the tea plant in it. It’s an herbal infusion that they call tea for some reason. Anyhow, it is largely recommended as a way to help prepare your body for labor and delivery as well.
if you’re planning on delivering in the hospital, be sure to ask your nurse for extras of everything they can give you! Extra postpartum net undies, extra super long pads, extra snap and shake pad-sickles, extra witch hazle tucks, etc. etc. They may even send you home with extra packages of newborn diapers if you’re lucky!
For my second delivery, the hospital I was at didn’t have the fancy snap and shake ice pads, so I made my self some “pad-sickles” with some heavy flow pads with wings, witch hazle, and aloe gel. I loved having those at home for the first weekish of recovery.
For nursing, some of the best things I had were a casual nursing bra and nursing tee. The kind that just pull down for quick nursing during the night feedings and drowsy first several days. Having easy nursing tops instead of the “pull this part up and this part down then unclip and keep it all out of the way…” kind was a big help when nursing Kate. A comfy chair or rocking chair is a must as well for those night feedings, and of course a nursing pillow. I personally didn’t like the “Boppy” brand nursing pillow, it was too thick for me to use comfortably, but each mama’s gotta find what works for her!
Of course with nursing comes lots of other breast care to think of… Lanolin is a must have for chapped, dry or sore nipples. And you’ve gotta have some nursing pads for leaking, I’d suggest having both the disposable kind and the reusable kind because it’s nice to have some of the easy throw away kind on those first days when you don’t want to be running even more loads of laundry than you need.
If you’re planning on pumping and your bedroom is far away from your kitchen, I highly suggest investing in a mini fridge for your bedroom. Those midnight pumping sessions are already grueling enough without having to trudge all the way upstairs (at least in my case,) to your kitchen to put away your milk. Being able to just pop it into the mini fridge and take care of the separate parts and things in the morning saves minutes of precious sleeping time! Also, having something to watch or listen too during those pumping sessions may help you from going a little crazy from listening to the repetitive pumping sounds coming from your machine.
With any recovery it’s important to nourish your body to keep optimal healing happening, and when you’re nursing on top of that, there’s a lot of calories needed! Having some snacks and water bottles on hand (even in the middle of the night!!) is really important. Trying to keep those snacks as healthy and milk-positive as possible is helpful too. I loved having those Sunbelt Bakery granola bars on hand for midnight snacks. Also, oatmeal is famously good for milk production, and an easy pre-breakfast meal! Some other things I remember loving was Avocado toast (avocados are such a great healthy fat to eat lots of,) and PB&Js. Making sure to eat several times a day in smaller increments can help as well. I also loved sipping on Mothers Milk Tea (which isn’t actually a tea, as it doesn’t use the tea plant, it’s actually an herbal infusion.)
I, personally, am a bath lover. So long as your health provider gives you the go ahead, you can take sitz baths to soak and soothe some of the aches during recovery! I actually took a bath in the hospital just a few hours after both of my births. I love soaking in the warm water and being relieved from the soreness.
Another life-saver during those first couple weeks was our baby swing!! We moved to Dallas just two months after Kate was born and I’ll tell you… none of the packing would have gotten done if it weren’t for that baby swing.
Of course, there are plenty of other things people suggest and use during postpartum… Bassinets, diapers, burp cloths, wipe warmers, breast pumps, bottles, baby loungers, do-dads and whosits… But these are just some of the things I’ve been remembering myself as I try to prepare for my next birth.
Here’s a link to an amazon list that includes the stuff I mentioned, and some other stuff as well. It’s not an affiliate link or anything, I don’t know how to do that stuff… I just thought it would be convenient for some who are looking for these things anyway.