There is a lot to do to prepare for the arrival of a new baby. Pregnancy is a busy (and oh-so-exciting) time and in the craziness of getting ready for a little human, sometimes we forget what you the new Mom will need. After all, giving birth is a major event and Mom needs a lot of support during her “fourth trimester” as she recuperates, heals, and adjusts to her new life.
Below are some favorite items that I personally used and recommend to new Moms. It is a good idea to get many of the products ahead of time. Why? Once baby is here, it’s hectic and you don’t want to have to worry about trying to find the right product. Many times some of these products you will want “right now”, and having to go find them at a store or wait a few days for them to arrive isn’t ideal. And if you don’t end up needing some of them? Great, you can return them or pass them along to another mom friend! I do recommend putting these on your registry if you have one. I’m always inclined to opt for these kinds of gifts for Mom.
P.S. While this post is focused on “things”, I do believe setting yourself up to have enough support emotionally, physically, and mentally is equally as important in the “Fourth Trimester” and I have a blog post on that here.
RIGHT AFTER LABOR
Afterease: Something I didn’t anticipate was the cramps you experience for a few weeks after labor as your uterus contracts. Unfortunately, they typically get more intense after each child. You can start using Afterease to help ease post-labor contractions right after delivering.
Arnica: Homeopathic pain reliever. I would take this daily after giving birth for a few weeks. It’s commonly recommended to take post-surgery as it doesn’t interact with other medications so its safe for c-section Mamas too.
Perineal Spray: Spray directly onto your perineum after labor or onto a pad. It’s a mix of healing herbs to help swelling and pain “down there”.
Pads: Needless to say, you need a lot of pads after giving birth. I opted for organic pads because conventional pads can be filled with chemicals like artificial fragrance. And for at least the beginning, the bigger the pad, the better.
Underwear: Buy a pack of black full coverage comfortable underwear that will comfortably fit big pads. I got some from Amazon that I didn’t care about ruining and then some nicer ones from Kindred Bravely that are especially amazing if you have a c-section. I didn’t have one but loved how soft they are….and confession, I still wear them!
Bathrobe: For the first few weeks as you are getting settled in and acclimated to nursing, a soft bathrobe will be a key wardrobe staple. Depending on the time of year when you give birth, you might want a more lightweight robe, or if it is cold outside, a warmer robe like this (I have this one and love it). I do recommend pockets because you are always carrying something!
Nursing Friendly Tops: While you can lift up any shirt, it is nice to have real nursing tops so you don’t have to expose your whole torso, especially if people are over or if you’re in public. There are different kinds and they are widely available. Here are a few favorite go-to shops: Old Navy, Target, and H&M.
Nursing Bras: Finding the right nursing bra is important. Believe me, you want real nursing bras aka one with snaps. It’s important bras fit correctly and are not too tight as they can potentially cause clogged ducts. Avoid underwire (as we shouldn’t be wearing it anyway) but especially when nursing. I really like the Kindred Bravely bras, they have an incredible selection of sizes for all shapes and sizes. Here are my two favorites from them: Simply Sublime and French Terry Racerback. I did end up wearing the french terry one a lot in the beginning to bed to help hold on my silverettes and nursing pads to catch leaks. If I’m going out and want a “real “bra to have a little more support, I like Wacoal or Chantelle. These are a little pricier but if you have an uncommon bra size they are worth it. If you’re a “normal” size, stores like Target have great nursing bras.
Pajamas: Treat yourself to some really comfortable pajamas because most likely you will be wearing them all day long! Button-down pajamas are great to have for nursing. I have ones just like these that I love and wore all the time.
Leggings: Support leggings can feel good to wear postpartum as your abdominal regimen will probably feel pretty soft. Blanqi is a popular brand and these ones from Amazon look good too (and are much cheaper). Any high waist/tummy control leggings should work!
Nursing Pads – Milk leaking is quite common. I leaked for a few months last time I nursed! You can either get reusable pads or disposable ones. I liked these organic cotton nursing pads because I liked that they are organic and are more eco-friendly. I would keep these in my baby bag just in case I forgot my reusable ones.
Silverettes – I didn’t hear about Silverette nipple covers until our second was born and now I buy them for everyone. They really help facilitate nipple healing early on when your nipples are much more prone to be sore. You wear them 24/7 in between nursing. You do not use them in conjunction with other nipple creams/ointments as it interferes with the healing properties of silver. I surprisingly used these on and off for a while as different stages caused my nipples to get sore every so often (growth spurts, teething etc).
Nipple Cream – I still think it’s a good idea to have one nipple cream on hand. Ingredients matter of course and the less the better – and organic of course. I liked using this one.
Happy Ducts – If you don’t know, a clogged duct is a hard spot that can form in your milk ducts. Some people get them easily and some never will. They can be an indicator that your breast isn’t fully emptying or that you might be heading towards mastitis. It can be incredibly painful and you will want to do whatever you can to help relieve it. Happy Ducts has come to my rescue many times. I use it in conjunction with warm showers and nursing to help naturally relieve the duct as well. This is definitely something you want to have on hand ahead of time.
Haaka – I enjoyed having the Haaka on hand. In the beginning, I would put it on whatever breast I wasn’t nursing from to catch milk leaks. Do note that it does slightly stimulate the milk so if you are overproducing it may not be a product you want to use. You can also use it to help relieve clogged ducts.
Nursing Cover – Nursing covers are helpful especially in public or for when guests come over. There are a few different kinds you can get. This one is helpful especially in the beginning when you want to be able to check latch. It’s also good for summer nursing as some nursing covers can get hot! I found it easier just to use a lightweight swaddle blanket but I also did use a more traditional nursing cover that can also double as a car seat cover as well!
HEALING DOWN THERE
Sitz Bath/Yoni Steaming – A what what? It’s okay if you have never heard of these, I hadn’t until I had my babies either. To aid in the healing of your vagina, many people recommend doing a sitz bath or yoni steaming. The concept is you sit over warm water with specific herbs in them. The herbs help to cleanse, reduce swelling, and encourage healing. Steaming can help your uterus shrink and ease hemorrhoids. A sitz bath is easy to set up as it just looks like a plastic toilet you put within your toilet.
If you want to elevate your steaming experience, look into getting a yoni steaming stool or box. This can be worth the investment as it’s not just for postpartum healing. They can be used monthly during your cycle to help relieve PMS too. I got a yoni steaming box for our last baby and hired a certified practitioner. I loved this because it became a bit of a self-care ritual my first month. I steamed for 30 minutes a day for 30 days. Based on your symptoms, the practitioner puts together specific herbs that would be best for you. She came over a few times a week, heated up the herbs, got me situated, played calming music and rubbed essential oils on me. You can look up certified steaming practitioners and I think many offer the ability to rent stools/boxes from them.
Prenatal Vitamins – Giving birth is a major event and your body is extremely depleted after labor. It’s a great idea to continue to take a great quality prenatal, fish oil, and other nutrients you might need. I also took Vitamin D and desiccated liver for iron to replenish blood loss. Before starting any supplement regimen, consult with your doctor of course! You can get practitioner-grade supplements 20% off through me on Fullscript.
Lactation Boosters – While you may not need lactation supplements, it’s nice to have them on hand in case you need them. I didn’t take them preventatively as I didn’t want to create an oversupply. When I noticed a dip in supply, I used and noticed a difference with this Liquid Gold supplement from Legendairy Milk. Reach out to a lactation consultant if you have questions about milk boosting supplementing.
Collagen – I love collagen for a number of reasons. It helps with skin elasticity, bones, muscles, joints, and hair. I’m not sure if it’s been studied to help postpartum hair loss but I think it’s great to take either way. It supports gut health which helps immunity! There are all sorts of collagen supplements out there and quality matters. Look for collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen and make sure it’s certified glyphosate-free. I like Great Lakes, Needed, Vital Proteins or Designs for Health. You can take in powder form and mix into coffee, yogurt or smoothies or get it in capsules. You can get this 20% off collagen through Fullscript as well.
Couch Caddy – A couch caddy is quite helpful as you will be spending time on the couch or in bed for many hours a day. While this is intended for diapers, I found it helpful to put items such as nipple cream/silverettes, your water bottle, snacks, books, and the TV remote/phone. I used this a lot in the beginning!
Stainless Steel or Glass Water Bottle – Keeping hydrated is key in the postpartum period! It’s key to milk production and can help with postpartum constipation. I highly recommend getting a water bottle with a straw as you probably won’t have your hands free much to manually remove the cap multiple times a day. And of course, avoid plastic and opt for stainless steel or glass!
EMF Protection – Something many of us may not think about is EMF exposure for our babies. Considering most of us have ipads and phones and usage of them seems to go up when we have a newborn constantly on us, I like to do what I can to protect baby from EMF’s. EMF’s are electric and magnetic fields and they have been shown to be harmful to our health, especially to babies. I use a belly blanket over baby and I also have this adapter on my phone to help remediate EMF’s as well. A practical tip is to keep your phone as far away from your baby’s head as much as possible and your phone on airplane mode when not in use.
I think that covers it! As always, I hope this guide is helpful. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!
I have all of the items in this blog post complied in one easy list in my Amazon store!
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