Baby is here…. How does mommy recover?
I’ve been promising this post to my Hypnobirthing class as well as some friends who have asked for weeks…. And being 39 week and 2 days pregnant, I realized I better get on it too! And while I am no Michelle Duggar, I promise, this box of goodies is a lifesaver to any new momma!!
Note: If you’re making this kit for a baby shower gift, it can become pretty large. Make sure to buy a large (opaque) Rubbermaid tote and label it “Post-partum kit.” You may want to put a warning to not open until the baby comes, as there may be more questions that might cause concern in her preconceived image of post partum bliss. Please remember to always check with your doctor before you start any regimen or take any medicines. These are solely recommendations based on ones experience!
Part 1: Take Care DOWN THERE!
Perineal Bottles: You will receive one at the hospital (the nurses will send you home with it), but you really need to have one for each bathroom. You can buy a few extras cheap on Amazon or at a drugstore. I used this EVERY time I peed (vs. wiping with toilet paper, which you WILL NOT want to do if you just pushed out a baby and had stitches!). Fill the bottle with lukewarm water before you go into the bathroom. Make sure water (and the bottle) is cleaned and fresh every day. I have also found that adding a little witch hazel seems to help! After you go to the bathroom, you’ll rinse the whole area off with this bottle. This is probably the most basic and most important of tools to have post baby, if you want my opinion!
Tucks: You will want a pack for each bathroom! These are witch hazel wipes, you’ll use them after rinsing with the bottle. You could make your own, but these wipes are more portable and convenient. I found them to be very soothing!
Sitz Bath: The nurses usually send you home with one of these little funky looking bowls. The idea is that it fits into your toilet, you sit down and that bag (which you’ve preloaded with warm water) will fill the bath with warm water to soak you. Sit there for 10-15 minutes and it helps prevent infection and aids healing. However, I found this little tub very uncomfortable and difficult to use. I ended up just sitting in our regular tub with fresh flowing water and some Sierra Sage Sitz bath a few times a day and it worked much better for me.
Always Maxi Radiant Infinity Heavy: Ok, so I happen to know more than the average bear about feminine hy product as I currently work on a Fem Care brand. And I have to say, minus any biases, Always Maxi Radiant Infinity is by far the best pad on the market… And I mean the most comfortable too given its absorbency level. First, they do not bulk up when there is a great amount of absorption (the fluid evenly disperses and doesn’t feel like a diaper). Second, they let your “area” breathe better than other pads, which is a huge help for a healing lower area. Make sure to have at minimum 3 boxes ready to go!
Blue Pads: Having said such amazing things about the Always pads, I will say you should have some blue pads ready to go as well, especially for the first week or so! There are sometimes… gushes of so much fluid that no pad will handle it all. (Confession: my beautiful ivory organic 500 thread count bed sheets are in the dumps due to some major gushes I was not prepared for and was no match for even the best of pads).
Last but not least, Your Grandma’s BIG Underwear: Yes! You will need some big panties to hold on to a pad that large. A few words of advice, buy 2 sizes larger and DARK colors (aka- more stain resistant).
Part 2: Manage Your Pain
They aren’t saying it for fun… Listen to your doctor and nurses when they tell you that you’ll need to stay on top of the pain meds, especially for the first 24-48 hours. Tylenol is every 4 hours, Advil/Motrin (same thing) are every 6 hours. Keep a little notepad and jot down the hospital’s instructions so you don’t overdo it, but stay on top of the pain. Depending on the day, sometimes a little icepack went a long way towards making me feel better! One thing I found helpful was to buy cheap wash cloths at Walmart (you can get a whole pack for super cheap) and just dampen them and put them in the freezer. When you are done, you can wash & reuse them. After a week or so, I was ok with throwing them away. A small investment for some great relief.
Step 3: Get the Rear Gear
Your first bowel movements, even when things are normal, will feel like giving birth again. Alone. On the toilet. OMG, beyond painful! For your sanity, listen to your nurses when they tell you to use a stool softener (especially if things tore a little extra, like they did for me with my first). So, you’ll need a stool softener. Miralax did the trick for me- it just holds onto fluid and makes your stool softer. It doesn’t get absorbed at all and it doesn’t make anything cramp up (Warning: Watch out if you decide to take Milk of Magnesia… I only recommend this in small doses and not in conjunction with other softening products). If you tore a little more you should also add in some Colace. I took both every day for the first week. THANK You Pharmaceutical Gods!
As for the Preparation H cream… sometimes you get hemorrhoids from pushing. Just buy a tube so it’s already there. You might not need it (somehow I didn’t after 3 hours of pushing), but if so… there it is! Buy it when you’re already buying the other embarrassing items. Problem solved.
Step 4: My “Breast” Friends
This is assuming you choose to breastfeed. I am not going to lecture about the health and intellectual benefits for the baby, or the breast cancer reduction for mommy, or even the bonding emotional benefits. But if nothing else, it makes you drop that baby weight like Jessica Simpson wishes she could on Jenny Craig…So look at it as a totally selfish thing to do and decide to nurse the baby.
Soothie Pads: Soothie pads are little silicone pads that feel amazing for sore nipples. Leave them in the fridge to keep them cool.
Disposable Pads: I hated the idea of spending more money on disposable items at the store… Diapers, wipes, fem products, and now boob pads? But these really saved me from some embarrassing all out pouring breasts… Experienced moms, you know what I am talking about- The second you hear any baby crying out in public, it’s game over. Do yourself a favor and have these on hand! There are also versions that are reusable and can just be washed in the washing machine. I personally didn’t have time for one more thing to clean, so I opted for disposable ones.
Lanolin Cream: Not every cream is ok for baby to ingest, but lanolin is fine! A little cream on irritated nipples after nursing is very helpful.
Nipple Shield: No one ever said breastfeeding was easy… Thank goodness for nipple shields, especially until your nipples become a bit more “tough” & used to your babies latch. This just adds a little protection. I probably would have quit nursing without these. Buy a couple of them to have on hand. The good news is eventually you will not need these… but they are great in the beginning, I promise!
Sleep Bra: I slept in night bras until I was done breastfeeding… And while everyone may have their nighttime preference, I will tell you the underwire ones are for the birds. Do yourself a favor and invest in some good nighttime bras. They feel like a t-shirt and offer the right amount of support especially in the first few weeks when your milk comes in and it feels like your boobs quadruple in size. Don’t worry, once your baby gets on a regular feeding schedule, things will calm down in that department.