Thursday, November 6, 2014

postpartum/newborn care essentials

I was ill prepared for my postpartum discomfort and newborn challenges when Elden was born. The majority of this pregnancy there was a group of other women due in October who made a private Facebook group that I was part of. I bonded deeply with these women and in addition to encouraging one another we all shared tips of making the transition to new parenthood easier. It was very helpful. I thought I'd sprinkle the vaults of knowledge I had from this experience with the rest of you...

Postpartum and Newborn Care Essentials

1. Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Bras: If you are breastfeeding these are a must. You leak a LOT, especially the first few weeks as your supply gets established, and these bras are the most comfortable I've discovered. I wear them most days and every night with my nursing pads to contain the mess. I can't recommend these to new moms enough.

2. Dr. Brown's Lanolin-Free Nipple Cream: Lanolin creeps me out--nothing like some sheep sweat to really get your baby's mouth watering, amiright? As such, I insist on lanolin-free nipple creams and I think I prefer this one over what I used last time. 

3. Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets: These are pricey but worth every penny. They are by far the best swaddlers we've encountered (both for their size and flexibility) and if you have a newborn you should definitely invest in them.

4. Itzbeen Baby Timer: This lets you click a button for the last time you changed the baby's diaper, nursed, the baby slept, and a bonus button for whatever you choose. You can also switch which side you nursed from last. This is huge because in the middle of the night you can glance at it without having to fiddle around with your phone (I know there are apps for this) in order to ascertain what it is baby might need at that moment. 

5. Moms on Call: We used the online 0-3 month baby class to figure out how to get Elden on a schedule and are implementing the same routine now with Edith. This ish is a sanity saver. More on it here.

6. Exercise Ball: We actually got ours on Special Buy at Aldi for about $5 when I was pregnant with Elden and that thing is worth its weight in gold except way more than that because it doesn't weigh much. Bouncing both kids on this ball have seemed to be one of the few soothing techniques that consistently work(ed). 

7. Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear (spring for the heavy duty ones): Okay, this is where I might lose some of you. This was the main take-away from my October group of moms. If you've never had a baby before you may not know that 9 months of no period during pregnancy is quickly cancelled out by an insane amount of postpartum blood flow. I mean insane. So insane that when I first started experiencing it with Elden I frantically hit the nurse call button because I thought I was dying. When the nurse casually meandered in I distinctly remember thinking, "shouldn't you be more concerned as I AM ABOUT TO BLEED OUT IN FRONT OF YOU?!" Even though the hospital sends you home with super duper absorbent pads it's been my experience that they don't stay in place great and especially during the first week they fill up fast and you find yourself rushing to the bathroom so you don't leak everywhere. Enter diapers. I was skeptical but when I mentioned it to Jon he encouraged me to pursue this avenue and I am so glad he did. I mostly wore them nights only that way I could get okay sleep (instead of worrying whether I needed to go to the bathroom to change a pad) or if we had to run out for something so I wasn't worried about leaking in public. In any case, I say pack these even in your hospital bag and have a stockpile waiting for you at home. There's really nothing sexy about postpartum and these certainly don't up the hot factor but when you're just trying to survive they make things easier.

Honorable mentions:
-our white noise machine, which I am just now remembering was critical but I am too lazy to go back and update the collage
-the sock filled with rice that Jon made for me that I use as a hot compress for the clogged milk ducts
-our families and friends for supporting us with their time, meals, etc.
-wet washcloths to use as substitution for baby wipes on our tender-from-pooping-an-ungodly-amount girl
-Aquafor to protect a delicate tush from all the wiping
-the peri bottle and Dermoplast spray from the hospital
-Colace, for making that first postpartum poop a little less terrifying


  1. I'm with you: adult diapers for the postpartum win.

    1. Yes! I am so glad they recommended it - I would've never thought to do that.

  2. Totally with you on the lanolin. I love reading your blog! We don't use anything that has ever used animals in the production process or final product, especially vaccines. We are strict vegans :)

    1. Hey thanks for commenting! While I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, I can respect that view. My favorite prenatals are vegan (the Rainbow Lite ones) and I was so happy with them for all of my pregnancies.