Becoming a first time mom was such an exciting thing, but also a very scary concept to me.
I don’t know about you, but during the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter I kept my nose in my phone trying to read every piece of advice offered on Pinterest. There was already so much out there that I didn’t know and I was looking to anyone and everyone for tips on how to be prepared. I pinned every checklist I could find, such as: what to bring to the hospital, how to pack a diaper bag, what to stockpile for when we returned home, and most importantly (or so I thought), what items to make sure I have handy for the baby. It never crossed my mind what I might need for ME.
As mothers (even before our children our born) we get so used to thinking about what the baby needs and we tend to neglect the things that may make life easier for us. So tonight I would like to share with you the 10 things that I needed after the birth of my daughter.
1. Snacks. Snacks. And oh, did I mention snacks?
As if babies don’t take enough nutrients from you while you’re pregnant, try breastfeeding! They say that you should increase your caloric intake by 500 calories per day when you are breastfeeding. I know I kept a box of granola bars by my bed to chow down during nighttime nursing sessions. Even if you aren’t going the breastfeeding route, it is definitely still a must to have snacks handy, as you will find it is hard to find time for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the beginning.
2. An Ozark cup.
So many people have a love for the Yeti insulated cups, however what most people don’t realize is that Walmart sells a cup called the Ozark cup, that works just as great (if not better) than the Yeti for a 1/4 of the price! For $10 you can purchase one of these cups and it will keep your drink ice cold all day. One thing the nurses at the hospital reiterated over and over again to me was how important it was for me to increase my water intake (especially since I was breastfeeding). I am one of those weird chicks that hates water unless it is ICE cold. Check out my review of the Ozark cups HERE.
3. A helping hand.
If you have a family member or a friend that is able to stay with you, or even drop by for a couple hours a day it makes the transition into motherhood so much easier! I was blessed to have my mom stay with me for the first week and then come by each day for several weeks to help me around the house. I was a C-Section momma, and was sent home with a long list of restrictions. No laundry, No mopping, No vacuuming, No lifting, No breathing (just kidding about the breathing, but laughing really did hurt!) The list went on and on. We also have 2 large dogs that have to be walked several times a day and that was a BIG No No for me. It was so nice to have my mom there to help me out with the things around the house that I wasn’t able to do at the time and she even cooked for my husband and me! Not only did this keep my house the cleanest it has ever been in the past year we have lived here, but it also gave me time to be able to focus on what my baby girl needed, and to take care of myself. So if you have someone that is able to help you out a little bit definitely take advantage of it, you won’t regret it!
4. Dry shampoo.
Believe it or not, you probably won’t have time to wash your hair every single day. That was one thing that I definitely didn’t think about before having my baby. Dry shampoo became my best friend. I have VERY thick and temperamental hair, and if it is not washed daily it turns into a mess, so I frequently use the DOVE dry shampoo and it holds me over for another day without feeling too disgusting. It smells so good, and I have found that it doesn’t give my hair a weird texture like other brands do.
5. Flushable wipes & Depends.
Yes, you read it right. Go buy some of the super duty overnight depend diapers! Man did I get some strange looks when I threw the jumbo pack into my buggy at Walmart. But they are so much more comfortable than the super duty pads that the hospitals teach you how to rig in place. Those hospital pads may seem like a great idea, but I would rather not have to shuffle everywhere in order to keep it in place. If you thought you were self-conscious about leaking when you were on your period, imagine how bad it is after giving birth. For most women it is comparable to Niagara Falls every time they stand up. By wearing depends you are guaranteed to have maximum absorbency as well as maximum comfort. As I mentioned earlier, I had a C-Section, so they weren’t as comfortable for me in the beginning because my incision was pretty sensitive. But I would definitely recommend having them on hand!
6. Hair ties.
In case you were wondering, babies LOVE hair. And they are very good at gripping your hair so tightly that you would rather cut it than try to UN-weave it out of their precious little hands. Not only that, but I haven’t met many moms that enjoy having their hair fall across their face and into the line of fire while changing a baby’s diaper. Hair ties definitely saved me from chopping my hair off.
7. Nursing Pads.
Gosh these were a lifesaver. I had a rough time at the beginning of our breastfeeding journey, and soon I will be posting all about it for you, but it would have been a lot worse without nursing pads. In the beginning I used the organic cotton washable nursing pads and I loved them because they were soft and comfy on my sore nips. However, I had a very strong letdown that would soak one of these pads in about 10 seconds. No lie. Sometimes I wore two on each side in hopes that it wouldn’t soak through. There is nothing more embarrassing when you are first learning to breastfeed then leaking through your shirt. After having mastitis I decided to switch to the disposable nursing pads because they absorb the moisture and pull it away from your skin, whereas the cotton ones keep the moisture close to your skin. They definitely were not as soft as the cotton, and that took a little getting used to, but they kept me from leaking through to my shirt. I would recommend Lansinoh stay dry nursing pads. They worked great for me!
8. Spare Pump Parts.
Even if you don’t feel like you will ever need to pump for your child, I would recommend having the supplies ready just in case you have to. During the time that I had mastitis it was too painful to let my daughter nurse. My doctor recommended that I pump instead so that my breast had some time to heal. I pumped until I was blue in the face. It definitely was not for me. The longer I sat and stared at the pump the more hate I developed for it. It was definitely a love-hate relationship. The one thing I kept reading online was to make sure that my pump parts were sterilized. Well, I give props to any momma who exclusively pumps. It was all I could do to keep up with cleaning bottles, but to wash and sterilize my pump parts too…geeze. I decided to use the Medela sterilizing bags for my pump parts and they worked wonderfully. Only 3 minutes in the microwave. However, I didn’t realize that you weren’t supposed to sterilize the tubing! It shriveled up! I remember pulling the melted tubing out of the bag and thinking, “oh my gosh, this can’t be happening.” At this point I still hadn’t returned my daughter to the breast yet, and I was barely keeping up with her needs by pumping. It was Sunday of all days and my mom and I called every store open trying to find tubing because I only had that one set that was now ruined. Turns out, it pushed me to be brave, and re-introduce the breast to my baby (and she got it!), but had that not worked I would have been in an enormous pickle. So definitely have spare parts handy, and DON’T try to sterilize the tubing!
9. Nursing pillow.
My daughter and I had a rough start with nursing. I had the lactation consultant’s number on speed dial and I was about ready to give up on nursing all together when I found the magic pillow. Seriously, it’s magic! I know it doesn’t seem like a pillow would make that big of a difference, but the only time my baby would latch correctly was when I was at the consultants office using that pillow. So it had to be the pillow right? I was a believer and I decided to go to Pink and Blue Avenue and spend the $70 on this magic pillow. I know that sounds like a lot of money for a pillow, but check out the review HERE and you will find out why it is a MUST have. From that day on, she barely ever had issues latching and we continued our breastfeeding journey pain free!
10. A Strong Support System.
Motherhood can be demanding and exhausting. That’s why it is so important that you have a strong support system at home. Whether it is your husband, your close family members, or even a close friend. You definitely need someone who understands what you are going through, and that is available to help you in any way needed. Even though my husband works shift work and wasn’t always able to be there physically, he was such a crucial part of me keeping my sanity. I had postpartum meltdown after meltdown and he was (and is) always there to lift me back up and encourage me. We have such an important job as mothers, and at times it can seem completely overwhelming. We are the cleaning ladies, the chefs, the nurses and the perfect nap time pillow. With no support that leaves us carrying a heavy load on our own.
Quick recap…The top 10 things that I found a mommy needs after childbirth are: snacks, an Ozark cup, a helping hand, dry shampoo, flushable wipes/depends, hair ties, nursing pads, spare pump parts, a nursing pillow and a strong support system.
Not everyone’s needs are the same…
So make sure that you make a list of YOUR needs and that you take care of yourself. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to sufficiently take care of your little one. There are many other things out there that you may need as well.
If there is something I didn’t mention that you found helpful after having your baby please please leave a comment below for all the momma’s out there!