Hey look, it’s Wesley’s due date today! Little dude is about 2 1/2 weeks old! He was back to his birth weight within a week and was over 8lbs as of Tuesday. His newborn clothes are already getting snug! Kiddo also survived his first bath… actually he fell asleep in the bath so my mom is convinced he didn’t actually pick up any genes from our side of the family.
I’ve been busy recovering so not much has been happening on the home improvement front (although I just starting working on the final nursery project!). Plenty has been happening on the postpartum and baby front though, so if that’s not your jam go ahead an skip the rest of the post.
The following aren’t all exactly “hacks,” but just some suggestions for new moms that I think would be helpful.
We didn’t get a chance to do this since the kiddo surprised us early. I ended up sending Matt out on a Target run the day we got back from the hospital. If you can I would make sure you have plenty of the following items:
- Toliet paper
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Easy meals/freezer meals
- Dish soap/dishwasher detergent/hand soap/laundry detergent (free and clear or baby specific)
- Batteries, if you have any baby gear that uses them
Also make sure you have:
- Nursing bras
- Hands-free pumping bra
- Full coverage undies (fear no granny panty! especially if there’s a chance you may have a c-section because lower-cut waistbands may hit your stitches)
- Pain relief options for sore breasts–I immediately ordered nipple cream. Lansinoh Soothies, and the Lansinoh TheraPearls before anything got uncomfortable.
- Nipple pads (personally I prefer the reusable bamboo ones)
- Maxi pads (if you don’t buy these ahead of time suddenly you’re sending your husband off on his own to the feminine hygiene aisle and that’s just kind of cruel)
- Stool softener (check with your health care provider about what is safe to take postpartum, especially if you’re breastfeeding. They’ll probably automatically give you something in the hospital, but you’ll want more once you get home… it’s one of those awesome post-delivery occurrences that people don’t tend to warn you about)
Baskets for All the Things
1. Bathroom baskets
Life after giving birth is…. messy to say the least and pretty uncomfortable for a while. Bathroom trips especially become An Event. Make it easier on yourself and stock a postpartum basket in any bathroom you use frequently. These are what I’ve found useful:
- Pain relief spray (like Dermoplast)
- Witch hazel pads (like Tucks)
- Peri bottle
- Super overnight maxi pads/regular maxi pads/panty liners depending on how far recovered you are. Some women really like adult diapers for the worst of it too.
I got a bottle of Dermoplast, a container of witch hazel pads, and a peri bottle from the hospital so if you’re a 1 bathroom house you probably won’t need to go out an get them. I did end up buying duplicates so I could have everything I needed in our second bathroom too.
I meant to pick up an inexpensive sitz bath but you can also just fill the tub with a few inches of water for the same results. My midwife recommended soaking both for pain relief and for helping the stitches dissolve. Personally I think it would be easier to be at chair height rather than haul myself in and out of the tub… but I also have a big deep claw foot so that’s a lot of hauling.*
2. Breastfeeding/Pumping baskets
If you’re breastfeeding you may also want a strategically placed feeding basket stashed on each level. If you’re pumping you may just want a way to corral all the parts.
- Burp cloths
- Nipple cream
- Nipple pads
- Nipple** shield (if using)
- First aid tape (if you’re using a nipple shield and have a flail-y baby, tape is a game changer)
3. Changing baskets
This is another one that probably only matters if you have a large or multi-floor house. We have a changing station setup on each floor–a permanent one in the nursery and a small basket downstairs with a changing pad, diapers, wipes, and diaper cream.
I saw these all over Pinterest and have long since decided that I have no pride, so why the hell not? Basically you just saturate a pad with aloe and witch hazel and pop it in the freezer. Bam! Soothing ice pack for your lady bits (because this is NOT a time when you want to be relying on the frozen peas… unless you really hate peas).
If you’re breastfeeding you’re going to want some nice, accessible shirts, and if you at all self-conscious or shy you’re going to want to stay as covered as possible. I saw this hack on the Pinterest and think it’s brilliant! If you don’t want to buy a ton of nursing specific tops you can pair these with some looser fitting shirts and just pull them up without baring your postpartum belly. I also LOVE this drapey shirt from amazon. It covers the bra straps and provides similar coverage to a nursing scarf.
Breast Pump Bag
I my breast pump was fully covered by insurance, but it didn’t come with a bag. No biggie, I can find a bag designed to fit it, right? Well, sure if I want to shell out $100 for one. Um, no. After some browsing I started looking at large lunch bags. I found one with dimensions to fit my pump + some extra space and picked up a mini cooler pouch too. This way I can stash my milk in the fridge at work but keep everything together as I tote it back and forth. An extra pocket on the lunch bag also works great for storing the small stuff. If you use a separate cooler pouch you don’t really need an insulated lunch bag, they just happen to be a good size, nicely structured, and cheap.
Some women seem to stock their pumping bags with everything under the sun. I have my pump, nipple pads, milk storage bags, and a hands free pumping bra. I figure I can stash other useful items, like a cardigan and snacks, in my desk rather than needing a huge bag to haul everything in. Heck, my purse is already big enough so I can (and have!) fit Harry Potter book 7 in it with all my other crap.
FYI: I have the Spectra S2 pump and after much searching I found this cooler (XL) and this mini pouch (XS) are just about perfect for it (although I do use storage bags instead of the bottles that came with the pump).
Layered Crib Sheets
Wesley is still sharing our room so we haven’t seen this in action yet, but it seems like a really good idea. When you make up the crib, put on a sheet, then a mattress protector, then another sheet, another mattress protector, and finally another sheet. If something unfortunate seeps out of your baby (especially in the middle of the night!) you just have to strip off the top 2 layers and you’re good to go! (our crib mattress already had a water proof layer which is why we started with a sheet instead of a mattress protector).
Related: make sure you have multiple covers for your changing pad. It’s probably not worth layering them, it’s just a good idea to have backups as babies tend to explode from both ends.
*True story: damn near got stuck in the bathtub while I was pregnant.
**I think I just set some sort of record for how many times I’ve used the word “nipple” in a post