Monday, December 8, 2008

Postpartum Needs

I just returned from visiting my friend Emily for the first time since she gave birth to their beautiful baby girl. I couldn't believe how gorgeous this little newborn was, they usually aren't so cute when they're "fresh from the oven." Anyway, my eyes were opened to the fact that I need to be preparing some things for my own postpartum needs, whereas right now I am only focusing on what the baby will need. So, once again, I plea for the advice of you seasoned mothers. What items did you find essential for the first few weeks after giving birth? Please don't be embarassed to mention things like hemmorhoid cream or pads, we all know postpartum life isn't glamorous. I just want to make sure I don't overlook anything, and I'm sure Daniel will appreciate me buying most of these things ahead of time, instead of him having to run out to the store in a hurry to find me the right feminine products :)

I look forward to hearing your wonderful advice, as always! I have to say, I've REALLY benefitted from all the comments you have left so far, and I am very thankful for each of them.

Thanks in advance!


Xenia Kathryn said...

Well, the hospital will send you home with some pads (or they SHOULD. If not, just ask for some to take home. They should give you plenty so that you won't need to buy any...). I also had a "goodie bag" that they issued which included a cleansing squirt bottle, a water bottle for drinking, some lanolin cream for cracked nipples, a binky, a nasal bulb, a comb for the baby.... of course, these "goodie bags" seem "free," but it's all in the cost of the hospital stay. But I did indeed find all of these items very useful!

At least, that's what happened at both of the different hospitals where I gave birth. You are also welcome, as I understand it, to take all of the newborn diapers that are available in your hospital room. If your nurse sees that you need any stuff for hemorrhoids, they might send you home with some Tucks medicated pads (basically witch hazel cleansing pads). You could by hemorrhoid cream ahead of time, but you might not need them. Your OB will also prescribe any further medication that you might need.

Make sure you have some nursing pads and some nursing bras (in several sizes UP, because you'll be surprised at how engorged you'll get...!!!).

Iburprofen's good to have on hand, just in case.

Treat yourself to some fancy bath/shower gel, okay? :D

The biggest thing? Just have some help ready on-hand for when you come home. Because you'll need all the rest you can get!

Um.... get some videos/dvds from the library and have them on hand for when you need to zone out while baby's nursing, etc. I watched the whole Pride and Prejudice series the first week that V. was born :) NOTHING INTENSE OR SCARY! Just get some nice fluff, k? I also remember readin 'The Brother K' by David James Duncan to pass the time.

Oh, just talking about all of this makes me so excited for you!!! I LOVE YOU!

Iconography Girl said...

1. As you already know, you will spend A LOT of time nursing. Spend some time now setting up a cozy nursing station for yourself. We had a place in the bedroom, but I ended up doing almost all of the daytime nursing in the living room. Things I kept handy near there: a table for a book, komboskini, water, place for a snack, burp cloths within reach, a few diapers and wipes, phone (!nothing worse than sitting down to nurse and have it ring in the other room!). I also had a bassinet or designated place by the nursing station to put the baby (usually asleep).

2. NEW PJS!! The BEST gift I received was a new set of pjs after DS1 was born. I totally lived in them and now treat myself to two pairs before each new baby :)

3. That cleansing squirt bottle will be your best friend, especially if you have stitches. Try to get the hospital to give you an extra one. I was so grateful that first week to have an extra one to take with me if I had to leave the house. Although I have to say the after bleeding wasn't as intense as I thought it would be -- I bought some Depends in anticipation the first time but never used them! I was spared hemmorrhoids, but I loved those Tucks pads they sent me home with for the stitches.

4. Something I never did very well: FORCE yourself to continue to do things for YOU. Even make a checklist of basic self-care things: shower, wash face, brush teeth, take vitamins, etc. It sounds silly, but those first few days/weeks can be such a blur. Before you know it, you go days without a shower, go to bed w/o brushing teeth, etc. They don't take much time and they will make you feel SOOOO much better.

5. Massage. Sounds nuts, I know. If someone wants to buy YOU something, arrange a massage appointment for a few weeks post-partum -- mabye even on your way back from a two week check up. Nurse her, have D-man drop you off at the appointment while he stays in the car with her. The baby will be fine for 60 minutes without you and you will feel incredible.

6. Seriously, write down everyone's name who says "let me know if you need any help"...and call them after the rush of help that first two weeks slows down! This is really crucial, especially if your DH will be home at first.

xoxoxR (sorry this was so long!)

Mimi said...

Clensing squirt bottle and sitz baths are your friend. The squirt bottle was part of my "birth kit" for my homebirth too.

I found that nursing pads were less helpful that just handerkechifs in my bra, and I wore a bra to bed for those first few weeks until I wasn't leaking all the time.

Helenrr said...

Hey there Christy,
Some great stuff already has been written....I would add, get as much sleep as you can - sleep deprivation was the worst thing for me and made really small silly things worse. Also, a small pillow at your nursing area (s) can help you out with different positions.
As for sitz baths, with Paul I was instructed to use the tub with a soft towel in it and that was much better than sitting on the toilet. Very relaxing even and I felt much better - the pressure was off the sore area and I believe that helped me heal better.
Mother's Milk Tea from Traditional Medicinals is good to sip while nursing..
You might want to get some pads, just in case, you could return them if you don't use them...
Hmm, can't think of anything else at this time....
Take care,
Aunt Helen

Anonymous said...


Super great advice from everyone. I was thinking how healing it was just to have good nourishing food readily available. - I remember feeling a bit queasy-coming home from the hospital, whether hormones kicking in- or just being nervous about parenting for the first time. Those "blues" do hit everyone in varying amidst all of that- I always felt much better
after eating nourishing food and getting plenty of rest. Stock up on some "easy" meals and fruits & veggies- to snack on. Play your favorite music- often- and just enjoy every opportunity to sit and rock and nurse and rest with your baby.( No matter what time of day or night it is!!) Thank Daniel- at every opportunity- for all the help he will be giving you- because he will be adjusting and learning how to serve his two girls- in new ways too.
It's all so good and challenging -
and will be a blessing in your life!

Susan said...

Katherine and I went shopping for last minute things both for her and baby.
All your bits of advice are really good. I would suggest fruits and veggies to eat. You will be very hungry. Is is hard hard work to have a baby:)
Katherine bought a breat pump, more waterproof pads, a hairbrush a comb for the baby, two hats for baby.
I would suggest a nice pair of comfortable slippers, lounge pants, and a warm nice bed to take naps in!! My advice, when baby sleeps you sleep!!!

Karl Thienes said...

I agree with Marm ~ make an effort to not forget Daniel. You'll be suprised how easy it will be to do. New fathers find the changes, deprivations, and transitions hard and they usually have less support. Be intentional about connecting with him every day and make a pact to be extra patient and self-giving toward one another.

Chelsy said...

My favorite nursing pads were from Lansinoh (purple box). I also think a good purchase is a couple nighttime nursing bras - just really soft, no underwire. When it comes to breastfeeding products, your best bet is to buy from companies that don't also sell formula. The formula companies want you to fail at breastfeeding, so they don't always make the best products for breastfeeding. I've heard of some people complaining about breast pads that stick or breast pumps that don't work.

Katherine said...

Hi! I just had my baby on the 19th - here is what I just ordered from Amazon and wish I had before the birth (aside from more groceries! who knew we would be so snowed in!)

- 2 more nursing bras - I had one, plus 3 nursing tanks, but leaking so much can't wear them more than once.

-3 newborn hats - I have a bunch, but they are all way too big for my little munchkin! She has just been wearing the hospital hat, but these should work - - I ordered the small infant size.

-gel pads. If these work like they say they do, I will be in sweet heaven! - I am SORE! Soothies are supposed to be good, and Medela also has some - everyone says nursing should not hurt - but it does - at least the first weeks, and my baby has been wanting to nurse every 30 to 45 min so I dont get a chance to heal. Hopefully now that my milk has come it she will give me a little break.

Anyway - hope this helps! good luck!

Carrie T said...

Hey Christy,

All this advice is perfect, and I hate to be the "debbie-downer-but-if-you-have-a-C/S-and-low-milk-supply" girl, but there's also a special list of needs for if things don't go as planned.

Since I was NOT prepared for those two circumstances during round 1, I will offer a couple of "just in case" items you may like.

For C/S recovery (the one great thing about this is that there's no need for a sitz bath or peri bottle in this case!):

1) Kombucha: I swear it helped me recover so much faster the second time around!! By a case from whole foods and sip on it throughout the day. It will restore lots of good bacteria lost through antibiotics during birth, while also nourishing you with tons of B-vitamins (which help beat the blues and stress, and also boost milk production), and amino acids.

2) "Wise Woman Herbals" all-purpose salve. It healed my incision so fast and so well!

3) Like Rachel said, a "nursing station" set up by your bed (since you will likely want to be resting as much as possible) with water bottle, burp cloths, a CD player with peaceful music, etc.

If you have nursing troubles:

1)You might want to research compounding pharmacies in the area which might make Domperidone for you. Research the drug and see if you're comfortable taking it (it worked for Rachel and for me to some extent) and works for many women with no side-effects.

2) A hospital-grade pump to rent if you want to try to increase your supply that way.

3) Herbs such as fennel, blessed thistle, and fenugreek are helpful.

4) Nourishing foods such as oatmeal soaked overnight (make a huge pot of it and eat it throughout the day with cream, butter, and maple syrup!), soups made with real broth, rice casserole, cod liver oil, kefir smoothies, etc. are all so good. Eggs are great and easy to make. Almonds are a great snack when you're nursing. Toasted Ezekial bread with cheese is a very filling snack as well.

5) Nap when baby naps! Enjoy not having older children to worry about!


1) Beat the blues by taking some time for yourself: walks (w/ baby) outside. The exercise will really help you (C/S or not) to heal faster.

2) Keep a "baby journal" with you so you can jot down little things as you go; things that you wouldn't normally remember.

Rachel said...

Hey Christy! I didn't even realize you had a blog. I'm so glad I found it. I was going to say some kind of heat pad (I have an aromatherapy rice pack that goes in the microwave) for breasts and whatever else that aches is a lifesaver especially when you're engorged. Also, I saw your post about cloth diapers and the BEST website is for questions about cloth diapers. Looking forward to hearing about the new one coming!