New Mom Checklist: Self Care For Postpartum Recovery
New Mom Checklist: What to get before your due date for Self Care
There are many baby checklists to help you prepare for baby’s arrival - but how do you prepare for being a new mom? What items do you require to get you through the 3rd trimester, labor and delivery and the postpartum period?
Some of these items will be beneficial for you and Baby, but mostly I wanted to focus on you, Mom, because you are so important! You have to take care of yourself so that you feel able to care for your new amazing little baby!
As a Mom of a Toddler and currently pregnant with our second (Woohoo!), these are the items I will be stocking up on from my own labor and delivery experience!
I suggest having these items at home by the time you pack your hospital bag. Trust me, you will be very happy you prepped for self care after you’re home from the hospital!
1. Breast Pads
Some women can experience leaky breasts during their pregnancy, in which case you should already have a big box of breast pads in your bathroom cupboard. However if you are a new mom, most likely your milk will come in once baby is born.
When your milk does come in, it will leak throughout the day, but especially right after a breast feeding session. Definitely make sure you have enough breast pads to change them every 2 to 3 hours, or when they become damp.
2. Breast Pump
A quality breast pump can help you, Mom, in many ways.
Assist with your milk coming in if you are slow to produce after childbirth
Decrease breast engorement pain if, say your baby only feeds off of one breast during a session and you need to pump the other for relief
Allows you to store your milk in the fridge or freezer so you can take that much deserved break while your partner takes over Mom-ing for awhile
You can choose to purchase a new breast pump, borrow one from a friend and only purchase new attachments, or rent one. In my experience, renting a Medela double electric breast pump was more cost effective then buying a new one. As a first time mom, I did not know how long I could breast feed for, so being able to return the device one I was done using it came in handy. You can rent the Madela at Toys R Us.
3. Sitz Bath
Buy one! Seriously, right now, open a new tab and order a sitz bath. These are miracle inventions that have been around a long time, and help you heal and stay clean after vaginal delivery.
During my delivery, I received stitches top to bottom, inside and outside. As a walking pin cushion with a new baby to take care of, I did not think about self care. That was until I could no longer walk from the pain.
This may be TMI but an amazing nurse recommended a sitz bath with regular Epsom salts. I took my first sitz bath and the stuff that came out of me was amazing. It cleaned my stitches, removed the clotted blood and felt SO good.
A sitz bath looks like this:
Basically what you do is sprinkle some plain (not scented!) Epsom salts in the bowl part. Then you take what looks like an IV bag and fill it with warm water. Place the bowl over your toilet (fits perfect if you lift the seat).
Then hang the IV bag up high (my husband used a caribeener to clip it to the shower curtain rod) and have a seat. Grab your phone, play some games on it and feel the amazingly warm and soothing water flow cleaning you out. Stay on until IV bag empties. Don’t forget to clean the bowl well after every use.
4. Freezer Meals
Freezer meals are a great thing to have prepped before your due date. I would suggest about a month before your due aim to cook a freezer meal a day.
If you are a new mom and it is just you and your husband at home, consider cooking the food in individual portion sizes.You both may feel hungry at different times and be awake at different times of the day. Individual portions work best in this case.
After I delivered my son, I completely lost my appetite. You may be too preoccupied to want to eat, or think of eating, but it is important for your recovery and milk supply to nourish your body. In this case, consider prepping smoothies and freezing them. Add banana, Chia seeds, frozen fruit and Greek yogurt. I even added a scoop of vegan protein powder. Then just throw the whole bag in the blender and add orange juice and water. Smoothies are easy to sip while breastfeeding and keep you hydrated.
For a list of good freezer meal ideas, click here.
5. Nursing Pillow
As I mentioned in the Baby Basics You Definitely Need article, a Boppy pillow is a must. Breastfeeding baby support aside, I used my Boppy to sit on like a hemorrhoid pillow. I used it in the car and while watching TV in my nursing chair. It took the pressure and pain away from my lady parts - you can purchase my fave Boppy in Baby Store!
6. Nursing Chair
You are going to spend a lot of time in your favourite nursing chair. If you already have a comfy rocking chair or reclining chair, save the money and use that chair. You can leave it parked in front of the television or move it in to the baby’s room. I find the chairs like the one pictured below are best because their oversized arms provide good support for you while baby breastfeeds.
7. Adult Diapers
Like, really! After vaginal delivery, the hospital gives you this wonderful pair of fish net underwear (not!) and a pad that makes you feel like you’re sitting on a booster seat.
Then when you get home you go through more endless pads, along with possibly ruining you underwear, and it continues for weeks.
Do yourself a favor and stock up on adult diapers. They actually make them quite pretty now, and unnoticeable. Check out this brand:
8. Add a House Cleaner to your Baby Shower Gift List
Do not be Supermom. Your job right now is to care for your baby and care for yourself. That. Is. It.
Do not exhaust yourself even further by deep cleaning the house every time the baby falls asleep. If you are like me (a clean freak) your clean freakiness will triple after baby comes home, because you are scared of germs, thrush, colds, dust, everything baby may be exposed to.
You have spent 9 months preparing for this baby, and I am sure your house is tidy and prepped. Leave the weekly dusting, floor washing and bathroom scrubbing to someone else. My tip? Ask for a house cleaner as one of your baby shower gifts. Either a gift card from a well known company or some cash in an envelope to hire someone. Please Do this! Trust me.
9. Stool Softener
Chances are when you leave the hospital the nurse will give you a stool softener pill. I am going to be brutally honest here...your first bowel movement after vaginal delivery is pretty traumatic. Keep it soft ladies!
Most stool softeners are safe to use while breast feeding. The most commonly used by hospitals are Colace, Docusate and Prune juice. Talk to your pharmacist and I am sure they can recommend a brand for you.
If you have some other helpful suggestions for new moms and self care after childbirth, please share with us! We like the honest truth here, no such thing as TMI.
If you want some items to help you feel more comfortable during pregnancy, have a look here: