Alright mama, here are the items that you will want once you get back home from the hospital. The next few weeks are a bit like being a walking zombie and if you are breastfeeding, then you may also feel like a cow. I remember my husband holding Brooke for 10 minutes and the moment she started the whine, he would freeze and say “Amanda, I think she’s hungry”. Thinking to myself, “she just ate”, I’d go and pick her up. Good times y’all.
- Squirt Bottle – This little bottle came home with me from the hospital. I know the Mama Frida company sales one also, but this one worked just fine. Basically, when you deliver a baby vaginally, you are in pain and warm water is about the only way to “wipe” after you go to the bathroom.
- Colace – Stool Softener because you want things to flow nicely if you know what I’m saying. This is the same stuff the nurses in Mother/Baby gave me after delivery and they tell you to continue taking it once you get home. (Amazon~$15)
3. Dermoplast – This stuff is wonderful and it helps with the pain. You just spray after you go to the bathroom. This is another product the hospital had in my room, but I’m glad I went ahead and purchased another bottle for home. (Amazon~$7)
4. Pads – Again, I brought home a good amount of pads from the hospital; however, the ones the hospital had were HUGE. Like from my very front to literally my back. Haha! These Always Pads are a bit more “fitted” and have the wings which helps them fit to your undies. Also, I don’t know if they sell them, but the hospital also had some ice pack type pads. I wish I would have taken more of those home because they were the best to help reduce swelling and they just felt nice. I’m sure recovery is different for everyone, but I think I used these for about 1 week and half once I got home. (Amazon~$9)
5. Tucks – These are circular medicated pads with witch hazel that the hospital also gives you. You place them on your pad and they absorb onto your skin to help reduce the pain and any urge to itch while your lady bits heal. I had bought them for home as well. (Amazon~$7)
6. Olly Prenatal Vitamins – (Amazon~$9) – So, I’m not the best at taking huge horse pills, so the chewable Prenatal Vitamins were the way to go for me. My husband was actually jealous of my daily “candy”. ha! My OB encouraged me to keep taking these for the benefit of my healing body, as well as for my baby since I was breastfeeding. I went ahead and purchased a few bottles since I knew I’d be taking them.
If you are planning to breastfeed, I’d also recommend:
7. Mama Earth Nipple Butter – Alright mama, I wish someone would have warned me that breastfeeding isn’t always easy (especially with a preterm baby) and that my nipples would hurt for the first two weeks or so until we both got the hang of it. I read a lot about latch and positions before she was born, but really you just have to wait until your babe arrives to “practice” since really it takes both of you. If your nipples crack or feel chapped, I was told to put some breastmilk on them and let it dry. That helps! This Nipple Butter also helped soothe my sore nipples since I was nursing around the clock. (Amazon ~$12)
8. Bamboobies – I didn’t realize that once my milk came in, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with milk soaked sheets. Or during the day, I’d have to change my bra because it would be soaking wet. These were so soft, didn’t fold down like the disposables and are reusable. Win/win! Pop them in the washing machine and keep using them. I stopped “leaking” around 3 months. (Amazon~$12)
9. Nursing Bras and Camis – Your boobs are going to be huge and you need easy access to them if nursing. I found these bras on Amazon that I really like. They are stretchy, adjustable and easy to snap and unsnap with one hand. Three colors and they are comfortable. (Amazon~$30)
Motherhood Maternity actually has the best nursing camis. I have them in a few colors and like them because I can throw a cardigan on and look like I’m in normal clothes – no nursing clothing required. They have several colors to choose from and sometimes the Motherhood Maternity online store puts them on sale. They are very soft and the little clip is easy to use one-handed. (Amazon~$25)
10. Haaka – I wasn’t really sure why I needed one of these, but I was told by every single mom I knew to get one. I’m not exactly sure why it’s called a “haaka”, but it definitely saves some milk that would have otherwise gone into my bra. Basically, what you do is turn the top inside outwards and suction it to the boob that your baby isn’t eating on. It collects the milk and you can either put it in a freezer stash or put it in the fridge to feed your baby a bottle later on. (Amazon~$20)
It takes your body some time to heal after having a baby, so don’t forget to give yourself grace! It’s easy when you are running off of little sleep to get frustrated, even if your baby is super cute, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, pass your baby to your spouse or lay him/her down and cry – give yourself a break. That first month is really the toughest. At least it was for me.
My baby girl Brooke was born 4 weeks early (at 36 weeks). She was considered a “late preterm baby” and even though she looked like a full term baby, her body still needed some time to catch up on developing and growing. In addition, since she was born early, I had to hurry and get my milk supply in and up. The lactation consultant had me on a pretty tough schedule. Every 3 hours I would:
- Breastfeed her – while constantly trying to keep her awake, latched and in position (~15min)
- Pump – until no more milk was coming out (~20 min)
- Syringe feed her- supplement breastmilk or formula (about 10 ml) – my husband helped with this too, which was great! (~20 min)
So every 3 hours, I had to do these 3 steps. Sometimes the process took almost 2 hours to complete and then it was time to do it again. Girl, that 3AM shift was the worst for me. My husband was back to his full time job and needed sleep, and I was having to wake my sleeping baby up to do my regimen. I swear I fell asleep one night pumping. haha! I was running off of very little sleep and doing my best to get her back to birth weight, which was 6 pounds. At the 2 weeks mark, we reached 6 lbs and I could now feed her when she was hungry. Yay!
I tell you all of this because it was a surprise to me. I knew it would be rough, but I didn’t know how rough. I was the only one who could feed her and it was easy to not take care of myself. Try to take a shower and take it easy!
I also recommend while pregnant to:
- Make freezer meals that you can quickly heat-up for dinner
- Make “lactation bites” or energy bites (great recipes on Pinterest) – freeze them in batches so you can just pull more out to have for quick snacks
- Make smoothie bags – freeze 1 banana + 4 frozen cubes of vanilla yogurt + frozen fruit (great ideas on Pinterest)