I recently had a baby and, before the birth, made sure that I was stocked with everything I might need after the birth in case I couldn’t leave the house (and I did not leave the house for four days after returning from the hospital…!) The truth is a baby does not need much, but a new mom needs a LOT to make her life a bit easier while settling in with a newborn. Here are 10 must-haves for moms to be:
1. On top of my list are breast pads (if you plan to breastfeed). Your life will revolve around them for the next few months. Trust me. I can’t tell how many times I had to change my outfit because I was too lazy to put them in in time. I am eight months in the game, and I still have not learned my lesson. I have a pile of breast milk-stained tops.
2. Buy one of those post-pregnancy panties or support belts that help shape your tummy, bum and thighs after birth. I am so glad had one. You can start wearing it right after the birth. It really works! Wear them all the time or as often as possible for as long as possible. Mine still comes in handy.
3. On the day four after the birth, when your breast milk comes in, cold cabbage leaves are the best healer for sore breasts. You will be very glad you have them ready in the fridge. Don’t be shy, pile them on! Warning: it smells terrible, but you won’t mind.
4. Apart from nipple cream and laser treatment, castor oil came in as the winner! It effectively brought on the contractions before giving birth and I was totally amazed at how fast it also healed sore, cracked nipples. (Remember to wash off before breastfeeding!)
5. If you plan to breastfeed, buy the best breast pump. And ask for support from a breastfeeding expert. My midwives were amazing and I was very happy to have them a phone call away and on my doorstep when I needed them. Have support on standby, you won’t have time to Google and sift through all the advice on the net.
6. Buy comfortable maternity outfits that you can also wear after the birth because you won’t fit into your skinny jeans and lace bras for a while. Have comfortable clothes and underwear you love ready which you can live and sleep in. With all the stunning maternity wear available these days, you don’t have to skimp on style either! I loved discovering pregnant fashion! I still secretly shop for certain maternity brands.
7. Buy the best prettiest, the most practical baby bag you can afford that has enough space for your own AND baby’s things. This bag is going to go where you go for the next year or more, so make sure you LOVE it and that it will last! Have that hospital bag ready, whether you are planning a home birth or a scheduled hospital birth.
8. No one told me that that on day four, the endorphins leave your body and you are left with a strange, sudden, unexplainable, overwhelming sadness and depression. (Actually I was warned, but completely decided that this only happens to other people.) This is completely normal and will be over before you know it, but while you are in it, nothing can make you feel better. Hang in there, and see it for what it is. Warn hubby that he might have to give extra hugs for a few days.
9. Go to the hair salon, get a manicure, pedicure and facial (or whatever you do to treat yourself) before the baby comes. These things will not be important for a while post birth.
10. Stock the food cupboards with healthy food in case you don’t feel like cooking for a few weeks post birth. I forgot that I will not be able to drive my car for nearly six weeks and was totally dependent on my husband to get me where I wanted to go or get me what I needed.
Those first couple of weeks home with your new baby are so special. Enjoy these moments, be selfish and do only what makes you feel happy with your new family. Take it easy and be kind to your healing body.