Recovering and resting up after the birth of a child is so important. I love some of the traditions I’ve read about worldwide, where a great emphasis is placed on caring for the new mom. For instance, in Holland, many women are blessed with professional maternity nurses that spend the days taking care of the laundry, cooking, shopping, postpartum checkups and helping with the baby. In Bali, a mother does not enter her kitchen or wash her hair until the baby’s cord stump has dried and fallen off. In many countries, especially in Asia and India, new moms are not permitted to do any physical work; instead their job is to rest and tend to the baby, and family and close friends look after the mom’s needs. In North America, I find there is a certain pressure for moms to be up and back at their pre-birth life as soon as possible. Instead, we should be honouring the new mom by taking care of her and allowing her to get as much rest as she needs, without having to worry about daily tasks like cooking and cleaning. I found the post-partum phase to be difficult in that aspect. Below are some postpartum essentials for new moms that I found so helpful for recovering from the physical birth, assisting with breastfeeding, and dealing with the sleep deprivation and all the other things that go along with being a new mom.
Postpartum Essentials – Post Birth
- Sanitary pads – The Super pads. Freezing pads with either water or a healing herbal concoction beforehand can be soothing for tears as well. Check out my recipe for a healing herbal bath, which can also be made into a tea and used to soak pads in before freezing.
- A healing bath soak for post-birth – This is optional, but it can be helpful. If you prefer to purchase one, Earth Mama Angel baby makes a wonderful postpartum bath herbal mixture.
- Peri/Squirt Bottle: Our midwife mentioned this was an essential and I picked one up at our local dollar store. This was a lifesaver to have in the bathroom for that first week or so after birth, especially if you’ve had a tear and stitches. Fill with warm water and keep it beside the toilet.
- Comfy Pajamas and clothes to lounge in – Get some cozy, loose pants and tops and some great nightgowns for around the house. Bonus if you can find comfy clothes you feel comfortable leaving the house in for a walk as well☺
- Food – Stock up beforehand on good, quick snack foods like healthy muffins, granola bars, dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit and hummus and cut-up veggies. Also think about preparing some pre-made protein freezer smoothie packs. Since you’ll often only have time for a quick bite to eat or snack, try to pack as many nutrients and high-energy items in there as possible.
- Your Village – take up offers of help whenever possible. Whether someone wants to come clean, fold your laundry, bring food, or even hold the baby so you can shower, you need and deserve as much help as possible. Having trusted friends or family that you can also be honest with about any issues or emotions you’re experiencing is important too. Try to make sure you have some sort of support for after the birth.
- Arnica – We’re big fans of homeopathy in our house. It’s a great, safe and natural way to treat ailments and help heal. Arnica has been a go-to for us from everything from healing after a car accident to dealing with minor bumps and bruises. I find it especially helpful for toddlers! It can be effective to take after birth to help the body speed up its natural physical recovery process.
- Nursing bras – A great comfortable bra that allows you to conveniently breastfeed makes all the difference. I learned the first time around how important it is to have a good quality nursing bra. I’d recommend one or two good nighttime ones, and a couple of good daytime ones. Since every woman is unique and tastes are individual, go to the store to try them on and find some that work for you.
- Breast pads – Very helpful if you are breastfeeding. Disposable ones can be helpful for the first few weeks, but if you are leaking a lot, reusable cotton ones are much more comfortable and better for the environment, not to mention less expensive in the long-run.
- Nursing pillow – This was a must for me, especially as a first-time mom! I just find it imperative for the first few months while they are so tiny and you’re both learning. Again, this is a personal preference as every woman has a different body shape and breast size so different types of pillows will work better for others. I found that a firmer pillow worked better after initially borrowing a very soft one from a friend. Soft ones offer less in the way of support for both you and the baby.
- Breast pump – Most people prefer the electric pumps to the manual ones. A pump isn’t necessary, but if you plan to exclusively breastfeed, it allows you to express milk so you can get out sometimes☺I’m a big of the Ameda Purely Yours double breast pump.
- Nipple Cream – Many woman find they need to apply cream constantly for the first 6 weeks or more as your body becomes used to breastfeeding, as well as throughout breastfeeding whenever needed. I LOVE Earth Mama Angel Baby natural nipple butter. The ingredients are all natural, it dries quickly without being sticky, and is completely safe for baby. This was a total necessity for me.