Pregnancy is an exciting journey for many moms-to-be. As the third trimester comes to an end, you will likely have shopped for your little one. Sometimes however, it is easy to overlook what a new mom needs. This post highlights postpartum essentials that you will need after delivery.
Getting postpartum essentials is not always easy, particularly for first time moms. Without reliable information on what one needs, whether from hospital or from moms who have been there before, new moms may feel overwhelmed. This postpartum checklist however, will help you prepare adequately.
Essentials to improve your physical recovery
The first set of essentials, and perhaps the most obvious, is meant to enhance physical recovery. Child birth is an intense and life changing event. For this reason, your body will need some time and help to make a full recovery.
Maxi/ Maternity pads
Maxi or maternity pads are specially designed for use in the postpartum period. After birth, moms will get lochia for approximately 6 weeks. During this postpartum period, you are advised to use maxi pads irrespective of what you would normally use during your menses. In addition to this, new moms may not use the menstrual cup or tampons as the lady parts may still feel raw and sore from birth.
Read More: 8 things no one tells you about pregnancy
Disposable underwear takes the stress off doing laundry in the first few weeks. If you prefer to, you may also purchase high-waisted granny panties for the postpartum period. These undies are typically more spacious to fit the maternity pads without irritating the lady pats. In addition to this, they are also flexible around the tummy area for CS moms.
A sitz bath is a plastic container that fits onto the toilet bowl and is designed to offer pain relief after child birth. The sitz bath is designed such that when in use, only the genital area and the hips are immersed in water. The bath uses warm salty water, and is extremely helpful for moms who have had a vaginal birth. You are meant to use the sitz bath severally during the first week or so, and this helps keep infections at bay.
Many new moms will typically experience constipation as the body recovers from the process of childbirth. One of the most important things for you to do is to try and get back on track after birth. Improving bowel mobility will go a long way in helping you recover faster.
You may get stool softeners while at hospital, as well as some supplies to take home with you. In addition to this, you may also want to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables to ‘keep things moving’. Look out, however, for vegetables that lead you to feeling bloated as this causes great discomfort.
We cannot overemphasize the need to stay hydrated in the weeks after birth. Staying hydrated not only helps with breast milk supply, it also goes a long way in managing constipation. It is easy to get dehydrated when taking care of a newborn, so you will find it easy to keep a bottle at hand, preferably at your favourite nursing spot. Go for a water bottle with a straw so that you can sip conveniently even as baby is nursing.
Get your breastfeeding essentials
Breastfeeding provides a chance for you to bond with your baby. To help ease this process, you may opt for a breast pump (manual or electric). The pump comes in handy during the postpartum period and after. It helps manage engorgement when milk supply is greater than baby’s feeding, and is a handy gadget to have if you will be returning to work soon. In addition to the pump, you also want to get milk storage bags for convenience.
Remember to take care of your nipples too. Get some lanolin to ease cracked/sore nipples. Nursing pads are also a great add-on to your list of essentials. Do not forget to purchase comfortable nursing clothes to make breastfeeding a little easier. There are many options available, from tank tops to robes, easy-access tops and even nursing hoodies!
Additional postpartum essentials that moms may find helpful include a belly wraps to support the tummy area, peri bottles to clean the genital area while easing healing as well as ice packs to reduce pain and inflammation.
Essentials to improve your emotional health
The transition to motherhood is both physically and emotionally challenging. Listed below are essentials that will help meet your emotional needs during the postpartum period.
Engage your support system
Having an extra pair of hands goes a long way in helping new moms transition well to motherhood. Engage your support system and let them know how best they can help you. This could be your midwife coming home for your checkups, your sister helping you with baby wellness clinics or even your mom holding your baby as you nap or take a shower.
Read More: Why is support group therapy important?
Sleeping when the baby sleeps
This is often the subject of heated debates, but the truth is that in the postpartum period, your body needs time to recover. Sleep is one of the ways the body does this. It helps to get as much rest as possible, and one of the ways to do this is to sleep when baby sleeps. The dirty dishes can wait. You can clear the house later and you can definitely fold the clothes later if only to allow you to care for yourself.
Do not be afraid to say NO
The postpartum period can be very exhausting for new moms. In many cases, visitors will be streaming in during baby’s early days. It can be very overwhelming for a new mom trying to keep up with the visits. To counter this, do not be afraid to say NO. Limit the number of visits in the early days, to allow you and baby time to rest. This is also important because baby’s immune system is still weak and he is susceptible to various infections.
Nutrition plays a key role in recovery and helps with breastfeeding. For many new moms, this poses a great challenge – in between nursing, changing diapers and putting baby to sleep. This is why meal preparation is important. It is advisable to stock up on nutrient-rich meals to be frozen for later use. With a support system, a new mom can easily get someone to prepare meals too.
A note on baby blues and postpartum depression (PPD)
As an organization that provides support for moms with PPD, it is not possible to finish this postpartum essentials list without making a note of the same. Many new moms will typically experience baby blues. Baby blues are characterized by mood fluctuations that last up to about two weeks after birth. Baby blues are mild, do not require medical intervention and will often disappear on their own.
PPD on the other hand, is a more intense mental disorder that lasts up to one year after birth. Some of the symptoms of PPD include irritability, hopelessness, rage, intrusive/ self-harm thoughts and suicidal ideation among others. PPD requires medical treatment as it interferes with a mom’s ability to recover and take care of her baby.