Kevin and I have loved these first few days home with our Maggie-girl. They’ve been so special, and we’ve lucked out with what seems to be an easy baby so far. She’s content most of the time, and seems intent on taking in the world around her in a wide-eyed way. To say we’re obsessed is truly an understatement. (You can read her birth story here.)
In addition to keeping this tiny human alive, I’ve been navigating the oh-so fun physical postpartum realities, and thought I’d share a few products that have been really helpful during that process so far. I have to say, I expected recovery to be much more painful and difficult to deal with than I’ve experienced to date (thank goodness!). There have definitely been some weird symptoms that I didn’t expect (postpartum night sweats weren’t on my radar, for example), but all in all I’ve been pleased with how well things have been going.
Here are some products* I’ve been loving since coming home with our daughter. (*I have a handful of other — more, ahem, bathroom-related postpartum product suggestions — should anyone be interested in hearing about those! Feel free to shoot me an email — firstname.lastname@example.org — and I’d be happy to share those with any soon-to-be mamas out there!)
- Hospital bag: Less is more. I guess this is technically a postpartum suggestion, since you tend to dig into your hospital bag after your baby is born. Before packing my bag, I spent a good amount of time online reading about suggested items to pack. I tend to be an over packer anyway, and my hospital bag certainly reflected that trend. I had nursing bras, nursing tanks, a robe, slippers, multiple pairs of socks, a couple of outfits, two pairs of pajamas, toiletries galore, make-up, snacks, etc. All I can say is, the next time I have a baby I’ll be packing much lighter for the hospital. In my opinion, all you need are a couple of nursing bras, a toothbrush and toothpaste, some dry shampoo, an outfit to leave the hospital in, an outfit for the baby to come home in, and maybe some socks (I was hot the whole time, so I never used mine). Oh, and snacks for sure (things along the lines of protein bars). Seriously — that’s it. I wanted to wear the hospital gown the whole time because it’s easy and you don’t have to mess up any of your own clothes. I waited to get home to shower (I sponged off at the hospital) and definitely didn’t wear any make-up or wash my hair.
- Nursing tanks: I’ve been living in these tanks from Target (I have six black ones) and have loved them so far! They’re great to wear underneath any other pieces, and I prefer the full coverage of a tank versus a nursing bra. I’ve found them to fit true to size (I wear a small).
- Nipple balm: If you plan on nursing, you’re definitely going to need some sort of balm (especially early on — ouch!). I’ve loved this organic Honest Co. version, and like that it’s essentially made of sunflower, coconut, and olive oils. You might want to go ahead and stock up so you have a jar in each place you nurse. (I have three: one in the living room, one in Maggie’s nursery, and one on my bedside table.) Be generous with this stuff — you won’t regret it!
- Belly Bandit: I started wearing this the day after giving birth, and really feel like it made a difference in encouraging my core to start to go back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Plus, the added core support in those early days felt great (and left me feeling more confident in my clothes).
- Reusable water bottle: I’m a fan of the 25-ounce S’well bottle myself, but the brand obviously isn’t important. Just be sure you have a reusable bottle you can have with you as much as possible. It’s SO important to be drinking tons of water if you’re breastfeeding, but staying hydrated helps aid in your physical recovery as well. Drink up! (Oh, and I love this app for tracking my daily water intake. It helps me ensure I’m reaching my hydration goals each day.)
- Placenta encapsulation: This one’s definitely not for everyone, but since learning about it a few months ago I knew I wanted to give it a try. I worked with one of the women from our doula group (she also taught our Bradley Method birth class) to get my placenta encapsulated and have been taking the pills since day three postpartum. There’s not significant research to back up the effectiveness of this practice, but I’ve heard enough anecdotal reports from women who have tried it (especially those who didn’t do it with their first child and then tried it for the second) to make me think it’s worth it. I’m not sure if this would have been the case without the placenta pills, but emotionally I’ve felt completely and totally like myself — happy, no mood swings, no crying — just totally normal.
- Milkies milk saver: As it turns out, I produce a good amount of milk (which was great to discover!). I’ve loved this handy contraption to help catch extra milk so it won’t go to waste. I have about a dozen bottles’ worth of milk already stored away in our freezer, and I haven’t started pumping yet. Score!
- Align Pant II leggings (by Lululemon). I’ve raved about these leggings as being great during pregnancy, but they’re just as incredible postpartum. They’re high waisted and offer a good amount of support, but at the same time are SO comfortable. I have two pair — in black and gray — and want about four more!
Fellow new mamas: What products did you fall in love with postpartum? Any tips to share?