I was in labor for 48 hours before I had Selah, and I was in a lot of pain for the first several weeks postpartum. These are all the essentials that I used to survive.
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- Everything from the hospital/birthing center: Yep, all of it. Take everything you can. The peri bottle, the ice pads, the awkwardly huge underwear, all of it. You’re not going to feel much different the first couple of days you’re home, so it’s nice to still have everything that you need.
- Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter: I’m not being dramatic in the least when I say this stuff SAVED MY LIFE. Breastfeeding hurts in the beginning, and your nipples take the brunt of the deal. This nipple butter is soft and soothing, and it’s also all natural, so you don’t have to wipe it off before the next feeding (one less thing to worry about).
- Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray: Another all natural product, and seriously so soothing. I used this for the first six weeks postpartum, and nothing has ever felt so good. I used it after every trip to the bathroom, and it was so cooling and refreshing. It also makes you feel so much cleaner, which is great, because some days, showers just don’t happen.
- Neosporin + Pain Relief: I was one of the lucky ones, y’all. I managed to get mastitis in my first week of nursing, and I actually thought I was going to die. SO MUCH PAIN. Though it’s not natural in the least, this pain relieving Neosporin helped my aching breasts and nipples more than anything else. Just make sure to wipe it off before the next feeding. 🙂
- One handed snacks: I didn’t get the uncontrollable nursing hunger until a few weeks in, but Selah always seemed to be hungry exactly when I was, which meant I needed a snack to make it to mealtime. KIND bars, Belvita, fruit, and homemade muffins were my go-to snacks.
- Sleep: I was in labor for 48 hours before giving birth, which meant I was already running on empty before they handed me a sweet precious newborn who wanted to eat every 2 hours. The first couple of weeks are a blur, but I remember feeding Selah and then handing her off to Caleb. He would take her and go sleep with her on the couch so that I could get some baby-free rest in bed before she needed to eat again. I firmly believe that we only survived because we got so much rest. Which brings to the next necessity …
- A support person (at least one!): Caleb saved me during the first few weeks. Since he is self-employed he was able to stay home for a full week and help me with Selah. He took her while I slept, he cuddled her during the night, he cooked dinner, and most importantly, he encouraged me and constantly told me how great I was doing. Once he went back to work, my mom came and stayed for several days and helped out so much. Rally the troops and bring in everyone you can to help you during this time. Trust me, they understand and want to help.
- Dinner: Before you give birth and everyone is asking you what you need, ask them to bring you a meal after you have the baby. Seriously. Do it. We had food brought to us for almost two weeks after Selah was born and that was the biggest relief. I didn’t have the time or the energy to cook, and Caleb didn’t have much energy when he got home from work, either. These meals were such a blessing!
- Books: If your child is anything like mine, not only will she eat every 2 hours, but she’ll eat for over an hour each time for the first several weeks. I know everyone keeps saying that nursing should only be a time to bond with your child, but I cannot stare at my child for 8 hours a day. I just can’t. I need a distraction, at least for part of that time, and books are perfect because you can hold them with your free hand! Without Rival was my go-to book in my first few weeks because it was so encouraging. 🙂
- Netflix: I don’t think I have to explain this one. Pick a TV show and binge-watch it. It’s good for your sanity. Trust me. 😉
- Happiest Baby On The Block (Book or DVD): Our doula recommended this video to us and it was invaluable! Dr. Karp discusses the “fourth trimester” and covers the 5 S’s of soothing a crying baby: swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and side/stomach position. This helped us to understand how to calm Selah when she’s crying, and his method really does make her a happy baby!
I can’t and won’t claim to be an expert on postpartum care or taking care of a newborn, but these essentials are what kept me going in the first couple of weeks post-baby! And when all else fails, just remember, it gets better! 🙂
Now it’s your turn. What were your postpartum essentials? Did you use anything on this list? Leave me a comment and let me know!