Monday, April 29, 2013

What you REALLY need post-baby

I attended a baby shower the other day of a very good friend and while at that shower happened to meet another mother who was expecting. We had brought Charlotte with us (instant conversation starter by the way) and the dad of the expectant couple asked me if I had gotten everything we needed at our baby shower. Of course we hadn’t, and I told him so, and he then asked what it was we found we now needed once the newborn was here so they could prepare themselves. What I realized in talking to this man and his wife, however was that most of the things we needed weren’t for Charlotte they were for me! Once you have a baby it’s infinitely harder to leave the house and run to the store for things so I thought I’d compile a list for all my mom’s-to-be out there of things you will need once your baby is born. Some of you may read this, ignore my advice, then find yourself at three days postpartum running to the store or logging on to amazon to order these items anyway so save yourself the trouble now. Forget the cute onsies and baby bathtub, put these essentials on your registry or stock up at Costco:

  1. Lanolin: Be prepared because your nipples are about to become baby’s chew toy. They will give you samples at the hospital so take home as many there as you can but also invest in a big tube. What makes Lanolin so great is that it’s safe for baby so you don’t have to worry about wiping it off before breast feeding. Apply often.

2.   Breast pads: you won’t think you’ll need these until you leak through your first
      bra or tank top then you will invest. I have been so paranoid about clogged ducts
      so I change mine often. Invest in a box of 60 or more to start with but you’ll need
      more guaranteed. They also have washable ones that you can reuse but if they are 
      anything like baby socks they will probably disappear in your laundry then you
      will just go out and buy the disposables anyway.
  1. Breast pump: I have united healthcare and my insurance covered one 100 percent so find out if your insurance does before you buy one. Just call your insurance and they will give you a list of wholesale providers and you pick the one you want and order from there. I wish I had mine to start with because I could have been pumping right from the beginning instead of waiting two weeks for mine to arrive.

  1. Breast milk storage kit: If you are going to pump you will need bottles to pump into so invest in a storage kit and a few bottles to feed your baby with. Look for one that has freezer bags so you can stash some for later like when you return back to work. Being able to pump a bottle gives me the freedom to leave the house and attend yoga for an hour which has been a sanity saver to say the least.
  1. Colase: Here is the not so pretty truth – childbirth and then breast feeding takes a lot out of you. You need to drink more water than ever so you don’t dehydrate and get, well, backed up. They will probably give you colase in the hospital but keep some on hand at home too. With the million other things going on in your mind you will probably forget to hydrate and this will come in handy when you do. That being said, remember to keep a glass of water by you when you breast feed and drink the whole thing and you won’t need the colase to begin with.

  1. Medicated Wipes: When you are in the hospital you will get your very own squirt bottle and I suggest you bring it home. You will use this as a means to clean yourself after you use the bathroom (don’t worry you’ll realize what I mean after giving birth if you have your baby vaginally). Medicated wipes with witchhazel will help you on your bathroom adventure as well. The non-generic types go by the name of “Tucks” and they can be found by the Preparation H which you might as well throw in the shopping cart as well. I know some of you reading this aren’t going to do this…and then you will send your husband out for these items anyway so save him the trouble.

  1. Nightime nursing bra: Buy yourself a nice nursing bra before you have your baby but don’t go crazy stocking up because you won’t know how big your boobs will be until your milk comes in. Then they will be huge and then they will settle to meet the needs of your baby/pumping. You will also need a nursing bra to wear at night as well which ideally is made from stretchy sports-bra like material. My boobs hurt so much in the beginning I didn’t want anything touching them so I slept without a bra – big mistake for my sheets the next day. Tuck some nursing pads in them and you’ll be set until baby wakes you up at 1:30am.

  1. Nursing tank tops: Although you may be able to fit into your regular clothes post-partum the trick then becomes finding something to wear that is “nursing friendly” as I like to say. Basically you will need a few tops that you can wear out in public and easily nurse in without completely having to undress yourself. Also now you will find with your expanded bra size many of your shirts are too small so invest in a few and you’ll be happy you did. If you plan on breastfeeding a year than consider that when purchasing as well.

  1. Pads: another not so pretty fact of vaginal childbirth is the postpartum bleeding. I recommend an assortment of absorbances because you have no idea how long you might hemorrhage. Another item you do not want to run out and buy at the store post postpartum. As a side note stock up on the mesh panties the hospital gives you. Trust me.

So that should cover you postpartum. I must also insist if you don’t have a nice robe buy yourself one for days you can’t get out of your nursing bra and pjama pants. It will help you look decent when UPS comes to the door to deliver all those baby gifts your aunt sends. A few things I can recommend for baby are newborn clothes and pampers swaddler diapers. Everyone will buy you 0-3 month which your baby will be swimming in so look for things that say newborn on the tag. I urge you to hit up your local consignment store for this purchase because your baby will outgrow these items quick. As for the diapers, I registered for some organic ones to last us through until we cloth diaper and I hate them. The swaddle diapers have this nifty yellow line that turns blue when the diaper is wet. They also have a little lip that goes down to avoid the belly button when baby still has its umbilical cord stump on.

Everyone, including you, is investing in your baby right about now but you need to remember to take care of yourself as well. None of the above listed items are exactly exciting to purchase but I guarantee you will be so happy to have them in your arsenal so that when your baby does arrive you can enjoy life with a newborn and not worry!


  1. I had NO idea United health would pay for a breast pump. DO you get to keep it or just rent it? I will look into that for sure. Thanks for the great tips, there are so many "gray" areas people won't tell you about after child birth, so it's good to see a real and honest list. I took notes! :) Thanks again. Love your updates!

    1. they pay for you to keep it! Just call United Healthcare and tell them you want to get a breast pump. They will give you a list of the suppliers (pretty much all the same) and you call one of them, give them your insurance info and they send you one in the mail! I went with the ameda because it's a double pump and runs off batteries or can be plugged in - important for when you are traveling! You can rent one from most hospitals as well but if united pays for one why not take advantage of that?!