Okay, it’s been nearly a year since I had my 2nd baby, and I’m certainly not a “new mom” anymore, but I’ve been meaning to write this post forever!
Here are the 10 things I used the most after having a baby, both the first and second time around:
1. Entertainment (ex: iPhone and/or Netflix):
I know, I know! The iPhone makes every list I ever make. It’s safe to say it would be hard to live without it at this point. But, even if you don’t have an iPhone, what is important is having some form of entertainment that’s easy to take in with one hand.
Many of my friends have told me they end up watching an entire TV series on Netflix DVD those first couple months after having a baby. Whether you’re feeding your baby, or just holding them as they sleep, you’ll spend a lot of time sitting down. I found traditional books hard to read at this stage because OMG the paper pages are so loud when you turn them! but I loved reading from my Kindle app for my iPhone.
2. Sleep Bras:
I spent a good amount of money on some Medela brand sleep bras the first time around, but last time, I actually wound up loving these inexpensive sports bras by Hanes. I laugh that they call them “sports” bras, because I can’t imagine any sport that they would be suitable for supporting my breasts, but for sleeping and easy boob access? Yes. It’s not quite as easy to remove a breast from them as the Medela brand bras, but the price difference makes up for it, I think. Either way, you’ll need quite a few sleep bras from whatever brand, especially in the beginning.
3. Facial Cleansing Cloths:
Let me preface this by saying I am all kinds of mean to the earth right after I have a baby. I try to make up for it with the cloth diapers and recycling and all that jazz down the road, but when I have a 2 day old? I need me some disposable products.
Not only will these cloths (like these by Ponds, or any of the generic varieties at your local box store)help you clean the sweat off of your face right after you give birth, but you can even use them to give yourself a mini-sponge bath in the days (okay, weeks) after having a baby.
4. Luna Bars:
Or really just any quick way to take in some calories and protein, again, with one hand. In my experience, I’m STARVING the first few weeks after having a baby. Part of this is from all the calories it takes to produce breastmilk to feed the baby, and part of it is from not finding any time or energy to properly feed myself. I went through boxes and boxes of Luna bars after having Leyna.
5. Shape Wear:
At Blogher 2010, I had the joy of meeting the founder of Yummie Tummie shapewear Heather Thomson. A few weeks later, I received a Yummie Tummie nursing tank to try out. Like a fool, I took it with me to the hospital, only to wind up screaming at my husband to come save me from it after I got it over my head and past one boob, and then got stuck, like I was in the jaws of a boa constrictor. This is not good for a coming home outfit of any sort.
That said, I was able to get it on a few weeks later (though it was still very difficult to get it over my boobs at that point). Once it was in place, it made me feel like a million bucks, and I swear, it made me look at least a pants size smaller. It wasn’t an every day thing, and I’m not saying it was the most comfortable nursing tank I owned, but it was SO nice to feel like my gut wasn’t hanging over my pants, even if only for a few hours while I was out to dinner.
6. Easy Makeup Routine:
On a similar note, while you won’t be wearing makeup the majority of the time right after having a baby, it’s nice to have a few key products you can swipe on quickly to make you feel more human when you go out in public. And it helps if they don’t break the bank since you are probably hemorrhaging money, purchasing anything that promises to make your baby stop crying.
I start with a good moisturizer, then I swipe on some pressed powder. I was given Pixi All Over Magic at Blogher this year, and am loving it because it’s got a hint of shimmer and color. I focus most on my eyes and use Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Mascarra, along with a shimmery neutral (usually cheap) shadow. My splurge is Smashbox Brow Tech because I feel like as long as my eyebrows look good, maybe people won’t notice the bags under my eyes.
I usually just wear something like Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm on my lips because nobody wants to worry about leaving sticky, lipstick marks all over their baby’s head.
7. Heat Pad:
After you have a baby, all those hormones that kept you so bendy and stretchy start to leave your body. Between that and the constant hunching over to feed and change and snuggle a baby, it’s quite literally a pain in your neck.. and shoulders.. and back. You also may experience some cramping as your uterus shrinks back down. Invest in a good heat pad!
Again, another great product I received at Blogher (2010) was this Moji re-heatable neck and back pad. This thing has seen some serious use over the last couple years. I would have Scott heat it for me and slip it on my back and around my neck as I nursed Leyna those first couple of months.
8. Breastfeeding Support:
If you plan to breastfeed, if you even think you just want to give it a whirl and see how it goes, it is SO super important to have a real network of breastfeeding support. In person support is awesome if you are near women who can help you with your questions, concerns or struggles, but if you aren’t finding help from friends and family, please reach out to a certified (ILBC) lactation consultant. Also, demand to see the LC before you leave the hospital if you can, even if just to check your technique and make sure your baby is latching correctly.
Breastfeeding is not intuitive for a lot of us. It’s okay to feel like you’re doing it wrong! It’s easy to get help and support if you know where to look. Some great online resources include:
The Nursing Mother’s Companion is a great book to reference.
9. Pads (for your bra AND underwear):
Postpartum is a messy stage. You’re leaking bodily fluids every time you turn around, sit down, sneeze, or hear your baby cry.
If you have a hospital birth, you’re likely going to come home with some pretty impressive pads and mesh panties. Some people don’t like these, but I loved them. Either way, they’ll eventually run out and you’ll need another solution. I’ve had horrible reactions to disposable pads like Always after wearing them for several days. Next time (a LONG time from now), I think I’ll try the wearing Depends (yes, adult diapers) and then transition to cloth pads as things get lighter.
I’m quite the overproducer when it comes to breastmilk, so I can never make re-usable breast pads work for me for very long. I love me some Lasinoh disposable breast pads, though. Sorry, earth!
10. A Camera:
I cherish my Canon T2i, and I’m a rare specimen of mother in that I have 100x more pictures of my 2nd born than I do of my 1st born because of it. You don’t need a fancy camera, though. You just need a camera you’re going to USE. In fact, a DSLR will do you no good if you are too afraid to take pictures with it. And once you find that just-right camera, make sure you have an extra battery for it. It never fails, that one time your kid is doing the cutest thing, your battery dies as you press down on the shutter button.
Keep it with you, invest in a good carrying case for it, toss it in your diaper bag. Kids do funny and cute things outside of the house, too, right?
Of course, it’s so hard to narrow all this down to 10 things, and I’m sure I missed some key things that some of you couldn’t live without after having a baby. What would you add?
And check out my other Top 10 lists: