After Baby: Navigating Postpartum Care

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After the excitement of laboring and delivering your new baby, a new sense of reality begins to set in.  If all goes smoothly and you have a relatively normal delivery then you will be discharged within a day or two to go home.

What happens then?  What do you need to get by?  Let me share my experience of not just the monetary things you need, but what you will need physically and emotionally the first few days.

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1.  REST

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Having a baby is incredibly hard work.  You are likely exhausted, running on low sleep (if any), and it’s incredibly hard to rest in a hospital with nurses coming to check on your vitals frequently, or to make sure you have fed baby.  When you get home you will need sleep, you will need to recover from the amazing marathon your body just performed.

2. HELP

If you are going to rest, then you need help.  Help can come in many forms, but I speak from experience when I suggest you have family or a friend that can come and watch the baby for you while you sleep, bring you a glass of water, help you to the bathroom, whatever it is you need.  Often times our birth partners are tired from the birthing experience too and in those first few days I think it’s nice to have someone that is caught up on their sleep helping out.

3. PADS AND WITCH HAZEL

Whether you have a C-section or vaginal delivery you will need pads.  Postpartum bleeding can vary from woman to woman, but you will need an ample supply to keep yourself clean and comfortable.  Witch hazel is also very soothing. If you prefer you can purchase pads with witch hazel already on them.

4. BREASTFEEDING SUPPLIES

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If you choose to breastfeed you definitely need to invest in nursing pads (either washable or disposable) and some lanolin cream.  When your milk comes in and your supply is still balancing out you will be leaking and pads may make you feel more comfortable. The lanolin is great for soothing sore and cracked nipples and it is safe for baby as well.  If you are planning to pump and bottle feed you will also need to invest in a quality breast pump, bottles, and breastmilk storage bags. I also make it a priority to invest in some nursing bras that are wire free and comfortable to sleep in.

5. DIAPERS AND WIPES

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Babies go to the bathroom nonstop in those first six weeks.  It will feel like you are changing diapers constantly, and you are, so it is important to have a large supply of newborn or size 1 diapers depending on how quickly your baby will size up and plenty of wipes.  My favorite brand of wipes is Huggies Natural Care.

6. BASIC ONESIES

With how often you will be changing babies diaper you will not want an outfit that is complicated to take on and put back on.  Save the cute outfits for when baby is older or for a photo op, but in the meantime when you are recovering at home stick with basic simple onesies.

7. SELF CARE

It is really hard at first to focus on anything for yourself when you have a baby who is completely dependent on you.  But it is vitally important (and much easier if you have help) that you take the time to do basic things for yourself like shower, stay hydrated, rest, make sure you have a good diet.  I remember how terrified I was to take a shower and leave my baby alone for five minutes, but you can do it I promise, and your baby will be just fine.

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Eventually you will settle into a routine and the day to day care of your baby will become second nature.  This list is only the things I would suggest you have in the first few days of coming home to ease you both into the new life you have together.

Is there anything else you would add to this list that a mom needs in the first few days postpartum?  Comment below.

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2 thoughts on “After Baby: Navigating Postpartum Care

  1. A confidence boost. Most new moms are assaulted with advice and it can become so dizzying. Sometimes they’re even shamed for doing one thing instead of another right away. For a woman who’s already exhausted and overwhelmed, it can make things even harder, so someone to say they’re doing a great job would help calm and reassure her. With my first, the nurses kept putting caps on him and swaddling him, but he absolutely hated it. I kept thinking I needed to keep him wrapped like that and was going crazy trying to swaddle him every other minute. Thank goodness I had my mom who just shrugged and said he didn’t like it and it was fine. The important thing was to listen to what my baby was telling me and, if I didn’t think he should be wrapped, then I didn’t have to keep wrapping him.

    Liked by 1 person

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