by Julie Snyder
Ten essential postpartum items
Your baby's due any day now. What will you need on hand those first few days post-delivery? Here's our 10 postpartum must-haves. Do you moms and moms-to-be see anything we missed? Did any of these things seem like a waste of money? We'd love to hear.
1. Maxi Pads
After enjoying a nine month respite, you'll need feminine hygiene pad protection to wear until the postpartum bleeding period is finished. You'll probably use 'hospital grade' the first two to three days following delivery. This is true whether you gave birth vaginally or by c-section. After that, commercial pads should be fine. Tampons aren't recommended for the first six weeks because of bacterial infection.
After the blood loss that happens naturally with every birth, you'll want to replenish those iron stores for your body. You can choose high iron foods or you might consider a supplement.
You'll need water to drink as keeping hydrated will stave off headaches, postpartum pain, and relieve constipation. Water in a perineal cleansing bottle in the bathroom will keep you feeling fresh. Warm water in a sitz bath can be heavenly if you had an episiotomy.
4. Firm Pillow
A standard size (or larger) pillow may have you feeling like Linus and his blankie from Peanuts as it becomes your new best friend! The firmness will be a blessing for those experiencing back pain to prop their back while sitting. It's recommended for those recovering from a c-section to help support your stomach below the incision area. Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding moms find it useful to cradle and support the baby on their lap.
5. Supportive Bra
Whether you're breastfeeding or not, you'll discover some changes have taken place "upstairs." Finding a good fitting bra relieves pressure, back pain, headaches, and stress. If you're breastfeeding, consider one that offers single-handed unlatching.
6. Breast Pump and Breast Pads
You'll appreciate having a manual breast pump to offer relief from engorgement when your milk comes in. Your little one could find your breast too swollen to latch onto. Leaks are common those first six weeks as your baby and body work to coordinate that supply and demand chain. Tucking pads in can help you avoid that embarrassing wet t-shirt look.
7. Groceries and Staple Items
Having your refrigerator and pantry stocked is a true gift for those first weeks postpartum. Not only can you avoid exposing your newborn to the hoards of germs in the stores, you can enjoy comfy pj’s when you're feeling more like "zombie mom."
8. Meals in the Freezer
You'll look back on that day that you took advantage of during your 'nesting' phase and wish to kiss the cook personally! Prepared meals that freeze well and cook up deliciously are absolutely wonderful during the first week especially -- longer if you could swing it.
You have family and friends that have uttered the phrase, "Let me know if I can do anything." Throw them off guard and take them up on it! Having someone else run the vacuum, do some light dusting, toss in a load of laundry, or take care of errands not only offers you some relief but allows the other to feel wanted/needed as well.
Connect with other moms who've "been there, done that." Having someone to turn to and hearing "yes, that's normal" or "me, too!" when sharing your vents, feelings, and rollercoaster of postpartum emotions -- is a lifesaver!
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.