Welcome to the Baby Gear Series! When you’re getting ready for a baby, long lists of “must haves” can be overwhelming. Here’s what you ACTUALLY need (and all the stuff you don’t). Click here for an introduction, links to the complete series, and a FREE baby gear checklist and e-book!
Whew, it’s been quite a journey! Up until now we’ve been talking about things for your baby. This chapter is all about YOU, Mama!
We’ll be getting into some practical-but-not-pretty details here, but you need to know. Sorry to break it to you.
- Maxi Pads. You will need about 2 weeks’ worth of the heaviest maxi pads you can find. Even if you have a C-section, you will have some bleeding. Those first two weeks are rough, but I promise they’ll go by fast.
- Hemorrhoid Cream. If you somehow survive pregnancy hemorrhoid-free, I can pretty much guarantee you you’ll come home from the hospital with these little (or big) souvenirs. (And if you don’t, be glad but keep it to yourself because the rest of us are suffering). Over-the-Counter cream is all it takes to clear them up in most cases. If they are very painful, try sitting on your nursing pillow to take weight off of them.
- Cooling Pads. It doesn’t take a physicist to realize that the physics of labor are… interesting. Suffice it to say that you will be a bit traumatized “down there” for a while. Disposable ice or cooling pads can be very helpful. You can even make your own by pouring a little witch hazel (which prevents infection) on a maxi pad and freezing it.
- Tylenol. Don’t be afraid to reach for the pain meds! Tylenol is safe for nursing.
- Chocolate/Comfort Food. Stock up on lots of whatever helps you feel better during your period. The postpartum weeks are a bit like a period on steroids.
- You Probably Don’t Need: Disposable underwear (they give you some in the hospital, and maxi pads work after that).
Around the House
This is the section you can send people to when they are “how can I help?”.
- Freezer Meals. You won’t want to cook after having a baby. Even if you like to cook normally. While I won’t judge you for eating takeout every day, your wallet might balk a bit. Try to get some meals in the freezer beforehand, and ask family and friends who want to visit the baby to bring food.
- A Clean House. You also won’t want to clean. Actually, you may not be able to for a while. Keep the house clean as you approach your due date, and enlist visitors in your cleaning crew. Don’t be embarrassed. Other moms will understand.
- Camera/Video Camera. I know most of us use our cell phones, but a real camera and/or video camera can be great for capturing those fleeting new baby moments. Just be sure to spend most of your time soaking up the memories with your real eyes and not a camera lens.
- A Break. If people (who are well and haven’t recently smoked) want to hold the baby, take them up on it! A little break can buy you time for a shower or a nap, which are invaluable. Speaking of which, if you do have a baby holder- NAP! Or shower. Okay, you can eat, too. Don’t cook. Don’t clean. In the first 6 weeks, any time the baby is napping or being held, the only thing you should be doing is taking care of yourself. You need your strength to take care of this little one.
Books (used is always okay)
This section is for those rare-but-precious breaks.
- The Happiest Baby on the Block. This book is pure gold for a baby with colic, but it’s useful even if your baby doesn’t have colic. It will guide you through the “fourth trimester” (0-3 months) of soothing and care.
- Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy. This book is hilarious and will reassure that you’re not crazy when you think you must be. It’s a bit irreverent, so take some things with a grain of salt.
- Girlfriend’s Guide to Your First Year. Again, funny and comforting.
- Fun Books with short chapters. You need something fun to read- not just baby care. Short chapters are important, too as you will be interrupted a lot. I recommend any Jeeves book by PJ Wodehouse for a good dose of hilarity. They are like vacations on paper.
- Magazines. These are good for lite entertainment that don’t take a lot of brain power. Plus it doesn’t matter if the baby drools on them. You can even earn free (no strings attached) magazine subscriptions at www.RecycleBank.com
- Memberships. Amazon Prime, Sam’s Club, Costco, & Target (Red Card) can all help you save money.
- You Probably Don’t Need: What to Expect. I know it is THE baby book, but honestly you can find most of the information online (from a reputable source). If you want to have it on hand as a reference, that’s fine- but look up things as needed. I found reading it cover-to-cover to be overwhelming and terrifying (especially the sections on “You Might Be Concerned About”- my response was usually “well, I am now!”).