Creating a Post-Partum Self-Care Kit
In the weeks following child birth, it’s important that you treat yourself with some extra love and care. There are a few basic items you can have on-hand and things you can have ready in advance that can help make your life a little smoother so you can focus all of your attention on your new baby and healing your body through this transition and change.
- A robe and a few pairs of pajamas that you can nurse in: You don’t necessarily have to go out and purchase “nursing pajamas” if you don’t want to, but something that could be unbuttoned or is low-cut enough to pull a boob out of will work just as well. A button down shirt has the added bonus of making skin-to-skin contact very easy. You may also want to choose a comfortable fabric with a color or pattern that doesn’t easily show bodily fluid. The first month after you give birth, there will be blood, breast milk and lots of sweat escaping your pores as your body gets rid of excess fluid and toxins, as well as baby spit up and possibly fluid escaping from the occasional diaper change gone wrong. The robe is both to keep you cozy and also to throw on over your dirty pajamas or yoga pants when unexpected company drops by to see the baby.
- Yoga pants: Yoga pants are nice because it kind of feels like you got dressed for the day, and you can also pull them on one-handed while holding the baby without worrying about buttoning or zipping pants. The maternity pants that you wore while you were pregnant will also work too, but if you’re like me, you’re so sick of looking at those by the time you give birth that you just want to put on some regular pants.
- A couple of nursing bras: It’s best to get these towards the end of your pregnancy as your breasts continue to get larger throughout pregnancy. Keep in mind that your breasts will get even larger when your milk comes in, and it might be a good idea to pick up some bra extenders to go along with these. I found the sleep nursing bras to be the most comfortable in the first weeks and switched to a regular nursing bra after that.
- Heating pad or hot water bottle to help with clogged milk ducts: Be sure to set the heating bad on low and don’t put directly on your skin. Some gentle heat with a little massage can help a stubborn clogged duct while your baby is nursing. The heating pad can help with any other aches and pains that you might be having as well.
- Super heavy flow pads: You’re going to need these for roughly a month after you give birth. If you prefer a more environmentally friendly option, you can use cloth pads, but make sure to have lots of them on hand. The blood flow will be similar to a very heavy period, and you’ll need to change pads very regularly at first. No tampons or Diva Cups for the first six weeks after birth.
- For do it yourself perineal relief pads watch the video below:
- Nipple cream: It takes some time to adjust to breastfeeding. Even when everything goes smoothly, this is a new experience that your body is going through, and a little nipple cream can go a long way for cracked, sore, inexperienced nipples. I especially liked Motherlove Nipple Cream because it left my skin feeling soothed while still letting the pores breath. I wasn’t too into the lanolin based creams as they felt too thick and heavy on my skin.
- Lots of food that you can eat with one hand: Try to keep it both healthy and convenient if you can. You actually need to get a few more calories now than when you were pregnant, but when you’re caring for your new baby, sometimes this can be more difficult than you’d think. Some people like to make a bunch of frozen meals to have in the freezer. This is great if you are the industrious sort. If you don’t have time for that, you could always stock your freezer with healthy premade meals from the grocery store (be sure to check the sodium content to make sure it’s not outrageous), frozen fruit bars, granola bars and any other food that you like that is easy to eat quickly and also while holding an infant.
- Take out menus for local restaurants: There may be days when all you have the energy to do is call in some take out. It’s good to know in advance which restaurants will deliver to your neighborhood.
- Some light reading and a book light: For those middle of the night nursing sessions or some books ready to go on your Nook or Kindle (if you’re a reader, that is). Eventually once you get more into the swing of breastfeeding, you will most likely be able to nod off during the middle of the night breast feeding sessions, but at first, there is a learning curve where you will most definitely be awake. Some people prefer reading online baby forums, but I kind of just wanted to read something totally unrelated to babies for a little while at night. I chose murder mysteries. Easy enough to read through bleary, tired eyes, but exciting enough to keep me awake.
- A steady queue of online movies: The TV series are extra convenient because the next episode will just start right up if you’ve got a sleeping baby in your arms.
- Camera: You are going to want to take lots of photos. Let people include you in these photos even though you may not be feeling your most photogenic. You are going to want to look back on these sweet moments in the not too distant future. They will be a good reminder of all of that you’ve been through to make your sweet baby, how much your life changed in those first few weeks of your child’s life, and how far you’ve come. No one else has to see them, but you should take them for yourself. Your child will want to see them one day too.
What are some items that you recommend in a post partum kit? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Katie Herlihy makes her nest with her bright and beautiful daughter and beloved mate and confidant in Berkeley, California among stacks of books, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, plumes of rose-scented incense and a plethora of art and craft projects. She enjoys writing, making jewelry, taking road trips and reading murder mysteries.