As I mentioned in last month’s article on the differences between my pregnancies, I don’t think we discuss preparing for postpartum as much as we should as a culture.

We get spammed with all the “gear” we need for BABY but where is the conversation about mom’s recovery or health in those first few months, even years of postpartum? I had all the stuff for baby from my registry, etc. but I had the bare minimum when it came to myself, especially from an expectation perspective. 

I also know that I had unrealistic expectations and simply thought I’d pop my daughter out and get right back to the body and life that I had prior to pregnancy. Maybe some women have this ability/special gift, but I for one did NOT.

This time around I am taking some time to do what I wish I would have known the first time. Yes, this includes tangible things like supplies but it also includes creating the space in life for that time and setting up our house through meals and more for the upcoming transition.

Prepping for Time + Expectations

It is so easy to judge or assume prior to having a baby that life is simple with a newborn. Yes, they don’t do a whole lot but they create a TON of work each day. I remember so many days getting to the end of the day and feeling like I had “done” nothing yet I was busy and moving the whole day. Between feedings and changings and bottles and play, caring for a baby really is a full-time job. 

I had assumed this would be an “easy” transition my first time around and thus kept getting frustrated at my to-do list never being done. This time, the only things on my “to-do” list will include resting, feeding my family and playing with my daughter and the new baby. Mentally this will be incredibly hard for me as my work is my hobby and I love to feel productive, but for at least the first month I want to just BE in our family and enjoy the holiday season. 

Yes, this is making the weeks up to birth incredibly full and to-do lists very long, but I am working hard now in order to be able TO have the time and space I want postpartum to heal and enjoy this special time as a family.

Prepping for Birth

This time around I am doing a home birth, so it has been a new process to gather the supplies needed and wrap my mind around all we need for a successful birth. To be honest, it feels a lot less overwhelming/daunting as we won’t need time to leave for the hospital, find childcare, have full bags packed, etc…when it happens, it happens. 

My midwife provided a list of supplies so I’m not going to share all the supplies I have for this, but in general I’m prepping cozy clothes, a playlist of music if I choose to want music and really that’s it.

Prepping for Body Healing

For after birth, my list of supplies is a bit longer. I do have some “leftovers” from last time for postpartum healing so I didn’t need to get too much more this time, but some of the things I am making sure I have on hand are:

  • After Birth Diapers + Pads: I still have some left over from the hospital and did grab a few more.
    • At least for a week or more after birth these are so much easier than traditional pads.
    • After that week, I will transition to Natracare’s Maternity Pads or regular pads as a non-toxic option (later on I like their tampons as well when things return back to normal cycling). 
  • Heating Pad: I have an infrared heating pad from Therasage that I plan to use on my uterus/back after labor. From the reading I’ve done from ancient practices, warmth is crucial to healing postpartum.

  • Supplements + Pain Help: For the pains afterbirth, I have AfterEase tincture and Arnica tablets and cream (alternative for traditional pain medications) on hand.
  • Bellefit Medical-Grade Belly Support: I didn’t do this last time, so trying something new this birth but I got a belly girdle for support to wear after birth, especially as I will still need to be chasing a toddler and likely won’t be laying down 24/7 to recover.

  • Joylux vFit Gold: I’m considering this my “push gift” to myself this time around. It is a redlight and heat therapy device that helps improve pelvic floor and overall vaginal health. I’m planning to use it to help with postpartum healing (after 6 or more weeks) but it is also a great option for those who had vaginal dryness or other issues down there prior to getting pregnant. It’s not cheap, but I watched for sales and got it at a really good price!

  • Red Light Lamp: I used this throughout pregnancy on my belly, but I plan to continue to use on my body, especially my belly and my hair to promote faster healing and help with postpartum hair loss.

Prepping for Breastfeeding

This was basically an epic fail for me last time and I am determined this time to have a much better experience. In the end I exclusively pumped for almost a year and I’d prefer to not do that this time around. Here are some things I’m prepping to ensure a great experience:

  • Lactation Consultant Appointments: I am so lucky to have a chiropractor that is Webster-certified, pediatric-certified AND a lactation consultant all wrapped into one, but if you aren’t as lucky, I would find a lactation consultant to have on call in case you need support breastfeeding. It also doesn’t hurt even if things seem to be going well to have an assessment session just to make sure all is well.

  • Breast Pumps: Though I want to breastfeed as much as I can, I am still planning to pump so that others can feed the baby after my supply is established.
    • I still have my good ole trusty Spectra Pink pump from last time, but I did get an upgraded Spectra Gold pump (every birth qualifies you for a new breast pump through most insurances!).
    • I realized I still also have the portable Elvie Breast Pumps in storage. I didn’t love it last time, but I am curious to see if this time they serve me better, especially again having a toddler to chase around.

  • Breast Care Items: Below are some of the things I either still have from last time or invested in this time:
    • Haakaa catcher: great to put on the other breast to “catch” that milk while baby is nursing on the other.
    • Reusable nipple pad liners: These are a lifesaver for your sheets and bras and also helps to provide a barrier for your sore nipples from rubbing on your bras. I also have some disposable leftovers from last time which are nice if you are out and about.
    • LaVie Lactation Massager: this is great to have on the breast while feeding to stimulate milk flow and also help with any clumps/bumps/clogged ducts that may come up through feeding.
    • Silver Nursing Cups: this is a new item I got this year to see if it helps with the soreness/cracks/bleeding that come with your nipples getting used to feeding.
    • Elvie Catch Cups: Also something new I’m trying this year to make sure every ounce of milk is caught.
    • Breast Balms + Creams: I still have some nipple butter from Earth Mama left over and also got the Earthley Breast Balm.
    • Breastfeeding Supplements: I know there are a TON of options out there, but for now I am just ticking with Earthley’s Milk Flowin’ cream stick and Mama’s Magic Milk Boost.

Prepping for Baby + Baby’s Health

  • Diapers: I am trying out some less-toxic diaper brands this time around, starting with Kudos and after that trying out Nest after that to see which brand I prefer.
    • Some other brands include: Dyper, Aleva, Andy Pandy, ECO Boom, Happy Little Camper, and Healthybaby (all can be found on Amazon).

  • Baby Wipes: I’m also trying out different wipes this time. In the past I’ve used Honest and Water Wipes, but still don’t love either. This time I’m trying Pipette.

  • Diaper Rash Creams: Great to have on hand in case there are any diaper rashes or other issues with their bottoms. This time around I’m trying Earthley’s Baby Balm stick.

  • Remedies: You never know what you will encounter with a newborn, so I choose to keep a few things on hand in case of sickness, colic, etc.:

Prepping for Food + Nourishment

This is a to-do on my list for the upcoming weeks to get the freezer stocked with easy meals on the days where cooking seems impossible. I’m thankful it will be the winter as I find a lot of soups and stews are easy to make ahead and freeze compared to say, salads in the summer.

I plan to use a mix of my own recipes and those from books like Real Food for Pregnancy and The First Forty Days: Postpartum Nourishment along with online postpartum and freezer-ready meal recipes. I also plan to have a lot of bone broth made and ready to drink daily to help the body with minerals and collagen. 

I also will be taking supplements based on my body and my most recent lab results (happy to help you with this as well as a client if you’d like!). I don’t have general recommendations for this category as every woman is so unique.