When I first found out I was pregnant with Emmy, I was excited and couldn’t wait to calculate my due date (online – at work!). I bought a bunch of pregnancy books, only to realize that they were turning me into a hypochondriac, so I had to put them down & back away. I have a number of friends who are expecting babies and have asked me what the must-haves for new moms are, so I thought I’d do a post about it.
We were kind of first in our group of friends to have a baby and had no idea what to expect (even after reading the “What to Expect” books – we didn’t haven’t a clue). My pregnancy was totally “normal”. Due date September 4 (Labour Day that year), went into labour at 1 am on September 5. We hired a doula who was awesome, especially since we didn’t really have anyone close to us who had been through labour, it was nice to have someone present who had lots of experience. I won’t get into Emmy’s delivery, as it was the recovery we were ill prepared for. Jude’s delivery was a fantastic home water birth with two midwives attending & was the complete opposite of Emmy’s delivery. There were some similarities between the recoveries & these were my must haves.
With Emmy’s birth, the hospital wanted to give me Tylenol 3, but after I proved to them I’m allergic, they recommended I rotate Tylenol & Motrin doses every 3 hours. That didn’t even touch the kind of pain I was in. Don’t be afraid to ask for pain management help for when you go home. After a few days, the Tylenol/Motrin routine did help, so make sure you have loads of those available. All I needed after Jude’s birth was Motrin.
Stool softener. It didn’t even dawn on me prior to labour & delivery that having a poop would leave anxious teeth marks on my belt while I clutched the towel rack like some kind of post natal rosary praying to God to allow me to have a crap without tearing stitches or possibly having my uterus crash into the toilet bowl. Trust me, stool softener and fiber are little gifts that you will be thankful for.
Preparation H. No one told me about hemorrhoids. There’s a reason why millions of pharmaceutical dollars are spent on advertizing these buggers. After Jude was born, I thought I was in the clear for hemorrhoids. Jude was 4 days old when they showed up. Motrin helped keep the swelling down and the Preparation H helped too. Here’s where I got crafty. Obviously, ice helps swelling, but it’s not like icing a shoulder! I used a frozen hot dog weiner in a Ziplock – yes, you read that correctly. I cannot tell you how much it helped. As soon as the weiner was in place (totally works, ’cause your butt cheeks keep the weiner in place) the swelling immediately began to dissipate.
After Emmy’s birth, I slept and sat on baby changing pads. I thought ahead for Jude’s arrival. Go buy some blue underpads. You can find them in the adult diaper section at Wal-mart for about $15. Worth every penny. No crinkling around while trying to sleep. Also, my midwife cut some of them into thirds and I used them in place of maxi pads. Way more absorbent for the lochia, and you won’t bleed through them!
Calendula Oil, Witch Hazel & Arnica. The Calendula Oil and Witch Hazel goes in your peri bottle to dilute it and you can get them at most health stores. The Arnica remedy you can get from a homeopath, maybe even a health store (I got mine from my midwives). I got sucked into buying Tucks Pads after Jude was born. Although they feel nice & cool, they’re expensive and tiny – you need 5-10 every time you go to the bathroom. Alec talked to our pharmacist who told us they were a waste of money and to use organic baby wipes instead. So, I bought some organic baby wipes and poured diluted Calendula Oil and Witch Hazel over them and let it get soaked up overnight. This worked way better than the Tucks Pads!
I’ve pretty much tried every bottle on the market, organicKidz are the best. They’re expensive, but you can buy sippy cup converters and when your little one is done with sippy cups, you can get water bottle converters for them. We have four bottles (2 four ounce and 2 nine ounce) and that serves us just fine. The nine ouncers keep formula/milk fresh for 5-6 hours (perfect when we’re out & about) because they are vaccuum insulated. My only nay with this product is that the bottles with designs are not dishwasher safe (the designs start to wear after only a few washes), so get the solid colour bottles & you’re fine.
With Emmy we used disposable diapers. We decided to invest in cloth with Jude, purely due to the cost of disposables (remember prices are higher in Canada). We felt the money could better serve the kids in RESPs than in a landfill. I was a little apprehensive just because it would mean more laundry for me. Quite honestly, we don’t do cloth exclusively, I keep some disposables in the diaper bag for those “just in case” moments, but we’re probably doing cloth 95% of the time – and I love it. It’s only 2 extra loads of laundry a week. We have 24 bumGenius all in one organic diapers, and that’s more than enough. We didn’t start using them on Jude until he was 2 months old and have had ZERO leaks since we made the switch. We chose those ones because using them is exactly the same as disposables except you don’t throw them out. No one has had trouble with the switch, they’re awesome. If you have any questions about using cloth, I’m not an expert, but I would totally help you if I can. Also, if you’re considering cloth, get the diaper sprayer before babe is born. The water is sterile & it’s safe to use on your lady parts after delivery.
Dr. Harvey Karp’s book, The Happiest Baby On The Block is fantastic. Find a white noise machine before baby arrives – it made the difference between a sleeping baby or a screaming baby for both of my kids. Don’t get a stuffed animal one, it will crap out and die before baby is a month old. The Conair model has been going nearly 24 hours a day for almost 3 years & still going strong. Emmy still likes to have it on & during nap time, it really drowns out household noise which means she has a longer, deeper rest. A good swaddling blanketis worth it’s weight in gold. I can swaddle Jude with a receiving blanket and a diaper pin, but Alec can’t get the swaddle tight enough with a receiving blanket, so Jude would wake up. The actual swaddling blanket was perfect for our Houdini babies & meant I didn’t have to do it every time.
My best advice? Don’t sweat everything. If you don’t have a high chair, don’t worry, it will be months before you need one. If you find you can’t breastfeed, it isn’t the end of the world and is NOT a reflection on your parenting abilities. Cut yourself some slack, it will take a while before you find what the new normal is for your life and routine – and you will find it.
Oh yeah – get a good coffee maker. Sometimes a good cup of coffee makes all the difference!
PS – no, I am not paid for giving reviews of the above products, they’re just what have worked for us.