When I was in hospital for the birth of my first, Amber, I really wished that I had known to bring a few things that would have made life easier from the get go. To be honest, I was really unprepared mentally for having a baby and the fact that I spent so much time deciding which baby clothes to bring and which out fit Amber would come home in, I paid little attention to the important things!
So, without further ado, here’s my list. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list and there are dozens of those available online. It’s more about the items that people forget to tell you about.
1) Nipple cream – Breastfeeding is not easy to begin with. I really had no idea that there was a technique and skill that would only come with patience and perseverance. In the meantime, it’s pretty normal to get sore and cracked nipples from babies not latching on properly. Nipple cream is harmless for babies who are breastfeeding but will bring you some much needed relief.
2) Nursing bras that have a bigger cup than your pregnancy bust size. OMG, I had no idea how my boobs were going to swell up when my milk first came in. It was crazy. Things settle down after a few days but for many of us, we’ll need a bigger cup size than when we were pregnant.
3) A breast pump – try to borrow one from a friend or buy one new or second-hand. Should you be desperately needing some sleep, a breast pump will allow you to express some milk, hand it over to a mid-wife and get some sleep for a few hours. These may seem expensive but are well worth it as it will give you some freedom to go out of the house and leave hubby with the baby for a much needed break.
4) Breast pads – OMG, the leakage that goes on when you sleep! Sometimes you just have to hear a little whimper from a baby (and it might not even be yours) to have your milk start to flow. It’s like your boobs sometimes have a mind of their own! Breast pads will mean you won’t have to change outfits every few hours to receive those hospital visitors who can’t wait to see your gorgeous newborn baby.
5) Sensible undies – unfortunately, in addition to coming to grips with a newborn baby, lack of sleep, feeling a bit sore or sensitive down there (or around your c-section wound) and learning how to breastfeed, you’ll need to cope with what is akin to a pretty heavy period post-pregnancy. So, with needing to wear pads (obviously tampons are not a good idea) means having to wear sensible undies during these first few days in hospital.
6) A belly wrap – Once your baby is out, basically we’re all wanting to return to our pre-pregnancy shape as quickly as possible. If only I’d know about these fantastic (and affordable) postpartum belly bands when I was pregnant instead of people still asking me one year later if I was expecting. The binding helps your tummy muscles to knit together again. Combining the belly belt with pelvic floor muscles should have you on the road to getting back in shape much more quickly than otherwise. Starting to wear these as soon as you can post-birth (allow a few extra days if you had a c-section) will increase the chances of it working well for you.
Having all these items at your fingertips will allow you to concentrate on getting to know your new little person in your life (and not have your partner scrambling around trying to find these items for you and having no idea what you’re after.)