Thursday, August 7, 2014

Postpartum Must Haves Guide - 10 Things Every Mom Needs After Giving Birth

Giving birth is a wonderful, magical time. Your little baby is soft and squishy and you wonder at his tiny little fingers and toes. But make no mistake - the first few weeks after giving birth can be pretty rough on mom. Between leaky boobs, a sore bottom (or incision if she had a c-section), and just wanting your baby to be happy to not be held for 5 minutes so you can pee - moms have a lot going on. 

Whether you are a first time mom, a veteran or a friend just looking to help out, here are my recommendations for the top 10 things I think every mom should have to make her either feel a little better or make her life easier in the first 3 months after giving birth. 

Please note: I have personally used and love every product recommended. Some companies may have provided sample items free of charge for the purpose of consideration, however, companies were not able to purchase a spot in this guide and I was not paid by any of these companies for my review. All recommendations are 100% my own.

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Mama Bottom Balm
When it comes to non-toxic baby and mama care, the ladies at Earth Mama Angel Baby are truly the experts. Created by master herbalists, their products are formulated using herbs and other natural ingredients - plus they really work. This balm is perfect for soothing both pregnant and postpartum bottoms and makes everything from hemorrhoids to sore lady parts feel better. No joke. I'm on my second jar. Buy it online from Amazon: Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm 2 Oz

Postpartum Bath Herbs
This is another gem from Earth Mama Angel Baby. Follow the instructions on the box to make a soothing perineal compress. Or throw it in a sitz bath or bathtub with epsom salt and hot water to help ease your sore bottom and promote healing. Save the tea bag and pop it in the freezer for an herbal ice pack and will help make your nether regions feel better. I recommend buying at least two boxes. Buy it online from Amazon: Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bath Herbs (6 Count)

Water Bottle
When I was pregnant I was SO thirsty all the time. I had a great stainless steel straw cup from Starbucks that I carried around everywhere. After the baby was born, though, I was even more thirsty - as most nursing moms are - so my little cup wasn't cutting it. Staying hydrated is one of the top things mamas can do to help keep their milk supply up and having a water bottle you love makes getting your water so much easier. I love this water bottle from Eco Vessel. It's insulated and will keep ice water cold literally all day. In fact, you need to be careful not to add too much ice since it takes forever to melt! It has an easy straw spout so it's perfect for one handed operation when your other arm is full of baby. Unlike most straw bottles, you can close it and throw it in your bag or diaper bag without it leaking! And of course since we are recommending it, that means it's BPA, PVC and phthalate free. Buy it online from Amazon: Eco Vessel Summit Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Flip Straw

Bamboobies Nursing Pads

I'm a veteran nursing mom. When I had my first son I tried every style and brand of nursing pad that I could get my hands on. While I liked the idea of reusable nursing pads, I had a hard time finding one that was both comfortable and didn't scream "Look! I'm wearing a humungo nursing pad!" when worn with a nursing tank. This is what makes Bamboobies a game changer. 

First, they are the most comfortable nursing pad I've ever used - and really, comfort needs to be the number one factor when choosing a nursing pad. They are also leak proof and more discreet under a nursing tank than most nursing pads. The fact that they are washable and you won't need to run to the store to buy a new box every week is also a huge bonus. Buy them online from Amazon: Bamboobies Super Soft Washable Nursing Pads in Multi-colored or Pale Pink (these sets include overnight pads as well. I recommend two of these sets as well as a mesh lingerie bag to wash them in. See the full Bamboobies Collection here.)

Nipple Butter

A lot of conventional breast feeding wisdom recommends that mamas with sore, dry or cracked nipples use lanolin. What is lanolin? Lanolin is to sheep like hair grease is to humans - it keeps wool greasy and water resistant. The problem, though, is that all commercially produced lanolin contains pesticides! YUCK. Considering that anything you put on your nipples is going to go in your baby's mouth, it's definitely something you want to steer away from. Earth Mama Angel Baby's nipple butter is a lanolin-free way to care for your ladies. It's third party certified to confirm that it's free of pesticides, herbicides, GMOs and other toxic chemicals so you can get some relief without worrying what is going in baby's mouth. Buy it on Amazon: Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, 2-Ounce Jar

Brahhh Nursing Bra

Buying nursing bras before baby arrives can be tricky. Often times, baby has displaced your organs so your rib cage has had to expand to accommodate them. This can make knowing your size tricky since it's probably changed over the course of your pregnancy - not to mention that the girls might get even bigger after your milk comes in and change your size again! 

The Brahh bra from Bamboobies, on the other hand, is made from stretchy bamboo and organic cotton jersey so it's flexible to accommodate your shifting shape. This is the bra I wore during labor - and it was comfortable the whole time. Its flexible pull-down design lets you wear it with just about any cami or scoop neck tank so that your cami and brahh partner together to make it a nursing friendly tank (Talk about a great way to save money! Just use your old tanks and camis with the Brahh instead of buying tons of new nursing tanks!). While you will eventually want to get a fitted, clip-down nursing bra (or three!) - especially if you are going back to work - this one is the perfect starter bra for comfortable breastfeeding in the hospital and at home. It's also perfect for wearing overnight.

Since you are likely to leak overnight for several months, most moms find they prefer to wear a bra to bed to help hold the girls and their nursing pads in place to prevent waking up covered in milk (not that this has ever happened to me....). If you're wearing a bra to bed you want the most comfortable one you can get your hands on, which is why you'll want to make sure to add this to your new baby registry! Buy it on Amazon: Bamboobies Brahhh: in black or white. OR Bamboobies Brahhh with Flower Accent in Black or Blackberry. (BONUS: Vmail in the tag from your Brahhh and get a free pair of Bamboobies nursing pads!)

NuRoo Nursing Scarf

No matter what your nursing style is - out in the open, stealthy or totally covered, you will want a nursing scarf. I'm fairly modest so with my first baby I had a couple traditional style nursing covers. But the downside of summer babies is those things get HOT. Also? They scream "Hey, I'm over here nursing a baby!" - which I personally found awkward. 

In addition to being way cuter and more subtle than your standard nursing cover, this lightweight scarf from NuRoo doesn't take up space in your bag because you can wear it (and look cute!). The snaps let you configure it a few different ways - which makes it extra adaptable for you and your nursing style. You can use it to totally cover yourself and baby, to cover just the top of your breast above baby's head or as an on-the-go light blanket for your little one. Buy it online from Amazon: Nuroo Nursing Scarf.

Belly Bandit

When I had my first baby I felt like my organs never quite went back to where they belonged. After Baby #1 was born, I used a generic belly compression belt for a couple weeks. I felt like it was helping but it was itchy and uncomfortable so after two weeks I stopped using it. I felt like my belly was smushy and round in the wrong places as a result.

This time around, I wore a Belly Bandit during the postpartum period and it has made a HUGE difference. It gave me great abdominal and back support in addition to helping my uterus contract back to where it belonged. Unlike the generic belt I used with my first baby, the Belly Bandit is comfortable and not at all itchy. I feel like it's made a huge difference in my recovery - including helping my abdominal muscles feel supported. Unlike last time, I don't feel like my organs migrated to the wrong spots leaving me droopy and lumpy looking.

Belly Bandit recommends wearing it around the clock for 6-8 weeks for maximum benefit. I even wear it while sleeping. I pretty much just take it off to shower or to wash it! They have several versions of the Belly Bandit available on their website including two eco-friendly ones: the Bamboo Belly Bandit and Organic by Rosie Pope Belly Bandit. Buy it online from the Belly Bandit website or on Amazon.

NuRoo Pocket
I consider myself a bit of a baby carrier junky. I have several different styles of carrier that I've either tried or owned with my first son so I thought I knew what I wanted to use with Baby #2 - until I tried the NuRoo Pocket and fell in love. The style of this carrier is unlike any I've ever seen - it's a shirt with a pocket and belt to keep baby secure. It is perfect for practicing skin-to-skin (AKA Kangaroo Care) with your baby or for throwing on over your nursing tank or other lightweight top when you are out and about. It has an access hole for baby's foot or wires and cables if needed (which came in handy for me when my son had to use a "glow worm blanket" - I just snaked the cable through the hole and could still wear him skin to skin with me). And I forgot to mention - it is a bazillion times easier to put on than a wrap style carrier. This is how you do it:
I love that it's fool proof. There is no need to worry about tucking baby's legs in right, wrap spread width, tightness, ties - all the things that have a learning curve for new moms with wrap style carriers. You can put it on right the first time - fresh out of the package. If you buy the new mom in your life anything, buy her a NuRoo Pocket. It's available in both teal and black. Buy it online via Amazon: NuRoo Pocket Skin to Skin Baby Carrier

Itzbeen Pocket Nanny

When K (my first baby) was born, my cousin gave me an Itzbeen Pocket Nanny - which in our house we call "the baby timer." This thing is invaluable for helping new parents stay on top of baby care in the early sleep deprived days. Just press the corresponding button when you change a diaper or feed and it will show you on the display how long it has been since that activity happened. There's been multiple times where I swear I JUST finished feeding the baby so there is no way my fussy baby is hungry only to look at the Itzbeen and realize that's it's been two hours so it really is time to eat again.

You can also set it to have an alarm (either a silent blinking red button OR both a blinking light and a beeper) for any or all of the four task buttons. It tells you what time it is, which side you last nursed on, has a back light and a flashlight for checking Baby in the middle of the night. Unlike a timer ap on your phone, the Itzbeen just stays with the baby so swapping parents or care providers is easy and everyone can be on the same page. We used this well into toddlerhood for timing things like naps and to set potty reminder alarms during potty learning (he loved pushing the button to reset the time when he had potty success, too!) so it's had quite a bit of use! We dug it back out of hibernation for Baby A so it's gotten great mileage and remains reliable more than 4 years later! Buy it online via Amazon: Itzbeen Pocket Nanny Baby Care Timer

I hope you found this guide useful as you try and decide which items to register for as a new parent or which things would make great gifts for soon-to-be parents in your life! 

Did I miss something? Tell me about your postpartum must haves in the comments below!

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  1. What a great roundup, Carissa! I wish I had known about many of these.

  2. These are great! The only thing I might add is cloth postpartum pads! I'd love a giveaway for those!


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