Must-have items for after birth

Although birth is unpredictable (no matter how well informed and seemingly “prepared” you are), there are a few things, besides the basics (baby clothes, diapers, bath thermometer, bottles and so on), that you can put together in case you need them after the baby’s arrival.

Useful things to have ready for after the baby is born

List of useful things for the mother

Abdominal belt or Bengkung belly bind

These are great to keep new mothers warm, help the abdominal muscles and organs back into optimal place, and give your lower back an extra support. Check out videos online to learn how to wrap your belly.

Breast pump

To express milk regularly (and maintain a constant supply) or in case you have an oversupply. Here in Switzerland you can rent them at the pharmacy and return them when you have weaned your baby.

Breastfeeding bra

Make things as practical as possible. Comfort before style wins!

Breastfeeding pillow

A wonderful way to keep your spine upright, soothe your neck and shoulders and relax during breastfeeding.

Haemorrhoidal cream

Haemorrhoids after childbirth are common and painful. Keep a tube handy just in case.

Ibuprofen

Good for pain and inflammation, always consult with your doctor beforehand how much and how often to take.

Lanolin

This natural wax from sheep is not only great for sore or cracked nipples, also for dry lips. Apply just after breastfeeding your baby and wipe off with a towel before breastfeeding again. Careful, in some cases it can cause an allergic reaction.

Nettle tea

Nettle (Urtica dioica) is rich in iron and a natural remedy for anaemia.

Nursing pads

To prevent lactating breasts from staining your clothes.

Sanitary pads

For the first few weeks after delivery, during which the uterus will pass blood called lochia.

Sitz baths

To clean wounds and help the pelvic floor heal.

Stool softener

The first visit to the toilet after childbirth (even if you’ve had a caesarean section) can be challenging. Keep it in your medicine cabinet to help things go smoothly.

List of useful things for the baby

Diaper rash cream

To protect and help diaper zone heal faster.

Digital thermometer

Safer and more practical than mercury thermometers.

Saline solution

To relieve nasal congestion.

Vitamin D

Most newborns need and extra supply of vitamin D. Consult with the paediatrician dosage and frequency.

Teething gel

This may help your baby (and you) go through this sometimes very painful stage.

In general

– Organise a meal train for the first three weeks: ask family members, friends and neighbours when they offer to help you (check www.mealtrain.com)

– Have a network of health care providers and therapists visible.

– Choose rest over exercise: it will help you heal and recover much faster.

– Keep yourself warm: wear warm clothes and socks, take herbal baths, try vaginal steams, use a hot water bottle, drink herbal teas.

– Adopt a balanced, nutritious and fibre-rich diet.

– Do some gentle breath work (avoid Pranayama practices like Kapalbhati and Bhastrika), practice meditation or mindfulness while walking or breastfeeding.

– Verbalize what you need: people around you might have the best intentions but if you don’t express clearly what you need or want it can quickly lead to misunderstandings and resentment.

– Accept help: remember that Wonder Woman is a fictional character.

If you want to reduce postnatal overwhelm and create a plan that will make it easier to deal with the challenges that can arise in early motherhood, download my Postpartum Plan!

***Always consult with a medical professional (doctor and/or midwife) before trying anything new***

Bibliography:

Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. Atria Books, New York: 1993

Johnson, Kimberly Ann. The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality. Shambala Publications, Boulder: 2017