When you’re about to have a baby, it seems that everyone has advise on what said baby needs to survive in the outside world. However, no one really talks about what the mommy will need to survive those first months of milky messes, dehydration, sleep depravation, and wardrobe malfunctions.
I managed to make it, as did so many of my friends before me, but as I watch my other friends who are becoming new moms struggle to perfect both their registries and homes in anticipation of their new arrival, I’ve decided to put a little list of mommy must-haves together. This is for you and your baby, because with the knowledge of these things in advance of having the baby, you will hopefully be a little more prepared, and you’ll be able to focus more on the importance of that new little lover. The list isn’t long, but I hope it’s helpful!
1. Water… all the time. WATER.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
This was my number 1, most adored accessory (besides my new baby, of course). Brita’s individual water filtration system. I was/am a breastfeeder, which means that hydration is/was key for me to produce enough milk to nourish my baby. The biggest cause in my milk supply dips were typically related to how much water I was drinking. This thing saved me. You can fill it up anywhere and unlike a normal reusable water bottle, it doesn’t matter where the water comes from, it’s super easy to clean. It’s available at Target, or on Amazon. The replacement filters are available at either retailer as well. Super easy. No excuse to not be hydrated! I still use mine and love it.
2. Nursing Tanks
Keep ‘em Comfy… and Available
If you’re going to be a breastfeeding mama, you’re likely going to be living in a nursing bra of some sort for the next year or so. I wish I’d have been prepared for this. You will need to have access to your boobs ALL OF THE TIME, and sometimes at the worst time, plus your old sexy bras aren’t going to fit for a while. I found that the best and easiest way to be able to nurse in public (and even at home, in mixed company) was to wear a nursing tank under every other shirt I wore. Here’s the reason; when you have to nurse and you don’t want to be overly exposed on top, or show off your awesome new “tiger striped” (or flabby) belly on the bottom, the tank covers your tummy, and when worn underneath another shirt, you can lift the top layer up, and lower just the top part of the tank to feed your babe, allowing you to comfortable hide part of your breast with the top shirt, while totally accommodating your baby. I also found this extremely helpful when the weather was hot and the Hooter Hider was just too sweaty and clunky. I mean, don’t get me wrong. The hooter hider was awesome at first, but as soon as my baby decided that he didn’t like having fabric over his face, and could reach out and pull, there was no point. Buy nursing tanks. You will thank me.
Scoop Neck or Low Cut Tops/Comfy Bottoms
When we got home from the hospital, I struggled with not having a thing to wear, once the baby was out of my belly and in my arms. My very wrongfully dressed arms. I came home with a baby (and what looked like a 6 month pregnant, postpartum belly) and realized that it was too cold to wear tank tops middle of winter (in Los Angeles, but still). All of my long sleeve shirts were too high necked and I had a hard time feeding the baby without lifting my shirt and starting at my belly full of swollen tissue and bloat. I had to cut the necks off of long sleeved shirts, so that I had easy access to the “feeding station”, and so that the middle-of-the-night feedings weren’t a total cluster necessitating a clumsy, sleepy-eyed, wardrobe change. If you’re a winter birther, get some low necked tee’s or thermals, so you can stay warm. If you’re a summer mama, who cares. Live nekkid (or in cami’s). Additionally, your pre-preg pants will be too tight for a while, and you’ll be wearing your maternity jeans for longer than you probably expected as well. Make sure to be well stocked on comfy sweats (not tight pants right at first, or you’ll expose your fancy new under garments) or lounge/pajama pants. Shirts with a low neckline are also optimal for feeding baby when you’re home, or don’t care about exposure. Camisoles and V-neck T’s become a must.
Because the kind you’re used to, just aren’t going to work for postpartum things. Thankfully, my older sister, Nadia (mother of 3), knew what I would need and made sure I had them on hand. She’s also supplied me with massage oils and other fun recovery items, and that was really great of her, but the big ol’ granny pants? Those saved me.
Nursing Pads/Mattress Pads/Washable Surface Pads
Most people know about nursing pads, but make sure you have a solid, waterproof (or milk proof) mattress pad on your bed as well. Some people (not mentioning names) can have REALLY high milk supplies in the early months and end up having to wash their sheets almost daily… Or just living in what feels like purgatory for a while, because you just can’t keep up with all that laundry, so you sleep in old milk. We co-slept and my babe would drool milk all night long, in addition to the spouts I found attached to my body, that had a mind of their own. I ended up cutting an old mattress pad up, sewing a sheet onto it, and creating my own “waterproof sheet”, which resembled a washable puppy pee pad. I put it on top of my regular bed sheets, and the baby and I just slept on that. It’s much easier to toss in with other laundry, than it was to strip the bed everyday. I wish I’d have made it in advance, but then again, I probably wouldn’t have been so leaky if that were the case (Murphy’s Law loves me). Anyway, “water stains” automatically void your bed’s warrantee, so if that’s a thing for you and you want to have the ability to make a claim on your bed one day, should you develop a good “taco” in the middle from all the snuggling, KEEP IT SAFE.
A Flexible Mindset
Breastfeeding does not burn calories for everyone in the same way. Not everyone who breastfeeds (or exclusively pumps) will loose their baby weight by doing so. This is a fact. If you’re lucky enough to get back into your old clothes in the first few months of your baby’s life, god love ya. I’m still working on that 16 months later. Some of us just hold on to weight differently. I’m convinced that all of the crash dieting I did in my 20’s taught my body to hold on to every calorie it could, because it needed to feed someone else. It’s primal survival for your infant. Anyway, all of this to say, be flexible if things don’t go as you expect. It’s ok! Your baby needs your body to produce milk, not to lose weight. For me, every attempt at exercise or calorie cutting, negatively impacted my supply almost immediately. Not the case for everyone, but this was the case for me and that’s ok.
If you had something that was imperative to your early motherhood survival, leave it in the comments!