I am a mother of two boys under 2. My older son is 21 months and my younger son is 5 months. They are 16 months apart. I know how stressful bring a new baby into the world can be and there are likely things that second time (or third time ect) moms will forget. And then there will be things that first time moms don’t even think about! I know I didn’t think about some of the stuff that I would need. Remember that each pregnancy, labor, recovery and baby are different so there most likely will be difference in opinions, experiences and so on.
First things first. Don’t forget to fill out some of the paper work that the hospital requires. Make sure you pre-register (if your hospital allows that). There is nothing worse than being in labor and having to sit in the receptionist area giving them all of your personal information. Have you ever had a contraction while trying to give somebody your address or insurance information? Also, fill out all the information you can with regards to the birth certificate. The last thing you want to do is fill out paperwork right after you just gave birth. There will be a woman who comes around and will expect you to have that filled out.
Okay, now onto the fun stuff.
Pack a hospital bag
Don’t forget to pack stuff for your husband. He will need stuff too!
- Extra clothes: With my first I never changed my clothes until I went home, because I was in so much pain I couldn’t move. But, I was happy I packed extra clothes to be able to go home in. Remember you will not automatically go back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Make sure you keep that in mind so you don’t pack your skinny jeans. I packed sweat pants and one of my husbands T’shirts. However, some women choose to pack their maternity clothes. It’s up to you.
- Spandex/Comfortable clothing to labor in: I wore spandex and a sports bra my entire delivery until the very end. I felt a lot more comfortable in those clothes then just wearing the gown or going commando.
- Hygiene products: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo + conditioner (I never took a shower because I couldn’t stand up long enough, but it’s nice to have), face pads/ face wash (I wish I would have had some astringent face wipes so that I could clean my face from all the oil. I couldn’t stand up so I couldn’t wash my face, so my face broke out like no other).
- Baby Book: We brought our baby book so we could put my son’s foot prints and hand prints in the book. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t lose any of the keep sacks (i.e. hospital bands)
- Baby take home outfits: Most hospitals do not allow babies to be in their own unique outfits until they go home. The baby will get a universal shirt or onesie plus a hat that he will wear during your hospital stay. However, you will want your baby to wear something else for when they go home. My husband and I made the mistake of packing a newborn outfit, but my baby weighed 10 pounds. So my son didn’t quite fit. We are planning on a newborn outfit as well as a 0-3 month outfit this time around. Don’t forget to pack socks and a hat for them (even if it’s a little warm outside). You have to remember they have been in a Jacuzzi the last 9 months of their life.
- Don’t forget your camera’s and chargers! Oh and that reminds me, your phone charger too! There is a lot of weight time when it comes to labor and so it would be nice to have your phone with you.
- Nursing bra: For me, I didn’t wear a nursing bra. I just wore a sports bra, but some women would prefer having a nursing bra to make feeding their baby easier. However, for most women who are learning how to breast feed you will not want to wear a cover or even a bra. Nursing is no joke.
- Make up: Some moms want to look cute for all of the pictures that will be taken during this amazing time. So don’t forget your make up if you know you’re going to be self conscious about your appearance.
- Movies/tv shows: Some people have incredibly quick labors and there is no time to relax and watch some shows. For me, having “The Office” in the background was a life saver. I got an epidural and it quickly wore off. I loved having the familiar tv show to help distract me from each contraction.
Create Stations for Your Home
Postpartum Station: Keep this Station in a Bathroom that you feel comfortable in:
- Freezer Postpartum Pads: Make sure you make these in advance. Buy ultra maxi-pads (wing or no wings, it’s up to you), witch hazel and aloe vera. You’ll want to rub aloe vera all over the pad and pour some of the witch hazel over the pad. Once this is complete, tape the pad back up. I made about 30 of them initially and put them in the freezer. You will thank me later.
- Sitz Baths: Most hospitals will provide a spray bottle for you, but if not you need to buy one (it would not hurt to call the hospital and ask in advance). This was my favorite thing after giving birth. Essentially its just a spray bottle that you fill with warm water and spray on yourself to clean everything. You will not be able to “wipe” for a good 4-5 weeks and so this will take it’s place.
- Tucks Pads: Buy these!! Even if they are a little expensive you will love them. When you are not using your freezer pads you will want to place these all over your pad.
- Hemorrhoid Cream: I had some sever3 hemorrhoids with my son. Did I mention he was 10 pounds? He really hurt me! And pushing for that long and having that big of baby there are going to be consequences. Not only with your vaginal area. Sorry ladies, this is the truth. Sometimes my hemorrhoids hurt worse then my incision.
- Dermoplast Healing Spray: The hospital gave me a little bottle of spray that numbs and heals. It was amazing, until it ran out the second day I was home. I sent my husband to just get some generic spray from Walgreens. The stuff he brought back was exactly what I asked for, but was not what I needed. The spray would sting so bad I would cry! Then after about 5 minutes of stinging it would finally numb. This time around I thought there had to be another solution. So I did my research and Dermoplast has been the best one I have seen and is made for new mothers. I just ordered some online!
- Disposable underwear: The hospital will provide some mesh underwear (well at least mine did) but they only gave me a few pairs. You will bleed for about 6 weeks (sometimes more) and so you might want to purchase some comfy underwear you don’t mind throwing away afterwards.
Nursing Station: Keep this in a place that you know you will be doing the majority of your nursing
- Breast Pump: I exclusively pumped for my child. Apparently my son was tongue tied and they didn’t catch it until he was about 6 months old. By that time there was no way that I was going to be able to teach him how to latch. If your child is having difficulties latching make sure you go to nursing classes and check to see if they are tongue tied. Pumping is seriously the worst and you are more susceptible to losing sleep and getting mastitis. Even if your child does latch though, there will be times in which you will want to pump to a) increase milk supply b) provide milk for a babysitter.
- Water Bottle: I cannot express enough how important water is while breastfeeding! Drinking plenty of water will be the difference between providing enough milk for your child and drying up. I had to drink more water breastfeeding then while I was pregnant, but I produced enough for the neighborhood. In fact I fed another child with all of the extra milk I had. In the first couple of weeks while nursing you might catch yourself getting light headed. Make sure you are drinking while you are nursing.
- Snacks: Same thing as water. Make sure you are snacking while you are nursing. Nursing burns about 300 calories. That’s like exercising! I knew I would get nauseous when I was nursing because it took so much out of me! This time around I am keeping trail mix and granola bars in my nursing station.
- Pain Medication: One thing that they don’t tell you is how much nursing hurts. Yes, your nipples hurt, but did you know that when you nurse your uterus will contract?! My contractions while nursing were worse then labor. I remember crying while my son would nurse or while I pumped.
- Nursing Pillow: The only times that my son would ever nurse were when he was laying on a nursing pillow. I bought a really nice one from a second hand store. It looked new and it had adorable owls on it. I spent about $35 on the pillow. There were cheaper ones, but I loved how comfy it was. I wanted to make sure that we bought one that would provide both my son and I the comfort that we needed. The pillow allowed me to be hands free and he seemed to stay in the same position which is really important when you’re learning how to nurse.
- Nursing Pads: When my milk came in it was miserable. I woke up in a puddle of milk. I leaked through my shirt, all the blankets and the mattress was stained (remember: I produced more than normal women). I had a whole bunch of reusable clothe nursing pads that I would wear, but they did nothing for me. I would leak through the triple layer within a matter of minutes. I knew it wasn’t as financially smart, but we had to go buy disposable nursing pads and it was the best thing ever. I would have to throw them away every hour or so for the first two months because I leaked constantly. You have to be careful with these though. Make sure you are changing them regularly (even if you don’t produce a lot) because it is a hygiene product. If you don’t throw them away then you can get nipple infections and thrush. I know several women who can’t use disposable nursing pads, because their nipples would itch too bad with them. Thankfully I didn’t have this problem. I did have problems with mastitis, but that was because I produced too much and my pump wasn’t able to get all of the thumps out like a baby can naturally do.
- TOWELS!! I had one towel that I had to put on my son and then another to put under the breast I wasn’t nursing from, because once your child latches your opposite breast WILL LEAK!! If you are not careful then your child will be soaked. When I would pump I would always have a towel on my lap so when I took off the suctions the milk wouldn’t soak my legs.
Diaper Changing Station: Wherever is the most convenient. Most first time moms think they are going to have a diaper changing station all organized in the baby room with a changing table. Most of the time your “diaper changing table” is the living room floor.
- Diapers: This one seems obvious right?! I cannot tell you how many times we have taken off my son’s diaper and then realize that there are no more diapers in his diaper station. Then one of us had to run back to his room as quickly as possible (mostly resulting in him peeing all over the floor).
- Wipes and Clothe Wipes: My son couldn’t use regular wipes until about 3 months, so we had to use clothe wipes. We just bought a huge pack of white dish clothes from Costco and used those. A lot of babies have a tough time adapting to the regular wipes, so many parents have to use clothe wipes for awhile.
- Diaper Rash Cream: This is all mother preference. My husband and I tried a couple of creams until we got a free sample of Desitin in the mail. We fell in love and use nothing else! It gets rid of the rash within the first try.
- Vaseline: Okay, mom of boys. If you are going to have a boy and you plan on getting a circumcision you will NEED this! After the procedure your little boys penis will bleed and will need protection. They will have you change his gauze pad after every pee, whip Vaseline all over the gauze and put it back on. You will NEED Vaseline in your little diaper changing station, because you have to put it on for a month or so after the little procedure.
- TOWELS!: Hey once again mom of boys! Your little guy is seriously waiting for you to take off his diaper to see how far he can pee. You need to have towels handy in case he beats you to another diaper. Once you get a little bit better hang of it you can move quick enough to beat him. However, when you have to do the whole gauze and Vaseline thing, you don’t stand a chance.
- Plastic Changing Mat: These little people can’t control their bowels. If you make it to 6 months without getting pooped on mid-change, I applaud you! As they get older you won’t need the plastic mat, but for those first couple of months its an essential piece of equipment.
- Extra Clothes: You will want extra clothes for you LO in case the inevitable happens and he pukes everywhere (or worse!).
- Inflatable Doughnut Seat: I was not provided one of these with my son, nor did I think about ever getting one with my first. My mother-in-law mentioned that she got one with her children and she took it with her everywhere. I just bought one for my next baby. Having a baby is quite horrible, have you ever tried to sit down when you have an hour worth of stitches in your lady bits? Yeah…the doughnut seemed necessary this time around.
- Plastic Mats on Bed: After you have just given birth you will bleed for around 6-8 weeks. You will also be waking up several times a night to tend to your new little one. With all of this there is a possibility that you will leak through your clothes (gross I know), but you have to prepare so you don’t ruin your mattress. Put plastic pads or something down to protect your mattress.
- Comfy Bra: I couldn’t wear any under-wire bras for the first six months of my son’s life. I also couldn’t wear any tight clothing. When you wear tight stuff over your breast you will get lumps and this can lead to mastitis. Make sure you find a bra that fits well so that you don’t have to worry about getting lumps.
- Hot Rice Pad: I had to put a hot rice pad over my breast to keep the milk from getting lumps. I had to make sure that I wasn’t getting lumps, because lumps can lead to serious problems.
Of course this all is my own personal experience. There will be things that you notice you don’t need/want and there will be things that you find work differently for you. Some women have no problems with leaking through their clothes and have no problem nursing at all! Some women are pros at recovering and go to work three days after giving birth. Every woman is so different and every labor is different. You have to find what works for you, but this is what worked for me.