prepping to care for yourself

One of the things I completely didn’t think about while pregnant is the extreme change that MY body was going to go through when I gave birth. I was more then ready, willing, able, and capable to care for a newborn baby – but what about me. One of the hardest things I discovered post baby is that I really needed someone to take care of ME too. Thankfully I had a wonderful husband, mother and tons of other friends and family to help. I was stubborn though, I tried to do too much, too soon. I wanted to be the best mom possible (who doesn’t?!) and didn’t want to need someone, but I quickly discovered that I did. I have a few friends who are expecting babies soon so I want them and all soon-to-be moms realize that the phrase “it takes a village” is very true, and that you should trust in your village! Here are a bunch of random things that I learned from experience, hope they are helpful!

What to bring to the hospital (there are plenty of amazing lists and I won’t begin to attempt to copy but here are a few things I think are most important):

  • Slippers/warm fuzzy socks/flip flops – hospital floors = yuck! and cold!
  • Notebook and pen (or be prepared with an app on your phone to use to keep track of everything like feedings and diapers and medication for yourself, there are a lot of things that are based on a schedule and it’s very hard to keep track of!)
  • An old but big and fluffy towel from home; your own shampoo & conditioner & bodywash – the hospital grade is usually terrible (Thanks Emily)
  • Your own pillow!!! (bright/patterned pillow case so they don’t try to clean it and it will be lost forever)  I brought an airplane/neck pillow too because you’re doing a lot of upright sitting during labor and recovery. I also brought the boppy pillow which I found very helpful for breastfeeding but also for tentative/nervous guests (and Dads!) visiting you and holding the baby for the first time.  (Thanks Emily)
  • You don’t necessarily need to bring this with you but perhaps prepare a pile of your favorite maternity clothes for you to wear the first few days post partum. If you have a c-section someone can bring them into you – since you are there for 3-4 days after a c-section you will have more visitors and more photos taken in the hospital – call me vain but I wanted to be in normal clothes asap. I understand if you are only in the hospital for 2 days then you don’t need it and can wear the hospital gown, but by day 3 or 4 I wanted to appear somewhat normal.

What to buy from the drugstore so you don’t have to send your husband out searching to CVS at midnight after you get home from the hospital and there isn’t a plethora of items at your disposal (didn’t happen to me, but did happen to my poor brother, he is still traumatized I think).

  • PADS. Big, huge, large, with wings. And smaller thinner ones and then panty liners too. It goes on for weeks. Literally. Yuck.
  • Dermoblast*
  • Tucks pads*
  • Witch hazel*
  • Colace – it’s a stool softener – gross but so needed – you can take before delivery too to get your body ready
  • Nursing Pads**
  • Lanolin – nipple cream**

*Due to my c-section I didnt really need to use these things and therefore can’t explain too much, but they are to help if there is tearing/irritation “down there” – eek. If you don’t have a friend to talk to about it – ask me! Or ask a nurse after delivery – they are there to help!!

**If you plan to breastfeed you’ll want these things to help your body adjust.

Things to steal/take from the hospital

  • Everything that isn’t tied down – as stated above – you/your insurance paid for everything so TAKE it. diapers, wipes, formula, pads, swaddle blankets, hats, disposable underwear, bring an extra bag for it all!
  • You will also get a spray bottle thing from the hospital – to spray instead of wipe! oh yeah I went there – ask for two if you have two bathrooms!

Other things to buy for you:

  • at least one size up (two if you know you are going to have a c-section) yoga pants from old navy – you will still look / feel pregnant in the stomach area for a few weeks – accept it, wear the yoga pants and move on
  • at least one size up (two if you know you are going to have a c-section) (just make sure they are big and loose and comfortable!) – hanes cotton underwear – go to Target and buy a 10 pack – it’s all you will want to wear for a few weeks – then you will want to toss them!

With all that said – try to remember that you really have been through a traumatic experience. If it is an eight hour or 48 hour experience your body deserves a rest. Take the first two weeks and seriously recover. Make sure you have someone to help you pretty much 24/7. Your husband, your mother, sister, friend – ask for help and ask now. Two full weeks. If you do that – you will feel SO much better. Sleep. Eat a lot and eat whatever you want. (Speaking of eating – if people say that they want to bring you food, say thank you and request a specific day so that people don’t bring it all at once!! We had so much food for the first week, then week two we had nothing!) I did NOT do this. When my husband went back to work at day 9 I thought I could and wanted to do it on my own. I regret it. I never felt too terribly overwhelmed because many people stopped by often (my mom especially) but looking back I wish I had relaxed and let people help me. I had many people who wanted to be there for me but I was being too prideful. Let it go. You just had a baby. You brought life into this world (go YOU!) – now give yourself some time to rest and recover so you can be the best mom to your beautiful baby.

Do you have anything to add?

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “prepping to care for yourself

  1. So so sooo glad you posted this! So many tips I’ll be sure to take with me before/after delivery.
    I’m so glad my husband will be able to take a week off work to stay home and help me. Like you said, you need to recover!

  2. MK

    I think this is a great list. The only other thing I ALWAYS add to everyone’s list is make sure to bring stuff to the hospital for your significant other…warm clothes (the hospitals are always cold in my opinion)…maybe a comfy blanket and pillow since their sleeping arrangements aren’t too comfortable, ibuprofen because the hospital can’t give them anything and the lack of sleep/stress tends to bring on headaches in my experience and snacks!

    I totally agree about all the once you’re home from the hospital stuff. I would recommend to anyone with a c-section to have someone bring pretty much everything you need on ONE level of the house. You will feel good enough to go up the stairs and then you’ll be sorry because you overdid it.

    Lastly, don’t be afraid to turn away or postpone visitors. It’s your time to RECOVER, bond with baby, and it’s near impossible to get any type of routine down when you have a revolving front door!

    • Yes! On the c-section and one level thing — I had a soft bag that I brought up and down the stairs in the morning and evening that would hold everything I needed so I could put it over my shoulder and carry the baby safely. It held all the essentials: water bottle, nipple shield (used for BFing), cell phone, notebook & pen, camera, etc!

  3. Debbie

    This is a great list of suggestions! I’m not pregnant (and still have over a year before we want to start trying) but I’ll definitely come back to this list when the time comes!

  4. This is one of the most helpful posts EVER. Thank you!

  5. Excellent list! The notepad is great to keep track of gifts you receive, as well. I also wanted my makeup…we had tons of visitors and I wanted to look halfway decent. And your camera!!

  6. This is seriously SO helpful – I’m making a list of things to order right now!

    • I think ordering online for the drugstore stuff is smart because I wandered around CVS trying to find it and was like a teenager buying condoms because I was embarrassed to ask the pharmacist! Also you can start your diapers.com account early because they have soap.com!

  7. I bought meal replacement drinks before I had my son and they were great for my recovery. My husband would bring me one in the morning so I could drink it before I got out of bed. I was usually drained/starving after all the night feeds so it was a great pick me up. I’d also drink when my hands were full with the baby and I didn’t have time for a proper meal.

    I would also recommend sports nursing bras. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to wear a bra to bed. But regular bras are often too tight/uncomfortable. I found sports bra style nursing bras and they were perfect for nighttime feeds. I also bought nursing camis that I wore with pj pants. Easy access at 3am is key!

  8. I love this list. My husband is legally blind so my MIL stayed with us off and on for 4 weeks. I felt guilty, but looking back I am so greatful. She did everything, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc… I am lucky that I love my MIL so it was the best thing ever.

    To add to the hospital, we were in 3 times, 1 post-baby and we brought our own pillows it really made me more comfortable.

    If you deliver naturally, take and use the numbing spray they give you. I asked the nurses and they gave me extra cans. I couldn’t find it in any drugstore, but it was 100x better than the tucks and witch hazel. Also, bring home the shitz bath stuff, it’s gross but it helps any areas that were torn feel better.

    For the pads, I felt that store bought ones irritated torn areas, get the soft ones from the hospital, again ask for extra ones, the nice nurses will give them to you. I also took that mesh underwear and the pads that they put under sheets in case of leeking. All necesary at home.

    Fill your script if the doctor gives you one, usually a higher dosage of motrin and take it, don’t wait until it hurts too much.

    I am sure I have much more, but that’s all I can think of now 🙂

  9. Amy

    So, I’m a million years late on commenting (I am constantly playing catch up in Google Reader, it feels like!) but this post was so super helpful. Bookmarking for future reference! 🙂

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