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what do mums need after birth?(42 Posts)
Hi, I can find lots of articles/advice on what to get for your new baby (and what to put in your hospital bag) but what will I need ie for me? Sanitary towels, breastfeeding bras, nipple cream, all those kind of things...? And some tips on how to make me feel a little bit human and a teeny bit sane (if that's possible with a newborn). Obviously, I'm a first time mum and I don't really know what happens to my body after birth. Timeframes would be appreciate too. Thanks xx
Disposable knickers, breast pads, nipple cream, Epsom salts (for bathing your bits), breastfeeding tops and bras (if breastfeeding), maternity towels (like sanitary towels but more hard core!), breastfeeding pillow, a light dressing gown, open front nightdresses. Those were the practical essentials that I needed pretty much straight away after having my lo. In terms of what made me feel more 'human' my mum painting my toenails while I breastfed gave me a boost, so did the chance to have a nice shower, wash my hair and put on a bit of makeup oh and a celebratory glass of champagne!
As well as the (stupidly big) post partum sanitary towels you will need stupidly big, cheap knickers that you won’t mind binning! I never BF so I can’t advise on that but you will definitely need breast pads as well. As the things you’ve mentioned.
In terms of “feeling human” - my only advise is to not put pressure on yourself. Give yourself time to find your feet in that weird little bubble you’ll find yourself in then do what you can when you can. The best advice that was given to me was to go out every day - even if it was only for a pint of milk, it helps normalise things when you’re ready.
I had a caesarean so I can only tell you what happened to my body if it helps at all - I bled fairly heavily for a week which progressively got lighter for another two. Day 4, my milk came and my boobs felt like sacks of golf balls and, incidentally, this is when the baby blues set in for me (dont hide it - unleash it on DP and HV) and this lasted about 8 days.
All of the above and if BF lots of food quick to hand.
Be prepared for the bleeding. The first few days are so heavy and I was surprised how much bright red blood there was! I used femfresh which helped me feel a bit fresher and had plenty showers. That really helped me feel human.
Make sure you have some nice snacks in for when you get home. Nice biscuits, crisps, nuts, cereal bars... easy to eat with one hand!! A good reusable water bottle and flask are good too. You'll need yo drink plenty if you're breast feeding and even if not you'll want to keep your fluids up as it makes it less stingy to pee and helps with the bowels!!
I still wore maternity leggings after as they were easy to throw on but still looked reasonable for all the visitors!
Get some good books, boxsets and movies to pass the time when you're feeding. My kindle gets lots of use during night feeds!!
Try and get out every day when you're ready. The fresh air will do you and baby the world of good, even if you just manage a 10 minute wander up the road.
A shower, a sleep, sweet tea & toast, massive cotton knickers instead of disposable, paracetamol for when milk comes in,wet wipes instead of loo roll, dry shampoo.
Oh yeah baby blues! Mine started when my milk came in too. I cried for 3 days straight. But I wasn't sad. Just overwhelmed. Let it out, tell people how you feel. It's totally normal and it will pass!
Sugar. You will be STARVING after using all that energy giving birth and it needs replacing so pack some biscuits/cereal bars and if they offer you jammy toast take it.
Somehow I was totally unaware that my tummy would still be huge after giving birth, so the nightshirts id taken to wear in hospital wouldn't actually do up 🤦♀️
Witch hazel on your maternity pads is supposed to help with healing. I think everything else has been mentioned already.
- your maternity notes
- music for the Labour / birth
- large pants
- nursing bras / tops
- nipple cream
- PJs / nightdress
- slippers or flip flops
- outfit to go home in (I took a loose fitting jersey dress, if you need a c sec you probably don’t want waistbands rubbing near the stitches.. same applies to pyjamas
- Sweets, chocolate, iced buns or something similar, you’ll be ravenous after
- Drinks if you have preferred ones
- toiletries including shampoo etc, the first shower after a long Labour is just amazing, makes you feel human again
- make up if you wear it, I made myself look decent as soon as I woke up from first sleep, did my hair and put on some mascara. I felt much better.
When you get home:
Nothing special I don’t think. Just lots of cake and biscuits!
If you like tea get a camping mug. Stops spills and it might still be hot by the time you actually have time to drink it.
Also pajamas that look enough like cloths that people won't notice your still wearing them when they visit at at 2.30pm in the first few weeks
Oh and top tip... a sports top water bottle that you can use to sluice yourself when you wee or shower, it’s quite sore for a couple of days so cold water really eases any stinging or pain.
A fridge full of m&s convenience food is a help.
I needed lots more maternity pads than I thought, and lots of paracetamol and ibuprofen because I tore. I was popping pills every few hours for the first week or so, until I started to heal. Also, lactulose - it's very normal to be constipated and straining won't help you with recovering, either from any tearing or piles (I had both, deep joy).
Something nice to wear which allows boob access (if bf-ing) - and don't be alarmed if that's your maternity clothes. Of course some women ping straight back into their old clothes but it's perfectly normal not to do so - feeling happy in your clothes helps. There is a picture of me grinning away because I was wearing jeans again... albeit maternity jeans, which had just been too uncomfortable at the end of my pregnancy
Lansinoh nipple cream and multimam compresses are the absolute dogs if bf-ing.
The first few days are a bit of a blur for me but I remember that I felt a bit like I'd been pummelled - just generally a bit battered and bruised. It passed after a few weeks and I started to feel better (albeit knackered) but I did feel rough at the start. Bear in mind that I had a big baby (9lbs plus) and a shit end to my pregnancy (awful PGP) - other women I know bounced back far faster. Everyone is different Just listen to your body and allow yourself as much time as you need to heal - ignore anyone huffing and puffing about now they were out resurfacing the drive half an hour after giving birth to quintuplets, or similar...
A squeezey water bottle. Every time you go for a pee after giving birth fill it up with Luke warm water and squirt it (gently) as you go, it sort of dilutes the wee and washes the area, gently (did I say gently!)
Sorry if this makes no sense to you or anyone else but I was very grateful for my water bottle with a squirty lid after giving birth.
One thing no one told me about was the contractions in the days after giving birth. I think it's your womb shrinking back or something like that and is like bad period pains.
I had a massive episiotomy and struggled to sit properly after...until my mum arrived with one of those inflatable piles ring cushions. ABSOLUTELY GAME CHANGER!
Lots of sleep and rest and newborn baby cuddles.
A person/people who collects all your food for you from the shops and brings it to your bed for you.
Healthy food and probiotics/macas powder.
Lots and lots of organic pads. The normal ones were far to irritating for me after birth, could only handle the super cushioney organic ones lol
I found that ultra night time sanitary pads were better than maternity pads. Bring more towels to the hospital than you'll think you need - I found it hard to dry myself and keep the towel clean. Lots of snacks and drinks. Epsom salts are a must for post baby baths. Stretchy large jersey camisoles you can pull up or down with a button shirt type pj over them are handy for breast feeding. Or with a front opening hoody or fleece.
3luckystars I was recommended to pee in the shower, pee at the end of a bath or fill up a washing up bowl with water and sit in it and wee. Water really helps. There are quite often threads on here about 'Do you wee in the shower?'
Lots of good suggestions above. Definitely snacks - NHS food is on a schedule and I needed extra! Second time I took in some tablet for the immediate after birth sugar rush and that worked very well.
Don't think anyone has mentioned lip balm and ulcer gel - the gas and air gave me ulcers and a very dry mouth so lip balm was amazing.
Tea tree oil (for the irritating rash caused by disposable pull ups thingys you have to wear for lochia) only thing that calmed the rash for me.
Someone to hold the baby while you shower, go to the bathroom.
Someone to change your sheets.
Someone to cook.
Someone to help you decamp from the hospital and settle you at home and then withdraw.
Someone to field unwanted visitors.
Someone to do a wash, hang up clothes.
Someone to go to the shops.
Ha TheTroutofNoCraic I used the ring breastfeeding pillow to sit on for 2 weeks after not for what it was intended for.
Only item I don't see mentioned is Witch Hazel, if you do need stitches, a few drops on your maternity pad will help the healing process and prevent infection.
And Epsom salts for baths at home.
Some good tips already but just adding;
Lavender oil for shallow baths to help healing process.
Meals in the freezer so no one needs to stress about food too much for the first couple of weeks or so.
As afterschool has already said, people power is really brilliant. Enlist helpful practical people to help you. Not necessarily to hold the baby but to make you lunch, load your dishwasher, put on a load of washing and hang it up. Bring you a couple of meals. Make you a cup of tea and bring you a slice of cake. Pop to the supermarket on their way over to see you. If you have a good friend or reliable relative nearby getting them to bring cut up fruit for you as soon as possible after you give birth really helps with your first post birth poo, my mum turned up twice daily at the hospital with a big box of fruit salad, it was one of the kindest things anyone could have done!
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