We have already established that pregnancy is not easy and that it comes with numerous challenges. It could be because the system is trying to fight the alien growing inside of it or it could be that the little baby is trying to take over, but whatever the reason, there are not many women who can proclaim that pregnancy and labor were stress-free and easy. The good news is that finally labor is over and the new mom can take the baby home and enjoy the hugs, kisses, and cuddles promised in all the pregnancy magazines. Or can she?
Taking the baby home is even more challenging than the pregnancy itself and even more than labor. If one thought that the baby was a handful when he was attached to her belly, then she should wait until the baby is out. That's when some women succumb to PPD, while others switch to zombie mode.
For such a tiny creature, who is less than ten pounds, a newborn can be a handful before he adjusts to the world around him and the mother too has challenges before she can get used to life with a baby and find the right rhythm to connect and care for her. With all the challenges that come with the baby, a new mother does not need additional stresses and that is why we have gone out of our way to come up with a list of 20 genius items that will help mom get through the first week with the newborn.
20 Sitz Bath
The best-kept secret when it comes to labor is that once a woman has had a vaginal birth, the nether regions look and feel like someone who went 10 rounds in the boxing ring. Of course, the Instagram pictures depict a glowing mother who is all smiles, but ‘down there’ the struggle is real.
Some women come out with a tear while others opt for an episiotomy, while a lucky few come out unscathed. If a woman falls in the first two categories, she will need a sitz bath. According to Healthline, this is a shallow and warm bath that one can sit in and is used to clean the perineum. Instead of sitting in the tub, use this that fits over the toilet bowl. If one does not have that, Epsom salt in a basin works just as well.
19 Monster Pads
Whether one goes through natural labor or a C-section, they need these. Post labor bleeding can be quite heavy the first few days and it can continue for up to two weeks. Thanks to some manufacturers, we now have monster maternity pads that are able to take care of the heavy post-labor bleeding.
What every mother needs to know is that the dainty normal-flow pads will not be able to take care of this flow and it is good to be prepared before leaving the hospital. Sneak a few pairs of meshed underwear in your baby bag and thank us later.
18 Peri Bottles
This is a genius invention that we all love and are thankful for. According to Parent.Guide, the girl bits are quite messy and tender after labor and let's face it, even after labor mom is still sporting a pot belly and maybe some stitches that do not allow for the kind of bending required to pay particular attention to them.
The peri bottle will come in handy as it allows her to splash and clean the perineum after using the bathroom. After doing this, the mother can pat dry with a towel while avoiding the use of toilet paper.
17 Cold/Hot Packs
After the baby comes, the girls are no longer the mom's property and she cannot control how the owner handles them. Even if the baby has no teeth, the girls get quite a beating once the baby starts attaching to them.
By the third day, milk starts coming in and it can come with a lot of force before they regulate in tune with the baby's needs. During this time, the chest gets quite tender and in most cases, they are engorged. Get cold or hot packs to take care of the swelling and the discomfort, depending on what works best for you.
16 Cream for "the girls"
According to Mother and Child Health, when a baby is breastfeeding, the tips tend to get dry and form cracks. This is a big problem because if the baby continues to breastfeed, the chest can get infections and worst case scenario, the infection may lead to mastitis.
A cracked chest is also very painful and a breastfeeding mother is even brought close to tears at the prospect of breastfeeding if she has cracked tips. Unfortunately, she cannot stop as it may lead to engorgement. The solution is to get a good cream to help relieve the symptoms. There are even creams that do not require wiping off before breastfeeding.
Just because the mother plans to breastfeed does not mean she does not need a pump. A breastpump is an essential commodity and it will help the new mother in the first week in stimulating milk production. The more the mother breastfeeds and pumps, the more milk the chest will produce.
After the milk comes in, some women produce a lot more than others and this oversupply may be stressful to a newborn and may even prevent him from taking in enough. Pumping before breastfeeding is therefore advised and it is good as the mother can stock up for days when she may need to leave the baby behind.
14 Nursing Bras
A nursing bra makes feeding the baby easy as it is flexible enough to expose the chest for feeding while holding it up. After pregnancy and when the milk comes in, the chest tends to grow larger and heavier and they need good support to hold them up.
This will prevent a backache while keeping the woman well supported as she nurses. Remember, as the mother nurses, the other one tends to produce milk and if one is not pumping and nursing, they may need to keep the chest encased in a nursing bra with a pad to prevent leaking.
For those of us who are squeamish about what comes out of the baby, nothing is more important than diapers. There are cloth diapers for those who do not mind washing and don’t want to fill the landfills, or there are convenient disposable diapers for the other side of the coin.
There has always been this debate about diapers and boys, but this is a debate that may never be exhausted. What we can say is that what matters is what the mother feels is right for her baby as long as she avoids diaper rashes and gives the baby some diaper free time to air dry.
According to The Bump, the debate on co-sleeping rages on, with some advocating for it, while others are deeply opposed to it. Co-sleeping is linked to numerous cases of SIDs and new mothers are advised to ensure that the baby sleeps in his own bed from day one. This can be quite exhausting for the new mother who just left the labor ward and is still healing.
This is where someone came up with the genius idea of a co-sleeper. Co-sleepers attach to the edge of the bed on a slightly lower incline from the mother's level. They have their own bedding and the mother can see what the baby is up to while he sleeps.
Swaddling comes with numerous benefits, one of them being the fact that it can help keep the baby calm. The baby was used to tight confines in the womb and being out in the open with all the space around him can be overwhelming and it makes him fussy. Swaddling helps a baby sleep and it keeps him warm.
Unfortunately, swaddling is something we have to admit most of us have never mastered and we have somewhat given up. Thanks to the Swaddlers in the market that come pre-swaddled (if that’s a word). The Swaddlers are a Godsend as wrong swaddling has been known to be harmful to a baby.
10 Baby Wipes
The amount of fluid that comes from a baby from every angle is a lot. Babies throw up, spit up, go #1 and #2, and all this will require some way of clearing. This is where we are grateful for the invention of baby wipes. These will come in handy in cleaning the mess that comes from all that and they can even be used to wipe off surfaces before the baby is placed on them.
Wipes come with a caution though. Avoid using perfumed wipes as most babies react to them and they can cause diaper rashes. If they do, use cotton balls dipped in warm water to do the cleaning.
9 Diaper Rash Cream
Despite the new mothers best intentions, diaper rashes happen and sometimes through no fault of her own. Diaper rashes can be traumatic for the child and especially if the situation is aggravated.
New mothers are advised to change the diaper often as the baby tends to soil a lot more diapers in the first few weeks. If the rashes do appear, invest in a good diaper rash cream to help soothe the skin and as much as possible, let the diaper area dry naturally before putting on a dry diaper. Do not let the diapers overfill. Ensure you check often.
8 Nursing Friendly Tops
A hungry baby is an angry baby and the cries of a hungry baby can drive anyone crazy. Baby will not appreciate a mother who has to open twenty buttons before she can feed him or sit at funny angles just to reach the milk. Breastfeeding should be a relaxed exercise for both the mother and child.
This is the time the mother and her child should bond and get acquainted. This will not happen if they are both uncomfortable. There are very friendly nursing tops in the market these days to make this exercise a success.
7 Loose Pants
Many of us are under the illusion that the minute we leave the hospital, the baby fat will be gone and we will be slaying as before. This is a misconception and we find that during the first week, the mother will still be sore from the birth and she will still look very pregnant.
Those dresses she thought she would be wearing are not going to fit for quite a while. She needs some loose pants to protect her nether regions that will have taken a beating and if she has a C-section wound, they will be friendly enough to prevent any discomfort or irritation to the wound.
6 Comfy Loungewear
New babies attract even the snobby neighbor who has never said hi. We all want to see the newborn and congratulate the new mother. The last thing a mother wants is for her visitors to come in and find her looking frumpy and worn out. A pair of cute and comfortable loungewear will be able to hide a lot of evils.
The good thing is that the market is flooded with loungewear specifically for the mother who is seeking comfort and flexibility. One should get a few pairs that are breathable and stretchy and they will be set for a long time.
5 Infinity Scarves
Nursing is a natural affair and most of us have no qualms about feeding the baby whenever and however he wants to feed. There are others though who prefer to have a little privacy and do not appreciate airing it all out there. These mothers do not want people gawking as they nurse.
This is where someone was clever enough to come up with scarves that are multi-purpose; acting as a cute scarf and as a cover for feeding the baby. The scarves come in cute colors and can even be worn to the office after the maternity leave is over.
4 Stool Softener
This one is also a woman's best-kept secret that we are about to expose. A woman's first bathroom visit after delivery is just awful. Most mothers even term it a second birth as it can feel like one is going through labor all over again. This is because the area is swollen and battered and for some reason, one tends to get constipated.
Mothers are advised to do themselves a favor and invest in some stool softeners. “If you’ve had stitches, chances are you’ll feel anxious about your first postpartum #2. Your stitches won’t burst,’ says Sharon on Made for Mums.
3 Analgesic Spray
The pain that a woman experiences after a bathroom trip can be excruciating and it is worse because she does not have time to sit and think about just how painful it is to use the bathroom because baby requires attention.
The rushed bathroom trips and pain can be soothed away by the use of instant pain relievers in the form of analgesic sprays. The numbing feeling it brings will keep you pain-free for a while as you cater to your child's needs. Some mothers swear that it works better if sprayed into the pad, which is something worth exploring.
2 Olive Oil
The benefits of oil before and after birth cannot be gainsaid. For the mothers who would like to avoid a tear, olive oil can be used to massage the perineum from three months before labor and this makes it elastic enough to take pushing the baby out.
There are people who use a concoction that is made up of Epsom salts, olive oil, witch hazel and baking soda combined with essential oils like lavender or chamomile to make a sitz bath. This concoction is not only soothing to the battered area, it kills bacteria and allows for faster healing.
Babies lose hats and socks all the time, even when they are just lying there. The sticky things cling on the clothes of visitors or they just disappear. Since babies are used to the warmth of the womb, they get to be rather cold and they mostly lose heat through their heads.
Invest in enough socks and hats to make sure that even if they get lost, one is never without a few pairs to keep baby warm. A time will come when he will not want the hat, but by then, he will have acclimatized and his hair will have grown.