Getting down to the nitty-gritty, there are some mechanical tools you’re going to want to add to your shopping cart. These are the little things you can pick up here and there during your nine—no—ten-month journey to motherhood. It will be oddly sensational how much you’ll look forward to using so many products that will probably never leave your bathroom. Go ahead. Revel in it.

1. Painkillers, Please

You’ve got a few options for pain relief in the postpartum period. Do understand that it’s not always necessary to take pain relievers after birth. You might not need them. Personally, I’ve only felt inclined to use homeopathy after baby number four. Listening to your body will go a long way here, as will taking it easy and allowing yourself that “lying in” period.

If you do feel that you need a little help in the pain relief department, you don’t have to opt for ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also choose essential oils, like clary sage, which is known to improve cramping. (Source) Castor oil packs can also help with cramps. Inflammation, bruising and moderate pain can be managed quite well with Arnica 200, too. (Source)

2. Perineal Pampering

Whether something like Earth Mama’s Perineal Spray is more your speed, or Dermoplast is where it’s at for you, you can make use of these products to take the edge off of perineal discomfort, especially where stitches are concerned.

3. Pads Are A Must

Gone are the days of disposable pads being your only option. Today, lots of moms—both home and hospital birthers, in fact—are opting for adult diapers. But that’s not all. We’ve also got more mama cloth than ever within reach these days.

Etsy is a mama cloth lover’s paradise. From organic cotton pads free of pesticides (because who wants Round-Up on their lady bits?) to fancy floral and even lactivist prints, there’s a mama cloth supplier for you out there.

Of course, we can’t talk pads without mention of the padsicle. It goes without saying that these things are the new mother’s little helper, but we’re saying it anyway. Just keep in mind that these are best used in the early hours post-birth. After day one, intermittent heat is actually better at speeding the healing process. (Source)

4. Calling All Panties

While the maternity panties you may have invested in during pregnancy likely treated you well, they may not be exactly what you are in need of postpartum. More coverage is ideal at this time. You’ll want a little extra space in your underoos to accommodate for the pads you’re stuffing into them. On day one, you’ll probably stick to those amazing mesh panties that somehow fit every woman’s body. Then you can upgrade to whatever form of granny panty suits your mom style.

5. The Sitz Bath

This one sort of speaks for itself. The sitz bath is an amazing, portable feature for your fanny. Its toilet-top design makes it super convenient to use and put away when you’re done. The attached water bag is filled with warm water that you can squeeze to fill the basin below your bum with more water to raise the temperature as it cools.

Around one-quarter of women who develop hemorrhoids when they give birth are still battling them at six months postpartum. (Source) Someone buy them a sitz bath! A few sessions with these each day and hemorrhoids and swollen lady bits are a thing of the past.

6. Witch Hazel Pads

Cooling pads drenched in witch hazel are your best friend when you’ve just had a baby. These can be used laid out across your pad to ease the perineal ache. They can also be used as wipes. That first postpartum bowel movement is coming no matter what. Have no fear; it’s just as much of a mental game as birth.

7. A Peri Bottle

If you can splurge on the newer Mom Fridet design, the angles on it are highly appreciated and worth it, according to mom consumers like you. One reviewer on Amazon swears this brand was the “game changer” for her. If you can’t swing it, no worries. The traditional version works very well.

8. Stool Softeners

This is up there with preventative measures most actually consider to be necessary—even if taking it just makes you think you’ll manage that first bowel movement better. As I said, this is largely mental, and the placebo effect is real, folks.

Stool softeners come in many forms though. If you’re not into pills, opt for scarfing down those last few medjool dates you didn’t get to eat before baby came.

9. Bengkung Belly Binder

While there are many belly binders and girdles at moms’ disposal nowadays, it’s important to put some serious thought into this purchase if you plan on buying one.

Some binders will actually push more of your weight down onto the pelvic floor, which can cause more damage to the pelvic floor and internal organs. One binder system that aims to support the natural structure of the spine and organs is Bengkung Belly Binding. Many birth workers offer the supply of these products, but you can also buy them on Etsy.

10. Meal Service

In this day and age, we don’t all have the time for 30 make-ahead freezer meals. Let me be honest; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teens’ help.

If time is money and you’ve got more of the latter, consider opting for meal delivery services from companies like Hello Fresh or Sunbasket. Knowing the groceries are coming right to your door and the recipes are husband-friendly can really remove some stress from your daily life.

If you’re crunching the numbers of that in your mind right now and thinking there’s no way, also consider snatching up all of those first-time customer offers these service industry pros dish out. You can get several weeks of meals for very little if you make use of free meal subscription offers.

Alas, once you’ve spent that allowance, you can also take to Pinterest and use a free one-day trial at your favorite bulk foods store to load up on everything you need to make multiple freezer meals.

11. Breastfeeding Essentials

The supplies one may need for breastfeeding can be kept fairly short, or it may be totally exhaustive. For the purposes of caring for you during your transition into motherhood, we’re just going to focus on what you need, not baby.

Make sure when you’re nursing, you’re hydrating. You might never use the coconut oil or the nipple balm, but if you need it at 3 AM and don’t have it, you’ll regret not buying it.

Breastfeeding blunders can hit you out of the blue. I speak from experience. Even when the first baby or two nursed seamlessly without issue, the third or fourth may not. If you live in an area where a nipple shield may not be readily available to buy, having one in advance of the birth isn’t a bad idea.

When unexpected ties or latch issues arise and cause nipple damage, a shield can be the difference between a momma forging onward and a momma who gives up. It is recommended that a shield is used under the supervision of an IBCLC though.

12. A Friendly Wardrobe

Your wardrobe certainly can reflect how you feel. Yoga pants and yesterday’s t-shirt, anyone? Coincidentally, your wardrobe can also influence how you feel. Taking some time before you have the baby to shop for the clothing you’ll wear after you have the baby isn’t a bad idea.

The convenience of being able to nurse your baby in public will matter to you—whether you’re completely comfortable with the public display or not. Pants that fit instead of sagging and needing pulled up all day will matter, too. It’s the little things.

13. Maternity Leave

While you can’t really pack it away into a kit, maternity leave is a critical component to recovery after having a baby. If you work, plan not to. American mothers aren’t known to get much in the way of vacation for having a baby compared to other nations. Generally, a woman who does get a few months off in America still won’t be paid for them. Federal law only requires that mommas are given the time away from work; no mention of income. (Source)

So, when it’s possible, plan ahead. Save up for that time off. If you can find ways to freelance or work part-time when you initially do go back to work, that may also be a good idea. Figure out what will work best for your family and try to make it happen.

14. Support

Remember that this is a transitional phase in your life. You didn’t just gain a tax deduction upon welcoming you child into the world. You have completely transformed. The modern-day medical industry has done a fantastic job at making birth sound like a medical condition. We go into the hospital, we have a baby, and then we should be over it. We aren’t being seen by our doctor as frequently. We aren’t growing a child anymore. So we should be fine, right?

That’s not how this works. This event in your life isn’t over just because the pregnancy ended. You’re becoming a mother. It is no less of a momentous and life-altering event than the first time you got your period was, or than the last time you get your period will be.

Women go through many phases in our lives. We are always growing and transitioning. We’re supposed to be. If we aren’t changing and evolving, we can’t grow into the wise, old grandmother we hope to be someday.

Be kind to yourself during the postpartum transition into your new life. Whether it’s your first or your fifth child, you are changing. Your body and mind are both growing at more rapid rates than they ever will at any other point in your life. This requires a little mindfulness and attention on everyone’s part. A few ways you can employ this include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • A hot bath
  • Prayer

Last but not least, have you heard about lying in? It’s the traditional term to describe the concept of a mother lying in wait for her child. But it extends into motherhood as well. Ideally, momma and baby should be cozied up in bed for a week, two weeks, a month, maybe more. It depends on what you’re comfortable with. Well, it should anyway.

Realistically, it depends on what the world around you can facilitate. That’s part of the problem new mothers are struggling with. Being a mom in this day and age is tough, because our world is no longer structured to support mothers.

There are three golden rules I try to apply to motherhood. Ask for the support you need. Demand what you can get. Accept help when it is offered. None of them are easy, and all of them are necessary. Welcome to motherhood, momma.

If you’re like me and planning ahead make sure to pin this post for future reference.

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