By: Rebecca Brunette
Look to social media and the glamours of pregnancy and motherhood are endless! Mamas-to-be glow with anticipation for their Little One’s arrival, and new mothers snuggle their sleeping 3 month olds while sipping herbal tea. But rarely do we see photos of Mama and Baby during the first weeks postpartum—that’s because Mama is usually in bed, exhausted, and un-showered. We live in a society that holds little appreciation for rest & recovery, but if there is ever a time to slow down and take care of yourself, it’s during your postpartum journey! We’ve put together a list of 12 essentials to keep next to your bedside as you recover from delivery and navigate the first weeks of Motherhood. So stay in bed, get comfy, and focus on caring for your newborn without sacrificing your own comfort and wellbeing!
1. Good Reads
New babies sleep often throughout the day, which will give you a chance to indulge in your favourite magazine or book. You might also like to keep a Baby Book handy, so you can record these sweet early moments together—but don’t forget to fit a nap in yourself!
2. Swaddling Blanket
Perfect for wrapping Baby when he/she needs comforting, or as a light blanket in warmer weather. If you’re planning to breastfeed, a muslin cloth can also be draped over your chest if you prefer to cover up when visitors drop by.
3. Burp Cloth
Your newborn will want to eat every 2-3 hours, and it’s good practice to give them a gentle burp after every feed to prevent a gassy tummy later on. Save yourself a ton of laundry (and multiple wardrobe changes) by using a burp cloth!
Postpartum recovery often comes with bed rest and a pain management plan recommended by your doctor or midwife. Keeping daily medications and vitamins close-by will ensure you remember to take them as prescribed so you stay as comfortable as possible while you recover.
5. Healthy Snacks
In your first weeks of Mama-hood you will be so focused on nourishing Baby it can be easy to forget about feeding yourself! In the event that mealtimes are less than regular, be sure to keep a handful of healthy snacks at your side such as fruit, granola bars, and snack bites.
6. Breast Pads
It can take your body a while to regulate the quantity of milk it needs to produce to feed your baby. It’s normal for New Mamas to have leaky breasts, and no one wants to sit around in wet clothes! So, if you’re planning to breastfeed, save your bras and clothes from soaking through by using breast pads.
A little stack of clean, soft facecloths are ideal for wiping Baby’s cheeks when he/she spits up. Dampen with a little water to clean your Little One’s face in between bath days.
Between feeding, changing, and rocking your newborn around the clock, you can expect a few of your usual self-care routines to fall by the wayside. Not only is it normal to miss a shower or two, but you may also forget to brush your teeth! Keep gum handy to instantly freshen your breath—perfect for when visitors drop by.
Even self-proclaimed introverts and homebodies can find the early weeks of motherhood lonely. Make sure you have your Mama community to lean on by creating a group chat before your babies arrive. You’ll be glad to know you’re not the only one awake during those 2:00 AM feedings!
10. Water Bottle
Keep your favourite water bottle next to your bed to ensure you stay well hydrated. Drinking enough water will help revive you on sluggish days.
11. Nipple Balm
Sore, sensitive nipples are common for breastfeeding Mamas in early postpartum (as if there weren’t enough hurdles to climb!). Do your best to prevent more serious damage by applying a nipple balm a few times throughout the day.
12. Lip Balm
Sometimes a swipe of your favourite lip balm is all it takes to feel a touch of pampering! Choose a flavour that makes you smile, and enjoy the thought that Baby will associate your fragrance of choice with your tender Mama kisses!
Caring for your newborn will be one of the most challenging and beautiful tasks you undertake as a new Mama. Not only are you recovering from the delivery of your baby, but you are also learning what it means to be a mother (and there’s no handbook for that!). A little pre-planning for your personal wellbeing in the weeks following Baby’s arrival will help you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible throughout your unique postpartum journey. Good luck Mama!