Saturday, January 27, 2007

Postpartum Survival Kit

Here are some items I found truly useful in the first joyful yet confusing, painful, teary, and overwhelming days after Ahuva's birth and beyond.  I am grateful to friends who clued me in to some of these. Others I picked up from various lists on the web and in books. Others I learned about the (very) hard way. I share this list with you, pregnant woman, not to scare you but to give you a realistic idea of what's to come. I hope you won't need any of this stuff, but, in the (likely) case you do, well, at least you will have been warned! It WILL be OK, you WILL survive this!
DISPOSABLE UNDERWEAR - It was even worth a trip to the dreaded mall for me to buy some. At SHILAV, I recommend you buy the cheapest kind. They look like boxy nets but as a result they are the most breathable. Believe me, you will not be auditioning for any fashion shows any time soon. Also, this model is easier to rinse out and wear again. Take them with you to the hospital so that bringing home bloody underwear is one less thing you'll have to deal with.
EYE MASK - Because "night" and "day" as you know them will cease to have meaning. You must sleep whenever you can. This will help.
NOVA-LI PADS (cheap sanitary napkins) - You will have "discharge" of one kind of another for quite a while. Most women will advise you to bring your own favorite pads to the hospital. In fact, I found the bulky, non-adhesive pads supplied for free by the hospital to be just fine. They're more breathable than the more expensive Kotex or Always I usually buy which have a sort of plastic liner. Also, in the beginning you will really not want to deal with "wings" or any extra anything to deal with. It's not like they're going to "fly away" anywhere. By using these cheap ones, you won't feel bad about changing them a million times a day or even using two at a time if you have to.
RAPHAEL NIPPLE CREAM - Smells funny, but it works. Apply after nursing to avoid or reduce irritation. Wipe off excess before nursing, but it's safe for baby too. Goes on easier than the Lanisol version I got from the US, but same idea.
NURSING PADS - Their purpose will be clear as soon as your milk comes in! Try to get some of the soft flannel ones that you can wash and reuse.
BUTT WIPES - Alas, I hope you will not need them, but you probably will, especially if you are fortunate to experience a natural or "regular" birth. Apparently when figuring out how to get the baby out, mother nature thought it wouldn't hurt for you to push out half of your ass as well. In fact, it hurts like HELL. For me, hemorrhoids were worse than the dreaded epistomy stitches which I didn't feel at all for over a week. I recommend the Dr. Fisher 9 months brand for the "intimi" area if you can find them. In the US, TUCKS wipes work well. Tip: you can leave one on top of your pad for extra relief. You will also need some kind of cream of your choice.
RESCUE REMEDY - This Bach flower potion sounds like bullshit, but trust me, it works and it's safe. Take before or after any stressful event such as oh, having a baby, or visiting with your in-laws.
MENTOS - Or other minty candy. Because you won't always have brushed your teeth when people come to visit you in the hospital. And sometimes you just want something sweet. Plus, you'll be thirsty ALL THE TIME.
SHOPPING LIST - Here are a bunch of things you should stock up on before you go to the hospital if you can. Or else, ask people to bring them to you.
WATER - you will be insanely thirsty.
SNACKS - dried fruit and nuts are great, high-calorie healthy foods
HERBAL TEA - chamomille, fennel (shumar) are recommended for nursing mothers


Anonymous said...


Great list - I agree, but would like to add one thing. The most important thing I bought before my son was born six months ago was a very good undereye concealer. I don't usually wear much makeup, but when the no sleep, lots of visitors thing kicked in, I was extremely glad to have this in the house!

Mazal tov,


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to see many of the tips I sent you! It does a mama proud :D