Recently, a new little member joined our family. We try to be as prepared as possible, but still have an open mind. Since I have some friends who are/will be going through pregnancy and childbirth, I would like to share with you some essential items of the mom survival kit and advice for during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first three months.
This kit currently contains four parts:
- Childbirth/Hospital Stay
- Postpartum/Feeding Baby
- Baby essentials (0-3 months)
Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or free products for this review. The products below are truly what I think are useful for any mom.
The third part of this kit is breastfeeding and postpartum life. Please check the rest of the blog for the other stages.
The sucking reflex is a reflex that comes naturally to babies. When presented a nipple, be it breast or bottle, they will automatically start to suck!
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, here are some useful things to have:
- Back up formula: For the first few days before the milk comes in, we produce a nutrient-rich substance called colostrum. It’s highly concentrated, full of protein, and nutrient dense! However, it is a slower flow than breastmilk, to teach the baby how to suck, swallow, and breathe. My colostrum and milk wasn’t enough for my baby – she was always hungry!, so we had to supplement with formula until I could build up supply. There are different forms of formula – powder, ready to feed liquid, liquid concentrate; soy, lactose-free, etc. Find the one that works for you and your baby. Some companies like Nestle, Enfamil, Similac may provide samples to try before committing to one brand. In the case that breastfeeding doesn’t work out/you can’t or you choose not to breastfeed, formula is an option to feed.
- Heating pads: The first day the milk came in, my breasts were engorged, full, and sore. They felt as if I had tiny knives hidden away in them and wouldn’t stop aching. Heating pads and feeding often took away some pain until they were less engorged.
- Nipple cream: Chapped and sore nipples are common in the first month of breastfeeding. It could be from incorrect latch or cracked nipples. The pain of it almost stopped me from continuing with breastfeeding. I have tried lanolin (which is derived from sheep’s wool) but I really disliked the smell. I got an all-natural cream by Aleva Naturals instead, found at my local pharmacy, which was relatively odourless. A popular natural cream is by Earth Mama. Or if you need something stronger, your doctor might prescribe you to Jack Newman’s all purpose ointment. It helped a little until the nipples got tougher and used to it. Now, they don’t hurt at all when she latches.
- Comfortable nursing clothing: Clothes specially made for nursing allows for easy access when you have a crying baby on hand. Some bras even help hold pumps into place so you can go hands free.
- Public health nurse or breastfeeding clinic, breastfeeding consultant: they are able to help correct latches or detect issues you may have with breastfeeding.
- Kobo/e-reader: In the newborn stage, the baby spends a lot of time on you, feeding or sleeping. A thick book is hard to hold up, but an e-reader is super light, has a backlight, and is easy to turn pages with one hand. The backlight doesn’t affect sleep as much as a phone or tablet, and in this stage, you’re really using all the sleep you can get!
- One handed snacks, easy drinks: drinks like Ensure ensures you get the nutrients you need while restoring the water intake you need, especially in the middle of the night. Having one handed snacks available, like vegetable sticks, trail mix, fruit slices, dried fruit, makes it easier not to immediately turn to junk food when hungry.
As recommended by our hospital course instructor and we found it useful, if your family or friends offer to come by, have them bring food or offer to help with household chores. You’ll be quite tired after sleepless nights with a new baby, unless you have a unicorn baby!
- Nursing scarf/cover up: a nursing scarf or nursing cover makes it easy to cover up and feed wherever needed – at home or otherwise!
- Lactation cookies, tea, and food: Lactation cookies, tea, or food can help build milk supply.
- Travel thermos: I like the Contigo brand, it keeps drinks warm or cold while preventing them from spilling.
- Pumping items: if you’re pumping (with breastfeeding/formula or exclusively), then you may need items for pumping, like pumps (manual or electric, whichever works best for you), bottles and nipples (of different sizes and flows), brush, storage bags to store in the freezer, boon grass for drying, and a place to store pumps and bottles. An easy way to sterilize the parts is either in a pot of boiling water, microwave, or Instant Pot using the Sterlization setting. At first, I pumped to build supply and to get some extra sleep.
- *AND* The top item that I wish I knew about from labour is a haakaa type silicone pump. I find that these can be easier than working with a pump, since they are hands free, wireless, battery free, easy to clean, and portable. Since it’s top heavy, put the pump inside a mug on your bedside table to prevent spilling (from a mom who has spilled hers a few times) or get one with a stopper, or pour into a bottle immediately.
- Peri bottle, ice packs/padsicles for relief
- Stepping stool or squatty potty
- Postpartum pads/diapers to catch lochia
And what saved me the most from Postpartum Depression/Anxiety is having my partner, family, friends, and online mom groups around to talk to, especially those who care and want to listen, and those who have gone through this already and understand! The mom groups are great since we discuss many matters together. I am lucky to have a husband who helps with the care of our baby and that we are able to communicate anything and everything!