the gnitty-gritty details on preparing for baby (pre and postpartum)
I'm 38 weeks pregnant, baby girl is LOW and we are in full-on preparation mode for her arrival! Although nesting and all the cute tiny baby things are adorable and precious, and Sarah and Jess somehow made me look and feel pretty during this photoshoot... there's a lot of messiness that comes with having a baby.
I really wish I'd had a master list of things we'd need for the end-of-pregnancy and early postpartum days, so even if this is my last pregnancy -- I want to do that for you! Because no one talks about this stuff but it's some of the most important, I think!
Belly oil: I somehow ended up without stretch marks on my tum with either pregnancy. I don't think stretch marks are bad though... they're all over my legs and booty from that awkward high-school-skinny-stick to college-curvy transition I went through. So, I think my tummy is just made of elastic or something haha. My boobs got stretch marks as soon as engorgement hit after having Nora, too. But honestly -- they're pretty much inevitable and they're a beautiful sign of growing life in your body. Anyways, I really did lather up every single day though, right after showering or a bath. My first pregnancy I just used Sweet Almond Oil, and this pregnancy I was gifted this oil from Noodle & Boo. Loved both!
Preparing your bed for your water breaking: This tip from my midwife was AMAZING because my water really did break in bed at 2am! It's simple. You make your bed, then add a plastic painters drop cloth (I literally got the thinnest one from ACE hardware for under $3) over your bed, then make your bed again. For the top sheets it's better to use an older set you don't care about or just a darker set. Even with this setup, the closer I got to EDD, I slept on top of a towel as well because I was paranoid haha. But seriously - SO glad I did! When my waters broke, it was seriously like Niagra Falls. So. Much. Fluid. But we were prepared and had a freshly made bed already to go as soon as Nora was born. My mom and midwives just ripped off the soiled set, threw in the washer immediately and threw away the plastic and we had a clean bed ready to climb into.
Pregnancy or Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Nonstop in the last weeks! I have several cups a day. I ordered the Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy Tea in bulk on Amazon a couple months ago, and I just have a few cups a day. I'll now begin brewing it stronger though and have even more throughout my days as we are like, super close to delivering! I used Red Raspberry my first pregnancy... they do the same thing! It helps prepare your uterus and cervix for labor.
Prepare your home/hospital bag: Read my post here on how I packed my hospital bag. If you're having a homebirth, then your midwife will tell you what you need :)
Drink water. More than you think you need to. Just drink up!
Vitamins/supplements: A good prenatal (trust me when I say to get a one-a-day... you don't want to take four giant pills a day if you can spend a little extra for just once. Promise!), Plant-Based Iron (this one especially for those like me and struggle with anemia), calcium/magnesium (helps support bones and muscles and if you struggle with restless leg syndrome then it's a must)... and whatever else your body needs! Your doctor or midwife may have you take extra supplements that could help you and your body function at it's absolute best for labor and delivery -- and that's the key here. Making ourselves extra healthy because the healthier we are, the healthier pregnancy, labor, delivery and baby will be.
Rest. Haha. I know. So hard to do! TRUST ME. With nesting in full force, peeing every hour, kicks and jabs, and some of us have other littles to tend to... it can be near impossible to find time or brain space or enough physical comfort for rest... but still. It's necessary.
Make padsicles: you'll definitely want to do this before baby comes, because you want them to be ready for whenever baby decides to come! Buy some overnight (extra long) maxi pads, open a few up but leave in the wrapper. Drop some witch hazel along the pad and then rub some aloe vera and add a few drops of pure 100% therapeutic grade lavender essential oil. Close them back up and put in a bag in the freezer. They are life savers for recovery those first few days after delivery! (from experience with a vaginal birth [who also suffered a fourth degree tear] but wouldn't be necessary for a c-section).
Adult diapers: I go with the ones that are "underwear like" just because it seemed easier, but really whatever is comfiest and easiest. Just be sure they're high waisted whether you deliver vaginally or by c-section. For the first few days, it's SO much easier to just use and toss rather than trying to change pads every time. Trust. Me. Then you finish the pack and move on to the next things!
Padsicles (and non-frozen maxi pads) and granny panties: Ok, they don't really need to be found in the granny section ;) but laser-cut, high waisted, black (in case of staining) undies, are the BEST. They're the perfect next step after graduating from the diapers. I recommend sizing up one or two, only because of swelling, pads, and your healing tummy. I'm linking my absolute favorite ones from Target. They're so comfy and just perfect for that fourth trimester.
Support leggings: I'm linking a few different kinds in different price ranges, but the important thing is that they keep you in. You want all the support around your tummy that you can. After 9+ months of your organs being shifted, and your uterus growing 1000x, all the support is necessary. Plus I just feel like good leggings can help you feel like everything is being "kept in" both with you tum and you lady bits. Also, black everything because you just never know with the bleeding. Better to be safe than sorry with trying not to get things stained!
Belly support band/corset: After my first pregnancy, no one told me all the things I just said in the last bit. I didn't know my tummy would be so sensitive and my organs would be so out of place and need SO much support. I'd literally walk around carrying and holding my tummy tight because I felt like everything was out of place. We quickly ordered a cheap support band off amazon, and it made a WORLD of difference. I will link the cheap one I got for the sake knowing you'll wonder... but I don't recommend it. It was super uncomfortable and though it did the job, I think you definitely get what you pay for in this situation. I was able to stack a couple sales during the Black Friday weekend and got a Bellefit Corset this time and I'm pretty stoked about it. I liked that it's medical grade, can be used for the full 6 weeks, can be worn under any clothing and is made for both c-section and vaginal birth mamas. It felt worth the investment to me :)
Nursing friendly bras and tops: anything comfy with easy access! Seriously! Sometimes actual "nursing friendly" tops can be a little more pricey, but it's so easy to find less expensive tops that are easy to pop a boob into your babe's mouth also - basically anything with buttons! I think underwire is the worst thing ever when you're learning how to breastfeed your baby... so don't even bother. Be comfy. Keep it simple!
Nursing pads and nipple butter: whether you choose washable or disposable is total personal preference. I used both and like both! Nipple butter is just a total life saver.
Snacks snacks snacks and especially one's that help with lactation: Oat Mama makes my absolute favorite bars. Both with Nora and this whole pregnancy haha. I finally actually maintained a stash that I've been trying to save up (and not eat) so I'm prepared when Mabel comes (they're that good). I haven't had their tea yet but I'm stocked up and I'm sure I'll be having cups daily! You can use code HONEYWILD15 for 15% off your order at oatmama.com :) I also loved browsing Pinterest for lactation bites, cookies and different lactation tips. I also loved doing a cheese stick and pretzels, or yogurt and granola for quick and easy snacks. Oatmeal is always an excellent choice, and adding brewer's yeast or flaxseed to anything helps too! Eating lots of healthy fats like whole milk yogurt and avocado makes a huge positive difference in milk production as well. Keep that in mind! Don't do any of that "nonfat" crap ;)
"Bedside" basket: My other favorite while nursing was to just keep a basket of all those things listed in each room. Nursing pads, butter and snacks (and even wipes and a couple diapers) because the easier you can make life for yourself with a newborn, the better!
Supplements: along with continuing your prenatal, and other things that your doctor or midwife may suggest, I like to continue with whatever else I'm taking (iron, cal/mag etc) and add a few others for postpartum/nursing. Fenugreek can often help with lactation, and I did indeed notice a positive difference when I breastfed Nora. I'm also adding in Chlorophyll as it helps with oxygen in the blood and can help prevent excessive bleeding. Aloe vera capsules as a natural stool softener because that first bowel movement after baby can seem scary, and also our bodies tend to get constipated. It helped so much after my first.
Everyone is different though and be sure to consult your physician before taking any added vitamins and supplements :)
WATER. Chug it!!! Makes a world of difference with breastfeeding and recovery. Seriously!
Lady bits recovery: aside from the padsicles, there are a few other amazing things you can do to heal well and have a quick recovery. Let me just say, I tore a four. That's like, almost the worst. And I was 100% healed and normal with zero issues by the six week mark... so take my word! I swear by doing these things. Sitz baths with earth mama bath herbs, a peri bottle at the toilet side for before you're ready to wipe, earth mama "bottom spray," tucks cooling wipes, earth mama bottom balm, keeping your legs closed (especially if you end up with stitches) and not doing too much walking or physical activity until the bleeding slows.
Placenta encapsulation: Okay, I realize this may sound crazy to some but it's really actually amazing. The midwife that delivered Nora did our first placenta encapsulation and I'd had no idea how cool it actually was at the time. You can find a lot of great info about it here if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about. The benefits are amazing, and I'm so glad I did it the first time! I'm absolutely planning to do it again. Read up on all the benefits and reasons why, and I'm sure you'll think it's awesome too :)
I'm linking everything I mentioned below, and the actual brands I used and will use again in just a couple weeks! I can't believe how close we are to welcoming baby number two... but going over all these things helped me to remember what to plan and prepare for in the next few days. I hope you find it helpful! I really wish I'd had a list like this so I am hoping it helps you too :)