There are already tons of blog posts and Pinterest links out there with lists of things you “need” to have a baby. Everytime I see these lists, I laugh. They’re so over the top (laptops? Makeup and eyelash curlers? Really??!) that I had to say enough already. For all the sensible women who just want to deliver their baby and be comfortable, here are my suggestions, the real things that I used when I had my daughter.
Labor & Delivery
- Comfortable nightgowns – the best clothes to labor in. I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable being totally naked for hours, but obviously I needed something that I could deliver a baby in, and also be able to enjoy skin-to-skin and nursing time immediately after birth. I recommend ones with shoulder straps versus sleeves, so you can nurse easily.
- Wash cloths in the freezer and the crock pot. During labor, I would be hot, then cold. During my hot spells, it was amazing to have a cold wash cloth to cool off with. Get a couple damp before putting them in the freezer – you’ll be glad you did! The hot ones were used as compresses against my perineum- that felt amazing, and the heat helps your skin to relax and stretch. I put four or five in some water in the crockpot, and kept it on the “warm” setting.
- Bathrobe. This helps with the fluctuating temperature- easy to slip on when you’re cold, and just as easy to throw off when that next contraction starts.
- Snacks & Drinks. This seems obvious, but you may wonder what will be quick and easy for you to eat in between contractions. Stick with bite sized foods like pretzels, fig newtons, and grapes or foods that can be quickly cut up for you, like apples and cheese. For drinks, stick to water, coconut water or even vitamin waters. I drank vitamin waters, and my husband drilled a small whole in the cap, just large enough for a straw. This made drinking a few sips in between contractions easy, and meant no spills!
- Yoga mat. What’s that? You want us to work out during labor?! No, no, no- just hear me out! While I did do some yoga to try and get my contractions going, I primarily used my yoga mat as a comfy place to sit, versus being directly on the floor. I just put a couple chux pads down to keep it clean, but it was a really nice spot to sit and labor during the early stages.
- Cotton boy shorts/boxers. Something light and comfortable, but obviously nothing too loose that you can’t wear the necessary pads in.
- T-shirts and nightgowns. You want to be comfortable, you need to be able to nurse easily, and let’s phase it – you’ll be covered in milk for the first few weeks so you’ll need things you can change in and out of easily. Put those silk nighties away for awhile. A long while.
- Nipple butter. Your nipples will naturally toughen up in a few short days, but prior to that you might be a little sore or even slightly itchy. Make sure you get something that is safe for baby!
- Make a bathroom basket. There are quite a few things you’re going to need, so get a basket and keep it near the toilet. You should also move your waste pail to be near you as well. Pads, liners, wipes, and your peri bottle should all go in this basket so you can reach them easily. And trust me on the wipes, you’ll want them!
- Sitz bath. This is great, especially if you experienced any tearing. Even if you didn’t, everything will be a little tender and swollen, so there’s nothing like a good soak!
- Wash cloths and hand towels. These will come in handy for everything – mopping up milk, or for a warm compress “down there”. I found them handy when getting into a shower or using the sitz bath; a little warm compress before getting into the water seemed to ease the whole experience.
- Body butter. Keep applying this to your abdomen, breasts, thighs – wherever you have stretch marks! It will help them to fade as your body heals. Keep in mind to only use nursing-safe butters on your breasts if you are nursing. I used the Mama’s Body Butter that we sell in our Etsy store. It’s 100% all natural and organic, so it’s safe to use anywhere on your body!
For more information on birth & postpartum life, check out my post : 7 Things No One Tells You About Labor & Postpartum Life where I share the not so pretty truths that every woman should know, and yet nobody talks about!