As many of you guys know, our little boy, Hayes, was born on January 3, 2020! There were so many things I tried to prepare for when bringing Hayes home, but now being a week into recovery, I've learned what was helpful for me and wanted to share! To read my birth story, click here!
Some quick facts to give you some context:
- I gave birth unmedicated after a quick 4 hour labor at the hospital.
- I used a midwife group here in Fort Worth instead of an OBGYN.
- I labored in the birthing tub but ended up giving birth on the hospital bed.
- I had a 2nd degree tear (skin and a little bit of muscle).
So about an hour and a half after giving birth, I was wheeled to the postpartum floor of the hospital to begin what I knew was supposed to be another long process. I remember being excited holding our new baby, but also scared for the road ahead. I had lots of fears: "will my belly ever look the same?" "what am I going to feel like when I wake up tomorrow?" "will I ever be able to do a squat again?" etc. etc.
The first couple of hours in the postpartum floor, a lot of my fears were gone. The nurses were so caring and they explained so much to us. I had questions that felt "silly" like "How long is a normal amount of time to breastfeed? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? How often should I do it?" "Am I supposed to be bleeding this much?" "How long will I need to wear this adult diaper?"
Here's my list of things that we brought to the hospital that were useful for birth and postpartum:
- A hospital gown to change into. When I woke up the next morning in the same hospital gown I labored in, it felt soooo good to change into my own clothes. I brought this one from Target, since it was easy to unbutton and breastfeed and didn't require pants, it was easy & comfortable!
- Pillows from home. A good night's sleep was hard with hospital pillows.
-Nightlight and sound machine. The hospital room gets dark at night while we were sleeping, but leaving a light on made it hard to sleep, so we brought our Hatch Baby Sound Machine. It was great for playing white noise to help Hayes sleep, but also for being able to see just enough to nurse or change a diaper in the middle of the night.
- Nursing bras. Usually I would just go braless, but it was nice to have some nursing bras to wear under my nightgown for when visitors showed up! I got these from Target.
- A going home outfit for baby.
- Baby mittens or socks. The mittens we brought for Hayes to wear were WAY too big for his tiny hands, so we stuck socks on his hands to keep him from scratching his face and it worked great!
- Toiletries for you and your husband.
- More snacks. We brought some granola bars & trail mix, but we ended up getting way hungrier than we expected (especially when the hospital food was YUCK).
- Nursing pillow. I used the Boppy.
Unnecessary things we brought that I won't bring next time:
- So many changes of clothes. Moving was difficult since I was sore and tired, so changing clothes wasn't something I did as often as I thought I would. I think two pajama night gowns or some joggers with a button down shirt would suffice!
- Underwear. The hospital gives you mesh undies and a giant pad/diaper to wear since you will bleed for a little while. There was no need for me to bring my own panties...plus they probably wouldn't have fit the giant pad anyways LOL
- They have hats & swaddles, so we didn't need to bring our own.
- They have ice packs, mesh undies, witch hazel, and dermoplast (numbing) spray, so we didn't need to bring those (BUT definitely needed these once I got home).
Things that were useful for recovery once we got home from the hospital:
- Ice packs. I was sore down there for a couple of days, and ice packs were life-changing! Easy to use and no prep beforehand. These Frida Mom ones are great - I ordered a bunch on Amazon!
- Adult diapers. Yep. I just bought some random ones from Kroger and they worked great. The mesh undies the hospital gave me were fine for a short period of time, but always felt like they were falling down. The adult overnight diapers stayed up easier and were easier for me to throw away!
- Dermoplast Spray. They gave me this to use in the hospital and it was so nice! It's kind of like numbing spray for pain and itchiness. I didn't experience itchiness, but it was nice to numb some of the soreness down there with the spray.
- Peri bottle. The hospital gives you one of these since you can't wipe if you end up getting stitches. I filled mine with cold water and would squeeze it to clean myself off after peeing. The water feels so good. I'd recommend getting this peri bottle so that you don't have to stick your hand all the way in the toilet to squirt the water on you! You can totally just take the free one the hospital will have, though.
- Witch hazel. The hospital had cold witch hazel pads that felt good to lay inside my diaper. You can also buy witch hazel foam - I'd recommend this!
- Nipple soothies. Breastfeeding takes a little while to get used to. Nipples can get chapped and feel sore since you're feeding every 2-3 hours. These nipple soothies were cold and felt good to put inside my nursing bra the first couple of days!
- Nipple cream. The hospital gave me this lanolin nipple cream to help with chapped nipples. I've also been using this one that I'll rub on my nipples after feeding to help soothe them!
- Stool softener. I don't think you need to buy this, but just wanted to say they'll likely give you one of these in the hospital (if they don't, ask for it!). The first postpartum poop can be scary (even though it's totally not and you'll feel so much better after), and the stool softener was helpful.
- Snacks for home. We had a lot of people bringing us meals, which was wonderful, but I'd recommend stocking up on some quick snacks for late night breastfeeding! Disposable plates, forks, bowls, and spoons was also helpful to cut back on dishes!
Things that were useful for the first week with a newborn:
- Haakaa. A magical invention. So, once your milk comes in 2-3 days after birth, the breast that you are not nursing on can have what is called "letdown" where it starts producing (& dripping!!) milk. There's no reason you should waste that liquid gold or ruin a shirt over it. The Haakaa is a suction-cup that you put on the breast you are not nursing on, and it catches the let down. For me personally, I get around 1-2 ounces per feed from the opposite breast, so I'm saving and freezing it for later!
- Snuggle Me Organic. This is nice if you need to be hands-free for a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I'd trade anything for baby cuddles, but it's nice to set Hayes in this while I eat my breakfast or when it takes me a second to stand up. He loves it!
- Newborn footed onesies. We bought a ton of 0-3 sized onesies and a lot of newborn pants-less onesies that go with a pair of pants. If I were to go back, I'd buy more zipper footed onesies that have coverings over the hands for Hayes to lounge and sleep in throughout the day. This has been my favorite brand!
- a LOT of nursing bras (I have 6). We ended up having to make a target run to grab more since I only had 3. Since the boobs kinda leak milk whenever they want, it was nice to have at least 5 nursing bras to switch back and forth from. I like these and these.
- Sprout baby app. We discovered pretty quickly that we needed some help remembering things like "when did he last poop?" "when was the last time I fed him?" "ok which breast was that?" etc. My coworker recommended the Sprout Baby app. We ended up purchasing the $8 one instead of the free one so that my husband can add things from his phone too. There is a diaper section, nursing section, sleeping section, it has helpful development tips, you can mark memories & milestones, etc. We love it! It has been so helpful with keeping track of things throughout our day/night!
- Zip up swaddles. Don't get me wrong, I love all the adorable swaddles that are out there! We have a TON that we registered for. However, Hayes loves sleeping with his arms right next to his face, and keeps seeming to find a way to weasel them up there when we swaddle him in a muslin cloth swaddle. This swaddle was recommended to me by my sister (a postpartum nurse!) and has been so helpful. He still is nice and tight, but gets to keep his hands up by his face like he likes. Highly recommend.