What I found most useful post-birth
There is an overwhelming amount of postpartum and baby care items available nowadays. As a first-time mom, everything intrigued me. Long story short, I bought all of the things, and this post is about my experience using different products.
I’ll start off by discussing what postpartum products that I liked the most. Of all the worries about pregnancy and childbirth, postpartum recovery was the thing that I feared the most. I had read the infamous Lemon Clot Essay, I became well-versed in the various potential tears, and I heard what I can only describe as war stories from other mothers. This fear led me to over-prepare to the max.
First, I cannot say enough good things about the Frida Mom line. I ended up having a very uncomplicated delivery and recovery, so I only used the Upside Down Peri Bottle and the Perineal Healing Foam. But based on my experience with those products, I’m guessing that the Instant Ice Maxi Pads and the Witch Hazel Pad Liners are amazing, too. I had all four products on hand just in case, and I’m glad that I did. I didn’t realize until now that Frida makes sitz bath tablets, and had I known, I would have purchased them ASAP.
That leads me to my next favorite item which was my sitz bath. The hospital gave me one for free, but they are pretty cheap online. It’s really easy to use, and I really believe that taking three sitz baths per day contributed to my quick healing time. After a nice sitz and a little Dermoplast, I was feeling pretty good.
One postpartum item that is pretty universal is the pair of disposable mesh undies that they give you at the hospital. You put these on with a giant pad to help contain the heavy bleeding in the early days. I wore this set up for the first day in the hospital, but I quickly got annoyed with it. It didn’t feel secure, and it was uncomfortable and bulky. A lot of women love the mesh undies, but they weren’t for me. Instead, I used Always Postpartum Underwear. An absolute game changer! These carried me through my second and third day in the hospital, and I used them at home for the next week or so.
I transitioned from the Always undies to the Size 5 Always Infinity pads. This lasted for about a week, and by week three postpartum, I was exclusively using Thinx brand underwear. I cannot praise these underwear enough. I felt more comfortable and secure leaving the house, and they cut down waste significantly. I can’t say that I recommend them for the first ten days to about two weeks postpartum just because the bleeding is quite heavy. But they are good to get you through the second half of recovery.
The final recovery item that I really loved is the Mama Strut Postpartum Support Brace. The website describes the brace as helping to “hold it all together,” and that is exactly what it did for me. This isn’t a girdle or a device to get you skinny again–that wasn’t what I was looking for. It’s for pelvic support. I wore it the day that I was discharged from the hospital, and afterward, I made sure to wear it whenever I was doing a lot of walking around. This means that when I went to the pediatrician’s office or even when I was just taking a stroll around my apartment complex, I had it on. The brace made movement more comfortable, and it prevented me from straining my lower back and abdominal muscles. It is covered by a lot of different insurance plans, so be sure to check with your provider.
Taking Care of Baby
It is very easy to get carried away with buying baby items, but it’s such a fun part of the process. I was very intentional about finding the best deals and shopping sale and clearance items as well as purchasing secondhand when possible (hello, $60, barely-used glider). But here, I am specifically focusing on items that are related to health and wellness.
The most expensive purchase that I made besides our travel system is the Owlet Smart Sock. It is the only one that I missed the sale for (still kicking myself)! I’m sure that you are wondering if a $300 sock is really worth it–and I’m sure that a lot of veteran parents would say no–but it was absolutely worth it to me. I mentioned in my birth story that I have postpartum anxiety, and with that comes heightened fears of my baby’s breathing or heart beat stopping. This sock keeps track of Booker’s oxygen level and heartrate, and if his readings dip to a dangerous level, the base station goes off, my smartphone goes off, and Billy’s smartphone goes off. We know it works because we have forgotten to turn the sock off before taking it off Booker’s foot. The alarm went off almost instantly. For some people, the sock may cause more stress and worry, but for others like me, it is reassuring. I still constantly poke Booker to make sure that he is breathing, but what can I say? I’m a nervous, new mom.
The next product that I have and love is the Pohl + Schmitt Cool Mist Humidifier. Having a winter baby can mean congestion in a tiny nose, and this humidifier combined with Little Remedies saline spray and a NoseFrida has been a blessing. I know the NoseFrida looks gross, but I promise, you don’t suck up your baby’s boogers. It’s far more effective than the old school nose bulb that they gave us at the hospital.
Another item that worked well is the Snoo. I know what you’re thinking: “But Liz, you said that the Owlet was your most expensive purchase. That bassinet is $1,300!” One word: rental. We debated purchasing it outright during Black Friday when it was marked down to about $800, but something in my gut told me that the rental option would be better. I was right. Almost two months in, and Booker is no longer feeling the Snoo. I have no regrets because it served a great purpose in the early weeks. To be honest, I wasn’t consistent with using it, and now Booker gets weirded out by the constant movement. But the good news is that he sleeps through the night with only one wakeup. Now that we are done with it, we are mailing it back to Happiest Baby this week. Our total cost was $282.44.
This next item is partially a baby thing and partially a mom thing. It’s my breast pump! There are many to choose from, and insurance usually covers at least one type for free. I purchased mine through Aeroflow via my insurance company, and I chose the Elvie. The regular price is $499, but with the Aeroflow discount and my FSA funds, I paid nothing out of pocket. For the first couple of weeks, I used a Medela Symphony pump rental from my lactation consultant so I could build up my supply. It sucked (literally) being stuck to a wall with giant trumpet boobs. Now, I can use the Elvie and be hands-free with more conservative Dolly Parton boobs. I even pumped in the car on the way to brunch and wore the pump into the restaurant under my sweater. No one could tell, and it is virtually silent. I think that this pump will be especially useful when it’s time for me to go back to work, and hopefully, I’ll be able to meet my breastfeeding goal of at least six months. Fingers crossed!
Lots of Extras
The things listed here are by no means everything that I bought, and I’m certain that I went a tad overboard in my preparation. But these items are the ones that have been particularly useful over these last eight weeks. There are many products out there that make postpartum life easier, and new things are popping up on the market all of the time. Hopefully, this post helps a few women in their own preparation.