women

33 to 36 Weeks Pregnant (part 4) - 34 WEEKS PREGNANT - Stock Up on Postpartum Supplies

- 9 Bad Habits That Can Cause Miscarriage
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

34 WEEKS PREGNANT

Stock Up on Postpartum Supplies

This week, you can
• Stock up on the supplies you’ll need to take care of yourself after your baby is here

YOU’VE GIVEN LOTS of thought to your baby’s layette, securing her all the clothes and other supplies she’ll need for a comfortable and cozy newborn life. But have you thought much about the items you’ll need to have on hand for yourself after you give birth?

As you can probably imagine, giving birth to a baby causes some physical aftermath. You will probably be sore after delivering and you may have healing stitches to contend with. You’ll probably experience some cramping as your organs contract and return to their original “homes.” The extra fluids your body has created to support your growing baby will now need to be eliminated. And the physical pressure of carrying a baby in your body may have caused some other issues, like hemorrhoids or varicose veins, which you’ll now be trying to relieve.

So don’t forget to head to the drugstore and stock up on supplies for yourself before the big event. Here are some of the things you’ll want to have on hand:
 
Peri-bottle. This is a little plastic squirt bottle that you can fill with warm water. It serves a variety of purposes, including helping keep stitches clean, and warm water can be soothing on sore nether regions. The hospital will probably send you home with one, but I’d pick up an extra couple at the medical supply store or pharmacy. Keep one in each bathroom you might find yourself using in the early days after giving birth.
 
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Even after delivering her babies without the use of drugs of any kind, Meagan reached for her bottles of Tylenol and Motrin to help with postpartum soreness. Ibuprofen acts as an anti-inflammatory, which helps to ease the pain of cramping and keeps swelling at a minimum. And acetaminophen can be alternated with ibuprofen around the clock for even more soreness-fighting protection.

If you have your baby via cesarean section, your doctor will probably prescribe you stronger drugs to use in the first few days after giving birth. Most women who’ve had uncomplicated vaginal deliveries can get by with over-the-counter pain relief. Prescription pain meds may interfere with your ability to initiate breastfeeding and make some women feel loopy and out of it while they’re trying to get to know their new baby, so try to use the OTC drugs if you can. Maybe you’ll find that you have no need for medical pain relief at all, but it’s a good idea to have it on hand just in case.
 
Holistic Medicines. Over the course of your pregnancy, your uterus has been stretching and expanding to accommodate your growing baby. Then suddenly, in a matter of hours, the baby exits his first home and leaves it more or less vacant. Your muscular uterus will start to contract shortly after birth to restore itself to its original size and location. This can result in cramping that can be anywhere on the spectrum from similar to a mild menstrual cramp to worse than labor pains.
The herbs Crampbark and/or Motherwort can help with the discomfort. Pick up a tincture (an extraction of an herb in liquid form) from a health food store. Five to twenty drops in a small amount of water every few hours will help ease cramping. You can also buy a prepared mixture called After-Ease that is a little harder to find but can be purchased online. And of course you can always take the wonderful homeopathic remedy arnica, which can help with bruising or tissue trauma you may experience when you give birth. Another great homeopathic remedy that promotes healing and, like arnica, comes in both tablets and a cream is Traumeel.


If you’ve never taken homeopathic remedies before, here’s a word to the wise. Shake the pellets into the bottle cap and then pop them into your mouth rather than touching them with your fingers.

You may also wish to pick up a product called Rescue Remedy at the health food store. This is a flower essence that many swear by to help calm anxiety. Perfect for those moments of stress when you have a new baby in the house! (You can also safely put a few drops in your cat or dog’s water bowl to help them adjust to the commotion.)
 
Heating pad or rice pack. Remember the cramping I told you about? Heat is one of the most effective ways to ease the pain and is also great for sore muscles. I recommend having several rice packs on hand. Take a clean tube sock, fill it with rice, and tie off the end—voila! You’ve got a portable heating pad. Just toss it in the microwave for a minute or two for lasting heat.
 
Tucks medicated pads, or cotton pads and witch hazel. These are good for soothing the hemorrhoids that can often result from late pregnancy and delivery. Some moms also opt to use Preparation-H or another hemorrhoid ointment after giving birth. If ’roids run in your family or if you’re already suffering from one now, be prepared!
 
Absorbent underwear and pads for afterbirth bleeding. Many women use Depends or other absorbent underwear for the first day or two after giving birth, then switch to extra-absorbent maxi pads. You might need them for as little as a couple of weeks or as long as six weeks or longer . . . all women are different. You won’t be able to use tampons—they can cause infections as you heal, and besides, yow!

Here’s a cool trick: Soak a couple of maxi pads in water, gently squeeze out the excess, and stick them in the freezer. You’ll have perfectly shaped ice packs for your tender parts in case you experience postpushing soreness or bruising. You can also fill rubber gloves with ice blended with a bit of water and tie the end to create a flexible, soft ice pack that will move with you.
 
Nipple cream and nursing pads. The first few days of breastfeeding can be tough going. Never before have your breasts been so busy, and they can get pretty sore. You will probably also experience some leaking as your milk comes in. Soft, absorbent nursing pads (you can get thick washable ones or thinner cotton disposables) and nipple ointment or lanolin can be lifesavers. Lansinoh, found at many discount stores and pharmacies, is a safe, approved pure lanolin ointment that can soothe sore nipples and help them heal.
 
Nursing pillow. Not only can they make it easier for you to get off to a good start breastfeeding, but you can use them to prop your arms up while you hold the baby or as extra support for your back.
 
Reading material, water bottles, MP3 player, etc. You’ll be laying or sitting down a lot while your baby is small. It can get boring! Have some things on hand to help pass the time and to help keep you hydrated.

Once you’ve got all those postpartum supplies on hand, don’t just leave them sitting in a bag somewhere. In addition to your baby, you’ll probably come home from the hospital with a bunch of stuff. That won’t be the best time for trying to track down the supplies you need to be comfortable!

I recommend creating several totes stocked with supplies and keeping them in the rooms you’ll be most likely to spend time in when you come home from the hospital. Simple plastic dish tubs will work fine, as will one of those famous grid totes that now populate your bathrooms and your kitchen . . . there’s no need to be fancy, as you won’t be using most of these supplies for long. Group these supplies by purpose and place of use. If you will be splitting your recovery time between the bedroom and the sofa, you might want to have a tote stocked with maxi pads, Tuck’s pads, and a peri-bottle in the master bathroom and one in the hall bathroom. In the living room and bedroom, you could have totes with nursing pads, nipple cream, reading material, a heating pad, and pain medication. Once you’ve sorted your supplies into their proper totes, there’s no reason to hang on to packaging. Get rid of it, and it will be one less piece of clutter to worry about when you come home with your baby.

This has been a short week. Shopping for all these supplies will take some time and I don’t want to overwhelm you with a long to-do list at this late state of your pregnancy. You have a lot to think about and dwell on right now. Once you’ve got your supplies, put your feet up and relax!
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