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
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?
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!