You’ve thought of everything for your new baby, but what about you? Here’s a roundup of the things new moms need for themselves as they wade through the start of this exciting and unfamiliar journey.
I hope that in the midst of all the baby care items you prepared, you’ve arranged some things for yourself too, mama. As a first-time mom, I admit I was dumbfounded by what was happening during the early weeks after giving birth. Postpartum recovery will always be one for the books because it is a lot all at once, like summer and winter passing by at the same time.
In order for us to pick the best things for moms, first, let’s find out.
What do moms lack after giving birth?
Two things: Energy and time.
Women go through huge physical and mental changes during and after birth. Their hormones will go up and down and their bodies will start their way back to their pre-baby state. These changes will sap the new mom’s energy.
And let’s not forget: she will be on mama bear mode. This means she will feed her baby and will most likely still be awake at night, even though her body badly needs rest. All these contribute to mom’s lack of energy.
You might think a mom just gazes at her baby in amazement all day but a mom who just gave birth also has a full to-do list at home. Because of that, her hobbies will most likely be set aside because of a lack of time. How can you finish that crochet when taking a bath or brushing your teeth seems next to impossible?
Women who just gave birth are most likely to stay at home during the first few months (except for well-baby checkups and postpartum visits) especially now with the pandemic. Facing the task of caring for a newborn is a challenging experience, particularly for first-time mothers. It is true when they say that when a baby is born, a mother is born too. You have so many things to adjust to and it could be disorienting.
What do moms need after birth?
To supply energy, we need nourishment for the body. But how do you supply time?
Even though you can’t add hours in a day, there are ways you can get a hold of the much-needed time for yourself (and use this time wisely).
Here are what you can prepare ahead as a new mom. Or if you are someone thinking of gifts to give, this list also includes items you don’t even have to spend money on.
1. Nutritious Meals
Stock up your fridge with real meals when you are near your due date so you can microwave them later. That way you won’t have to order from fast food every time you or your husband throws in the towel when it comes to cooking. Let’s not forget that dads are also sleep-deprived and would easily agree to order not-so-healthy pizza and chicken nuggets.
We are blessed my mom cooks hearty meals. During the weekends when she’s not with us, my husband and I were living off canned goods. 🙃
If you are a friend thinking of thoughtful gifts for the new mom, consider cooking for her. Freshly cooked meals will surely recharge her healing body. Or if you don’t cook, you can order her favorite food to deliver at her doorstep.
I am not a coffee person but even I had to supply my system with caffeine after I gave birth. Be mindful though of those you normally drink because there are brands that are not advisable for lactating women. And speaking of nursing, there are also coffee brands specially made for breastfeeding moms. They claim to increase milk supply which is what we nursing moms desire.
Hope you don’t mind drinking cold coffee though. Our parenting duties partnered with our mom brain would make you forget about the cup you made.
Breastfeeding or not, moms eat a lot after they gave birth and it is always a good idea to steer clear of junk foods. Take delight in eating fruits as they will boost your energy and pump your immune system. You may also check out tasty postnatal snack bars available in the market like Aptamom’s.
You may also snack on treats like lactation cookies. I order mine from Anyue‘s.
Don’t forget to hydrate yourself from time to time. You can even add flavor to your water by infusing it with fruits.
4. Groceries Delivered
Since postpartum mothers should not lift anything heavier than their babies, it makes sense to order online and have your needs delivered. Don’t let those discount coupons expire. It is safer to stay at home too because of the pandemic.
5. Cleaning & Housework Help
Between feeding newborns, changing diapers, and putting the baby to sleep, mamas got no time and energy to do the house chores. If your mom or relative offered to help with the housework, welcome it and do not feel guilty. The best you can do is use the time to rest and recover.
If you can also spare money on cleaning service then, by all means, avail it.
While parents could be wary of having other people hold their baby (What if he is sick? What if she kisses the baby?), tired parents are grateful to family members (and friends) who rock the baby to sleep.
Not to mention, first-time parents who never had any baby care experience would appreciate tips and tricks on how to soothe a crying baby.
A new mom may grab every opportunity there is to sleep and no one should judge her. It is what her body needs. So new mama, sleep when the baby sleeps. When family or friends offer help to take care of the baby, take the chance to nap.
I think it is cute and funny when moms tell those who look after the baby “wake me up when she’s hungry”. We all know that they don’t need to wake you up. You will rise every time you know your baby needs you.
8. Postpartum Care Kit
Yes, there is such a thing. But giving birth in the Philippines, I tell you we don’t use a lot of items after birth nor do we get informed that we need it. That said, these are the most common things we ready for ourselves.
As I read it, I actually only had diapers for myself. The other items were prescribed by the doctor. If you search for a postpartum care package, most will also include these items.
If you want to have all these, there is no harm in buying your own kit. It is always a good idea to take care of yourself while caring for your baby. If an item will make you feel better, make you heal faster, make everything convenient for you, go reach for it. Make sure it has the green light from your doctor though.
What could new moms feel after birth?
Beyond being ecstatic and grateful and tired, moms could be overwhelmed. Aside from being exhausted, and showing up for baby every time she is needed, there is also the baby blues where mom’s hormones whack her emotions for about two weeks.
How to help an overwhelmed mom?
The easiest is sending greetings and uplifting messages. It will mean so much to moms who are trying to get through day by day. They might not be able to reply immediately but know that these messages are well appreciated.
Here are self-care items that will surely refresh moms’ minds and rejuvenate their bodies.
9. Spa treatment / Gift cards
There is no better time to pamper yourself than after you gave birth when your body is beaten and needs TLC. There’s a wide range of options you can treat yourself for: massage, facial, mani-pedi, hair care. Give in to soothing your body, you deserve it!
10. Mommy / Baby Journal
Keep a record of your baby’s milestones or write what you have been going through as a new mom. In the future, you can sit down and flip through the pages of your journey with your firstborn. There are also digital journals where you can upload photos of your little one and marvel at how he is growing.
11. Guidebooks (about Postpartum and Being a Mother)
New moms have a thirst for information. Having knowledge about how to take care of a newborn adds confidence to parents. Yes, even Dads can read and benefit from books. Reading from other mothers’ experiences can also make you feel better, if not empowered.
12. Netflix / Subscription / Downloads
Ask many moms what they do to stay awake during nighttime feedings and they will tell you they just watch movies or television series. When your eyelids want to shut badly, your favorite shows will keep you awake. Go ahead and have your favorites ready to play.
Despite being sleepy, nursing moms stay awake because 1) we might pin down baby if we fall asleep, and 2) sometimes it is the only “me time” we have.
Unique and Useful Things for Moms
I try to list things that focus on the mom — things that aren’t for the baby. But as a mother, I know by now that everything I do or buy will also benefit the little one.
If you are the type who stores mementos, you can make a souvenir out of your baby’s hair, nails, and even the umbilical stump. Many jewelers nowadays are fabricating necklaces and earrings out of these pieces. You can also have your breastmilk be made into a pendant with your baby’s name on it.
14. Breastfeeding Accessories
There are loads of breastfeeding items ranging from inexpensive to gold. You may prepare a milk catcher and nipple balm or a nursing bra and a breast pump. There are also lactation massagers if you want to spend extra. See my list of breastfeeding must-haves as a guide.
15. Baby Wrap Carrier
Some babies just won’t stop bawling until they are bundled up and glued to their mamas. To get everyday work done while fostering your little one, many moms swear by this piece of clothing. Being swaddled and swayed are two of the top baby soothers. You have to make sure though that you are using it properly (for baby and mom) so it will not interfere with your baby’s hip development.
Forewarning: your back
may will hurt because of the constant weight you are lifting. Take a rest every now and then.
What do (new) moms deserve?
While we’re at it, here is something many moms (and friends of moms) probably never thought of. Even I only learned it from my Facebook feed.
There are bridal showers and baby showers but never a mommy shower. Is it because it is hard to take a bath when you are a mom? 😬
Anyway, an honest mother suggests that postpartum moms need to have their own mommy showers. How will it go? Friends visit the new mom and take care of everything for the day including the baby and the house. Lucky mom gets to sleep and eat without worrying about the state of her house because friends are in charge. Visitors also bring food and stories and laughter and seriously, we should have this kind of party.
I haven’t seen such a celebration yet, maybe I’ll check the internet some other time. Surely there have been mommy showers since the post circulated online.
Or maybe it is better to have a celebration for new parents rather than for mom only. Dads deserve help and are honored too.