As a new mom, taking care of yourself means you are better equipped to look after others. Whether you are about to have your first child or your third, self-care is invaluable. I’m not sure why it took me having three babies to realize this. Please take my advice when I say prepare yourself a postpartum self-care kit prior to welcoming your baby.
Better yet, if you have a friend who is expecting then a self-care kit for mom and baby makes a great postpartum gift!
Before I continue on, this article isn’t intended to cure, treat or diagnose anything. Always check in with your medical professional.
Self-Care and Recovery
I have a hard enough time when it comes to self-care outside of pregnancy and postpartum. The mom guilt sets in something fierce!
However, what I learned after giving birth is that self-care and taking the time to heal from within is of the utmost importance.
After giving birth to my second daughter I rushed back into the swing of things. I thought I was ok after a few days, but what I didn’t take into account is what our bodies go through. Growing and birthing another human being is HARD work.
So what should a postpartum self-care kit consist of? Here are some items I was thankful to have on hand after giving birth.
Following the birth of my third baby, my hormones were all over the place. Some call this the baby blues.
When my midwife saw how emotional I was (she looked at me and the flood gates opened), she immediately handed me a tincture called Baby Blues. Anytime I was feeling emotional I would take the tincture (per the instructions on the bottle and as directed by my midwife).
It made a huge difference. This tincture is available locally at The Biggest Little Baby in Reno or Elevate Wellness in Tahoe. It is formulated by Ohana Medicinals.
After Birth Pain
Another tincture I would include in a self-care kit is one for after birth pain. There is always a healing process that follows delivering a baby. Think about what our organs endure to make room for a growing human. After Birth Pain tincture is also formulated by Ohana Medicinals.
No doubt that it is painful! And during breastfeeding, the uterus is shrinking back to its normal size leading to menstrual-like cramping. I hear the cramping is worse after each pregnancy (I can vouch for this).
A sitz bath is amazing for helping mom’s tissue heal. There are many blends to choose from, typically made from herbs and Epsom salt. A sitz blend can be used in the bathtub, sitz basin or the squirt bottle provided by most hospitals for toilet use.
If you plan on breastfeeding, be prepared with a nursing balm (most commonly referred to as nipple cream).
Breastfeeding is a sacred journey and you and your little one bond. However, it is not always the most enjoyable time, especially at the beginning.
When you start nursing a baby your nipples endure a stimulation they have never been through.
You’ll most likely experience dry, cracked nipples that hurt for the first 1-2 weeks. Any longer and you’ll want to meet with a lactation consultant to check that baby has an efficient latch.
Nursing balm helps soothe your chapped nipples through this adjustment period. I loved this nursing balm that was gifted to me after I had my first daughter.
With healing and breastfeeding comes the necessity to stay hydrated. If you thought hydration was important prior to having babies and breastfeeding, now it is increased tenfold.
Ok, maybe not that much, but sometimes it feels like it! I am notorious for ALWAYS having a water bottle with me.
In fact, I keep an obnoxiously large 40 oz on me at all times. The Thermoflask non-skid bottle is my go-to. I can keep it on my nightstand for the middle of the night feedings and it doesn’t make a sound when I go to set it down with a sleeping baby in my arms!
You can often find this gem as Costco.
If you didn’t have time to prep food prior to giving birth, or you know someone who is expecting soon, then do them a favor and bring them a meal.
After having my first baby the best postpartum gift I received was a meal. A nourishing and refreshing salad. It was perfect because the weather was warm.
Nowadays there are so many options. Heck, order what you want and have it delivered! Personally, I find comfort foods to be the most enjoyable and nourishing after having a baby.
Never underestimate an extra set of hands. Obviously use your discretion if gifting the time to a friend. You’ll want to consider her comfort level and whether the family is planning to help.
The care from a postpartum doula allows the mom and baby to bond while other tasks are taken care of. If your spouse is going back to work shortly after the birth, then discuss whether a postpartum doula would be helpful for your circumstances.
Your baby has been nice and cozy for 9 months and now their world has been rocked. These items for the baby were among my most used.
My next suggestion doubles for both mom and baby – a quality lotion/oil. Choose a natural lotion/oil to help baby and momma with her skin, while it undergoes so many changes. Quality lotion or oil may also benefit the baby.
Baby’s skin is sensitive, which can result in flakiness (usually normal as the acclimate) and cradle cap. I made my own lotion that I felt comfortable using on my little one.
When she was hit with cradle cap I used an oil formula by Bear Remedies or just olive oil.
If you want to make your own lotion, Shea and cocoa butter combine beautifully with olive oil. Whip together for silky body butter. Add in your favorite essential oils for a relaxing experience.
Another item to keep on hand for the precious baby is a quality diaper cream/powder. In addition to the tinctures I mentioned above, my midwife formulated a diapering powder that works wonders.
My second had super sensitive skin, and the only thing to provide relief was this particular diaper powder. Now I gift it to all new moms!
Commit to set self-care
You’re probably getting sick of me saying self-care, but there is a reason I place an emphasis on the topic. It’s because you not only deserve it, but you truly need it – mind and body!
After you settle in with the new baby, schedule out time (weekly or monthly) for you to have a break. Use this time for an uninterrupted bath with dim light and oils or an in-home massage.
If you can take the time and you feel up to leaving the house, then schedule a pedicure or something that makes you feel refreshed. This will leave you confident and ready to tackle this thing called motherhood.
Lastly, allow yourself to relax and enjoy baby cuddles. You are right, things will be left undone, but you’ll never get this time back with your bundle of joy.
Don’t rush the healing process. We tend to take our bodies for granted. Slow down. Postpartum self-care is so important.
If your friend offers to come over and entertain your older kids, let her. Let her do the dishes while you relax. As a new mom, it is OK to be pampered!
Lacy Catao is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, former paralegal and Army veteran. Motherhood inspires Lacy to share her knowledge of nutrition and optimal wellness, while also providing lifestyle insight as a mother striving to parent with grace and patience. This California native planted her roots in northern Nevada with her husband in 2016. She contributes her love for country living to Idaho, which is where she spent most of her school-age years. Lacy is the mother of three girls and two stubborn Bulldogs.