Read this article first. It’s pretty hilarious, and pretty accurate.
Things you need:
A good pump. A hand pump will do in a pinch, but let your insurance cover a quality closed system electric pump from specialty brands like Medela, Ameda and Hygeia
A giant water bottle. And lots of snack food. You will be dying of thirst and hunger for the next three months. Start your stockpile now.
Bookmark Kellymom. That way, when you have questions, you can get good, legitimate advice and not the horror stories you will see on your due date club boards. Also, the Baby Book by Dr. Sears is a great resource.
Family and friends. Not for visiting; for helping. Let family and friends bring you food, do some laundry and run the vacuum for you. Now is the time for you to bond with and get to know your baby, not try to be wonder woman. You may even wish to seek the services of a postpartum doula for additional support.
Nursing supplies: get some cotton leak pads, or try Lily Pads to help with the leaking. Nursing tanks are better than bras because you can throw a shirt over them and then not have to worry about exposing yourself every time you feed the baby. Or just go topless for the first couple of weeks; lots of skin to skin and easy access to the breast are great for the baby. Put your La Leche League Leader and Lactation Consultant numbers on the fridge or by your phone so you will be able to get nursing assistance right away. And finally, learn how to hand express. This will help SO MUCH with engorgement.
As you are recovering, keep tabs on your mood. Postpartum mood disorders can manifest any time in the baby’s first year of life. If you need something to gauge your mood, I highly recommend the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale as a great quick quiz to assess your mental health. You may also wish to consider having your placenta encapsulated to help stave off postpartum blues.
Some things that will help you adjust to motherhood: EAT. I mean it, you will forget to eat. Just keep shoving food in your mouth, or have friends sign up to bring you meals. And take at least 30 minutes a day for yourself. Have your partner hold the baby so you can take a nap, read a magazine, go to the store, whatever. Regular mama time is vital to keeping your sanity!
When you finally feel up to it, don’t forget to get back into a fitness routine. No, your body won’t zip back in 8 weeks like Heidi Klum. But exercise does release endorphins and help you lose weight and keep postpartum mood disorders at bay.
And if anyone asks you what you need or want, tell them to get you a gift certificate for a massage. You probably will only be thinking of things the baby needs, but don’t be afraid to ask people to help take care of you. You won’t believe how sore you get from rocking the baby all the time.
What things helped you in the postpartum?