Postpartum Essentials

Now that our sweet Kaya girl is three months old, I officially feel like I'm out of the postpartum phase. Obviously I won't be completely back to normal for about six-nine more months but I am so much more my usual self. I have been pregnant or nursing since the Spring of 2014 so it's been a long time since I haven't had to think about how what I do, wear or apply affects my babies.

Those first few weeks postpartum are such a crazy, overwhelming, blissful, beautiful and hideous time. Learning how to care for a new baby while learning how to care for your new body is a challenge like none other. Couple that with the unpredictable hormone high and lows and you've got a recipe for potential disaster. I was fortunate to have a much quicker recovery with baby number two than I had with my firstborn and I attribute the ease and joy of this postpartum period to these items (...and no third degree tear. and Jesus.)

1. Hydroflask
Water is so essential for postpartum recovery and especially for breastfeeding. As nursing mamas, our milk supply is a direct reflection of our water intake but ever since my first pregnancy I can only stomach ice cold water. I can put ice cold water in my bottle at bedtime and when I wake up, it’s the exact same temperature. Magic. I’m a huge water guzzler as it is and this 60oz water bottle keeps me in check every day. I try to drink at least two daily, but my goal is three. 

2. Natural Skin Care
As I mentioned before, I have been sharing my body for nearly three years and I always do my best to be conscious of that. This means sticking to a natural skincare regime as best I can. Something like this charcoal soap bar is gentle yet powerful and will get the job done while nursing.

3. Honest Diaper Bag backpack
I love my Louis Vuitton Never-Full and Marc Jacobs diaper bag but having a toddler and newborn to lug things around for was a bit of a game changer. As usual, Honest seems to have thought of everything with this bag. Chasing after a toddler makes a backpack pretty essential and the amount of pockets makes packing the large amount of new baby must haves organized. Bonus: one of the zipper compartments is insulated for keeping snacks (string cheese in our case) cool. 

4. Milk Snob nursing cover
Oh man. Sometimes I feel bad for the first-time-mom version of myself. I can't even tell you how many times I excused myself from the table/theatre/store/room to go nurse in the hallway/bathroom stall/dressing room. I was so willing to make myself incredibly uncomfortable in exchange for making people more comfortable. Turns out, most people don't care at all that you're nursing. As a matter of fact, most people hardly even NOTICE I'm nursing half the time. Sneaking away to nurse in a too-small bathroom stall just isn't an option with a toddler but I do try to be as modest as possible. Enter the Milk Snob nursing cover. I love that this isn't an apron style so it is full coverage making it easy to walk around and nurse with no discomfort. It also doubles as a perfect carseat cover to block out light and people who want to touch your baby's hands in those first weeks. (Why, people? Please don't be that person.) 

5. Exfoliating scrub
Breastfeeding is drying. So drying. I find my skin and scalp so dry in the first months of nursing until my body and hormones adjust a bit. Using an all-natural scrub at least once a week helps bring back the glow and hydration of my skin.

6. Dark colored lightweight robe
Nothing feels better than that first week after baby than pajamas or a robe. I recommend a dark color for obvious reasons and a lightweight jersey because all the hormones=all the sweat.

7. Vegan Protein Powder
It's just plain hard to stay in great nutrition after having a baby. You are exhausted and normally anything that is quick and easy will pass as your meal. I make an effort to have one protein shake a day to ensure I'm getting the nutrients my baby, and my body, need. Keogena struggles with reflux so I have been dairy free for the past month and will continue until she is well into eating solids to ensure she's as comfortable as possible. Thankfully, there are many dairy-free and fully vegan options in the protein powder world. 

8. Brow Pencil
Maybe it's just me, but If I were stuck on a desert island and could only bring five items, a brow pencil would make the list. It's all I need to feel put together and makes all the difference in those early postpartum weeks when no makeup and glasses are in constant rotation. 

9. Essential Oils
Essential oils are something I became passionate about during my first pregnancy and the love for them has only grown in each phase of Motherhood, both for my own body and my babies. My favorites for postpartum are OnGuard on the bottoms of my feet to keep from catching toddler colds, Serenity and Balance for fighting those baby blues and general feelings of being overwhelmed, and diffusing Lavender for a comforting scent that makes me feel peaceful. 

10. Slip-on Shoes 
All about the Birkenstocks post-partum.

11. Sitz Bath Spray
My postpartum lady parts situation was pretty wonderful this time around but with an all natural birth, things are bound to be a little sore and I did have a couple stitches. This spray coupled with the mamas bottom rub and some tucks pads for good measure were a magical combination I used religiously the first two weeks

12. Solly Baby Wrap
I cannot say enough good things about this wrap. It is my number one. My VIP. My MVP. It's the very best.  I loved the solly baby wrap the first time around but I didn’t wear Oshiolema often as a newborn (outside of traveling) simply because I didn’t really need to. As a mom of two under two, however, things have changed. I wear Keogena at LEAST once a day. I wear her in the grocery store so Oshiolema can sit in the cart, I wear her to cook dinner since its her witching hour (and her big brother’s too), I wear her when she wants to be bounced but I have too much to do…this little lady loves her wrap and I never tire of having her snuggled on me. Since she won't take a bottle yet, she is with me pretty much 24/7 and I couldn't do it without this thing. 

13. Mother Tucker leggings 
My stomach after labor is just so loose and flabby feeling that anything I can get my hands on to keep things in place counts as a winner in my book. These leggings have such a firm, tightening waistband that I preferred them over any other garment. A long flow top with these leggings stood as my wardrobe for the first month. 

Not pictured but extremely important are:

Placenta Pills:

Probably my number one essential Postpartum item. I am a big believer in all the benefits of soaking up all the nutrients from our placenta after birth. I genuinely noticed a difference when I didn’t take the proper dose or when I forgot the to take my pills in the later weeks after baby. Also, I had such a surge of energy while taking these pills to the point where I actually had to cut back the dose for a couple days! I have chosen the raw encapsulation method for both pregnancies only because I was told it helped with the taste. I have to say, with my first birth I was hesitant to take the pills out of fear of tasting, well, placenta. In both postpartum periods I’ve never tasted a thing which makes life wonderful.
Mothers Milk Tea/More Milk Plus Pills:
These milk increasing methods tend to make Keogena gassy but work immediately if I notice a drop in my milk supply. 
Bravado Nursing Cami:
I have tried many, MANY nursing camis and this one is the most efficient, most comfortable and most flattering in my opinion.
And the most unglamorous but most important items are:
Depends for the first few days ( I know, I know..I thought the same thing you're thinking. But I didn't do this last time but tried it out this time around and was so impressed.)
Always Infinity Pads for weeks 2-4
Peri Bottle for the first couple weeks
Dermoplast is a magic numbing spray that I use overtime I use the restroom until I don't feel the need to anymore.

Most Importantly but probably the most overlooked: REST.
There is such a pressure to rush into busy and fit and recovered as early as possible. Last time I had so much healing to do that rushing wasn't an option. Because I felt so great this time, I made the mistake of working out too soon and caused way more harm than good. Don't set yourself back to reach some impossible (and invisible) standard. Snuggle your baby. Sleep. Eat good food. The laundry, cleaning, gym and anything else can wait. 


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