You know the rule on every single flight regarding oxygen masks? Yours on first. Not Suzy’s, not little Joey’s. Yours, mama. I know, I know–it’s likely you’ve been beaten over the head with this your whole life by those who love you. If you’re lucky, your medical care team has reminded you of it throughout your pregnancy. As cliche as it is, it will never be more true than it is in this whole new life of yours: the fourth trimester.
As a baby is born, a new life is born for you, too. Everything massively shifts all at once–physically, mentally and emotionally. While the birth of your baby is a miraculous gift, healing from your hospital stay and adjusting to all the many things new parent life brings can wage quite the war. You’ve fought so hard to be the best mom all throughout your pregnancy–no doubt you are fighting harder than ever now that your little one is earth side. But mama? You need your oxygen mask first. As fun as it is to dive into buying the snuggliest cuddliest things for your newborn, all of those sweet things are best used when mama is well cared for and loved on herself. Because even more than that giant fuzzy peach octopus you can’t wait to give to your baby–your miracle wants you–happy, healthy, and well loved on just the same.
I delivered our miracle man, James Grover, on June 17th, 2020 via planned c-section due to chronic health conditions of mine. I am a pumping, nursing and supplementing mama–so these products will fall into those buckets. (Fed is best, mama! Whatever route nourishing your baby takes, I support you and salute you!) Along with a hero of a husband, a medical team sent straight from above, and family & friends who remember to ask how I am *almost* as much as they nag me for baby pictures 😅, all of the below products have been truly essential in keeping me healing and nourished–mind body & spirit–as I have navigated this fourth trimester. I pray they do the same for you, too. If you are currently still pregnant, I share my pregnancy must haves here: Natural Mama Pregnancy Must Haves
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll be compensated at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I absolutely adore and believe readers will find helpful.
Postpartum Must Haves
1.) Medela Pump
I did not bring my pump to the hospital because I didn’t think we would need it. I was told it would take several days for my milk to come in enough to need a pump. Goodness was I wrong! Every mama is different, but mine came in by day two. Thankfully, nursing and the Haaka silicone pump below helped keep engorgement at bay just enough; but by the time I was discharged from the hospital, I was in a lot of pain. I pumped right away and instantly felt pounds lighter and in a heck of a lot less pain. I like this pump in particular because it’s easy to assemble, reassemble and clean. It also comes with a battery pack so if you ever find yourself engorged on a 5 hour road trip (🙋🏻♀️) you can pump while hubby drives. Easy peasy! Be sure to check with your health insurance before purchasing a pump as many providers will cover the cost for you.
A friend told me about this about a week before we had James. Having never breastfed before, I had no clue what in the world it would do and how it would help. I packed this in my hospital go bag, and holy. moly. thank God I did. James came in like a wrecking ball when it came to eating! He still eats near double what most little ones his age eat. I think he may get his appetite from his mama. What this does is it suctions (pain free, I promise!) to the breast your baby is not nursing on. While your little one nurses one breast, you suction this to the other breast and it catches your let down milk and even suctions a bit more out. A lot of moms use this to build up a freezer stash, storing the Haaka milk after every nursing session. Because James is a milk monster, I would nurse and then give him the Haaka milk in a bottle after each session. This helped make transitioning from breast to bottle and back again really seamless too. Win win!
While the plastic nursing pads are convenient, I couldn’t bring myself to contribute even more waste to our world. I ordered these and I’m so thankful I did. They are so much kinder to the Earth, so soft, and the calming colors brought a little smile each time I used them. They are discreet, so no one will know you are wearing them, and crazy absorbent. Wear them all night long and for once wake up without lying in puddle of milk 🥛. I highly recommend bringing these in your hospital bag to wear under any cozy sports bras you pack for your hospital stay.
What the what is this?! Yep, I thought the same thing at first. Much like the Haaka, not ever having breastfed before, I didn’t quite understand the need of things like this. I had heard nursing and pumping could be uncomfortable, but I had no idea the extent of that discomfort. My first couple weeks trying, I was in tears from pain more times than I can count as my body adjusted to its new gig. Enter these magic workers. Whenever a blister or tear would arise, I would place these underneath my bra, and within hours, the blister or wound would have softened enough to painlessly peel off. Every. Single. Time. Absolute magic. After having tried organic creams, I say with absolute confidence that these are far superior and worth every penny. Also, yet again, kinder to our Earth than using the packaging and plastic tubing of nipple creams, and more cost-effective as it’s a one time purchase.
I live in these. No, really. I am currently 7 weeks postpartum, and as I struggle through this strange in between body, these have brought me so much peace. With maternity pants being too large now and my pre-pregnancy clothes too small, these are so soft and comfortable, yet hold everything in; making me feel less like a slob and not so guilty that they are practically glued to my body these days.
Made by the same company that made the leggings above, this band moved mountains in my healing journey. It helps pull your muscles back into place from the pregnancy and operation, while also supporting your back. Having severe diastasis recti, and living 5+ hours away from our “village” of help, wearing this on the days I was alone with James so soon after my surgery made the difference between being able to carry him and not. The support on my back and tightness around my belly made me so much more stable and mobile. I’m not too sure what I would’ve done without it. I highly recommend sticking to the sizing guides they recommend–even if the recommended size seems off to your pre-pregnancy mind, give yourself grace, and order the size they recommend for utmost comfort and support.
There’s a LOT goin’ on, mama. Your body is changing so rapidly, and your sleep schedule, hormones, and life in general is a bit all over the place. Luke places this in lunchtime smoothies for an easy and extremely helpful lunchtime snack for the extra crazy days. On the days that go by too quickly for a smoothie, I can absolutely feel a difference in how sluggish I feel. This puts a pep in my step, helps ward off postpartum joint tightness, and also helps maintain just a bit of the vanity of pregnancy–like that infamous glow and shiny hair. We may not look like we did while pregnant, but mama, you’ve birthed a human. You’ve got a whole new level of glow now. ❣️
Our neighbor ordered this for me and I am so thankful she did. I would make it after putting James down for bedtime every night, and the little ritual granted me some me time each day–making it something to look forward to each moment during the day when things got crazy.
With great power comes great dehydration, Spider Mama 🙉 Our fridge is constantly stocked with coconut water because it has helped a ton in ramping up my milk supply. It’s also helped curb the lingering sleep-deprivation, dehydration, holy moly my hormones have gone wild, headaches.
Just as I mentioned in my Natural Mama Pregnancy Must Haves blog, these are just the best. Ingredients are derived from natural sources, not synthetic, and topped off with ginger to curb nausea. It’s recommended to continue your prenatals while breastfeeding, but truthfully, I think I’ll stick with these puppies as my go to multivitamin for the rest of forever.
Pumping will feel like your new full time job. Sorry to be blunt, but I wish someone had been with me. I am endlessly thankful for this bra. It comes with straps but can also be worn strapless, making it super easy to zip on and off. Be it feeding a hungry little one, catching up on emails, or gobbling down some food, being hands free during pumping sessions is a must.
Robes are a must have for so many reasons. They’re easy to take on and off, comfortable, and can really lift up a sleepy mama from feeling like a sleepy troll to feeling like a sleepy troll in a pretty pattern. 😋 I adore this one because the length is long enough to cover a postpartum bump, and the sleeves are just long enough to be cozy yet not hit your wrists–so it won’t get in the way during diaper changes. Plum Pretty Sugar has a million patterns and styles, but the styles I have found to be most helpful during postpartum life is this style above and The Boyfriend Shirt style.
13.) WildBird Ring Sling
Lucky number 13! I consider myself extremely blessed to have as snuggly as a baby as I do. James always loves being held. Being a serious snuggler myself, this. is. the. best. But it gets tricky when Luke is at work and I have bottles to wash, work to tackle, laundry to fold, etc. You know the drill! A dear friend sent us one of these and it has changed everything. A happy snuggly James gets to cozy up with me whenever–no matter what I’m doing. Happy James = Happy Mama. PLUS…the slings really make a mama feel pretty darn hip 🤓
Your People > Your Products
All of the above products are so helpful and have proven to be so necessary in my postpartum walk. But most importantly of all, you need and deserve community. No matter how you are feeling, no matter what you are thinking, confide in a trusted source who will listen and help judgement free. Do not take lightly the postpartum journey. You can be grateful for your miracle and still feeling a lot of really big really hard emotions. Don’t keep them to yourself. Share them with your trusted circle and if need be, your doctor. Be honest about your needs, ask for help, and do not go it alone.
Remember, your oxygen mask on first, mama. Your little babe is a miracle and so are you.
Sending you so many gentle hugs. Always.
Still wobbling around with your little one in your belly? I’ve got ya mama! Peek at my Natural Mama Pregnancy Must Haves here.