I read so many different mommy blogs back when I was pregnant (my daughter was born in January 2011), and found lots of little jewels of info. I had almost all of the embarrassing stuff I needed in that immediate post-baby haze, though there were a few things (that I did even know existed) when I sent my mom out to purchase.
In an effort to reduce embarrassing item runs to Target, or to be fully prepared for all bodily fluid issues, I created this kit. I recently gave one to my friend Amy for her shower. At 2 weeks post partum she sent me a text message that said she had delved into the kit and it was exactly what she needed!
Read on to see what is in the kit!
Warning: Do NOT read this if you are not expecting or already have kids. It scares some people!
If you're making this kit for a baby shower gift, you should know that it can become pretty large. I put it all into a Sterilite tote (as seen above), and I picked an opaque one on purpose. I labelled the top as a post-partum kit, with a warning that the new mommy-to-be might not want to open it yet! Of course, she did take a peek, and she had a ton of questions about everything it contained! All of the other moms at the party did a lot of nodding and agreeing with contents. Women without kids yet did a lot of gasping and "do you really need that???" Yes, you really do!
So, it should be pretty obvious that even if you didn't push the baby out (meaning, you had a c-section), the whole area down there isn't quite right. Oh, and you're about to have the longest (and heaviest) period that you've ever had.
Perineal Bottles: They'll give you one at the hospital (the nurses will send you home with it), but you really should have one for each bathroom. Buy a few extras, I just ordered from Amazon but you can sometimes find them at the drugstore. This bottle is squeezable and it has a few holes at the end. Basically, fill it with luke warm-ish water (not hot!) before you go to the bathroom. I've read online that some prefer to add a little witch hazel or lavender oil to the bottle as well, I just used water. After you go to the bathroom, you'll rinse the whole area off with this bottle. It sounds strange now, but trust me, you'll love this thing after the baby is there!
Preparation H Wipes: Again, a package for each bathroom. These are witch hazel wipes, you'll use them after rinsing with the bottle. You could make your own, but these wipes are more portable and convenient. I found them to be very soothing!
Sitz Bath: The nurses usually send you home with one of these, you really only need 1 of them. The idea is that it fits into your toilet, you sit down and that bag (which you've preloaded with warm water) will fill the bath with warm water to soak you. Sit there for 10-20 minutes and it helps prevent infection and aids healing.
Personally, I found this little tub very uncomfortable and difficult to use. I ended up just sitting in our regular tub a few times a day and it worked much better for me.
Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy Flow: These are probably the biggest and most absorbent pads on the market right now. I read about them on-line and had 2 packages ready to go, but I did have to reorder. When everything was over, I had used almost 4 packages. A lot of people rave about the pads given to you by the hospital, but maybe my hospital used cheap pads... I found them mostly bulky and non-absorbant. These ones were much better.
Blue Pads: Having said such amazing things about my pads, I will say you should have some blue pads ready to go as well, especially for the first week or so! There are sometimes... gushes of so much fluid that no pad will handle it all. (Confession: I had a gush in my new rocker... big old stain. Thank goodness the slipcover was still on backorder!)
Anyways, these pads are what we use for tons of things in the hospital. There are a lot of different versions, these are the ones I've ordered a few times now for my daughter and our dog. It's absorbent (to a certain extent) and waterproof and also completely disposable! They come in different sizes, and if you're using them just to sit and sleep on post-partum you shouldn't need more than 20 or so. If you don't want to order the huge amount from Amazon, look in the incontinence pad area of Walmart (really!) they sell smaller packs for just a few dollars.
Not Pictured: Big Underwear!
Yes, you'll need some big panties to hold on to a pad that large. I read all about the postpartum underwear issues over at Ain't No Mom Jeans. Based on Shana's recommendations, I bought a ton of dark (aka- more stain resistant) undies from AE, and they were perfect! I sized up from my normal by 2 sizes (1x for pregnancy, 1x for not being a skinny 13 year old girl, since that's their normal buyer). Super comfy and I admit to still wearing them all the time.
Listen to your doctor and nurses when they tell you that you'll need to stay on top of the pain meds. It's best to just plan to stay on them around the clock, take them whether you need it or not, but make sure you don't go over the max recommended daily dose for that Tylenol! Tylenol is every 4 hours, Advil/Motrin (same thing) are every 6 hours. I kept a little notepad and jotted down when I had taken something so I wouldn't overdo it.
It depended on the day, but sometimes a little icepack went a long way towards making me feel better! You can put ice cubes in a disposable diaper and wrap it up, but I never got enough cold from that. Instead I mostly used disposable cold packs (mine were from Walmart), which I wrapped in a washcloth. I washed the cloths pretty frequently and after I stopped using the packs a few weeks later I just tossed them. At 2 for $2.50 or so, I had no problem doing that!
It's true. Really, really listen to your nurses when they tell you to use a stool softener! Your first bowel movements, even when things are normal, will feel like giving birth again. Alone. On the toilet. OMG, sooo painful! (Especially if things tore a little extra, like they did for me.) So, you'll need a stool softener. Miralax is my one of choice- it just holds onto fluid and makes your stool softer. It doesn't get absorbed at all and it doesn't make anything cramp up. If you tore a little more you should also add in some Colace. I took both every day for weeks and was so thankful that the pharmaceutical gods had created them!
As for the Preparation H cream... sometimes you get hemorrhoids from pushing. Just buy a tube so it's already there. You might not need it (somehow I didn't after 3 hours of pushing), but if so... there it is! Buy it when you're already buying the other embarrassing items. Problem solved.
Finally, I'm assuming that there will be nursing going on. I'm not going to lecture about the health and intellectual benefits for the baby, or the breast cancer reduction for mommy, or even the bonding emotional benefits. If nothing else, it makes you drop that baby weight like a rock, so look at it as a totally selfish thing to do and decide to nurse the baby.
Soothie Pads: Soothie pads are little silicone pads that feel amazing for sore nipples. Leave them in the fridge to keep them cool.
Disposable Pads: Not everyone has problems with leaking (I never did), but you should probably have a package of these around for the 3rd trimester and beyond. There are also versions that are reusable and can just be washed in the washing machine.
Lanolin Cream: Not every cream is ok for baby to ingest, but lanolin is fine! A little cream on irritated nipples after nursing is very helpful.
Nipple Shield: My mom ran out to get me these when my milk came in and my daughter's latch was killing me! This just adds a little protection that makes things hurt a bit less. I probably would have quit nursing without these. Buy a couple of them to have on hand, we left them around the house so we didn't have to hunt down a new one. They do sell them at the store, but the package looks empty in the display, just read the names and look for the package that looks empty!
Sleep Bra: Finally, the sleep bra was amazing for my last trimester and after delivery. It feels like a t-shirt and offers some support. It is especially helpful for the first few weeks when your milk comes in and cup size can vary so drastically. I slept in them for about 4 weeks after I was done nursing as well.
Let me know if I missed anything or you have any questions!