Whether you’re preparing for your first baby or your fourth, it’s helpful to have much more at hand than a hospital bag and some baby supplies. This article will lay out items that you’ll want ready after giving birth, not only for baby, but for you and your existing children.
Buy food in advance: easy, quick, healthy food that won’t go bad. I have too frequently put myself in the situation of having to leave the house with a newborn because I was “starving” and there was no food in my house. My suggestions are not gourmet, but you need to eat, and being prepared for the baby prior to his or her arrival may prevent a stressful grocery run or going without sustenance. For first time moms that may be doubting that going to the store could be stressful with a brand new baby, or those who maybe nursing every hour or two… just trust me. My suggestion is to purchase the items listed below at the 36 week mark of your pregnancy. They will last long after your birth.
- Nuts, trail mixes and dried fruit: Nuts stay fresh for months, some up to a year in the pantry and years in the freezer. Buy a variety of nuts. They are great during labor, a wonderful and healthy option for the older kids after birth (no mess) and a great snack by your bedside when nursing a baby. Trail mixes are a nice way to “mix” things up and dried fruit keeps just as well as nuts.
- Fruit pouches: Whether you already have another little one still on pureed food or a toddler/kid who who likes their apple sauce in squeeze packs… stock up. I like to keep some fruit pouches in my Everything Tote (see below) I keep on the end of my bed after baby. They pouches are a wonderful quick option to grab your toddlers when nursing or pumping and unable to move if they become hungry. If processed food is not your thing, you can also buy reusable food pouch’s like Nature’s Little Squeeze for homemade apple sauce or other purees. I made a lot of fruit purees in advance for my first born prior to my second child’s birth, and they were so helpful to have on hand.
- Eggs: I might be telling you something that you may not want to hear but eggs last a long time in the refrigerator… a couple months after purchase. Buy a few cartons of eggs during your 36 week “stock up outing” and replenish as you eat. Eggs are wonderful to have around and they are easy to prepare. Another option for a healthy meal after baby!
- Soda/Juice: I know… you should never drink soda. If you knew me, you’d know I can barely stomach the stuff. I don’t drink it (normally), and it goes against my better judgment to inform anyone that they should drink it. The truth is, however, bad for you or not, I “needed” the soft drink during labor and in the first week after birth (I needed the energy/calories but was having a hard time eating most foods). Juice also works for quick energy, but depending on the state of your stomach, it may or may not work.
One of my parenting lifesavers has always been my EVERYTHING TOTE. Since my first baby, I have kept a large L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag at the end of my bed filled with must-haves, including:
- Diapers, Wipes & Changing Supplies: When you have a crying baby that needs to nurse, but is simultaneously having a poop explosion that has just gone up her back, down her legs and some how a bit of the contents have ended up on your face, you’ll be glad you had quick access to diapers.
- Change of Clothes & Swaddles: Again, at 2:00 am you may be grateful not to have to leave your room and travel back to the nursery for these items.
- Snacks: I can’t tell you how many times I have needed something to eat and have been alone. A few snack bars or a bag of nuts taste like heaven when in desperation mode and unable to move. If you have other children that are very young, it’s also wise to throw a few things in the bag for them. There is nothing worse then having multiple children in need of assistance when you are nursing a baby.
- Dixie Cups: I don’t buy many disposable products, but right after having a new baby they are extremely handy. I keep a dozen or so Dixie Cups in the tote to fill with nuts or dried fruit for my other young children while I am stuck and nursing!
- Toys: In the early days of nursing I like to have a few toys on hand for my toddlers so that they may stay amused.
Stock-up on toilet paper, paper towels and paper plates. Our family has never used paper towels much, and never paper plates, but it can be very useful to use these items for a short period of time after the birth of your baby to cut down on laundry and the need to clean anything extra after meals.
- Whether you want fancy, cozy sheets because you’ll be in your bed often or you want cheap sheets that can get ruined… stock up, you’ll need them.
- Keep your bed double made! Some babies/diapers are more prone to poop and pee leakage than others. My first child leaked all the time, my second…never, and my third, I have yet to find out, but nonetheless you’ll probably have to change your sheets often.
- Mattress Protectors: Use them, and if you decide to double make your bed use two mattress protectors. There should be a mattress protector over your mattress, then a fitted sheet, then a flat sheet, then repeat, mattress protector, fitted then flat.
AHP Nursing Backpack
What is a Nursing backpack? A backpack that is prepared before the birth of your new baby for your toddler to utilize while mommy is nursing. The contents vary depending on the age of your child…
- A notebook with color pencils, crayons or other appropriate media for your child’s age.
- A few new toys. Once the mystique of the new toys wears off I recommend rotating older toys in and out of the backpack… packing away the toys in the rotation so they remain interesting next time you pull them out.
- Educational tablet: While you’re occupied with baby, it’s a great time for your older child to sit quietly and learn.
- Snacks: If you give your child a certain number of snacks a day, toddlers find it exciting to pack their snacks away in the nursing backpack. During one of your “nursing sessions” your toddler can sit and cuddle next to you while eating a snack.
I always like to make a fuss over the “AHP Nursing Backpack.” I have always taken my toddlers out shopping and let them pick out their bag. Then I explain what a nursing backpack is and ask them what types of snacks they may like to have packed in their bags, and what special new toys they may like their new baby to get them once they’re born.
- Ibuprofen: You’ll need to talk to your healthcare provider before starting an Ibuprofen regiment, but you may want to have them on hand to manage your uterine contractions after birth. It’s possible you won’t feel the pain/contractions at all. I didn’t with my first baby, but by my third they were pretty bad.
- Depends: Read article by clicking here.
Flax Seed Neck Wrap
Looking down at baby can actually cause you physical pain! If you have a baby, chances are you’re going to hurt your neck from looking down at him/her, so prepare for the pain. I like to use flax seed neck wraps to manage the discomfort. They have a smell reminiscent of oatmeal and you can fall asleep with them on because they cool on their own.
I floss but am not crazy about the sticks, yet, nowadays I always seem to need to floss while I’m nursing. Floss sticks have given me the ability to floss one handed while caring for baby.
Clothing for Baby
You need lots of baby gowns, THEY HAVE ELASTIC BOTTOMS! You don’t need to fuss with buttons, snaps or even zippers in the middle of the night.
Clothing for You
I like to have a dozen or so long pajama dresses that I can nurse in.
If you ever want to shower again (just joking, kind of) you need a baby bouncer. Babies want and need to be near you. By giving them a front row access to you in their portable chair you’ll have a lot more “freedom.” I recommend the Baby Bjorn.
When you just need a second, but your baby won’t give you the time, try turning on a blow dryer. Even if you don’t blow dry your hair I recommend getting a cheap one. The sound of a blow dryer is reminiscent of noises baby hears in the womb. The soundtrack of their life “inside” can be very comforting to many babies.
I hope these suggestions are helpful for your preparations and if you have any questions, comments or an article request write in here.
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I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.