How to build a life-saving “New Mommy Survival Kit.”
Let the Games Begin!
The miracle of childbirth is one that absolutely floored me both times my two daughters entered this world. And by floored, I mean I was beside myself adjusting to this life event. The physical toll it takes on the body is astounding after you’ve suffered and sacrificed during the typically forty-week long gestation process.
My first child arrived eight days early, but came after 28 hours of active labor. My second was four days early but came after 14 hours of active labor and nearly four weeks of pre-labor “delights” (sleepless nights from fetal kicking, contractions).
Each time I was in the hospital it shocked me how overwhelmed I was with what had happened to me, while family and friends snapped photos, brought balloons and flowers, and ogled the new baby. I had just survived a major medical event. My body had been through heck and back, I was more tired than I’d ever been in my entire life, and I needed to be sure I was ready & able to care for my new child. Talk about pressure!
It’s true, the flowers and balloons and cards and fruit bouquets I received were beautiful, brought me joy, and showed me how well I was thought of during this special time. But it’s hard to admire your flowers when your nipples are so sore you’re crying as your baby latches on to nurse. And the balloons don’t help much when you haven’t showered in three days and are therefore covered in night sweat remnants, spit up, and greasy hair.
What I needed was some pampering when “me time” had just become a thing of the past upon entering the realm of motherhood, even further a memory when the newborn was not my first born. Whether having just delivered your first child or yet another new addition, new mommy’s need a self-preserving survival kit. Because getting through the day-to-day of caring for a new baby takes real survival skills. Let’s face it, unless you employ a full-time nanny service, you need to outsmart your new mommy situation and persevere to succeed.
Survival is Key
Here are some key household items that can make new mommy-hood survival attainable. If you or someone you know is a new mom, give these tricks a try.
- Tea Bags: Not only can you brew some hot tea to soothe your sore throat resulting from sleepless nights, but the real life saver is to take two bags, wet them with a little warm water (as warm as you can stand; the warmer they are, the longer the effects), stick one over each nipple, tucking them into your nursing bra and INSTANTLY relieve soar nipples from breastfeeding. Caution: this will stain your bra, so use with washable nursing pad inserts that are dedicated to “tea time!”
- Disposable Bath Time Wash Clothes: It’s hard enough holding onto a wiggly slippery infant, let alone bathe reaching all the nooks & crannies. So use these self-sudsing wash clothes to feel like you have the third hand you need for bath time!
- Gerber Disposable Nursing Pads: These pads worked the best to stay put in your bra and avoid leaks. I never leaked through my shirt with these, and there’s no adhesive tape to fool around with. Tip: bring a spare pair in your purse in case you need them.
- Used Grocery Bags: If you don’t already save yours for dog walks, keep a stash of these in your car at all times. It’s hard enough to remember your extra diapers when you go out with baby, but to actually remember a place to put a dirty diaper on the go…good luck! These save the hassle.
- Boudreaux's Butt Paste: Diaper rash is inevitable!!! You are not a bad parent when it arises…but the key to achieving “parental superstar” status is how fast you can make it disappear…or at least ease the pain. So try Butt Paste 'cause it’s the best thing we’ve found to cure diaper rash! You can even use it on other baby rashes and irritations, even your own. Find it in any local drug/grocery store. And if it doesn’t work for you, sample other brands to find what works. Every baby’s butt is different.
- Cotton Rounds: On the note of diaper rash, consider these for do-it-yourself baby wipes. Take a shallow Tupperware and line the bottom with a layer or two of facial cotton rounds (available in large and small sizes at Target). Add just enough water to moisten them all and cover with a lid to leave at your changing station or in your diaper bag. When baby has a simple #1 diaper…don’t bother with an expensive wipe that has more cleaning oomph than you need…just use a wet cotton round for gentle cleaning. And for #2 diapers…scrape the majority of the mess away with a larger baby wipe, then cleanse all the folds of the skin with a round for the gentlest touch possible. What a life & money saver!
- Morning Burst Face Wash: Who knows your current facial beauty cleanser, but after baby arrives you’ll have little time to care. Moreover, you’re going to be sleep deprived and generally fatigued. Since caffeine must stay minimal, try this “wake me up” face scrub to rejuvenate yourself. And if you need a cup of coffee every now and then, or a Mountain Dew…this can help keep your caffeine intake in check.
- Lansinoh: When breastfeeding success sets in you are overjoyed!!! Unfortunately, the act alone leaves some mothers in agony with painful nipples; mine even bled sometimes. Don’t let the pain keep you from breastfeeding success. Use Lansinoh after every feeding, every shower, anytime to keep your skin soft and as comfortable as possible. The hospital gave us tiny sample tubes of this stuff so if you get the same, snag as many of those as you can. Stick one in your purse, in your desk at work, in your kitchen drawer, in your rocking chair side pocket, by your bed…EVERYWHERE…so you don’t have to look for it when you need it. And there are other brands out there…but this brand worked best for the gentlest application and stay put consistency. Again…whatever works best for you!
- Breast milk storage standards: Featured below, you can also print out a copy from http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/tips-and-solutions/11/collection-and-storage-of-breastmilk. Stick this on your fridge for easy reference. Pumping extra milk when you get a chance is a life saver if you hit a dry spell with your milk supply. And when you’re ready to wean, a frozen milk stash can help ease your baby to formula or regular milk, or whatever you choose. Breast milk is “liquid gold” so don’t waste a drop! Even use it to mix baby cereal.
- Items not included: Here are some other grocery staples you can simply suggest to the new mom, depending on how she feels about unsolicited advice.
- Lysol disinfectant concentrate – when you wash any baby items with diaper messes or spit up, be sure to use some kind of disinfectant. The only store I find this product in these days is Walmart. But you can order in bulk and deliver it to your door from TeeBop.com. It ensures your clean clothes are germ free.
- Pine Sol counter cleaner – I took the Pine Sol you get in the store and a spray bottle and did ½ Pinesol and ½ water…that gives you a less intense cleaner for baby’s highchair, etc. so it’s not so overwhelming for baby. But for disinfecting baby’s chew toys, try
- Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface product that is safe for toys.
- Meal Replacement shakes and bars – getting rid of baby weight is a struggle for any mom. But one easy way to help is those meal replacement shakes (e.g Slim-Fast). I hate them normally (real food is all that interests me) but I discovered that when you’re home caring for baby, sometimes you forget to eat 'cause you’re busy busy busy. That’s the perfect opportunity to chug a meal shake so you can get the calories you need to breastfeed and not be slowed down eating a real meal. The bonus to that idea is the weight loss and the time saver. SCORE!
Be sure to print out the list above to include if you’re preparing this as a gift basket. Remember, new mommy’s brains are already overrun; no need to make them figure out what all these tools are for. I can guarantee you this…if you approach a new mom bearing these gifts, you’ll be revered as a god/goddess for your thoughtfulness and genuine concern for mom’s well-being.