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7 Things That Make the Days After Having a Baby Suck a Little Less

Photograph by Twenty20

Before my first baby arrived, I thought I was so prepared. I had washed all the tiny clothes. The changing table was stocked, and every possible item to comfort baby—from special swaddles to deluxe swings—were assembled and ready to deploy. It wasn’t until I got home with my bundle of joy that I realized I hadn’t prepared to take care of myself. I needed a frozen sanitary napkin way more than my infant needed a warm baby wipe.

Needless to say, that first recovery was bumpy and required a very steep learning curve. When baby number two was due to arrive, I spent much more time and energy making sure I could care for myself, as well as baby, and it made a world of difference. Now, with my third just weeks from making his debut, I’m making sure I’ve got the following items on hand.

You may have heard of the importance of stocking the freezer with meals or sleeping when baby sleeps, but these seven less obvious ways to prepare can be real lifesavers.

1. Pad-scicles

These are easy to make and really help your nether regions heal. Whether you’ve had stitches, hemorrhoids or are simply sore from pushing an entire baby out of your body, you will be super thankful for these little gifts in your freezer. To make them, simply douse giant overnight pads in alcohol-free witch hazel and aloe vera gel, wrap in plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer. Use one in place of a standard pad for amazing relief.

2. Mesh Undies

Super stretchy and disposable mesh undies are the perfect postpartum undergarment. Take as many of these as you possibly can from the hospital—your body and your laundry will thank you.

3. Lactation Cookies

Your milk may take its sweet time to come in—and stress, exhaustion and hunger don’t help. Having lactation cookies on hand is a delicious way to give yourself a little extra peace of mind.

Soothe your swollen mammaries by placing a few cold cabbage leaves in your bra.

4. Cozy Clothes

Invest in a super cozy robe or cardigan, a few great nursing bras or tanks, and several soft and forgiving high-waisted leggings. These will take you from bed to the couch in style. Your comfort is just as important as that stash of organic onesies and footie pajamas.

5. Fabulous Fiber

I have two words for you: postpartum poop. It’s not fun, but it must be done. Make sure you’ve got plenty of fiber-rich foods to snack on. Fresh fruit, flax, oatmeal, prune juice, yogurt: anything that helps keep you regular should be consumed with gusto postpartum.

6. Cold Cabbage

Remember how I said you might struggle with milk supply? Well, the opposite is also true. When your milk does come in, it can really overshoot the target, leaving you with rock-hard engorged boobs. Soothe your swollen mammaries by placing a few cold cabbage leaves in your bra.

7. Hippie Help

I am huge fan of placenta pills and I fully intend to hire someone to make them for me again this pregnancy. This is just one way you can invest in a little earth-mama postpartum healing. You can also hire a postpartum doula. This person’s whole job is to take care of you. If you can find it in your budget, I can’t think of a better way to make those first days with baby better.

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