Baby Wearing Personal Posts

My New Mom Must Haves

Post contains affiliate links. These are items I personally like, I was not asked to mention the products, nor was I compensated to do so. There are a lot of things that a new mom really doesn’t need, but there are a lot of things she may appreciate, that she doesn’t even know about! Here are some things that I loved having as a new mom.

For mom:

When my oldest was a newborn, I fell asleep and woke up looking like someone had dumped a bucket of water on me. Nursing pads are a must for most moms in the beginning, and reusable nursing pads save you money and eliminate the risk of running out at an inopportune time!

A quality belly binder or wrap provides much needed support for mom’s abdominal muscles. I loved mine!

A nursing tank is a “fashion” staple during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Many moms find it uncomfortable to go without a bra, but have a hard time finding a nursing bra that fits well before the size settles down following the initial milk rush. A stretchy nursing bra also solves this problem, but the tank does double duty as a standalone top at home, or a perfect layering item to nurse without exposing your stomach.

Speaking of fashion, most moms will not be able to fit in their pre-pregnancy clothes for a while. For some moms it can be a matter of weeks, but for others it can be months (or more.) I think every new mom should have at least one outfit that fits them well and makes them feel great. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but go to Target or a thrift shop and find a pair of non-maternity pants and a top that you feel amazing in. Cut the size tags out. 🙂

For mom’s belly:

Growing and birthing a baby is hard work, and so is caring for a new baby. It can be easy to forget to feed yourself, or to be overwhelmed and feel like you just don’t have time or don’t know what to eat. Be sure to have easy to grab snacks on hand like fresh fruit, pre-made sandwiches, trail mix and other whole-food, 1-handed edibles. I practically lived off of granola bars after my youngest was born. While Momme Meals Go Chews didn’t exist back then, they are the perfect new mommy snack, and have the added bonus of being naturally lactogenic.

In addition to being ravenously hungry, you might feel like your body has turned part desert. Unbelievable thirst may strike a new mom at any moment, so I recommend having a reusable water bottle beside the couch, on the nightstand, beside the rocking chair, and anywhere else you may nurse or hold the baby. No, one isn’t enough because you’ll find yourself forgetting to take it with you. Don’t be left high & dry.

For recovery:

If you’ve ever given birth in a hospital, you may be familiar with Medline’s instant cold packs. These were wonderful, and one of few things I purchased for my home birth!

Peri bottles are another recovery must have. I found it handy to have one in each bathroom. Most hospitals will provide one after you give birth. These are also a great way to store wipes solution for cloth wipes!

Yes, these are what you think they are, but these witch hazel pads are very soothing when you line your postpartum pad with them. They ease the soreness that follows a vaginal delivery whether or not you ended up with a few “souvenirs.”

While breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, sometimes there can be some soreness in the early days. I had very little discomfort with my middle child, who was born considerably larger than the other two. My first and last babies were tiny, and while they had a great latch, their tiny little mouths made the beginning of breastfeeding quite painful. I used Soothies gel pads (stored in the fridge for cool soothing) for the first few weeks, and I love to give them as a gift. It may seem a little personal, but the new mom may be very thankful to have them!

For baby:

You didn’t really think you’d make it through this list without seeing cloth diapers, did you? 😉

Speaking of cloth diapers, I had issues with newborn cloth diapers not being absorbent enough for my tiny, but heavy wetter. Having some very small hemp doublers on hand can be a lifesaver when your baby isn’t big enough for one-size diapers, but is wetting through newborn diapers.

My ring sling was one of my most beloved possessions for baby #3. He was snuggly & secure while my hands were free to take care of my other children. I quickly mastered nursing him in it, as well as loosening the sling and laying him down without waking him. The Boba Wrap was called Sleepy Wrap when I bought mine in 2009 and it was definitely aptly named. The stretchy wrap was easy to put on after the initial leaning curve, and provided more support than the ring sling provided. When your baby becomes a bit too heavy for the stretchy wrap, you might want a soft structured carrier also. Babywearing is my #1 tip for surviving baby #2, 3 or more. Speaking of other children, consider having an area for snacks to which your older child may help himself. Pre-cut fruit, string cheese, pre-filled drink cups or whatever you are OK with him/her consuming at will. Consider also having a basket of toys or books your child enjoys, right beside where you plan to nurse the baby. Your older child can snuggle up beside you to read a story or engage in some quiet play while baby is nursing.

Side note about the snacks: I did this when my second child was born & it was a huge help to me. However, I just learned in a webinar for the toddler feeding class I’m taking that all meals and snacks should be structured. That my kids don’t need (and shouldn’t have) unrestricted access to snacks (even healthy ones) all day. So, now we’re having to try to un-do all this and get back to structure and eliminate the grazing. So maybe it’s better to just have the snacks pre-cut/packaged but not actually give your child access to them outside of snack times!

I’m not a big baby device person, but the cradle swing was a favorite of mine for times when I needed a break from holding the baby, maybe I wanted to take a quick shower, or some other reason why babywearing wasn’t right for the moment. My boys would sometimes enjoy sitting in the swing for a few minutes, and might even fall asleep. We used a version that plugged in, so we weren’t tearing through batteries. Naturally, this should be used in moderation, but if you can borrow one from a friend, I’d highly recommend it. If your baby loves it, you can always buy one, and if not, no worries.

I highly recommend purchasing a co-sleeper (or bassinet.) Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, but those first few weeks are much easier without stumbling down the hall all night long. You might even consider holding off on purchasing a crib until you figure out what will work for you. The Arm’s Reach co-sleeper doubles as a pack & play as well once baby has outgrown the co-sleeper portion.

While I definitely take a “less is more” approach to baby gear, I have a great appreciation for my nursing pillow. Yes, you can just use a regular pillow (what I did with my first) but it can be tough to find just the right support with a pillow, plus the nursing pillow doubles as tummy time support.

It goes without saying that a car seat is a necessity for most families. Though I love our Britax seats, particularly the Pavilion, you don’t need to spend a fortune on it. Choose the right car seat type for your child, then find a seat that is easy for you to install and use properly, every time. Read the manual, your vehicle’s manual, then read them both again.

What would you add? Were there any products you couldn’t live without? Was there anything you were surprised you loved?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • July 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

    […] becomes plan C for the other two by default at times. For example, when my second child was born, I mentioned that I became fairly lax on the snacks for my oldest, and it got to the point that she didn’t […]

  • June 19, 2014 at 9:07 am

    […] thought possible. Though I’m not a big fan of “stuff” (I have a short list of new mom must haves at this point), I was drawn to baby stuff like a moth to a flame as a first time mom. I loved […]

  • June 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    For the next baby I definitely want to find a co-sleeper. I think it would make the transition to sleeping in their own bed much easier than what’s happening in my house now. My 16 month old son still ends up in our bed most nights!

  • Casey K
    June 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    What a great list! I agree with every single item you have listed here! Since you went ahead and listed some baby stuff, I would add an organic cotton muslin swaddle blanket.

    • June 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Yes! I found myself using the same 1 or two nice ones and rarely (if ever) used the zillions of smaller, flannel blankets we received as gifts.

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