8 POSTPARTUM ESSENTIALS

Belly Bandit. I didn’t use this with my other boys, but I heard about it part way into this pregnancy and was curious about it. It’s a thick, stretchy elastic band that Velcro’s around your waist and hips to help move everything back into place after you deliver. I know for some people it helped with waist size, but for me it mostly helped with my hip pain. I had awful pain in my hips in the last few weeks of pregnancy, and then even worse after I delivered, so I wore this band as much as possible for the first few weeks to help support my hips and get them back in place, and it worked wonders.

Lily Padz nursing pads. I really, really hate nursing pads. I’ve tried both the disposable ones and the reusable ones, but disliked both of them — the disposable ones smelled as soon as they filled with any amount of milk, and the reusable ones soaked through so easily and got soggy. But I produce a huge amount of milk, and it takes several months for my milk to regulate, so I’m forced to wear them.

So when I heard about these plastic ones, I was super intruiged. I bought two packs (it’s kind of hard to tell but there are two padz in each package), and I absolutely love them. The first few times I used them, they smelled like plastic and made my breast smell like plastic, but I was just diligent about washing them with soap and water every single time after nursing, and within a day or two the smell was gone. Now I just wash them in the shower every night and that’s great. Also, it’s sometimes hard to get a perfect mold to your breast, so the little pocket of air can fill up when your milk lets down, so I just carefully take it off and dump the milk out, which hasn’t been a big deal. Only a couple of times when I’ve been extremely engorged has it leaked out and soaked my shirt, so for the most part it does work really well.

Honest company organic healing balm. My friend gave this to me for my baby shower and everyone there swore by it. I used nipple cream for my other babies, but this one is really, really effective — not only for cracked or bleeding nipples, but also for clogged ducts and other painful internal issues. Just a little swipe and it’s instant relief! My only complaint about it is that you have to shake it before you use it because when it warms up, the ingredients can separate and then it will spit out a little puddle of oil when you go to use it.

Sleep Bra. This is such an essential, especially in those first few weeks when your chest is sore and sensitive. A good sleep bra keeps the girls locked and loaded while you sleep, which keeps them so much more comfortable. Also, the band around your ribcage is a little snug, so size up if you’re nervous.

Breast Pump. I’m pretty sure pumping is a woman’s least favorite thing (there is nothing that makes me feel more like a cow/milk machine than a breast pump), but when you’re engorged in those first few days and weeks, a breast pump is an invaluable tool, and a great way to preserve all that milk so it doesn’t go to waste. I know there are manual ones, but I really love my double electric one because it takes care of the job within a few minutes (I’ve tried manual ones and my hand almost fell off after pumping for ten minutes and I still didn’t get more than an ounce or two (where normally I get four on each side).

Lightweight Pajamas. With all of my boys, I’ve gotten the night sweats after I deliver. I get them so badly some nights that I have to completely change all of my clothing because they’re just so soaked (sorry, TMI??) So lightweight pajamas are an essential. This lightweight night shirt looks so comfy and easy to nurse in, but also some nights I’ll sleep in just a lightweight t-shirt and that works great too.

A good nursing bra. It’s taken me six years and three children to find an amazing nursing bra, but finally this time around I’ve found a few. I love this one because it feels and looks like a real (comfortable) bra, and that makes me feel more normal. Plus it’s simple, but pretty!

Button up shirts. Although button up shirts are classic and always in style, they are suddenly really trendy which means there are so many good options available right now. They are the perfect nursing shirt, so I’ve dug up all the ones in my closet and snagged a few new ones. This one is my current favorite because it’s insanely soft and a perfect neutral color, but I also love this one and this one!

Any other postpartum items you couldn’t live without??