I am very organized, so you can expect when I got pregnant, I would be planning and organizing like crazy! I spent way to much time on Pinterest looking for good ideas.
Here are some things I did and some items I bought while pregnant that have really helped me postpartum:
Things I Did
Made Freezer Meals
I am so thankful I made freezer meals! One Friday, near the end of my pregnancy, I spent the entire day shopping for and cooking meals. If I did it again, I would shop one day and cook the next. First, I researched recipes of good vegetarian freezer meals. I copied and pasted each recipe onto a Word Document, then made a grocery list based off the recipes. After I bought everything, I printed the recipes and highlighted different food prep categories: orange was cheese that needed to be grated, green was vegetable prep, and pink was other prep like pre-cooking rice or pre-making dough. It took roughly 10 hours to make about 10 meals. Some of the meals made HUGE portions, like 8-12 servings. That way, we would have leftovers for lunches. I made a menu plan each week so I would know ahead of time what meal to set in the fridge to thaw. It sometimes took two full days for a meal to thaw. Meals included: Baked Ziti, Cheesy Brocolli Rice Casserole, Veggie Chili, Empanadas, Veggie Quesadillas, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Kale and Quinoa Minestrone, Calzones, Loaded Vegetable Soup, and Lasagna Primavera. Everything was pre-cooked except the chili. For the chili, I just cut up all the veggies, rinsed the beans, and dumped all the raw ingredients into a ziploc bag and froze it. Then two days before we wanted to eat it, I put it in the fridge to thaw. The morning we wanted to eat it, we put it in the crock pot to cook for 8 hours on low. It was done by dinnertime, and tasted amazing! If I do freezer meals again, I’ll definitely include more crock pot meals. They are a lot easier to prep, and the cooking is completely hands-free! Some of the meals came from this link: http://www.thebump.com/a/freezer-meal-recipes. I think we have enough meals for at least a month, considering some of my church friends are also bringing us meals.
Made and Bought Snacks
I knew breastfeeding would make me extra hungry, so I did some snack prep ahead of time. I made breakfast granola cups, muffins, and trail mix. Trail Mix is so much cheaper to make than to buy! I put the muffins in the freezer and only pulled out a few at a time. I also bought Lara Bars and Uber Bars.The links are below for the muffins and granola cups:
If you haven’t heard of Padsicles, you’re missing out! Here is a link to how to make them:
Stocked up on diapers (disposables and cloth)
I plan on using a combination of disposable diapers and cloth. Right now, we’re using sposies because my boy is tiny and I don’t want to buy newborn size cloth diapers (I’d only use them for a short time). I have several small packs of newborn size sposies, a month’s worth of size one sposies, and then a couple packs each of size twos and threes sposies. I’m hoping once Nicholas gets into size one diapers, I can use a combination of sposies and cloth (sposies for traveling mainly). As far as cloth right now, I have 12 covers, 4 pocket diapers, 4 inserts, 5 bamboo inserts for extra absorbency, and 24 small pre-folds. I think this is a good starter stash. I bought it a little bit at a time throughout my pregnancy when I saw a good deal. I bought most of my stash online, on websites such at diaper safari and fuzzibunz. I even got some one-size covers on Amazon for $4 each! I hope they’re good quality!
Took stool softener
So I started taking stool softener at probably 38 weeks. I have heard that using the restroom post-baby can be super painful if you’re not prepared. Turns out taking stool softener really paid off! I have kept it up even after the baby was born. It’s also important to drink plenty of water and eat a lot of fiber to keep things moving along.
Made nursing camis
Nursing camis are great but usually only come in sizes like small, medium, and large. Since I have a “weird” bra size, I had to buy some nursing bras that actually came in cup sizes. Therefore, it was more cost effective to make my own nursing camis that I could attach to my nursing bras. I bought a three-pack of cheap camis at WalMart, then turned them into nursing camis. See the tutorial below!
Made Flannel Cloth Wipes
Ok, I didn’t make these, my mother did. But I would have made them myself if I had a sewing machine. You just buy a yard or two of flannel, cut it into 8 inch squares, and sew around the edges. Right now, we’re using disposable diapers and disposable wipes, but I’ve already started using the cloth wipes as a pee-pee catcher with my boy who likes to pee mid-change.
Asked for HELP!
I wasn’t too shy in asking for help. We were lucky enough to have my parents help out for the first 5 days we were home with the baby. Then Thomas’s mom came and helped for three more days after that. We were very grateful to receive help with chores around the house, running errands, playing with the dog, holding the baby, etc.
Essential Items for Me
Dermoplast – Make sure it’s the blue bottle! You can get it on Amazon or Walgreens. It really helps with the pain “down there”
Perenial Irrigation Bottle – It’s like $3 on Amazon. Trust me, this will help!
Dry Shampoo – I’ve only used this once, but when I’m home alone with the baby, I might use it more.
Used items for the nursery – We saved so much $$$ by buying used. We got a used crib for $150, a used dresser for $50 that doubles as a changing table, and a used rocking chair for $20. We were also lucky enough to receive free hand-me-downs including a Pack N Play, high chair, a side table a baby bath tub, convertible car seat, and virtually ALL of my boy’s clothing. Don’t turn down free things! Be grateful! We also rearranged things and used some things we already had around the house: hamper, bookshelf, lamp.
Hot/cold packs – These will be essential when you’re starting to breastfeed and your milk comes in. I recommend these: http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com/coat/BABY/Shop-Online-For/Feeding/Breastfeeding/Accessories/Therapearl-3-in-1-Breast-Therapy-356555224.aspx?gclid=CjwKEAjwotmoBRCc6LWd2ZnkuBYSJACyt2qu9G1lcw8Fg55OWfqOkStAUD3bb523FdDeiN0M_WToLhoCkjTw_wcB
Lanolin – I was able to purchase 2 new tubes of Medela brand Lanolin from a lady for only $3 each (normally like $9 each)! I also bought some pure lanolin from iHerb.com. I haven’t used the pure lanolin yet. It’s a lot thicker and stickier than the Medela brand, so I’m saving it for when I’m not as sensitive. This stuff is amazing though! I haven’t needed to use any other kind of nipple cream.
Nursing Bras – I got two nursing bras and one nursing cami at Target. They aren’t my favorite, though. Just 4 days before my due date, I went to Motherhood Maternity and took advantage of their “buy three bras, get one free” sale. The ladies there were so helpful! I was able to get two stretchy bras, and two with underwire, for an average of $20 each! For me and my “weird” size, that’s a good deal!
Placenta Pills – I got my placenta encapsulated. I really think this has helped balance out my hormones. I paid a lady $75 to do this, but you could do it yourself if you’re brave!
Nursing Caddy – I love this nursing caddy! I keep all my nursing supplies in it and can carry it easily to whatever room I’m camped out in. I usually have breast pads, snacks, burp cloths, lanolin, a nursing cover, the snot sucker, and a receiving blanket in this caddy. The only thing that doesn’t fit is the Boppy. If I used a water bottle, I could probably fit it in here, but instead, I have a water glass and a giant mug that I refill it with. I carry those separately. http://www.target.com/p/eddie-bauer-nursery-caddy-gray-white-polka-dots/-/A-14770568#prodSlot=medium_1_1&term=diaper+caddy
Comfy pajamas – I have both pajama pants and shorts. Sometimes I get hot while nursing, so it’s good to have options of different layers.
Shirts with buttons – I have a couple shirts that button down about halfway. I think they’d be good for nursing in public, but at home, I usually just wear my nursing bra/cami combo and a t-shirt over it if I get chilly.
Essential Items for the Baby
Newborn clothes – Our boy was 7 pounds and 7 ounces when he was born. Most of the clothing we have right now is way too big on him! He fits into only about 5 short sleeve onesies and 3 sleepers. Everything else, he is swimming in! I wish I would have bought a few more sleepers for him in a smaller size.
Muslin swaddle blankets – Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are amazing. Nicholas loves to be swaddled in them. They can also be used as a lightweight nursing cover, a sunshade over the stroller, a blanket for tummy time, etc. They’re nice and big, so swaddling is easier. They’re breathable too, so my boy stays cool.
Gas drops – Nicholas had bad gas a few days after birth. We had to send my parents out for gas drops, because all we had was gripe water (which is for babies 2 weeks and up).
Snot Sucker – So there are a lot of snot-sucking products out there. I have heard that the bulb syringe that the hospital gives you can be a breeding ground for mold because it traps in moisture. A lot of people say the Nosefrida is the best, but you have to buy filters for it. Here’s my choice: http://www.target.com/p/baby-comfy-nose-nasal-aspirator/-/A-15990304#prodSlot=medium_1_7&term=nasal
The Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator just uses a regular tissue as the filter – a much cheaper option than buying filters for the Nosefrida! I may even buy a second one for the diaper bag!
Gerber Prefolds – These things are great as burp cloths! I wouldn’t actually use them as diapers, though.
Receiving Blankets – You can use these for many purposes: burp cloth, blanket to lay baby on,
Boppy – Great for nursing and later for propping up the baby. I have a second cover on mine so if he spits up, I can just remove the top layer.
Crib Mattress – We were gifted the Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress by my parents. It’s a little on the expensive side, but it’s a healthier choice than the plastic mattresses and very durable. My brother bought one for his first baby, and it’s still in new condition on the third baby! We also got the Naturepedic Crib Mattress cover. I layered it with crib sheets so I can pull off the top two layers if there’s an accident in the middle of the night.
Pack N Play – Like I said earlier, we were given a used Pack N Play for free. We use it as the “bassinet” next to our bed. I thought this was more cost effective than purchasing a bassinet. It has a changing pad attachment which works well for nighttime changes
Diaper Organizer – I hooked this to the side of the Pack N Play using two shower hooks. It keeps his diapers, wipes, sleepers, onesies, swaddle blankets, boogie wipes, and hand sanitizer all neatly organized. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s saggy compared to the picture.
Waterproof Changing Pad Liners – We use these like crazy! I sent Thomas back to Target to get more a few days after the baby was born. I use these on both his changing pads. I even cut one in half and put half in the car seat and half in his bouncer. You just have to cut a slit for the strap to go through. http://www.target.com/p/munchkin-3pk-waterproof-changing-pad-liners/-/A-14323622#prodSlot=medium_1_1&term=changing+pad+liners
Baby Bath Sponge – This works well inside the baby tub. It holds in the warm water and keeps the baby comfy. http://www.diapers.com/p/summer-infant-comfy-bath-sponge-yellow-69529?qid=345256929415122221&sr=1-2
Olive Oil in a small spray bottle – We brought this to the birth center and used it on his tush right after he was born. The meconium poop slid right off when we changed his diaper. We used this for the next few days with each diaper change.
Coconut Oil – I use this for diaper rash. He had one small rash and the coconut oil cleared it right up!
Changing Pad and Cover (or two)
Diaper Bag (or two) – I have one big one and one backpack style one
Stroller or Stroller Frame – I have the frame that you can snap the car seat into. Later during garage sale season, I’ll buy an actual stroller
Car Seat – We have an infant seat AND a convertible, but right now, we’re just using the convertible
Carrier or Wrap – We have a Moby that was given to us. Nicholas loves being worn!
Baby washcloths and hooded towels
Baby bath soap – California Baby, Shea Moisture, Burt’s Bees, or even Baby Mild Castile Soap (you can put it in an empty foaming soap dispenser along with some water and it will foam up nicely).
Diaper sprayer, Large trash can, Pail liners, Travel Wet Bags – These are essentials if you’re cloth diapering
Hopefully this list has helped someone! I am glad I was as prepared as possible for my baby’s arrival. Of course, one can never truly be prepared. There are things you learn along the way!