The postpartum period is incredibly challenging for many women, but being prepared makes it just a little easier. I recommend getting organised in the weeks leading up to your due date. If you are in the earlier stages of pregnancy then please check out even more info in my Conscious Pregnancy workshop. I realise this list is full of products and I'm definitely not telling you to rush out and buy everything. Where possible try get things second hand from gumtree, Facebook marketplace or better yet free off a Buy Nothing group. I managed to get a lot of things in the list below from these platforms. I have links to the different products to help you find what I am talking about but please always search for better deals if you can find them.
Probiotics are amazing for soothing gassy babies. I recommend taking a mother and baby probiotic, the Metagenics one is amazing, however it is a practitioner only product and is only available from naturopaths and chiropractors. Bioceuticals also have a great probiotic for pregnancy and postnatal care. Taking a probiotic during pregnancy has many benefits for you and baby, continue taking that after you give birth too.If your little one has any digestive issues, the BioGia probiotic for babies is magic.
Gripe water is a herbal that is amazing option for upset tummies. You can buy it almost anywhere. The Brauer Colic homeopathic formula is also great if you suspect your baby has colic, it's very gentle. Iberogast is another herbal that really helps with constipation, tummy aches and gas.
Digest Zen Roller
1-2 drops of digest zen
1-2 drops wild orange
Almond oil or fractionated coconut oil.
I know there are a lot of different remedies here, but when you have a gassy baby or one with colic, you will end up trying everything. They all work differently and help at different times. I didn't have them all at birth and hopefully you wont need any of them. I would recommend the BioGia baby probiotic drops regardless though, I found this to be the most beneficial for long term support. The other remedies help to sooth in the moment while the probiotics work to prevent upsets.
I loved the Bonds nursing bras and tops for the early days and during pregnancy. They are stretchy and very comfortable. It takes about 4-5 weeks for your breasts to settle in size. Once you are sure your breast size has stabilised you can look for a more long term nursing bra. I love the options from Morrow and Mint because they are a little more sexy and make you feel like a woman rather than a milk machine.
Breastfeeding Essential oil Roller
Fennel (fennel oil helps bring on milk supply)
Optional bush flower essences: bottlebrush for major life changes.
Lactation Cookies are a great way to boost your supply. I have an amazing recipe but of course you can convert any recipe you've got. Foods that improve milk supply include oats, flax/ linseeds, fennel, brewers yeast and all warm moist foods. According to Chinese medicine you want to keep the body and digestive system warm and hydrated postpartum.
The Haakaa is such a life saver. I mostly use mine at night to collect my letdown. From two night feeds I can collect around 120ml-150ml of milk that I either freeze or use to dream feed the next night. Because of this amazing product I have a freezer full of milk and it took zero effort to collect.
Breastfeeding shells are also very handy. They are more gentle on your nipples when you first start breastfeeding because there is nothing rubbing or pulling at them when you use the shells. it also gently help you collect your letdown and prevents a leaky mess. They're handy when you have people over and you down want both boobs sticking out but you do want to collect your precious milk.
Bamboo breast pads are really handy for keeping in your nappy bag. I always have these on hand so when I feed in public I don't end up with milk dripping down my top. It does happen. I had pack of disposable ones but they seemed very unappealing to me. Reusable ones save you so much money but they are also much better for your nipples.
Lanolin cream is an absolute essential. I know it isn't vegan but it is the most amazing nipple soother. In the first weeks I applied it to both nipples after EVERY feed. Trust me, it saves your nipples from becoming cracker or overly sore (they will be sore no matter what). Make sure you buy one that is 100% pure without anything added.
Just in case I needed them, I had breast shields in my hospital bag, but honestly I only used them once. My opinion is that they actually prolong the pain because your nipple doesn't get used to feeding when you use them. They also affect your body's natural feedback that you get from baby's mouth being in direct contact with your nipple and prevent your baby from learning how to properly latch. Unless your nipples are cracked and bleeding, I would do my best to avoid using these. That said, trust what you feel is right for you. Breastfeeding is incredibly hard for the first 2-3 weeks, even when it's easy.
This is something that is also only done after 37 weeks or unless you have been given permission by your primary care physician. Some women, especially in their second or third pregnancies leak colostrum. Colostrum is a thick golden yellow substance that is release form the breasts. Many women collect colostrum before baby arrives just in case some extra nutrients are needed. The milk can be stored in the freezer for up to six months and can be given to baby anytime during that period. It is especially helpful if baby gets sick, requires and operation or if there’s any delay in feeding. I used mine to give baby extra nutrients and it helped a few times in the early days of learning to breastfeed. Here is a link on how to safely collect colostrum after 37 weeks. It can stimulate labour, that is why it isn’t recommended sooner.
These were our favourite dummies. I bought both the orthodontic ones and the normal round ones in the small. At first he would only take the orthodontic ones and then after a little while he happily took any. Here is how to introduce a dummy to your baby. It isn't recommended to introduce the dummy too soon. Everyone has differing opinions on this but generally you want to wait until breastfeeding has been properly established, that is around 2-3 weeks after birth. Introducing the dummy too early can lead to problems with latching and less weight gain. However you don't wait too long to introduce them if you do want to use them, later than 4 weeks and baby might not take it. Dummies are very controversial according to dentists and chiropractors but they are a life saver for soothing grumpy babies. If you are worried about the dummy affecting your baby's speech or jaw, you can always limit the use, take it away once the teeth come in or try only use orthodontic dummies.
The best way to care for your perineum is to do it before your delivery through perineal massage and evening primrose capsule insertion.
This is another tool that can help stimulate and support natural labour. Perineal massage is only recommended from 36 weeks, it’s something to look up online to make sure you are doing it properly. Get yourself a good quality organic oil to do your massage. I used this oil but any organic almond or coconut oil will work too.
Evening primrose capsules can help reduce vaginal tearing and improve elasticity. From 37 weeks you can insert 2 capsules into your vagina. I recommend doing this at hight followed by a perineal massage. Don't be alarmed when the capsule's casing is excreted the next morning after insertion. I also took two capsulated orally to help with overall skin health. Evening primrose is proven to help moisten and soften the tissue to reduce tearing in labour. Also check out this post full of helpful links and information.
Padsicles are frozen maternity pads. Drizzle a little filtered water onto a pad with some aloe vera gel and a few sprays of the soother recipe below. Place them in the freezer with a sheet of baking paper between them. Postpartum you can wear one of these pads for up to 20 minutes to help with swelling, bruising and tenderness. Around 5 padsicles should be enough to start.
Aloe vera gel is incredibly soothing. The coolness is amazing for soothing after you pee. This is always handy to have in your medicine cabinet. My midwife also recommended MediHoney Wound Gel for my small vaginal tear, I would only buy this if you ended up with tearing.
Post birth private soother
(In a spray bottle)
5-10 drops Lavender
5 drops Sandalwood
1-3 drops Frankincense
Optional bush flower essences: bottlebrush for major life changes
Perineum bottles can be bought from the pharmacy but they aren't necessary. I emptied my witch hazel bottle into another container and used that to squeeze water after using the toilet. Warm water is very soothing and it helps you heal faster when the area is kept clean. Any clean bottle will work or even a jug, use whatever you have around.
I loved the TOMS maternity pads because they are organic. I needed just under three packs of pads but of course everyone is different. Eating dates from 36 weeks helps to reduce postpartum blood loss.
South African Rusks are great for when you wake up in the morning, probably starving. They are delicious dipped in milky tea.
Beetroot Dip is a great snack to have around. It's high in fibre so it'll help prevent postpartum constipation.