Updated: Oct 4
As the Queen of shopping once said,
“Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be.” – Carrie Fisher
But whilst you start to wonder who in the world is growing in your belly, stop a moment to think about who in the world are you going to be in a few weeks or months time?
Every pregnant person has, to some extent, what Kathy refers to as the "birth wall". It's an invisible barrier that precludes us from focusing on much past the actual birth of our baby. We may think that we sat and listened intently to the "postpartum" and "newborn care" part of our antenatal class but when the time comes I guarantee you won't remember much of it... that's normal in our experience, and why we love what we do, because we get to help you navigate your way through it, no matter how much you listened in your classes.
As trained Postpartum Doula's our focus is primarily on the birthing parent's recovery; that often entails a lot of newborn care, but only as a direct consequence of our assessment of the parents needs. If our clients need us to care for the baby whilst they rest, then we care for the baby because the parent needs rest; if they need us to prepare a sitz bath for optimum healing, then we do just that; we do whatever the birthing parent needs us to do (with few exceptions but it's worth double checking your Postpartum Doula's T&C's for some minor things they may not be able to include in their service list).
As you will imagine, having supported so many birth parents through their first few weeks and months of postpartum recovery we have picked up a trick or two about how, what and where to buy things that will truly make the transition quicker and easier. Often these are things that Postpartum Doula's will have in their work bag for you to try, test or purchase but to be prepared, to already have them in your home, ready for your first few days and weeks of recovering and transitioning to parenthood literally sets you up as a pro from the very start.
So we thought we'd share our "POSTPARTUM SHOPPING LIST" for all those pregnant families that may not have listened so hard in their classes and want to be prepared for the postpartum recovery period. This is not a list of baby items, this is about products and equipment that will truly help you recover quickly, easily and navigate your postpartum recovery and fourth trimester like an absolute pro!
The Shopping List below has been carefully narrated for specific needs and each button link takes you to a product page for purchase, making this process of preparation as simple and seamless as we can.
SIMPLY CLICK THE BUTTONS/LINK BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO PURCHASE OUR TOP RECOMMENDATIONS
Easy peasy SHOPPING LIST!
Care of your perineum is often essential even if you have had a planned c-section. The pressure of pregnancy can cause haemorrhoids and many of the above products will feel comforting and calming.
It's a good idea to keep everything as clean as possible. Using a peri style bottle to gently rinse after using the lavatory, combined with daily sitz baths with simple epsom salts can also help to speed up your recovery.
Many birthing parents find an inflatable cushion useful for maintaining better posture whilst protecting their perineal area when sitting.
In the early days after birth Empowa recommends using disposable maternity pads that are made of natural materials for soaking up residual blood loss. Spraying the pads with witch hazel and cool aloe vera can provide wonderful relief and additional healing benefits. As the days go on, and the bleeding reduces we recommend using reusable period/postpartum pants, as they can often be worn for longer stretches of time and provide greater security from leaks.
You may be surprised to see this section as we said this shopping list is for postpartum recovery, not baby shopping; but this part of the list is to ensure you have baby care products that provide positive benefits, both in terms of multi-use, time saving and positive sleep and bonding associations - all leading to a confident fourth trimester and postpartum recovery.
Having super soft and absorbent newborn nappies ready and waiting at home is a no brainer, as is ordering natural bamboo water wipes on a subscription service from Love Bambooloo. Many new parents don't realise though that newborn nappies can often be slightly too large for the average sized newborn baby in Singapore in the first week or so, so you may want to have a "tiny baby" or even "premmie baby" size packet for the very first couple of days. Combined with having reusable cloth wipes on hand for drying the nappy area and gentle washing, and coconut oil as a simple natural moisturiser (for both baby and parent) and that is all you need in the early weeks.
When you need to have both hands free a Baby K'Tan wrap carrier is ideal in the early months, soft and flexible enough for the tiniest of babies and easy to use. This genius piece of baby gear can be fantastic tool to use when you are learning the ropes as a new parent and simply need to optimize your baby’s sleep whilst multitasking.
Of course we can't skip over our number one tip for good sleep associations
Using a newborn swaddle ensures you develop positive and safe sleep associations from day one, starting this early really can make a difference. Kathy @ Empowa likes swaddles with the following features because they combine positive sleep associations with practical application:
hands up position
snuggly fitted around the abdomen
zip from top and bottom
option for arms in or out (later stages)
For a consultation on how to establish positive sleep associations from birth contact Kathy now
[Click here if "I'm not breastfeeding so skip on please"]
You may wonder why this list is so short, but honestly, the best thing about breastfeeding is that you don't need much to do it.
We do highly recommend having a good nipple cream, and a HaaKaa silicone pump, both of these are for what we call "basic boob maintenance". In addition, you'll notice that Epsom Salts are recommended again, that is because we use them as an amazing solution for milk blisters, which are a common minor ailment of breastfeeding. If you think you have a milk blister book a 2hr POSTpartum consultation to get it solved as quickly as possible, and before there is a risk of mastitis.
We also advise that it can be a good idea to have a small selection of feeding syringes for small top ups, if necessary, whilst both parents and baby are getting used to breastfeeding. By using syringes, as opposed to bottles, we do not confuse the early days breastfeeding position and suck training, allowing parents to maintain full control of the pace in which they learn more about their babies feeding habits.
We've also included a drink cup with a straw as an essential item for breastfeeding mums because you will experience thirst like no other, but other than that most gadgets and gizmos are expensive and often not needed.
Instead we recommend finding useful hacks with common items or purchasing later on from somewhere that you can guarantee knowledgable and fast delivery service, like Pramfox who carry almost everything you may need in an emergency.
Having said all that let us share with you our common response and experience with many of the common breastfeeding support gadgets, that quite frankly we say you probably won't need:
Breastfeeding pillow - we really don't like these very much. As postpartum doula's we would much prefer to assist you getting a comfy and convenient position using a cushion, or two, from your own sofa or bed, ensuring that you have confident holds and positions that allow you to have full control of both your babies head, neck, limbs and your own boobs. Even after a C-Section delivery we find that breastfeeding pillows can be more of a hindrance than a help. We highly recommend investing your money on a breastfeeding consultant for optimum positioning instead.
Electric pump - we understand that some clients feel more confident knowing that they have an electric pump available, in case they need it. However, unless there is a medical need to pump (which is not often) we recommend lactating parents wait until breastfeeding is fully established before using an electric pump. In which time your needs, with regard to pumping and storing milk, will be much clearer to you. Which pump you buy is best decided based on expert advice according to your breastfeeding history and goals. For example, whether you will you need a hospital grade (less mobile) pump for medical reasons or something that will enable you to pump on the go once you’ve got your milk supply established.
Heat or Ice Packs - these are often used and are useful to have. However a well trained postpartum doula can normally help find a super quick hack with something already at home. A great example is when Kathy uses a clean nappy with warm water as a heat pack, and then puts it in the freezer to cool down as a ice pack (we love saving you money and time where we can)
This section should not be underestimated. If you haven't yet completed an Empowa'd Postpartum Plan then be sure to do so and think about the section on 'feeding yourselves'.
It is very true what they say about putting on your own mask first, if you are running on fumes you cannot provide the necessary support for your baby to thrive.
We recommend you always drink plenty of fluids, especially for breastfeeding parents, and planning a few healthy meal delivery options is a fabulous idea if you don't have additional help at home.
As a bonus, for anyone that is interested to try some TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) based soups we can recommend a taster pack for your to dabble. Combined with a meal delivery service this can be a wonderful way to have the best of the old and new.
What this list is NOT
This list is not a newborn shopping list. This list is not about how many onesies or flat sheets you may need, this list is about ensuring you have the most important items ready and waiting to ensure optimum postpartum recovery.
You will notice some key items may seem to have been omitted, notably feeding bottles. If you plan to bottle feed we highly recommend joining an Empowa'd How to Bottle Feed Class to understand how to choose the right bottles, and even formula, for you and your family.
This list is also not an exhaustive list, or a recommendation of any one single supplier. We are not responsible or control any external links or product quality. Please always ensure you check and double check the safety and efficacy of any product you purchase. Should you have a problem with any link, product or supplier we would highly appreciate your feedback so that we can amend our records accordingly.