I have been pregnant for basically two years straight. No joke. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an expert on the must-have items for new mamas, but I feel like I’ve earned at least a little street cred on the topic! For all you first time mamas out there, this is what I’ve narrowed down to be my top 9 things that I wouldn’t have survived pregnancy/Isaiah’s early months without. Thank goodness I have them all now for this second pregnancy!
When you’re pregnant and nursing, you are constantly battling dehydration. I was drinking so much water, I was worried it was almost dangerous. Yet, my skin was always dry. My hands got hit especially hard, because I was also a germ-a-phobe after I brought home a new baby, and I obsessively washed my hands.
This cream is literally the only stuff that I’ve found that instantly soothes my hands AND keeps them moisturized. I can’t recommend it enough!
Speaking of dehydration, I learned that the number one way to battle stretch marks comes from inside your body. Hydrated skin holds more elasticity, and it can do you more good when you’re trying to avoid stretch marks.
Now, I didn’t get out of my first pregnancy stretch mark-free. I didn’t work very hard to prevent them, and I actually went into labor with relatively few, but I came out with a million. The intense shock of losing weight rapidly after birth can create just as many…just in case no one told you. No one told me, and I was pretty bummed for several weeks!
Either way, stretch marks or no, drinking lots of water is a must. Get yourself a pretty water bottle to make it more exciting. I like the one linked above (mine is a lavender color and it just makes me so happy). I also prefer glass water bottles for long-term use.
I’m sure coconut oil is not new to you. It’s the jack-of-all-trades in motherhood. When you’re pregnant, you can use it to fight dandruff if you suffer from a dry scalp. You can use it on your belly after a shower to keep your skin from itching all day as it tries to stretch out. You can use it on your new baby’s cradle cap, your raw, nursing nipples…the possibilities are endless! I just think it’s important to have a jar of it around for cosmetic uses through all stages of pregnancy, birth, nursing, infancy, and beyond!
I essentially lived in sweatpants and oversized t shirts anytime I was home in the third trimester, and for about 3 months of Isaiah’s life. When it was just Chris and I at home, I wouldn’t hesitate to just hang out in my bra for most of the day so I could nurse easily. But, if you’ve never had a baby before, I’ll warn you that this time can be really tough on your self-esteem.
I’m in the beginning of my 3rd trimester now with Josephine, and I ordered these comfy, cute PJs a while back. It has made me feel so much more feminine and pretty to wear a PJ set each night instead of some grungy old t shirt. This particular set can also be used for nursing, so I can keep wearing them and feeling cute even after I’m not pregnant!
I ran into so many awkward moments in public where I needed to nurse Isaiah, and I was going to have to pull my shirt all the way up to do it. I tried nursing covers and blankets, but Isaiah was really squirmy and my stretch-mark-ridden gut always ended up getting shown to someone (which was way worse to me than accidentally flashing my boobs at a stranger).
I got with it eventually and started layering nursing tanks under my shirts so I could lift it all the way up, and still be as modest as I wanted to be. Plus, they are so easy and comfortable to wear in the hospital and at home-you can’t go wrong.
Keep your sanity. Get a drying rack as a designated spot for all of the little breast pump pieces, bottle parts, pacifiers, etc. Keep it out in the open where it’s easily accessible until your baby grows out of eating all. of. the. time. Having bottle parts all over your sink and dish washer will make you crazy, and keep them in a drawer or cabinet is not the way you want to go when you’re bursting with milk at 6 am and you need to pump before you can start getting ready for the day.
Isaiah’s old enough now that we have organized bins in our pantry for all of his feeding supplies. He’s down to 2-3 bottles a day, and the rest of the day is solid food. But there was a time when we were going through what felt like enough bottles to feed 10 babies in one day. This drying rack kept it all in the same place every day, so regardless of how sleep-deprived we were, we could quickly and easily assemble a bottle for our hungry little man.
A baby carrier is my most highly-recommended item for a new mom. It is hard to adjust to only having one arm to accomplish most tasks. There are times when it is actually impossible to do what you want to do while holding your new baby, and it’s frustrating.
Isaiah did not do well with being put down for any stretch of time at the beginning. He nursed for comfort, and he and I had a strong bond from day one. This was really sweet and special, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything, especially with how we are still bonded so strongly. But, I may have died of starvation if I hadn’t had a quality carrier to prepare meals with both hands while Isaiah slept on my chest (because nursing that much also depletes you of energy, as well as hydration). With Josephine on the way, I know it will only be more necessary to have a safe way to carry her while I try to wrangle a TODDLER at the same time.
Sometimes I needed to be out in public, and I didn’t at all want to look as haggard as I felt. I still use this stuff, and I may never stop (and I wear very little makeup). Dab a little under your eyes, and no one will know how exhausted you actually are! (Except you…and probably your spouse.)
This probably doesn’t affect every mom the way I’m about to describe, but postpartum hair loss is no joke. I lost a startling amount of hair, and having it grow back has been almost more horrifying than when I lost it (which is saying a lot).
I have really thin, fine hair, so it was really noticeable when it started falling out. I was losing fistfuls each day, and I started to get literal bald spots right on the front of my hairline! Now that it’s growing back, I have all of these baby hairs all over the place that make my hair a frizzy mess. I got this styling cream to try to combat that, and I love it! After I shower, I rub some into my hair at the roots and smooth everything down. It lasts until I wash my hair again, keeping me from looking too ridiculous.
What else would you add to my list? It was hard for me to narrow it down to what I felt like I used the most often, so I’m eager to hear what other moms prioritize!