As a new mum, I’m more than happy to admit I’m learning on the fly. There really is no way to prepare fully for the life-changing event of looking after a newborn. There is so much unknown; every day I’m learning more and then unlearning some more the next day. I make heaps of mistakes, I still don’t know my baby’s cries but there are also small victories when you feel like you got it right and get to pat yourself on the back- go new mum!
Needless to say, my new mum training wheels are getting a good work out and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Motherhood truly is a huge adventure – all encompassing, overwhelming at times, completely magical at other times and each day is the ultimate lesson in “going with the flow.”
There are some things that make all of this ‘unknown’ better like discovering the things that make life easier, provide some kind of relief or can even be just something to hold on to each day.
So I compiled a little list of my favourite things and products as I wade through the early weeks as a new mum. Some are for mum and some are for baby – everyone deserves a little pampering and a whole lot of love. I hope other new mum’s might enjoy reading this!
Of course, I always favour more organic and natural products where possible but I also don’t discount the more ‘mainstream’ products for mums and bub’s that come highly recommended because they actually work really well. Natural doesn’t always mean better, and while I am very conscious what I put on my baby’ skin, the reality is just as many natural products even with natural fragrances can be irritating to the skin.
A bit of balance I think is judicious here just as much as any other time in life – funny that!
These are lifesavers for sore nipples – honestly the best thing! The midwife at our hospital antenatal classes spoke of them and I searched 3 chemists before coming across them. I have since found them at Chemist Warehouse. Multi-Mum’s Compresses are paper covered with a special gel that calms the soreness instantly, are safe for baby so you don’t have to wipe the gel off before feeding. Cut one piece in half, one for each nipple and notice the difference almost immediately. Heaven in those early breastfeeding days particularly but still really useful at any time.
These are by far the best maternity pads out there, and they just so happen to be from my favourite range of feminine hygiene products, not to mention the ONLY all organic brand in Australia. These are the softest, most cushioned and comfiest pads that make everything feel better in those days post labour where everything is a little sore. They taper up on the sides and don’t have wings which means no sticky bits on any stitches because that’s just not pleasant! I must admit I had to wean myself of these because they were just so comfortable and no other brand of any liner was coming close to this level of comfort.
The day after giving birth I was wearing my loose size 14 cotton granny knickers when the physio recommended these tighter undies, promising me that it will lift and hold everything up in a very feel-good way. She was definitely right, so even if the thought of squeezing on such tight pants seems ridiculous to you, ask for some help to get them on and you won’t regret it.
A trusty friend gave me a heads up that Kmart and Target have some great options for a much more reasonable price than the much advertised SRC Recovery Shorts for softer birth. I got a two pack for $12, one black and one flesh coloured and they are brilliant for holding everything in when its all a bit like jelly, providing support to sore perineum area and generally just feel good to be wearing in early weeks. I don’t want to ever sto[ wearing them at this point! I’ve since bought another two pack in a smaller size. Try buying one size up from usual to begin with and then downsize as everything shrinks back down.
This is my favourite electrolyte powder, naturally sweetened and excellent for hydration any time of day. I had packed the lemonade flavour in my labour bag thinking it would be a safe way of hydration (no colour incase it came back up again) but in reality I didn’t drink much water at all because it all came back up. In saying that, recovering from labour this has been brilliant. With breastfeeding, it’s really important to keep your fluids up to create and maintain a good milk supply so this has also been a staple at home.
Weleda is one of my favourite personal care brands, they are highly respected and use natural organic ingredients in formulations that actually work. Founded in Switzerland in the 1920’s, Weleda products have been the front-runners for ethically sourced, organic and environmentally sustainable products ever since.
In early pregnancy, I used to eye off their extensive Mother and Baby range and secretly looking forward to the day I could buy it all and use the products on my new baby – kind of like a make up addict in Sephora! Calendula is the focus of this range which is known to have proven healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Even Jasper is a fan…
I had heard great things about this Nappy rash cream and it was one of the first products I bought when stocking the nursery. This works well on our little Bub’s bottom – it’s smooth, goes on easily, soothes immediately and smells nice but not overpowering. Not all natural fragrances are so good for the skin but I feel this one is certainly gentle enough.
This is lovely and gentle wash for sensitive baby skin and hair in the bath and I also love the Calendula Baby Oil for a post-bath baby massage when Jasper is in a good mood for it! The oil is also good for softening cradle cap.
This is a must buy for new mums! Originally, I thought this would be just good for milk production which it certainly is but what I was most happily surprised by, is its ability to soothe digestive problems in our baby such as wind, colic like symptoms and general tummy pain (from what I can tell!)
I shouldn’t be so surprised – the tea utilises the anti-spasmodic properties of the seeds I use in my own cooking or drink in herbal tea normally for when my tummy is sore and bloated – fennel, caraway and anise. Read my article on how these seeds are good for digestive problems here.
This not only benefits me directly but goes through to the breastmilk to calm a baby’s tummy. I have only anecdotal evidence but Jasper has definitely had much less wind and tummy pain since I have been enjoying this tea – it’s yummy too!
This has you feeling fresh but without any of the nasties in anti-perspirants. It’s something I always think about but particularly now I have a little face staring into my armpit several times a day – I don’t want any unnecessary chemicals and/or strong fragrances lingering in the area. For a roll on, see my favourite here.
Nappy Goo Cream + Water Wipes
For when the bottom needs extra special attention… I heard about this Nappy Goo Cream that was developed by the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. It came with rave reviews of healing all sorts of things including severe Nappy Rash, so when the little one’s bottom became super raw and sore we tried this cream and it worked really well. Its a really thick, smooth barrier cream with a little tea tree oil as an antiseptic.
We also switched from normal wipes to Water Wipes (from the supermarket) which are just Water without any fragrance, chemicals or alcohol and the combination definitely sorted out the red raw bottom. All newborns tend to have this problem which isn’t actually even nappy rash, it’s their skin adjusting to all that’s going on and acidic poo – ouch! You can order Nappy Goo online or from selected pharmacies.
Homemade Gluten-free muffins
I’m so glad I stockpiled the freezer with these Pumpkin and Pecan muffins, banana bread and banana muffins because they have been excellent when I’m feeding, ravenous and have my hands mostly full. I always adapt recipes to include less sugar than suggested but with breastfeeding, I need to keep my energy intake up so I’m not worrying so much about that. Great for night feeding too when I get the munchies.