Huzzah! You’re headed home with your dreamy new baby. The brand-spanking-new nursery is stocked with diapers, burp cloths and the tiniest clothes imaginable, but uh, you forgot something. These are the postpartum must-have’s you won’t find on any baby registry but are (I assure you) just as essential:
- An insulated travel mug. Coffee is on every exhausted new parent’s must list, but as I’ve mentioned before, every stroller should come with a set of Contingo travel mugs for said coffee. No matter how secure your stroller’s cup holder may seem, coffee always manages to splash out of to-go lids onto your pristine new stroller. Upon discovering this, my husband said I wasn’t “allowed” to have hot beverages in the cup holder while pushing our newborn daughter. (He’s so adorable when he’s INSANE.) You may also find that you can’t always get to your coffee when you’d planned, so having an insulated mug keeping it hot for hours on end is just heavenly.
- A comfortable (and presentable) pair of pants. I don’t understand women who wear tight yoga pants home from the hospital or while receiving guests given the, ahem, bulky undergarment situation postpartum. A better (but equally comfortable) choice would be my new favorite Lululemon “Jet Crop” pants, which look dry clean-only but perform like every other brilliantly stretchy pair of Lululemon exercise pants in your wardrobe. Paired with a nursing tank and a cozy, shawl-style sweater, you’re ready to head home with your dignity as intact as it possibly can be after giving birth in front of a zillion strangers.
- A baby carrier you like *and* can use without an assist. Were I to calculate the price-per-use of every baby item I’ve ever purchased, my Ergo and Baby Bjorn carriers would invariably prove the best buys to-date. I never expected to be such a baby wearing enthusiast, but I probably wore my daughter every single day of her first year. For quick coffee runs, grocery shopping, family walks on chilly days, cooking supper, returning emails, walking stairs for exercise and basically everything else, it’s my go-to mode of baby transport. Be sure to take time to learn how to use it comfortably and without help so you can get in (and out) of whatever contraption you choose. (And don’t even get me started about how much you need baby carriers when you have subsequent children. It’s SURVIVAL.)
- A quick, nourishing meal. There’s the initial rush of lasagna and takeout from gracious family and friends, but in between those offerings you may find yourself needing quick, simple, healthy meals. (There exists no hunger quite like breastfeeding hunger.) Greek yogurt parfaits with fresh berries and granola were my postpartum go-to, but other terrific choices would be overnight oatmeal, chia seed pudding and avocado toast. (I favor mine with a squeeze of lemon juice and a generous sprinkling of Jacobsen Salt Company Smoked Ghost Chili Pepper salt.)
- That unspeakable Amazon order. As the end of your pregnancy draws near, it’s time to make the purchases you’ve been privately dreading: Dermaplast (or Earth Mama Angel Baby “Bottom Spray” if you want your bathroom to smell like cucumber gimlet); serious business overnight pads; Tucks to chill in a discreet corner of your refrigerator; and Motherlove Nipple Cream. You may not need them all, but when you do, it’s so much more pleasant to already have them instead of awkwardly asking your father-in-law to make the most embarrassing Walgreens run of all time.
- An electronic device stocked with your must-watch (or listen) list. Spoiler alert: breastfeeding is boring, especially in the early weeks when nursing sessions can last upwards of 45 minutes. Gazing at your baby lovingly stops being entertaining pretty quickly (especially in the middle of the night when you’re fighting to stay awake), so I liked to listen to audiobooks via Audible or watch shows on our iPad. You probably have your device out to time feedings and record diaper output anyway, so popping on a show requires zero extra effort. I hadn’t expected it, but watching “Gone with The Wind” in snippets with my newborn daughter has become a treasured memory from our earliest days together.
Please forgive all of the newborn-centric posts lately. I’m about to become an auntie for the first time (!) and can’t help thinking about my dear sister-in-law and brother-in-law, and all of the things I want them to know so their early days of parenthood can be as wonderful as humanly possible! HDF