I recently met with a friend who is currently pregnant. When we happened to be in a room while the guys were out smoking, she asked me if there was anything she’ll need to buy for herself after she had the baby. She said this in a way as if this was some sort of super secret topic. She already knew about thick sanitary pads so I told her to buy big comfortable cotton slips (so unsexy that they’re called love killer in German) and breast pads. On top of this, a couple of other things came to my mind so I promised to put those in a package for her.
This gave me to think. It’s true that in our society we have absolutely no problem with talking about the pre-birth phase and those products that are needed to make the pregnancy more comfortable and prepare the mom-to-be for birth. However, when it comes to the time after the delivery, the recovery phase, things are quite obscure which I don’t understand as it’s a phase that eventually all new mothers have to go through. This is why I’m sharing here the content of the post delivery gift box that I have put together for my friend.
For this gift box I combine two types of items. The essentials which may or may not be needed. Sure thing is that having them will help the new mother avoid that her partner or mom will have to go and get them for her. And there are the cheer up items, that are simply included to put a smile on the mom’s face once she is in her recovery phase.
I include a jar. After the birth, everything down there may not be as comfortable as it normally is. The new mom will bleed and may have stitches due to tearing or an episiotomy which can make it even more uncomfortable. It is very important to rinse this area after each walk to the toilet to keep it clean and give support for the healing process. This works best when leaning back while sitting on the toilet. This way you can poor the water easily on the sensitive area.
To rinse, it’s good to use lukewarm water but for extra soothing effect I’ll add chamomile flowers (the flowers need to be filtered out). An alternative are also a couple of drops of Calendula Essence (for example by Weleda).
Every woman who just had a natural delivery may possible think that she will never ever again have anything pass down there but let’s face it, the human body does not work this way and she won’t be able to avoid it. In the hospital they provide stool softener to make this one less painful but it may also be handy to have some at home. If the mom is breastfeeding, it is important to check which product can be used.
As we’re talking about the back area, the box includes hemorrhoid cream. If the mom-to-be hasn’t met these friends during her pregnancy yet it may be possible that she will get them because of the pushing. Whether the cream is needed or not, it’s definitely handy to have it at home so that she doesn’t have to send her partner to get it for her. Here again, for breastfeeding moms, it’s important to check with the pharmacist on which cream is allowed.
For moms who have stitches, in particular if they are the result of an episiotomy, it’s really helpful to start using calendula cream from Weleda (approximately 2 weeks after the delivery). Applied on scars, it helps to soften the tissue.
For breastfeeding moms, I recommend breastfeeding tea which generally contains a mix of herbs such as fennel, caraway, anis and melissa. It’s supposed to help with the milk production but can also have positive effects on the baby regarding tummy problems.
To help with sore nipples I add a nipple cream from Medela (or Lansinoh if your prefer) made of 100% pure lanolin without any additives or preservatives. This way the cream does not have to be removed before feeding the baby.
I add organic almond oil for the mother’s skin. It can be used all over the body (well, let’s leave out the breasts and nipples) and its scent is pretty neutral so that it doesn’t cover her natural smell. It’s also a great oil for baby massages.
I include as well some organic lip balm from Burts Bees to avoid dry lips so that the mom has soft lips when kissing her bundle of joy.
Organic sleep balm applied on the mom’s temples can help her have a good sleep…even if she won’t sleep through the whole night.
Not to forget, here are my personal superstars… sweets! Once the new mother had her baby, her pregnancy hormones will go down drastically,and pretty quickly new hormones will go up to produce breast milk. She may or may not be in pain, be sleep deprived; so to cope with this roller coaster of emotions and feelings sweets are great to make her feel good. Well, at least for a short moment. Chocolate, nutritive bars, candy (organic if possible)…my friend loves them all so I’ll make sure to include them in this box.
And to finalize this box I add a little book with easy “literature” and a quick box manual on what all these items are about.
Depending on the relationship with the mother-to-be and available budget, you can obviously alter/top up the box content. As I am very close to my friend there is no room for shame so I found that these items are perfect for her recovery phase …crossing my fingers that she will have a dream birth and will not need all the “essentials” . Go Girl!