31 July 2013

ahoy, discoveries! vol. 11 [new mama edition]

So a while ago I told you about some of the things I've really liked for my baby. (You can add "large and absorbent burp cloths" and "a stash of bibs" to that list. Ellie loves to drool. And regurgitate. I need about ten more of each.)

But how about momma? What with pushing that kid out, feeding it at all hours of day and night, and swimming in a sea of postpartum hormones, you could use some nice things too!

#1 A good travel mug and something caffeinated to put in it. I have two mugs from Contigo (one for coffee, one for tea) and love them; you need one that will not spill and that will keep your drink hot for a long time, because as soon as you fix yourself a lovely cuppa you'll be distracted by diapers, crying, etc and it will go stone cold if it's in a regular mug. I think some babies are negatively affected by caffeine, but mine never was so I guzzled it every blessed morning.

#2 And why will you need all that caffeine? Because no matter how good your baby is, you ain't gonna be sleeping for a while. Even if it's only a month . . . a month of sleep deprivation is still no picnic. You want to take full advantage of any you do sneak in, and supplementing with magnesium oil makes a significant difference in the quality of my shut-eye. (Note: I make mine double strength, with a 2:1 magnesium-water ratio.)

Before I started using this, I would wake up constantly, even when Ellie was down the hall and sound asleep. Super annoying. After I mixed up a batch, though, I would stay sound asleep until she actually started making noise. Even now that she sleeps through the night (go baby go!) I still use it and can tell if I don't.

#3 Comfy chair. Very important. Also an ice pack to sit on, as in all likelihood you will feel somewhat . . . damaged. Take it as easy as you can and don't feel bad about asking other people to do all the work for a while. Also in the comfy category: sweatpants, old t-shirts, and really anything soft and stretchy.

#4 After a while, though, you might start feeling like a frump. You, like me, may benefit from a few pretty things to remind you that you are in fact more than a milk machine-- before the baby's born go get some new nail polish and a cute headband, and pull them out sometime in those first blurry weeks.

#5 This felt great while I was recuperating, and I also took some arnica. I recall popping a few Advils to deal with my headaches of sheer exhaustion, too. Floradix is good to keep your iron levels up; I'm still using it, as I tend towards anemia and don't want Ellie to deal with the same thing.

#6 If you're planning to breastfeed, get yourself some Lansinoh. It helps so much in those first weeks of ouch! and would you please just latch on correctly? and why does nursing feel like a piranha attack?! Also some nice soft nursing pads, and a really big water bottle. Feeding Ellie turned me into a saguaro.

#7 You're going to need some way to amuse yourself while nursing that baby for hours on end. How about a good long book and a funny TV series? Hulu has lots for free (I amused myself with the slapstick antics of McHale's Navy for quite a while, and I watch The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in order to stay well-informed on current events, obviously). If you have Netflix, even more choices. As for lengthy books, I suggest The Poisonwood Bible, Vanity Fair, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Lewis' space trilogy. Just to start.

#8 Snacks. Even if you're a die-hard home cook, now is the time to take advantage of prepackaging. You will be extremely hungry but will not want to spend any unnecessary time preparing food! Make sure that it's good stuff: you'll need a lot of quality protein and fat to help you recover and to feed your munchkin. I stocked up on a bajillion Larabars-- I got them really cheap at a discount grocery store, though, and wouldn't pay the outrageous price they ask at a normal store. Banana chips, almonds, and individual cups of yogurt are also super.

p.s. Once you are feeling up to a wee bit of kitchen time, hardboiled eggs are another good snack. In those first few crazy weeks I cooked a dozen at a time, peeled them all, and put them in the fridge for later. I would also wash up cut up a ton of fruit on Sunday so I wouldn't have to deal with orange peels and shriveled berries on the spot . . . specifically in the middle of the night when Ellie was screaming and I was starving.

Linked up with Simple Lives Thursday

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