If you’ve read my previous post “My Low Waste Newborn Essentials” you’ll understand that I think we are we constantly persuaded we “need” a whole host of things for a tiny baby that really are just there for us to spend a ton of money on, I came across list after list when I was pregnant documenting all these “needs”, and as I said, many were nice to have, not all were necessary.
What I didn’t come across however, was a list for all the things I would be need post birth. I had a vague idea from hearing other Mums joke about needing massive pants and never being able to have a pad big enough (I apologise in advance if this entire post is far too much information, but I’m here to warn you, or remind you if you’ve already had a baby, that’s it’s not glamorous) and that your boobs may leak in public and leave you highly embarrassed, so I guessed some sort of breast pad may be needed, but that was literally it. I also had no idea how much waste all these needs you create, I was very much learning on the job when it came to my low waste needs so this is my list of the things I couldn’t have lived without and should I have another baby in the future will be with me all the way.
1. Reusable breast pads.
I did say the early days are not glamorous and if your breastfeeding I must warn you, boobs leak!! In fact I’m nearly 8 months into my breastfeeding journey and I still can’t leave the house without breast pads in (although I hear some lucky people never need them). Now I just use one set in the day and one at night but in those early days I was changing them every few hours, so can you imagine if I had gone down the disposable route how many I would have gone through and the amount of money I would have spent?
I had some from a brand called Baby Bliss which were nice and soft, shaped to fit nicely in your bra and were made from organic bamboo, so were really absorent. Baba and Boo, Close Parent and Cheeky Wipes also have great reviews on their sets. I originally brought one pack thinking that would be more than enough but luckily my Mum also brought me some as a little extra pressie at my baby shower because I went through a lot of them. I would recommend around 10-12 pairs.
2. Lanolin Cream nipple cream.
Another one for breast feeding Mammas, this is a god send. Again, those early days aren’t glamorous and your nipples may hurt! Use this stuff by the bucket, no need to wash it off before you feed again either, there’s no time for faffing like that. I used Lansinoh which unfortunately isn’t plastic free but I’m afraid it’s a necessity. I have yet to find a plastic free version with pure lanolin but will keep my eyes peeled.
Disclaimer it’s comes from sheep’s wool so not Vegan.
3. Cloth Sanitary Pads.
I feel this one needs an entire post of its own (stay tuned if your interested) purely because I’m sure most of you did what I first did, made the”ick” face, but trust me they are more than worth it. Pre-pregnancy I ordered 3 liners to try out and was pretty happy with them but then I got pregnant and they were put aside. Fast forward 9 months and as I wasn’t sure about them having not tried them out enough and thinking I would need a fair few post birth I decided to just order some organic cotton heavy pads so to avoid chemically one, “two pacts, surely that will do the job?”. Oh how wrong I was, poor Mat was being sent to the shop every couple of days to buy yet more pads. Not having the cloth version was my biggest regret and not because of the waste although of course that did bother me, but because of how uncomfortable they made me. When your exhausted, your newborn is actually sleeping and your up for hours in the night because your uncomfortable, it’s not ideal. After a few weeks when things slowed down a bit I started using the cloth liners, although I only had three so not full time, but it was like instant relief. Like getting a little hug on your toosh (too much? Sorry). And basically I haven’t looked back since. It’s a bit like nappies, buying pretty prints is addictive, who new your period could become so much fun? Plus I figured if I was putting cloth on Reeva’s bottom So I should be doing be the same for myself. Anyway it turns out the icky washing factor is just fine too. If you leaked blood on to your underwear, clothes or sheets you’d just wash them right? Well there you go.
4. Maternity bras/Tops
If your breastfeeding you’ll need easy access to those boobies, I knew this, I brought a couple of bras and a couple of tops. What I wasn’t prepared for was how many outfit changes I would go through a day. Baby sick, milk spilling all over the show, more body fluids. You think reusable sanitary products are icky, you need to have a baby, then you’ll understand icky. Anyway my point is you could probably do with a few more to avoid having nothing to wear.
5. A Great Changing Bag
If you’ve got a great backpack that will do great, but as first I was switching daily between a backpack that was a little too small for short trips out, one that was a little too big for longer days out and one that came with the Pram and clipped onto it but didn’t go on my back (that was an important feature for me). And switching about all the time is just inconvenient and eventually means things get forgotten so this was one thing I brought new and spent more on than a normally would. Well I didn’t, Mat very kindly brought it for me as a “well done for pushing a baby out pressie “, and I’m so glad he did as let’s face it I’m going to be carrying it around for years to come so I wanted something that looks nice and is super practical. I went for the Bambino Mio (specifically designed with cloth nappies in mind) Change Bag and I absolutely love it. It’s comfy to wear on your back, converts to a shoulder bag, clips to the Pram and is super roomy. Yes you don’t need the wet pocket for dirty cloth but it’s super handy to have.
6. Haakaa Breast Pump
Essentially it’s a breast pump but it works by using the let down on one boob when your feeding on the other, which is time saving. I didn’t know before hand but lots of people actually struggle with pumping and never get much out with a pump (I am one of those people) but the Haakaa worked so well for me. It was also great in the early days when you can get very engorged and need to relieve your boobs a little but pumping can make things worse because your body is working in a supply and demand basis, use this to just collect the let down. Haakaa is actually a brand but is used as a general name, I had one from Bee Mom which has been great for me and comes with a handy lid if you need to pop it in the fridge.
7. A Fridge, Freezer and Panty Full of Food.
This will help with keeping the plastic in your kitchen down when neither of you want to cook and reach for convenience food. However a takeaway is a must at some point and guilt must not be felt for this. If your lucky enough to live close to parents/in laws going to their house for a meal and to be looked after for a few hours is also a great way to get a nutritious meals in you and to get out of the house without too much effort. They will also jump at the chance to see baby and it means you don’t have to host. We had no one except close family come over once in the first week. My Mum told me she was advised to stay in PJ’s for two weeks after you’ve had a baby because if people do come over they won’t stay long if your in your PJs and I think that’s great advice.
I was originally going to make this a 10 point list but got stuck at 7 and spent the next few days pondering over 3 other things I considered important and then it occurred to me that if I couldn’t think of them then clearly I didn’t need them and trying to think of 3 more negates the point of a low waste and minimal lifestyle. So there you have it, the 7 things I considered essential when I became a New Mamma, I hope that helps. Perhaps your reading this and feel there were a few other things that were important to you? If so let me know.