During the Kickstarter, Annie Lin of the amazing new mama custom care package service A Little Bundle called to ask me if I’d be interested in curating one of her “bundles.” I told her I’d love to do it, as long as we could make the theme something like, let’s-get-real-about-what-you–really–need-as-a-new-mom. She was into it, so together we created a bundle that we’re calling “Not so Glamorous, but so Necessary.” Everything in it is something that helped get me through my first few years as a mom (see why below). This limited edition is available now on Annie’s site. But you can also win one for free right here!
Here’s how to enter.
1. Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post about your most necessary item in pregnancy or early motherhood, and the STORY about why that thing saved you. (Your story can be very short!)
2. Click the ENTER TO WIN tab in the Rafflecopter widget below, and click “I Commented!” I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on January 15th.
What’s in the Bundle
Why I Needed this Stuff So Badly
One of the things I remember most vividly about my first weeks home with Sasha was the constant need to make a sandwich in my pants. And by sandwich, I mean laying down the thickest sanitary pad known to man (your sub roll), lining it with Tucks medicated pads (your salami), and topping it all with a dollop of strategically-placed hemorrhoidal cream (your mayo). Ahh, sweet comfort.
Now, before that sandwich could even be made, I needed to give myself a nice refreshing Sitz bath. I’d endure those for 10 minutes at a time, 4 times a day. To keep myself distracted, I would keep a trashy magazine on top of the toilet—something like Us Weekly. I would always emerge from the bathroom (sandwich intact) with some amazing insight for my husband, like, “Did you know Alyson Hannigan is older than me?!” I actually felt like I was Learning Things.
For my first couple of months, I was on a schedule of changing my clothes (read: pajamas) every three days. And I would only do it because someone would remind me. Once I could get out of the house, though, I was desperate to move from maternity jeans to my regular clothes. Belly bands were a great way to cheat my way there.
About 10 weeks in, we were out with a realtor, apartment hunting in a new state, when I realized I would need nursing pads. Let’s just say, I’m glad I had a cardigan with me. Which I gladly wore, despite the 100 degree weather. I had just barely hit the time where nursing was something I could fathom doing away from the bed, without building a carefully constructed mound of rolled-up swaddling blankets around my body. Nursing did not come easily, and my nipples were so torn up at the hospital that the lactation consultant told me to take a break and pump, while using lanolin to heal. I had a ton of lanolin left after I got better, so at the recommendation of our pediatrician I started using it as diaper rash ointment. I still use it if Sasha has a little bit of a rash.
Speaking of irritated skin, there is so much saliva and spit-up and sweat and just general goo around (for which you will always, always need a burp cloth handy) that you and the baby often need moisturizing. Aquaphor has saved the day many times in my house, for chapped skin of all kinds. One of the places I’d get dried out most as a nursing mom was my lips, so I was always applying lip balm. Recently I’ve been using The Babied Family’s lip salve. It’s something my friend Anne turned me on to, when she gave me a gift bag last year after a touch-up on my episiotomy scar. One of the things she included was eucalyptus, hemp, and tea tree soap, which, if you put it in your shower, will just totally clear you out. This is now one of my go-to gifts for new moms.
Dark chocolate with sea salt is one of the things that Kirsten, of this week’s episode, brought me when she came to help out for a week after Sasha was born (the bar we’re including here from The Chocolate Path is one that I gifted to her at a time when she needed a pick-me-up). She also made me an amazingly soothing mix CD, to listen to while night nursing, which I still listen to and still makes me cry. A night light allowed me to see where I was going when I’d tiptoe out of the room, trying, with varying degrees of success, to avoid the creaky spots in the floor. Now Sasha uses the light to get herself to the bathroom in the middle of the night—something I hadn’t thought possible three years ago.
There is another category of things I found necessary in early motherhood that isn’t so much about healing yourself or your body, but is about healing your connection to your child. Things were so rough for us in the beginning that at first I had to make an effort to plan for at least one moment of connection every day. Sometimes that was simply taking pleasure in choosing which striped socks Sasha would wear. Or which hat. Or tucking her little fists into the mitts of her shirt to keep her from scratching herself (and me). Or, once I was up for it, showing her flash cards with animals on them.
Your turn. I want to know what things *you* found invaluable in your first days as a mom. So, if you haven’t already, go back and enter this thing! You have until January 13 at midnight.
We all have different needs as new moms, and I realize that some of the items on this list are geared toward moms recovering from vaginal births, or who are breastfeeding. If you win this giveaway and there’s something in there that you can’t use or you already have, you now have a great reason to reach out to a potential new friend and offer them something not so glamorous, but necessary. Or, hell, give the whole thing as a gift to your favorite new mom and welcome her to the club. Because we all know that something we super duper need as new moms is new mom friends. And I am beyond grateful for all of those. Including the ones I have made over the last few years doing this project.
*Disclaimer: Some of the brands and businesses mentioned above are sponsors of this project, but all of my endorsements are genuine and my use of the products occurred before the partnerships existed.