Care Package
New Moms


Care Package
New Moms

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

127 thoughts on “Giveaway: Care Package for Mama

  1. My most necessary item in the early days was my laptop. I spent a lot of time on the couch with my baby napping on my chest. My laptop was essential for feeling more connected to the world — reading the news headlines, emailing, aimless surfing around. I would cry a little those times when it was just out of reach, or in the next room. With baby #2 on the way, I’ll be better prepared this time, with an e-reader and tablet. Many items on your list would make my couch sessions more comfortable! Thanks for keeping it real.

  2. This care package is amazing! I’m 36 weeks pregnant, and there is one product I would absolutely die without: Palmer’s cocoa butter oil and lotion. Seriously, this stuff has been my religion.

    Everyone said being pregnant during the winter would be much easier, but they forgot to mention the dry-as-can-be and itchy belly skin that constantly needs some TLC.

  3. My two favorite things with baby #1 were the Moby wrap for hands-free everything for mama (and a happy cuddle at the grocery store for baby) and the footstool next to my rocking chair. This mama’s short legs got much better rocking power with that. We’ll see if I find a new favorite item with baby #2 in a few days.

  4. During pregnancy, I thought the snoogie was one of those highly unnecessary items, but my husband insisted on buying it anyway. Later, to my husband’s dismay, he found himself replaced by the snoogie at night.

    I’m going through post pregnancy now, and no one told me how challenging this early post preg phase is! My milk just came in the past few days, and I cannot imagine life without my supportive, easy access nursing bras to house these new. giant milk-producing globes.

    At least my husband is happier now. He’s got his snuggle bunny back and now amazed with my recently enlarged features. Yay for breastfeeding!

  5. I am 24 weeks pregnant and the thing I can’t live without is my snoogle body pillow.

    The pillow was a Christmas present from my husband because I just couldn’t sleep well at all and I needed to try something. It has changed how I sleep and the quality of sleep.

    Oh! and mini bagels with apple butter are my super snack! I LOVE them!!

  6. The most needed item for me was my i-phone. I recently gave birth to my second daughter, so I had most other items others had mentioned ready. The i-phone was a savior. I would read, check Facebook, listen to podcasts and shop while nursing. I would also use it later to put my baby to sleep: type “white noise for babies” in the YouTube search window, there are many videos! I’d also review my baby’s milestones on the app for Baby Center. And now that she is older we watch contrast cartoons for infants– she loves them!

  7. I have not given birth yet but as a soon to be mom I could not live without the belly band and my travel pillow. The band lets you wear your regular cloths for a longer period of time. So important when your body is changing every week! Especially important when you are pregnant during the winter months and can’t just wear dresses everyday as an option. The travel pillow I put under my growing belly! My baby really likes the support I can tell as we both get comfortable for a good nights rest.

  8. Ooh man, what I wouldn’t have done for this box 9 weeks ago… The first thing that saved me when I came home with a tiny baby was the Medela nipple shield the LC gave me to help my baby latch. My baby just would not latch, and as breast feeding mothers know that is pretty stressful. With the nipple shield I know my baby got something to eat those first few weeks and saved me from a lot of tears and worry. The second thing was disposable underwear. I had a c-section and could not handle anything touching the incision on my now weirdly flabby stomache. Plus everything just felt gross, so those giant, mesh, disposable panties went on with a giant pad and went off right into the trash. I’d send this package to my sister who is having a baby soon.

  9. The main thing I couldn’t have done without was my Bobble water bottle. I was always parched when I was breastfeeding, and since I mainly did night feeds lying down, I could drink filtered water as often as I needed to without worrying about spilling. Much better than having a glass of water by the bedside! My kids are now five and nearly two, and I still take my Bobble everywhere I go.

  10. Someone gave me a type of milk catcher that is like a little cup that catches milk on the side the baby isn’t latched onto. Since I kind of sprayed milk, I loved having that over the nursing pads because then I caught the milk and could save it for a bottle. If I didn’t have it with me, nursing pads were a total necessity, especially when I went back to work!

  11. Oh nursing pads… BY FAR the must have!!! i didnt think to get them and that was the, i need this NOW, run to the store! i had to use newborn diapers at night because i leaked so much! My favorite gift for new mama’s are wool nursing pads! so absorbent and soft! also helps with thrush!!!!

  12. Comfy cloth pads, tucks with witch hazel, peri bottle. These items saved me because I was the lucky recipient of a third degree tear… self explanatory.

  13. Cloth diapers — the basic prefold kind. I knew they were good for their intended purpose, but stuffed them in my nursing tanks at night for awhile when a regular bath towel just wouldn’t cut it to keep the bed dry.

  14. so far (i’m only 6 months along)… the most necessary item during my pregnancy has been a body pillow. i’m normally a back sleeper but that’s a no-no. before my new best buddy (aka the body pillow) i found it difficult to get comfortable and remain so while sleeping on my side. i also found myself waking up on my back quite a lot which added a hefty dose of insomnia producing anxiety. with the body pillow i sleep so much better!

  15. My most needed things were nalgene water bottles that I would fill and leave all over the house so I always had a drink. Then I would say Trafer Joes trail mix, Boppy pillow, and I also made the soothing pants sandwich and I don’t think anything has ever felt so good as cold medicated pads on my bruised lady business.

  16. I’m due in April this year so thus far have not realised my most needed item as a Mum (note the spelling of Mum, I’m from NZ where I’ve been spreading the word about this podcast).
    But I have found having tissues with me as a hormonal pregnant woman to be an absolute must. Not only have I discovered that I cry at everything, but the occasional un expected nose bleed (no one talks about these things!) has meant I can’t really leave the house without them. I have a box in the car, a small package in my purse, and various stashes around the house. A particularly important one is by the tv for any (and frequent) TV shows which make me cry.

  17. Diapers covers saved me!! Fold your own cloth diapers sure can be messy if you are NEW to them. Things got pretty messy at the beginning.

  18. I am due with my first in a few weeks. The thing that saved me during my first trimester is far from glamorous but absolutely necessary was a pee jar. Since I had to get up about 7 times a night, and the bathroom was down our twisty sharp edged stairs, I started using a large jar like a chamber pot. I thought this was the greatest thing ever until disaster struck one morning when the lid was not screwed on right and it tipped spilling pee far and wide. Luckily I had a towel handy and it seemed to do the trick so I went downstairs to start breakfast. Moments later I heard drip… drip… from the living room. Upon investigation I discovered that pee had escaped under the wall and was now making its way down through the floor and out the smoke detector! Terrified my pee would start an electrical fire I called my husband to ask which breaker to switch. Thankfully he gave me the heads up that I was on speaker phone so I didn’t end up humiliating myself any further. I considerer this experience an introduction to dealing with excessive amounts of body fluids.

  19. The things I found most valuable with my first born 33 years ago was a soother, a car, and a wind-up swing. My daughter cried a lot in those first few months and rarely slept — the soother helped a lot and she never cried when she was in her swing or the car — so we drove around a lot at night, just the two of us. Now she’s due with her firstborn (and my first grandbaby) any day now and I’m really hoping she has a baby that sleeps well! But just in case, I’m going to buy her an emergency soother to have on hand. We both love your show!

  20. The woombie has been amazing! My son loves to be swaddled and let’s be honest I’m not very good at it. The zipper on the bottom always helps to make easy diaper changes!

  21. Peanut butter is my savior through the first 12 weeks of my first pregnancy so far. The vehicles have changed but the important stuff stays the same: peanut butter on celery, peanut butter in smoothies, peanut butter in oatmeal, peanut butter/banana canoes, peanut butter and honey sandwiches on the go, or…just a spoonful of peanut butter. The protein helps quell the queasies for me, which make my days not feel like those hangovers I never want to repeat but which were good training for this phase of pregnancy. I also recently read that eating peanuts while pregnant may help reduce the allergic response in babies. I haven’t reached the belly band or boppo phases–words that are just now entering my lexicon, but which Mommies tell me I’ll need to know later. Until then, my pretty wonderful husband has made sure that there is always a back up jar of peanut butter in the cupboard and a spoon nearby! Oh, I think I’m feeling hungry now.

  22. I love everything in this bundle! All of the items are so wonderful. My most needed item was a pad of paper and pen. My brain was so mushy those first few weeks that the pad became my brain. Grocery lists, medicine dispersement times, feedings, poop times, thank you notes to write… Everything was on the pages of that little yellow pad. I really wish I had saved it. I love that you saved the pieces of paper with Sasha’s feedings on them.

  23. I am a first time mom-to-be, and so far I’ve found fruit snacks vital! I get dizzy a lot, and I always keeps a few snack packs in my purse should my blood sugar need a quick pick me up. I also love my belly band and the vitamin E oil I slather over my tummy every day!

  24. I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant and what I currently can’t live without is hand-me-down maternity clothes! My sister-in-law recently bequeathed her trendy outfits to me, and I’m so thankful. The $$$ for maternity clothes and then baby items is hurting my weekly Target spending budget and I have no shame in hand-me-downs anymore! As soon as we find out the gender, I’ll be hunting down baby hand-me-downs.

    Also, I cannot live without this podcast. Seriously — I’ve learned so much! I started listening even before I was pregnant.

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