Postpartum is no joke my friends. You might be one of the lucky few who escapes relatively unscathed, but if not, you’ll join the familiar ranks of the many others who’ve been chewed up and spit out by its sleep deprived, hormonal, torn up lady bits carnage. OK. So it probably not as bad as all that, but it’s not exactly a day at the spa either. But don’t fear my friends … I’ve been there, done that and I have a little list of simple postpartum hacks that will make your life just a little bit better. A little bit of planning and you’ll hopefully be looking at smooth sailing once you pop that baby out!
10 Postpartum Hacks That Will Make Your Life Better
1. Create a chore board
I didn’t actually use this idea, but saw it on Parent Hacks and thought it was brilliant! When you have a new baby you’ll have many people who drop by to visit and who would love to help out a little. The only problem is that in your sleep-deprived stupor you may be hard pressed to think of something specific for them to do, aside from the fact that it may feel a little awkward to boss people around. Simply write out some to-dos on a chore board that visitors can choose tasks from if they really want to help out. Things like: starting a load of laundry, folding a load, doing dishes, taking the dog for a walk. Friends and family will appreciate that they can choose a task that they enjoy most and that you actually have something specific they can help with.
2. Set up a nursing station
Setting up a nursing station with all your essential supplies nearby will make those early days of nursing much easier. The less you have to get up and move around during those first days of healing, the better you’ll fare with healing. Do too much too soon and you’ll regret it. Trust me. I have a list of nursing essentials you can check out here in case you’re curious about what to include.
3. Whip up some padsicles
Your swollen lady bits will thank you for having the forethought to whip up some padsicles before you’re in the throes of postpartum healing. Basically these are like cold compresses for your vagine (AKA pads that have been soaked in herbs and good healing stuff and then frozen) and they’ll feel like heaven. There are quite a few variations for how to make these out there, so just take your pick and get freezing!
4. Baby gowns and fool-proof swaddlers
When it’s 3 A.M. the last thing you’re going to feel like doing is fumbling with snaps and swaddles. I highly recommend sticking with baby sleeping gowns for at least the first month, because they’ll make middle of the night diaper changes in the dark much quicker. Also, invest in some fool-proof swaddlers. I can swaddle a baby with the best of them just using a regular blanket, but these pre-formed swaddlers are ridiculously convenient … so much so that I rarely (if ever) went back to using regular swaddle blankets after trying them. My favorites are the Ergobaby Twaddler, the Miracle Blanket, and Summer Infant’s SwaddleMe.
5. Pre-loaded diapers
OK, so I’ll preface this by saying that it’s not going to save you infinite amounts of time, but every little bit helps when it’s the middle of the night and you’re super exhausted, right? Before I went to bed for the night I would lay out all of the diapers I would need so changes would be seamless. I’d open the diaper and set a couple of wipes inside and lay it all out on the changing table so I didn’t have to dig around in drawers. Even if it only saved a 20 seconds it definitely made me feel a little better.
6. Meal Baby
Cooking when you’re in newborn parent survival mode is pretty much the last thing on the planet you’ll want to do, so set up an account with Meal Baby and let your friends and family pitch in by making you a meal. This is pretty much the best postpartum “hack” there is.
7. Belly Bandit
Postpartum your belly will feel super weird and squishy since your ab muscles are pretty atrophied. Invest in a Belly Bandit (or something similar) to help whip those tummy muscles back into shape and help your posture while you’re at it. With my daughter postpartum I had so many aches and pains in my backs from the adjustment of learning to stand correctly again, so this time I’ll be using one of these to help everything get back in alignment and to remind my abs to do their job again.
8. Moses baskets
Transfer your little babe easily from room to room simply by carrying them there in a Moses basket. Easy peasy and it takes up way less space than a play yard during those early room-in days. They’re also great for taking to a friend or family member’s house when you’ll be visiting and needing a place for Baby to rest.
9. Pre-made bottles
Set up those bottles ahead of time as much as you can. Whether you’re using pumped breast milk or formula. Have everything pre-measured and ready to go before you head off to bed and it will save you some time in the middle of the night.
10. Red light
OK, so I can’t actually remember all the science behind this one, but get a red lightbulb for your bedroom during those first weeks/months postpartum. There’s something about the red light that doesn’t wake you up as much as a regular light (think rods and cones firing and other such science-y things), so you’ll be able to fall back asleep more quickly after that early morning diaper change.
Any postpartum hacks you’d care to add?
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.