Postpartum Essentials for Mom

Recovery after birth is sometimes the last thing we think about when pregnant.  I on the other hand had a really overdue baby, and had a lot of time to get really prepared for baby and to get everything ready for an optimum birth recovery.

I had a month worth of freezer meals ready to go, I still have some left over in the freezer! I wrote down easy recipes that Carl would be able to make,  I set everything up for my home birth, made balms for baby and me and researched everything for a great, fast recovery after birth.

The one thing I found while trying to find what I would need in my postpartum kit, was a lot of the same things or rather obvious things, like a nursing bra?  If you’re breastfeeding I think it would be quite obvious that you would need a nursing bra and breast pads for that matter.   To me these postpartum essentials posts weren’t really helpful, but that was just because it was filled with the stuff I already knew I had to get, but not the strange and insanely helpful things that I really used.

Postpartum days are a whirlwind of lack of sleep and grazing for the nearest food you can just quickly shove in your mouth, while you and your baby get to know each other.  These are some of the essentials that I used during postpartum that made me feel more human, during a time when lack of sleep, getting peed on and just staring at poop seems to be the norm.  Don’t forget googling about what poop is normal.

POSTPARTUM ESSENTIALS FOR MOMS

  1. Coconut water.  It felt like coconut water saved my life during the first couple of days of postpartum.  It hydrated me and gave me a little energy boost that I needed during that time.  It also helped replenish electrolytes that I lost during birth.  It was also the most refreshing thing in the world to me at that point of time water felt like a drag to drink, while coconut water seemed like a gift from God.
  2. Robe.  This is one of those ” it could be obvious” things, but I decided its just a must to add.  I was having so many hot flushes and just sweating like crazy during those first couple of days ( thanks Hormones).  I just never wanted to wear a shirt.   I was always just in a nursing bra and pants, when we were alone of course, but man I wish I had a robe! I feel like it would have made me feel more decent and like I had all my ducks in a row.
  3. Dry shampoo.  I had a quick sitz bath everyday, but it wasn’t really a shower.  That first week postpartum is all about the baby and if you get a shower in , you’re lucky! With guests coming over to see the new baby, not feeling like  a complete mess is essential!  Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for those times.
  4. Vitamins.  Your body lost a lot of energy and vitamins during birth.  Keep taking your multi vitamins, but also take a probiotic to keep digestion going.  A magnesium tablet is also essential to keep cramps at bay after birth.  You won’t believe how achy your body will be.
  5. Leggings: Comfy pants is a must postpartum and these from mermaids and unicorns have such an amazing design that you can wear them while entertaining guests.  People will be so distracted by your amazing leggings that they wont even care how bad you look.  The cute baby that everyone is passing around will also be a distraction.
  6. Cocoa butter. After pregnancy you will be left with that beautiful brown line on your stomach….Linea nigra if you want to get all fancy, or if you just want it gone and not even bother knowing its name, get some cocoa butter and massage it all over it everyday.  It will help get rid of it fast!  I also used cocoa butter for the most amazing breastfeeding nipple cream, it was a lifesaver during those first couple of days when you and baby are just trying to figure out breastfeeding and you wonder if you gave birth to a snapping turtle.
  7. Arnica Everything: I used arnica oil after birth for my achy muscles and believe me did it help.  You won’t believe how sore your muscles are! Labour is the most intense workout of your life and you will hurt in places you didn’t know you had muscles.  I also took arnica tablets for inflammation, pain and aches.  You just have to get it!  Its a homeopathic dreamboat.
  8. Exercise ball.  This ball is not just helpful during labour, its amazing afterwards as well.  Bouncing a fussy baby on the ball is a great way to calm them down, help burp them and make them fall asleep.  Its also a great workout.

Extras.

Sitz bath.  A sitz bath after birth will help ease discomfort down there.  If you cant find some of the herbs to make your own sitz bath bags, just add 1/2 cup Epson salt to your bath water and 5 -10 drops of lavender oil.  It will help heal you faster and ease any discomfort.

Perineum spray:   This is great for healing and keeping things clean down there.

Granola and Snacks: I loved my healing golden milk granola as a snack during those first couple of days, it was so easy to eat and had all the healing properties I needed.

Lactation cookies:  I lived on these amazing cookies I created during the first couple of days when waiting for my milk to come in and when my milk came in I had one happy baby on my hands.

Chocolate:  Having a some dark chocolate when you feel so tired will be that pick me up you need.

Support: having your partner there helping you and making things as comfortable as possible is just what you need during your postpartum period.  I’m really grateful to Carl for all his help and support he gave me and how involved hes been in Arren’s life even before he was born, this guy doesn’t want to miss a thing.

Feeding Pillow:  A feeding pillow is a great thing to have to adjust baby just right, I only really started using mine this last week or so.   I was too frazzled to remember where I put my feeding pillow and just made a pillow fortress with all the pillows in the house, but now that I’m using it I can’t believe that I didn’t use it from the start.

The most important thing is to get enough sleep! I know it can be so difficult when you have a perfect little angel sleeping next to you and all you want to do is stare, but trust me try and get some sleep when your baby sleeps.  It will help you heal better and make you feel more sane!

I hope this helps all those new mamas out there!

He’s HERE!

We’ve been in newborn baby bliss for almost two weeks! Time really is flying…taking care of the cutest little addict around, pooping himself and puking all over us, has just been the best. Sometimes really tiring, but little Arren Yuki knows he owns our hearts and we will just do anything for him.  Like never putting him in the bassinet because he just hates it so much.  I never in my wildest dreams thought a bassinet would bring someone such unhappiness, you would think its made out rusty nails or something? Its not, its all comfy and wonderful, but being held in mommy’s bony arms all day is just way better.  I’m enjoying this time being confined to the bed or couch, being taken hostage by the cutest little heart thief around.  He only needs me for such a short amount of time, so I’m just trying to soak in all this newborn baby goodness, while I can.

During this pregnancy and now postpartum I’ve realised that people just generally suck.  People tend not to listen to how you want to raise your child, and feeling disrespected all the time is apparently just the norm.  Carl and I both feel like no one cares to listen what we’ve  said and have felt a little to a lot disrespected.  I think its mostly just the fact that no one actually listens anymore and people make up versions of reality in their head that suits their tastes (that makes them feel better).  Our little family means everything to us and we just want to give Arren all the opportunities we never received.   I want Arren to live a happy life knowing he can be whoever or whatever he wants to be.  He can love who ever he wants without me judging him, and knowing I will always listen completely to what he has to say, I never want him to feel like he can’t talk to me about his worries.  I will never tell him to do what I say not what I do, I wan’t him to see the good and learn from that.  This little monster has filled my heart with so much joy.

Sometimes you just have to take the reigns of your own life and do what you think is best for your family.  Carl and I both discuss everything in great detail and weigh all our options before we make decisions.  It feels good to be with an intelligent, strong minded man that voices his thoughts and researches everything like crazy.  Hes already such a good father to our son and the fact that hes been such a big part of this pregnancy ;never missing an appointment and being so proud of little Arren already is just a joy to watch.  I can’t wait to see the man our little baby becomes with such a lovely dad showing him the ropes and I can’t wait to see Carl grow more and more in his father role.

Here’s like a million more photos of Arren, if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen some of them there.

^^ Hes always just staring at things.

^^ Making cute faces.

^^ Or being utterly serious.

^^ Sometimes he just wonders. what the hell is mommy doing.

^^ Or he thinks hes home alone.

^^ This was when he was 2 – 3 days old, check out my beautiful knotted hair, thanks to sleep deprivation and not being able to take a bath.

^^ Gas never looked so cute.

^^ 1 day old and I was already rocking the hair knot.

 

 

Chocolate Pregnancy Shake

Yes, I’m still pregnant and after a very positive midwife appointment I’m feeling really good again.  Baby is in a good position, I’m healthy, baby is not too big and the midwife and I both decided that baby should come when the baby is done developing and is ready to face the big scary world.  While I wait I’m just going to get enough sleep, meditate and go for walks until baby is ready to meet us.

I feel healthier than ever during this pregnancy, I’ve really been making a conscious effort to eat healthy, avoid anything that doesn’t  make me feel like the glowing pregnant woman I deserve to be and just give my baby the best food I can possibly give him/her.  I’ve mostly just been craving sweet delicious things this pregnancy, which has been strange for me, because I’m more of a savoury kind of gal, but I felt like a fruit junky and have had weird cravings for donuts and cake.  You don’t know how strong you are until you prove to yourself that you WONT touch that cake.  To keep my sugar cravings  in control, I came up with the most delicious medjool date chocolate shake, filled with good for you ingredients, protein and all those yummy dates that’s suppose to help shorten your labour,  whats not to love and I mean it just tastes so good.  Way better than the best chocolate shake I’ve ever had and that’s saying something, because this is the best chocolate shake I’ve ever had.

WHY EAT DATES DURING PREGNANCY

The number one reason should be that its really delicious! filled with nutrients, fibre (what every pregnant woman needs more of), a great source of potassium , iron, anti oxidants and helps regulate blood pressure.  It will also give you that energy boost you so desperately crave during pregnancy, but even with all those amazing benefits the best thing about dates for a pregnant lady is.

It will help shorten labour.  Yes, you read that right!  Women who ate 6 dates a day during their ninth month of pregnancy had good progression during labour.  They were also more dilated on arrival to hospital and laboured for 7 hours or less.  Dates have a compound in them that mimics the hormone oxytocin  which causes contractions.

Hopefully all my religious date eating pays of during labour.

CHOCOLATE PREGNANCY SHAKEserves 2

Ingredients

  • 4-6 medjool dates pitted
  • 2 large frozen banana, peeled and chopped before freezing.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups non dairy milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tbsp protein powder
  • 2 -4 tbsp cocoa powder ( depends how chocolately you like it)
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds – optional
  • ice

Directions

Place everything in your blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into glasses and enjoy.

You can’t be pregnant forever…..but it sure feels like it.

Pregnancy is a funny thing.  For some, they just hate pregnancy from the get go, for me? I’ve really loved being pregnant.  Until my due date came and all of a sudden it felt like I’ve been pregnant for a lifetime.  Its hard waiting for baby when you’re constantly getting pestered from EVERYONE; asking if you’ve had the baby, why haven’t you had the baby and that the baby keeps getting bigger the longer he cooks inside.  I’ve been surprisingly calm throughout everyone’s little remarks and just kept saying baby will come when baby wants to come, but man, its starting to feel like I’ve got a 30 year old living inside me that just doesn’t want to move out and expects me to serve it  whatever it wants while I get kicked and punched the whole time.

I’m still here and I’m still waiting for baby, I’ve now tried all the natural methods for inducing baby, just to give baby a little nudge, but alas baby isn’t ready to face the big world yet, so I’m going to give baby the time he needs to keep on cooking.   This will not last forever and I’m so eager to meet my little baby, but right now I will enjoy the last bits of this pregnancy.   Even if I feel like a small bus with a really odd shaped belly button.

^^ We all need the cliche baby bump holding pic..Right?

^^ baby makes 3

^^ We will just lovingly stare at bunny until we have baby.

39 weeks Pregnancy Update

39 Weeks! I can’t believe I can go into labour at any time now!  I have to admit knowing the baby can come so soon is hella boring! I mean the wait is just so boring, the not knowing and wondering if this braxton hicks contraction will be the start of labour! We had our midwife appointment yesterday, and everything is still all set for the home-birth.  I’ve started moving all the home birth supplies into the room, where we all decided it would be best to labour in and of course have the baby in.  I’ve started having all the little food items I want around for snacks for the midwife and Carl, so we wont be too frantic when its go time.  I froze some fruit for myself and have coconut water ready just for me!

I’ve really started feeling insanely worried about the education system in this country, I’m not the biggest pregnant lady I’ve ever seen, but I am pregnant…The looks grown ups give you as they rubber neck to just stare at you is insane.  A man actually kept telling me shame, on my pregnancy the other day, and I was just so shocked.  What’s so horrible about being pregnant? why is it worth telling somebody you don’t know shame the whole time?  People look at you like you’re suppose to be locked inside your home for 9 months so they don’t have to see your face.  When you go for a walk all of a sudden you’re endangering your unborn child? We need to get educated on pregnancy, breastfeeding and especially home-births.  I’ve actually stopped telling people I’m having a home-birth, because of the ridiculous comments I keep getting.  Soon I will have my little baby in my arms and will probably deal with a million more comments from people that’s just not welcomed!  Having a baby is not just physically tough, its an emotional roller coaster! and a whole lot of strange comments.

39 WEEKS PREGNANCY UPDATE

Sleep : I’m actually still sleeping pretty well.  I never got one of those weird pregnancy pillow snakes? because Carl looked at it with shock and asked where is he supposed to sleep? I’ve done pretty amazingly without it and have gotten great sleep, I just prop a pillow in between my legs and I’m good to go or I use Carl as my cuddling snake pillow ( Yes, I don’t know what those pillows are called?)  Lately I’ve been getting up more to use the loo, but I fall back to sleep really fast.  I figured out pretty early on the key to good sleep in pregnancy is exercise  and not eating anywhere close to time you want to go to sleep.

Mood: Impatient, yet peaceful. Baby can come when every baby wants to come.

Movement: This baby likes to move and cat stretch all over my belly, sometimes it feels like the baby is stretching and kicking my heart, but its all good.  Carl thinks the baby and I are a comedy troop, baby does something silly and I make a comment back at the baby.  My favourite one of late has been telling the baby,  he/she is living in a person stop treating it like a crappy apartment!

Body: I haven’t gotten any stretch marks so I’m happy about that one.  I don’t know if its a genetics thing or not, but my sister didn’t get any stretchmarks on her stomach, where she applied pregnancy creams, but she did get on her legs and thighs where she didn’t think she needed to apply.  So I think religiously applying pregnancy creams and oil during pregnancy is a must!

Exercise: I’m really glad I exercised throughout this pregnancy, I feel like it kept me strong and helped me not get all the nagging pregnancy symptoms that everyone suffers from that and a good eating plan really made for a smooth pregnancy.  I really enjoy the what to expect when expecting (be fit) workout routines for pregnant ladies available on youtube.  I actually built muscle tone without ever feeling like I was overdoing anything, walking throughout pregnancy made me feel less stressed out and the prenatal yoga I found on youtube was just the best ever in helping me open my body up and help prevent a lot of cramping!

I hope this will be the last update and that soon I will have a cutesy little baby to post about!

 

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ We got lost trying to find the entrance to Noodhoek beach, but we stopped to take a look at this view.

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^^ walks on Noordhoek beach, on the hottest windiest day.  I’m getting really tired of having huge pores and sweating all the time.  Its way to hot here.

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^^ The previous photo Carl had a Trump hairstyle going on thanks to the wind.  It was obscene!  but you would never tell by this photo.

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^^ soooo windy.

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^^ Almost baby time!

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^^ I asked Carl for a jumping photo, I forgot he somehow hurt his back while getting into bed and have been suffering from old person symptoms.  Maybe he’s just absorbing all my pregnancy symptoms I’m suppose to be having.

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^^ We tried to have a picnic on Sunday, but the wind and heat was just too intense for us! We rushed home and tried to cool of by drinking a lot of iced water and regret making our outside fire for food grilling.

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^^ Feeding pillow! Can you believe Carl sewed this together for me, while I took a nap! Obviously I’ve got a great little seamstress on my hands here.  I found this fabric and just loved it! I also found another orange-y African print fabric that I turned into little zipper pouches for my diaper bag.  I’ve been getting really tired of all the cutesy, kitchy things that people gift you when they find out your having a baby.  I don’t know why everything has to look so cheap and crap? or plastic? I’m so tired of seeing pooh bear things.  Also trying to find anything that’s really gender neutral in this country is near impossible! I’m trying so hard to have a low impact child on the environment, but yet people seem to think that includes giving me bottles that actually still contains bpa, toys that were banned in all the first world countries and diapers that I wont be using. FRUSTRATING! Oh well! Our donations pile is just getting bigger and bigger, most of the stuff we can’t even donate to orphanages, because they don’t even accept it!

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^^ Pretty little gingerbread house in the nicest light.

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^^ Beach walks

Hi friends! How was your weekend?  I can’t believe how soon it is till baby time.  I’m so eager to get this labour over with! I’ve actually been having a great pregnancy, but the anticipation that any day now labour can start is killing me!  I’m ready for my little baby!  Did anyone else feel like this during the end of their pregnancy?

Birthdays and the season to give

On Wednesday I celebrated my Birthday! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. Carl made a pretty accurate statement the other day,  saying this has been the fastest, yet slowest year ever….and even if that doesn’t make much sense its completely true.  This year has been rough for us, I mean Ireland was amazing, but being back in South Africa has been exhausting and tough.  When we first got back we tried to rent the cheapest place we could find only to find out we were not even gonna be able to afford it, we were living pay check to pay check, and not getting anything out.  We could hardly feed ourselves, and with the news of baby we had to put money aside to get all the baby things we needed and prepare for all the medical costs.  If it wasn’t for Carl’s parents that assisted us we wouldn’t have been able to eat at all.    Our money situation has gotten better, but everything else is still crazy here, I have faith everything will work out, but its hard not to feel run down, from the constant bad luck we’ve had here.

So this year for my Birthday, because there is nothing I wanted to do in Cape Town and even though things have been extremely hard for us all I wanted to do was help the incredible amount of homeless people in Cape Town. Sometimes you just have to pay it forward.   I got all the ingredients together and decided to make food packs and have ice cold water ready to give to anyone in need.  I have to admit that during our long car ride stuck in the most insane African heat, I really wanted to crack open all those bottles of water and just go to town!  I showed some restraint and just suffered through the heat.  As we were driving trying to find the usual beggars that knock on your window asking for money, we realised as soon as you want to give people stuff they are nowhere in sight!  I couldn’t believe what an easy drive we had!

We finally decided to go to this one park that we know a lot of the homeless sleep at, and off we set to try and give people food.  It was really strange for me to try and get out of my comfort zone and actually go up to people to ask them if they were hungry, the guy that gave me the confidence I needed was a young man that was looking through all the trash cans for something to eat. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look of complete gratitude on this mans face as he said yes, and scurried off so fast, to go eat his food.  After that we felt confident and walked up to all the people sleeping on the grass with all their worldly belongings in a grocery bags, and offered them the sandwiches.  They all seemed so eager and happy, as they said God bless and thank you.  I was sad when we ran out of our care packages, but Carl and I both decided we want to do this more often.  My heart felt so full as I almost waddled along in the heat of the day at 9 months pregnant, giving people a meal that was specially  prepared for them.

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^^ Pre-Birthday sunflowers and a card.  I felt so loved! I got three cards from Carl for my Birthday.  Usually he gets me no cards, I started feeling like I was in a cardless marriage.

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^^ I made a raw carrot cake for my birthday! It was sooooo good.  Who needs sugar or gluten! Seriously! This is sooo much better.

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^^ Would you like a bite.

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^^ We collected some pine cones for our little mantel to add a bit of holiday cheer.

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^^ Birthday selfie!

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^^ The food packages contained.  A fresh sandwich, banana, a Christmas cookie, crisps and a some small candies.

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^^ Baby’s first food drive. img_5201new

^^ My belly looks all wonky here, but what you gonna do! I’m growing a human!

Soon I will have another member in my December birthday gang!

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Picnics on the beach.

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^^ I  wanted to feel how cold the water was without getting wet so I just stood there until a wave lapped at my feet.  I kind of look like a child from behind….My workout pants seem to be getting baggier and baggier…..bad workout pants, you should stay up.

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^^ The most dramatic towel shaker ever.

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^^ Shark watch flag.

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^^ Found a little friend on our walk.

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^^ early morning walks, making friends with fluffy weird haired cats, while I have fluffy just got up bed head hair.

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^^ Invited my parents in law over for lunch and made these two desserts! A raw chocolate pie and a crushed lemon tart trifle.  So good.

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^^ Picnic with a view.  I only ate my avocado sandwich and a couple pieces of fruit, the wind was so intense, all the food was covered in sand almost instantly.

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^^ Birds being dramatic.

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^^ So many of them.

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^^ my parents in law got me an early birthday present, the most amazing food processor/ blender ever.  In an instant I had the most amazing sunflower butter without oil.  It tastes so good and is so creamy.

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^^ Made little drool bibs/neckerchiefs for the baby, because all babies needs to be gangsta while drooling.

Hi friends! How was your weekend?  Is everyone still recovering from Thanksgiving binge eating? Over the weekend we decided to go for a little beach picnic we were all set to take a walk down to the beach, but I was standing in the sun really early in the morning by the way, sending someone a text I realised I might not make it back in this heat.  It was like standing in an oven before 8 o clock in the morning.  So we decided to drive to beach, when we got to the beach, it was insanely windy! Its one of the things I hate most about Cape Town, the fact that it can be so hot and the wind can be so cold, yet harsh that you just don’t know what to do.  We powered through and continued as planned with our little picnic.

On Sunday we invited Carl’s parents over for lunch and I cooked up a mini feast.  I warned Carl about the risk of eating large quantities of dairy and oil when he’s been on a clean eating diet, but he didn’t believe me, I couldn’t stop laughing when he got badly effected by it and wanted to vomit, while having a headache and stomach pains.  It was a lovely weekend and we finally feel kind of ready for this baby to arrive!  I can’t believe how in a couple of weeks I will be holding my little baby in my arms, while asking baby A, “why did you have to abuse mommy from the inside so badly?”  I hope everyone has a great Monday and an even better week.

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Our first package from amazon arrived! Before the stuff we ordered from South Africa… Pretty silly I think!

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^^ Walks around Kalk bay, are always interesting.

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^^ old signs.

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I love this garden statue!

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^^ Cacti in cute little cups.

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^^ I’ve been missing Ireland like crazy lately, well I’ve been missing anywhere that’s not here, but Ireland will forever have my heart and these saints made my heart hurt a bit.

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^^ Pretty flowers on our walk, can you spot the bee fattening himself up?

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^^ This place is apparently the best place to eat fish and chips.

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^^ Really disgusting fish drying!

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^^ Harbour boats.

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^^ Everything is so colourful.

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^^ I finally found a mango! My sister told me about a fruit stall selling mango and I couldn’t wait to get one!  The beach and a mango, seems almost too good to be true.

Hi friends! How was your weekend? is everyone ready for thanksgiving/ friendsgiving? We’ve still been on a mad rush trying to get everything done before the baby arrives and getting all the herbs I need for my confinement.  We want everything to be really well stocked so the confinement goes really smooth.  With the mad rushing to sort out everything before baby, confinement for a month, resting and bonding with baby seems like pure bliss!

Hope everyone has a great week!