Reality of life with a newborn looks different for every single child and caregiver, and it shifts and changes a hundred times a day depending on the minute or the mood or the moon. No matter how a person births—or if they’re the birthing parent at all—those first weeks of new life are tender and trying and require more than the average amount of care and compassion.
Here, a few finds focused on the brand-new parent navigating those blissful and blurry newborn moments. They’re consistent with the kinds of things that have been (or might have been!) helpful and useful to me, but without a doubt other folks will find comfort in different sorts of things. The value of hospital-issued mesh underwear, simple plastic peri-bottles, and friend-made padsicles are not to be pooh-poohed, but in the land of make-believe, here are a few special somethings to support new parents:
+ A very perfect three-piece lounge set for feeling human and cozy both at the same time.
+ Multiple pints of a favorite ice cream.
+ A trio of postpartum relief in the form of a cooling spray, an herbal sitz bath, and a simple nursing balm.
+ A set of organic cotton gauze wraps in sunrise colors, for swaddling a babe, or protecting clean sheets, or pulling over your head and letting out a good cry.
+ A body bar for demanding massages.
+ Washable postpartum underwear with a special pouch for comfort and support post-delivery.
+ A set of three reusable ice packs to rotate, in case cooling comfort is what you need.
+ Permission to hand-off the baby for feedings and bottle nipples that screw directly onto a standard-mouthed mason jar.
+ A nursing bra that’s soft and comfy without any fuss.
+ A roomy basket for keeping all of the essentials wrangled nearby.
+ A tushy, otherwise known as a serious upgrade from the hospital-issued peri-bottle.
In an effort to ground this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few very real places to direct our attention:
+ Know the risk factors for postpartum depression. For many new parents, the postpartum period can be far from blissful. Up to 80 percent of new mothers experience postpartum “baby blues” and between 10 and 20 percent suffer from more acute symptoms of postpartum depression. Help is available, but knowing the signs and seeking help for yourself or your loved ones is crucial. This NYT Parenting Guide is a helpful starting place; ditto this Life Kit segment from NPR.
+ Black mothers in the US suffer disproportionately poor health outcomes. Better understand the issues at stake by downloading the Black Mamas Matter Toolkit, a collaborative resource from The Center for Reproductive Rights and members of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. On April 11-17, the third annual Black Maternal Health Week will serve to “amplify the voices of Black mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements.”
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