Essentials for the First 24 Hours Postpartum

First 24 Hour Essentials

There are plenty of lists out there for what your newborn baby will need in the first 24 hours, but what about mom? What should every mom have on hand for the first 24 hours after giving birth?  I mean, besides a change of clothes, deodorant and maybe a hairbrush.

As I was preparing to give birth to my second child, I thought a lot about what I wanted to have on hand that first day.  Here is my list of must-haves, and why I think they are essential!

A Gallon of Coconut Water

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Ditch the Gatorade and rehydrate with Coconut Water instead.  It is much higher in potassium, a type of electrolyte, and lower in sodium.  Even if you didn’t have Edema (water retention) during pregnancy, you’ll have a lot of water weight to loose soon after.  Sodium can cause you to hold on to that water, leading to higher blood pressure, whereas potassium actually alleviates edema.  And it has more vitamins and nutrients than plain water.
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Benefits of Eating the Placenta

Placenta in a Jar

Placenta in a Jar

Before Franci was born, I had heard enough anecdotal evidence in favor of eating the placenta (in capsule form, over the course of several weeks) that I decided to give it a try. My midwife is experienced in the preparation and encapsulation and believes in its benefits, so there was no reason not to try it out.

It turns out there is no scientific evidence to support placentophagy, which is the technical term for placental consumption. There is also no evidence to debunk the benefits either. At this point, no one has bothered to look into it at all beyond a small team from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. And all they’ve done so far was interview 189 women who “use the Internet and consumed their placenta”.
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Natural Ways to Induce Labor

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“Every baby comes out eventually” may be true, but that doesn’t exactly provide comfort at the end of a long pregnancy. Whether you are past your due date or just ready to get that baby out of your belly, there are a few things you can do to speed the process up naturally.

While old-wives tales abound, some of the methods have actual research to back them up:

Sex: Although a recent study suggests that there is no correlation between having sex and going into labor, semen contains prostaglandins that soften and ripen the cervix. Women in the hospital are often given a synthetic prostaglandin at the first stage of inducing labor.
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How to Choose a Midwife

Midwife Home Visit

Midwife Home Visit

It has been a few years since Joy posted about her experience giving birth with a midwife. She wrote a series of three great posts: Choosing a Midwife, The Unique Perspective Midwives Bring to Birth and Top Ten Reasons for Choosing a Midwife Over an MD. I recommend them to anyone even considering going with a midwife, not just for a home birth but at a birthing center or hospital.

When I was pregnant with Frances, the only maternity insurance a self-employed woman could get in our state only covered emergencies. After doing a little research, I discovered a hospital birth would cost us at minimum $10,000 out of pocket. Since birthing centers are illegal here, we decided to look into a home birth with a midwife. I never thought I’d give birth at home, but I’m too frugal to drop $10K when there are cheaper alternatives. Plus, I had the assurance that if complications arose, we were covered by our insurance.
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Post-Childbirth Care for New Moms: What Should You Have On Hand?

My first childbirth experience was the most painful, beautiful, and surreal 9 hours that I had ever known. But I hadn’t anticipated the fact that labor is just the first (very intense) part of the long transition into parenthood. My heart was throbbing with love for my baby, my ego was adjusting to the fact that I had to surrender everything–including sleep!–to this tiny being, and my exhausted body was trying to adapt to nursing and early parenthood.

And…I wished I would have stocked up on a few essentials. My midwife brought over a tube of Lansinoh Lanolin to sooth my bleeding skin after my son nursed for hours on end. Lanolin is also a great ointment for diaper rash and skin irritation, but it’s especially wonderful to help new mothers as they begin breastfeeding.
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Do You Have a Midwifery Clinic to Recommend?

When I was ten weeks pregnant, we excitedly stepped through the hospital’s revolving door to see our OB/GYN doctor. After a thirty minute wait, we met with a stressed out physician for ten minutes who asked us some routine questions. We were shuffled off to the front desk where we received a plastic bag full of brochures. When I imagined giving birth in that environment and it me nauseous (although it could have also been the morning sickness….) Luckily a friend told me about the Peacehealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center.

This time we walked across the front porch of a beautiful old home, through a cut class door and into a completely different experience. We met with the midwife for about forty five minutes, most of which she spent listening to our questions. I was so thrilled to have found a clinic that didn’t treat me as though I had an illness, but embraced our excitement about having a child.
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Do You Need Co-Sleeping Gear?

We had no intentions of sharing our small full size bed with a newborn, but fatigue quickly convinced us to co-sleep. My son’s nursery sat untouched for the first few months of his life, as he either slept in the sling or in bed with us. Any other attempts were encountered with hours of shrill tea kettle shrieks that drove us to comply with his terms.

With our daughter, we were thrilled to borrow a co-sleeper from friends. We blissfully imagined having the bed to ourselves while our newborn snoozed safely nearby. In the end, my daughter utterly refused to be anywhere except right up against me while she slept. We found this out after breaking the co-sleeper while setting it up and sending it back to the company for repairs that cost just as much as the item itself.
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Green Baby Guide’s Most Popular Posts of All Time

Happy birthday to us! We’re celebrating three years of blogging (as of last Friday) by reviewing our top ten posts of all time here on the Green Baby Guide. Now, according to our stats, A Fan of Fans has the most views of any post, but we chalk that up to a Googling fluke. So how to do we measure the success of a post? By the reception it gets from you, our dedicated readers! Here are the top ten most-commented-upon posts of all time!*

Four of our most popular posts were about . . . you guessed it: diapers

#10, tied with 23 comments each:
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Welcome to Motherhood!

I see you everywhere, your bellies budging, your skin glowing, and your eyes lingering on my chubby baby.  The secret smile we exchange signifies that we both know that you’re on your way to my new native land: motherhood.

For me, in the beginning, it seemed as though my baby would never arrive. And then, it happened.  Suddenly we were hurtling forward in a free fall towards the biggest transition of our life.  My biggest maternity clothes didn’t fit, but even more immense than my belly was the feeling that I might just not be ready.

Not ready to push this person out of my body, or settle it into the incomplete nursery.  Not ready for the sleep loss, and not ready for giving up everything (and I mean everything)  I once thought was my own.  (That includes sleep, time, personal space, and clothes not covered in kid-generated goo.)
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Our Local Midwifery Birth Center is Open!

It’s hard to quantify just how much I love the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center here in Eugene, Oregon.  Their supportive and empowering staff helped my family welcome our two children into the world. Throughout my entire pregnancy and birth we never felt rushed but enjoyed long leisurely appointments that educated us and allowed us to make our own choices. 

I gave birth in the above room filled with antique furniture in a beautiful old craftsman home that had been converted to a birthing center.  What could be better? This!

The new Midwifery Birth Center opened its doors today on May 1st.   It’s situated close to the new hospital, in a stand of old trees, and is built to support ongoing natural birth.  It’s complete with a birthing tub for water births, a nature path among the old pines, and a classic interior.
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