I hope Kate's taking notes. Let's just get right to the good stuff:
1. Before the baby comes you'll want a mattress protector. This is a little tid-bit my mama told me about. Because sometimes the waters break and sometimes it's a mess and sometimes you're in bed when it happens. Better to fork out a little cash-monies for a mattress protector than have to replace the entire mattress because it's got dried up amniotic fluid in it fibres. Yuck! That's got to smell pretty gorram awful.
2. You're going to need nursing bras that are flexible. My favourite by far is Elle McPherson's nursing bras.
3. When in a virtually comatose, postpartum condition, freezer meals can be essential to survival. I wrote the instructions for each meal on each package so that all my husband would have to do was take them out of the freezer and follow the instructions.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Make like 10 dozen. Pop them in the freezer. Take out and eat when nursing. You think I'm exaggerating on the number, but I'm not. So much yum.
- Shepherd's Pie - kind of my go-to, easy-peasy, can cook this in my sleep dinner. Quick and painless. Very much unlike childbirth. Make multiple batches and freeze.
- Enchiladas Suizas - A little more involved, but definitely my husband's favourite. He loves his Mexican food, and the homemade salsa verde is something special.
- Beef Stroganoff - Another easy, quick, go-to meal. I love my red meat, which was useful for me postpartum because I became slightly anaemic. I hate iron supplements, they are fresh breed of evil. So luckily the carnivore in me made a bunch of iron-rich red meat recipes. I just added a salad of spinach and was good to go.
- Lasagna Primavera -Speaking of spinach... this is another meal that can help with low iron levels. I like that you can vary the vegetable to suit your own tastes, just don't lose the spinach!
- Chicken, Apricot and Almond Rice - Okay, so you've chowed down and now you just want something healthy. Here's what I went for. Tasty and so so easy to make.
- Breakfast Burritos - THESE! ARE! THE! BEST! Was that clear enough for you? These were our go-to food. Grab them out of the freezer and a half hour later... presto! You'll probably want to make about 500 of these because you'll have them for almost every meal of the day. PLUS, you can eat it while nursing, which is useful when it's baby has been nursing for hours on end and you're DYING to eat, not only for yourself, but to make more milk.
You knew we would come to this part eventually. The nitty-gritty. The part of the conversation that makes subtle men suddenly interested in the trees outside and the not so discrete men stick fingers in their ears and sing la-la-la-not-listening.
5. Nursing. It doesn't hurt the first day. Not for me, anyway. It took a few days for things to become painful and then spiral out of control (cracked nipples, mastitis, blah blah blah). Luckily, we powered through and now things were fine, but there were days when I could not physically nurse. I had to invest in a breast pump. We got an electric one, but to honest, as I was exclusively breastfeeding, I would probably could have just gone with a manual one. At the time I needed it to make sure I didn't get plugged ducts and to enable me to feed baby with a bottle. Now, I don't even bother with it. If I need milk for baby's rice, I just hand express. It's more effective anyway. I just don't find that the pump's efficient.
6. Also, nipple cream.
7. And maternity pads. I recommend any ones that have aloe in them.
8. Lastly, for the long nursing sessions: Box Sets or Netflix. Yes, frequently you'll want to be cooing at the wee precious, but when you're having one of those nursing marathons, a little telly can go a long way to keep you from losing it.
Well, that's it for my Mama's Must Have. Have I missed anything? I'll compile a list soon of all the things I found most useful (and things that people cay are useful but are actually totally naff) soon.