Hospital Bag Checklist 2019: What to Pack for the Hospital

Hospital Bag Checklist

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Finding the perfect items to pack in your baby delivery hospital bag doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, I’ve got your printable hospital bag checklist for baby below. I wanted to share these ideas with you because the first time that I packed for the hospital, I brought all kinds of stuff that I didn’t need. But I understand that every mom or baby will need different things. 

When Do You Need to Pack a Hospital Bag?

First, you’re probably wondering: when do you need to pack your newborn baby hospital bag? Babies can be very unpredictable so it’s a good idea to plan ahead in case your little one decides to come early. Plus, you need something to do in those last few weeks when you’re nesting and you’ve already rearranged the nursery twice!

I recommend having your bag packed somewhere between 36-38 weeks. If you are at risk for a premature birth, then do it sooner than that. It’s your call, really.

I had my first hospital bag packed around 36 weeks. However, some items won’t be available to pack until the last minute (like your favorite pillow). So, keep a list handy of stuff you need to grab before you leave on delivery day that you can’t pack now.

For my second baby, I don’t think I had anything packed until I was 39 weeks along. I didn’t procrastinate because I didn’t want to be organized. Rather, I was so tired from being pregnant and taking care of one child already.

But sadly, putting off the packing stressed me out needlessly. So, do yourself a favor and get this out of the way. You’ll have one less thing to stress about before you give birth.

Now, let’s cover what you need to pack.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Baby: Hospital Bag Checklist

The hospital will give you nearly everything you need for your baby. They may supply you with diapers, formula (if needed), a hat, a baby blanket, and even a little outfit (this means that you may not need to bring a diaper bag because the basics should be provided). This is everything the hospital provided to my babies; however, check with yours to ensure you don’t need to bring any of these items.

Items for Baby – Hospital Bag Checklist

Because hospitals may provide you with all the necessities, you’ll can focus on the items that hospitals won’t have readily available.

Most hospitals also have photographers come by to take pictures of your newborn baby. Because of this, I recommend bringing a cute swaddle and at least one outfit. If you’re bringing a going-home outfit, you can use this for the photos as well. In the event that you anticipate having a larger baby, you may also want to bring 3-month sized clothing, too. There’s always the chance that newborn clothes won’t fit, as most newborn clothes only fit babies weighing less than 8 pounds.

One important thing to remember is the car seat. You’ll need the base (if you have a travel system) or the car seat itself (if it’s one unit) already installed before the hospital will let you leave.

There are two main types of pillows available for nursing and breastfeeding. A nursing pillow will help you to properly position the baby while you’re feeding them. I found positioning to be extremely challenging, and while the pillow didn’t solve all my problems, it was definitely a big help.

  • A warm blanket

The season in which you deliver will impact the items you pack in your baby delivery hospital bag. Another factor to consider is seasonality. If you deliver during the wintertime, you’ll want a warm blanket to wrap the baby in when you take them to the car.

Most hospitals do not have baby nail clippers or nail files. However, you will definitely want to bring these along. After delivery, you may notice that your baby’s nails are very long. Because babies don’t have awareness of their hands right away, they may accidentally scratch their faces with their long nails. Alternatively, you could purchase baby mittens to prevent face scratching.

Items for Mom – Hospital Bag Checklist

  • Comfortable items from home

Hospitals aren’t going to have your favorite pillow, so you’ll definitely want to bring that. Sadly, hospitals also have some of the smallest and most uncomfortable towels I’ve ever felt. If you’re going to shower at the hospital, you may even want to bring your own towels.

  • Paperwork

You’ll also need to bring any pre-registration paperwork that the hospital gave you. This paperwork could include your birth plan if you have one. I didn’t, so don’t worry if this doesn’t apply to you. 🙂

If you choose to breastfeed, you won’t want to wear a normal bra. And let’s face it: a normal bra may not fit anyway after you give birth. Your breasts will be filling with milk (even more so than before you gave birth). And, you may be swollen from any fluids or medications you receive during your stay. Plus, a breastfeeding bra will help you to feed quickly and on-demand.

Tank top options are also available.

Definitely yoga pants. If you’re like me, your pre-pregnancy pants probably won’t fit you, and neither will your maternity pants. Save yourself the frustration and pack a very comfortable pair of yoga pants (dark ones may help you to feel more confident and comfortable).

  • Comfortable tops

Any tops you bring to the hospital should make it easy for you to breastfeed if you’re planning to. Additionally, you may want to pack one long-sleeved and short-sleeved top because there’s no telling if you’ll be hot or cold in the hospital.

If your hair is long enough to get in your face, you’ll almost certainly want to keep it out of your face. So, I’d recommend a headband and a ponytail holder.

Pro tip: Try these items out before you bring them to the hospital. The headband I brought was useless as it became too stretchy once it was on my head.

The hospital will provide you with socks, so don’t fret if you forget them. In case you do remember them, get some super plush and comfortable ones. Your feet will thank you.

Additionally, flip-flops are always nice to have when you’re feeling hot and don’t want to walk on the hospital floor without footwear (plus, these may also be useful for showering).

Similar to the baby needing season items like a warm blanket, consider bringing a jacket for yourself if you are expecting cold temperatures when you deliver.

Items that you can bring but aren’t really necessary:

A labor gown (the hospital will provide this), makeup (could be nice if you’re having a birth photographer, but I will warn you that most, if not all, will come off during the labor process. But if your hospital takes newborn photos, you may want to have makeup handy for these), and books/technology to keep you entertained (you should try to rest if you’re not laboring. Labor is exhausting, and any downtime should be used to give your brain and body a break).

Lip balm. I don’t know what it is about labor (probably all the hard breathing and lack of water), but you’ll want to keep your lips hydrated.

Toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, hair brush and whatever you normally use on a day-to-day basis.

Nipple cream. If you choose to breastfeed, it’s going to be painful in the beginning. If you proactively apply nipple cream from the get-go, you can potentially save yourself additional suffering down the road. I’m a big fan of coconut oil, but there are other options available too.

Breastfeeding pads. There are disposable and non-disposable options. I found that the bamboo breastfeeding pads ended up being the most economical solution for me. They are washable, breath well, and prevent leaks.

 

What Dad Needs at the Hospital – Hospital Bag Checklist

Camera. Put dad on picture duty! Having memories captured of the entire process (well, maybe not some of the process 😛 ) is nice for baby books (or any item you plan on keeping to hold your photos and keepsakes).

Cell phones. And since dad has the phones, he can also send updates to the family when the baby arrives. Suggestion: create a contact list prior to going to the hospital so that dad can send a group SMS or similar to everyone.

Charge cords. Ask dad to bring charge cords for cell phones and camera batteries (if it’s not a cell phone camera).

A Bluetooth speaker. If you would like to have any music playing during the labor, this is going to be a big help. Also, after the birth, you can use the speaker to play calming sounds around your baby. I didn’t do this, but in hindsight, I think it would have been amazing. Hospitals are noisy and the birth experience for the baby is likely overwhelming. I think these sounds could really help keep everyone calm and reduce unnecessary noise in the room.

Clothes and toiletries. Just like you, dad should bring anything he needs to stay comfortable. Tell dad to pack what he would usually bring if staying in a hotel.

Click HERE to download the full-sized PDF of the Baby Delivery Hospital Bag Checklist. 

Things to Have on Hand for Your Return Home with Baby

You may also want to prepare for your return home by having some items already ready to use in your house. This can be just as important as the items you take to the hospital with you. Typically, hospital stays are short, but then you and baby come home to finish recovering and bonding. And, if you have a c-section, you may need more recovery time, so for this reason, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got everything you may need.

Here are some recommendations:

Preparation-H wipes. Things are going to be very uncomfortable for a while, and these can help with clean up, but they can also help alleviate any pain due to hemorrhoids that you may have received as a result of being pregnant or laboring.

Padscicles. I made these for each of my labors. During both of my labors, I also had second-degree tearing, so these were a big help.

Basically, padscicles are just easy-to-make frozen pads. Here’s how you can make your very own padsicles:

  1. Buy 1 pack of overnight pads and 1 pack of regular heavy-flow pads that you can use during the day.
  2. Buy 1 bottle of witch hazel
  3. Buy 1 bottle of aloe

First, on a sanitized and clean surface, take each pad out of the individual packaging (and if there are wings, take those out too), then spray or pour a bit of witch hazel on each. Then, squirt just a bit of aloe on each after that. Next, carefully repackage eat one. Place all the pads in a Ziploc freezer bag or similar and then put the bag in your freezer.

After you come home, grab one of these pads each time you use the bathroom. They help to keep the bleeding contained and help numb any of the pain associated delivery.

Other Items for At-Home After Baby

Depends (very optional). These will be good if you think your blood flow will be so heavy that either an overnight or heavy-flow pad won’t be able to handle it. If that’s the case, you can use the Depends underwear as an overflow option.

Sitz Spray (get this if you’re not making your own padsicles). This spray will help to “cool” very the very tender after-birth areas.

Magnesium and/or stool softener. After-birth constipation is normal and it can be challenging to combat without supplements. Both magnesium and a stool softener can be used to help things move along.

Hospital Bag Questions From Readers

Should you bring gifts for your birth and post-partum care nurses?

It’s optional, but the nurses and staff will certainly appreciate it. If you’re going to do this, I’d recommend bringing your gifts with you to the hospital. I meant to come back to the hospital after things settled down a bit when I got home, but I never made it back. I felt guilty as our nurses treated us so well, and I really wanted to thank them. Some ideas are little goody bags or food (order pizza, have donuts and bagels brought in, etc.).

Now You Can Get Started on Packing Your Hospital Bag!

There we go! It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, since you may need or want additional things. And maybe some of these things don’t meet your needs. But it should get you started with some ideas to help you be better prepared when baby comes.

Now that you have some ideas and some advice for packing your baby delivery hospital bag, it’s time to get started. Use the checklist provided above and then add to it as needed to suit your needs. Have fun!

Are Tula’s Worth It? A Look Inside the Popular Tula Baby Carrier Trend

tula baby carrier

My favorite Tula.

Have you asked yourself, “Are Tulas worth it?” Are you thinking about getting a Tula for babywearing but you’re not sure about that steep price tag? Maybe you’ve already been using a carrier, but you want an upgrade, or perhaps you’re planning for a new baby and this has been on every “must have” list you’ve seen so far. How can you know if it’s right for you?

First, let’s take a look at the benefits of babywearing.

The Tula Ergonomic Baby Carrier

An ergonomic baby carrier properly distributes your baby’s weight and Tula does not disappoint. The carriers made by Baby Tula are comfortable and easy to secure and wear. I used them successfully (and often!) with both of my boys. Even just shopping at Target or Publix, I would get many compliments on my Tula and how snug my little boys looked. They were always so peaceful in the carrier, and they were just as comfortable as I was with babywearing.

Carrying a baby around in your arms the old-fashioned way is rough on the body. Resting her on your hip shifts your weight, causing poor posture, which makes can make moms feel like their whole body is thrown out of whack. On top of that, it doesn’t take long before moms can feel the stiffness and soreness setting in their back, shoulders, and arms.

Sometimes, having to hold a baby makes it difficult to go out as a family and have a good time. It can also be inconvenient when moms want to hold their baby close, but also need their hands free to get something done, like chores around the home.

Then there’s that awful feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when my baby starts squirming around in my arms. All moms and dads know how difficult it is to hang onto a wiggly baby and it’s even harder when they reach toddler age. I do worry that she might wiggle too much and fall.

Carrying your baby in your arms also restricts your movement and limits what you can do. Have you ever tried to make a sandwich while holding a baby, for example? It does make it difficult to do things that you would normally do without even thinking.

In comes babywearing…

Traditional carriers that you place the baby in and carry by your side or in your arms are bulky and hard to handle. Plus, you have all that extra weight of the carrier to deal with, making it even heavier. They’re also awkward to use in crowded places. It seems like the carrier is in someone’s way no matter what you do sometimes. So, I started searching for a better way to carry my baby around with me. That’s when I ran across Tula.

What Is Baby Tula?

In case you haven’t heard, Baby Tula is the brand responsible for providing parents all across the globe with modern day babywearing devices. They make carrying your baby or toddler around easier than ever. Tula carriers are ALL the rage in parenting and mommy groups and are regularly touted as the best that money can buy.

So, I decided to try a Tula. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I also wanted to see if that hefty price tag was worth it. Plus, the Tula fabrics and designs are the cutest I’ve come across. My first baby carrier was nice, but it was basic black. I kept seeing moms across town and the web with these cute carriers and decided it was time to get one of my own.

The Tula carrier has become more than just a device to help parents; it is somewhat a culture of its own. Yes, I’m serious.

There is a whole community of moms out there who buy, sell and trade Tula carriers and wraps for prices much higher than retail. It seems crazy, but it’s true. Many of the mothers collect several different styles and designs so they have a lot of money invested in them. Like any other types of collectors, the rarer the design or pattern, the more expensive it is. If it’s hard to find and someone has one, it’s going to be priced at a premium.

A Little about Tula Baby Carriers and Wraps

Tula makes their baby carriers and wraps from beautiful European textiles and/or canvas. So, they’re both sturdy and fashionable, which is important. The carrier must be strong and durable enough to support the baby’s weight without worry. Safety is the biggest concern for any parent and Tula does produce quality products that help keep baby safe.

However, style is also important. If you’re anything like me, you want to look and feel good about yourself when you’re out with your little one, too. That’s easy to do when you’re carrying her around in a colorful, stylish wrap, sling or carrier.

Tula carriers are designed with a wide seat, which makes it so much more comfortable for the kids. You have a choice between the standard size that holds approximately 15 to 45 pounds, and the toddler size which holds approximately 23 to 50 pounds. Babies should be at least four or five months old before putting them in the standard size carriers.

This is one of the best features of the Tula: it holds older/bigger babies and toddlers, too.

However, you can use a Tula with a newborn weighing at least seven pounds and up to 15 pounds provided you use the Infant Insert. Only use the insert with the standard size carriers and when carrying your baby in the front position. When using with a newborn, be mindful of their head position because the baby’s head and neck must be supported properly.

The versatility of a Tula makes it worth the cost for many parents since you can use the same one as your baby grows, rather than needing to purchase two or three different carriers.

So, where can you get a Tula?

You can shop for Tulas online at their e-commerce site or look for them in high-end baby boutiques. Additionally, you can also find them at Target or order online from Amazon. Finally, you may also want to check out some of the other items Tula has to offer such as slings, rings, blankets, and accessories.

The Physical Benefits Associated with Tula

When done properly, wearing your baby has many benefits. For starters, I love the way my baby is up high where she gets a better view of things around her and she loves it, too. She sees so much more as we go about our business during the day.

It makes it easier for her to see and interact with the people around her daily. This type of interaction will help her develop her social skills, too.

Here are a few more of the Tula babywearing benefits:

  • It’s easy to breastfeed your baby when you’re wearing her in a carrier around your body. Also, it’s convenient because you don’t need somewhere to sit down. The Tula design also provides some privacy for the feeding baby. Finally, Tula’s come with a little privacy cover that you can use if you want to keep yourself completely covered while feeding in the carrier.
  • Tulas are incredibly easy to put on. I tried putting a wrap and a ring sling on, and I couldn’t get the hang of it. Even with help, I felt like it was too much to try to tackle while dealing with a sometimes fussy infant. With Tula, I was able to put even my crying baby on with ease. And usually, he would immediately calm down and go right to sleep once he was securely in place.
  • Babywearing promotes skin-to-skin contact, which is highly recommended. Skin-to-skin contact supports breastfeeding and it can help regulate your child’s body temperature. Additionally, it can also help improve heart and lung functions.
  • It’s good for your baby’s emotional health. When you carry your baby in this manner, it releases a hormone called oxytocin. This particular hormone is known for strengthening the relationships and the bond between mother and child.
  • When the baby is positioned correctly, the carrier will support the neck and spine of the child. And, the child’s weight will be distributed evenly through the hips and legs while sitting in the carrier. This reduces the pressure put on the baby’s hips and spine, which aids in the development of the spine as your baby grows and fully develops.
  • It aids in the development of motor skills. When you’re wearing your baby, you’re giving her the freedom to move her arms and legs around, which is what helps her develop normally.

What I Like about Tula

There are a few things that make Tula stand out to me. For example, the designs are amazing. I was afraid that I might feel a little uncomfortable wearing my baby in public the first time. But, I loved being so close to my baby, plus the design was so cute, so I didn’t have any issues babywearing like I thought I might.

Here are some more of the things I like about Tula:

  • You can carry your baby in front or back (if your baby is big enough), whichever you find the most comfortable based on your current activity.
  • The design distributes the baby’s weight evenly so it doesn’t make me feel like her weight is tipping me over like it does when I’m holding her on my hip.
  • It doesn’t pull on my shoulders making them sore or strain my back, even when I use the carrier for long periods. This in itself is a great reason to choose Tula.
  • I love that my baby feels so secure. With some carriers and slings, it felt like she was slipping through the bottom, so I always worried about her falling out. Tula puts my mind at ease because I know she’s safe and secure, all snuggled up in her carrier.
  • The carriers are so light-weight. So, they don’t add extra pounds for you to lug around, making it even harder to take care of business. Have you ever tried to carry your baby around for any length of time in a regular carrier? They strain your back, arms, and legs if you wear your baby for a longer period of time.
  • They are extremely versatile so you can wear them almost anywhere with ease. This makes them a great choice when going on family outings to the park, zoo, a friend’s house, etc.
  • I love the feeling of closeness I get when using the carrier. You can nurse your baby while wearing a Tula carrier and no one will even notice. They’re designed with a hood to ensure privacy when feeding your child, but you may not even need it.
  • My baby can take a nap with no problem when she gets tired of exploring the big world around her. As a bonus, she doesn’t feel heavier when she’s sleeping like she does when I’m holding her asleep in my arms.

Cons of Tula Baby Carriers

While I love about Tula, but there is one thing that I’m not so thrilled about. It’s a little annoying that it gets dirty so fast. That may be one reason why many parents buy more than one. It would allow them to switch off when one needs cleaning.

The upside is that you can wash your Tula on the delicate cycle in cold water. They also seem to hold up well in the wash but do not put it in the dryer. Allow your Tula carrier or wrap to air dry.

And for some, the cost may be too high, but I didn’t ever regret my Tula purchase, and I didn’t feel sticker shock after the fact either.

Are Tulas Worth It?

Now, it’s time to answer the big question. Are Tulas worth it? I was pleased with mine. I think the benefits outweigh the cons and they are versatile enough that you will get more use out of them. If you’re trying to decide for yourself, and you will be babywearing a lot, you can likely justify the cost.

But, if you’re only going to use it once or twice, you may want a cheaper option (try this Tula substitute). If you’re uncertain about spending that much on a baby carrier, you also have the option of borrowing one from a friend to try it out or looking for a low-cost preowned Tula that you can invest in. Then, you won’t be out of pocket all that cash if you don’t like it.

Even if you do buy one at full price and for some reason don’t like it, their popularity as a brand means you can likely sell it for as much (or more in some cases) than you spent on it anyway, so it’s a risk many parents are still willing to take.

Tula is a great product with many benefits for both parents and kids. It’s especially great for moms and dads trying to handle multiple kids at one time. Do you own a Tula? Let us know what you think of it in the comments!

 

Postpartum Depression: What It Looks Like & How to Help Yourself (or your loved one)

Postpartum depression, also known as PPD, is depression that occurs after childbirth. It’s not talked about as much as it probably should and, in some circles, it’s not talked about at all. Women are expected to “bounce back” from childbirth as quickly as possible – both physically and emotionally.

PPD is very common, however. It currently affects more than 3 million new moms in the United States alone, and these are just diagnosed cases. There are most certainly other cases of women suffering alone who have not been diagnosed.

Usually, PPD is considered a temporary situation that can be treated by a medical professional and will resolve in a few months. The problem is when women do not get properly diagnosed and they suffer in silence. They may be misdiagnosed or told it will pass. They may throw themselves into every natural remedy known without relief. Sometimes, there is just more to it, like hormonal changes that need to be diagnosed and properly treated by a medical professional.

Postpartum depression affected me following the birth of each of my children. However, even though I had experienced postpartum depression with the birth of my first child, I had no idea how bad it could truly get until I had my second child. And while I’m sure the stress of having two young children, problems with breastfeeding (again), and lack of sleep contributed to the terrible feelings I had, the hormonal shift also played a huge role.

But, I’ll get into this more later. For now, let’s talk about why diagnosing and treating PPD early is so important. For one, those who develop PPD are at a greater risk for getting major depression later on in life. It can also impact some new moms’ abilities to bond with their babies from an early age. In extreme cases, it can lead to self-harm or suicide.

This is not something that should be shrugged off. This is not something you should just “wait to pass.” It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of PPD in yourself and those you love so treatment can happen. Let’s take a look at the common signs, but keep in mind that it can look different in everyone.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of PPD might include insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability and trouble bonding with the new baby. Feeling sad often, crying for no reason, or going through a wide range of emotions in a short time are other symptoms.

Many of these are also symptoms of being a new mom, and it can be hard to tell when it has crossed the line into something more serious. New mothers are often sleeping less than usual and it’s common to be fatigued or irritable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 20% of new moms experience one or more symptoms of postpartum depression. These might include:

  • Feeling down or depressed for most of the day for several weeks or more
  • Feeling distant and withdrawn from family and friends
  • A loss of interest in activities (including sex)
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Feeling tired most of the day
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Having feelings of anxiety, worry, panic attacks or racing thoughts
  • Oversleeping or having trouble staying awake while your baby is awake
  • Losing interest in activities you once loved
  • Trouble remembering, concentrating and making decisions
  • Anger or rage that you can’t explain, or over things that wouldn’t usually get you that upset
  • Physical aches and pains that can’t be explained in other ways
  • Headaches and stomach problems

These are some of the same symptoms you will see in other types of depression — they don’t just affect new moms. However, for new moms, by the time the symptoms have escalated, they will be too deep into their depression to even recognize they need help. This is why it’s also important for those around her to be aware of the symptoms and offer support.

In the first few days and weeks after having a baby, it’s normal for a new mother to experience a lot of different emotions. You’re probably relieved to finally not be pregnant anymore. You might also be nervous about taking care of your new baby, especially if it’s your first one. You may feel a wide range of emotions that can shift quickly over a short time.

This is all normal.

However, if you have feelings of sadness that don’t go away, thoughts of harm to yourself, your baby or to someone else, if you’re unable to get out of the “funk”, and you’re experiencing a lot of the symptoms above, then you need to speak to a medical professional to see if what you’re feeling is PPD.

More than “Baby Blues”

You may have heard people talk about “baby blues” before. This common feeling of sadness or “feeling down” that many new moms often experience is often attributed to hormonal changes after birth. This sadness will usually go away within a week or two after the birth, once your hormones have a chance to rebalance themselves.

As said above, feeling this way in the first few days, or even week or two after your new baby is born, is pretty typical. Most women feel this way because of the sudden change in hormones that happens. Your body needs time and rest to regulate itself.

But PPD is more than just the “baby blues”. It won’t just go away on its own. You don’t just need a good night’s sleep or a night out. While the “baby blues” tend to pass quickly, PPD will be long-lasting and more severe. It will begin to impact your daily routine.

So, what causes this type of depression in new moms anyway? Can anyone get it? How do you know if you’re predisposed to it? Let’s take a look at what we do know.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

There are many different factors that can lead up to PPD. There is no singular direct cause. This mood disorder is typically caused by a combination of physical and emotional factors in a person’s life and some new moms are at a higher risk of developing it than others.

After childbirth, the levels of hormones in your body (estrogen and progesterone) will drop really quickly. This will lead to chemical changes in the brain that usually go away for most women, but sometimes don’t for others. If your body doesn’t regulate the hormones on its own, you can develop PPD.

If you have a history of depression, or a history of depression in your family, you could be at a higher risk for it. Some other things that can increase your risk include:

  • Emotional stress from financial strain, loss of a loved one, job changes, illness, etc.
  • Hormonal changes from childbirth that don’t regulate on their own
  • Having a child born ill, premature, or with special needs
  • Lack of a strong support system
  • Changes in social relationships or living arrangements (a bad breakup or divorce, etc.)

The tricky thing about PPD is that it can happen to anyone! It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child or that you didn’t want a baby. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad mom, or that you have resentment.

New moms have so many pressures on them already, they may not realize what is happening to them, or they may be so deep into the depression at that point that they don’t realize the severity. It’s easy to get caught up in blaming yourself, or thinking that you’re “not enough,” so you don’t realize you need help.

This is not caused by something you did – or anything you DIDN’T do. I know all about the guilt PPD can cause.

My Postpartum Depression Story

As I said before, I have experienced PPD with both of my pregnancies. After my first child, I was put on a low dose of antidepressants. I was stressed, felt out of control, and couldn’t enjoy the time with my own child. But with baby #2, it was worse.

I didn’t want to leave my bed, spend time with my baby, my older child, or any family. My OBGYN was seeing me every two weeks for many months just so she could make sure I wasn’t suicidal. We kept trying different medicines, but nothing worked.

Finally, after moving on from my OBGYN to a psychologist, I started to notice changes. But in order to start on the path to wellness, I had to give up breastfeeding. Certain medicines are not safe for breastfed babies, so my doctor would only prescribe me the medicine if I promised to wean. I did wean right away, and it was gut-wrenching. I felt so selfish for choosing my own health over that of my baby. But it got easier. And in hindsight, I can see that I absolutely made the right choice but at the time, I felt awful.

You cannot be a good mother to your baby unless you take care of yourself first. This is a fact, but it’s still something that mothers struggle with. Our instincts are to put our children first, always, and it’s hard to see that caring for yourself and treating your PPD is the best way to be a good mother.

Many mothers with PPD struggle with this and it’s not talked about much. The shame and blame over the choice to bottle feed is high in many new mom circles and it can be a difficult choice for any mother to make, especially without proper support.

Once I had weaned and was able to start the new medicine, I felt better almost instantly. My doctor suggested that the lactation could have also been doing a number on my overall mental health. And I think because we had so many breastfeeding problems, I was able to finally let some of the feelings of disappointment go when I weaned.

I don’t want to suggest that any mom should give up breastfeeding if they feel it’s right for them and their baby. There are other options to get control of postpartum depression; however, for me – I was out of options. Everyone has different experiences and you know best what will work well for you and your family. I just want to say that whatever works for you, it’s okay.

It’s okay.

You are enough.

That is such an important message that every new mom needs to hear. We face so many challenges and pressures, it can be easy succumb to those pressures.

Treatment for PPD looks different for each mom suffering from it. In my case, I needed to try different medications to get the right treatment that worked for me. This required me to stop breastfeeding, since those meds could be passed on to my child. But some women are able to get results from medications that are safe for use while breastfeeding.

No one else can tell you what will work for you. We can give you info about what treatments are available, but there is no way to know what your body will respond to. This is between you and your medical team to find the right answers.

Usually, after the birth of your baby, your OBGYN or doctor will ask you a series of questions about how you feel (e.g., rate your sadness on a level of 1-10 or rate how much you feel like yourself, etc). This series of questions is often referred to as a postpartum depression screening. For me, because I saw my OBGYN so frequently following the birth of my second child, these screening sheets were helpful in detecting that I wasn’t increasing my level of happiness regardless of how many weeks or months postpartum I was. As time went on and I was able to take more effective medicines for me, my scores on these postpartum screening sheets got better. It was progress and it was certainly helpful to see how far I had come.

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Some treatments for PPD include counseling, antidepressants, and hormone therapy. Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and your personal history and health. Every person is different and can respond to PPD and the treatments of PPD differently.

If you’re trying to treat PPD or prevent it in the first place, sleep is very, very important. Most new mothers struggle to get enough sleep and then the brain doesn’t have the chance to recuperate. Your body will struggle to regulate the hormones on its own and you can develop PPD.

The best treatment for PPD is a total-body approach. Basically, a wholesome, holistic approach that includes:

  • Counseling and talk therapy
  • Prescription medication as recommended by an expert
  • Tests for possible hormone imbalances
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Finding time to exercise (light exercise after delivery is fine)
  • Eating regular, nutritious meals
  • Having a great support system
  • Reducing other stressors in your life (when and where possible)
  • Having others help take care of your baby so you can get a break

You can also look into support groups (online and in person) for other mothers with PPD. It can help a lot just to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. Realizing that this is something that lots of moms face and that you are not alone is very helpful for many moms in recovery.

How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?

For some people, PPD will eventually go away on its own. The wait-and-see approach is not recommended, however, especially since therapy and medications can make it go away faster. Also, leaving it untreated means it can get worse, and make you at risk for long-term depression. It can lead to months or even years of depression.

In some cases, even with treatment, it doesn’t completely go away.

An Ongoing Battle with PostPartum Depression

While I felt some relief within two weeks on the medications I was given at first, I still wasn’t feeling like myself or even like everything was significantly better. So, I kept seeing my doctor. We tried a couple more medicines until I finally felt some relief. I’ve been on the same medicine for at least six months now, and I am nearly 2 1/2 years out from delivering my second child.

Because of the major challenges I have experienced since having children, I am not anticipating a time where I will either completely come off medicines or stop putting efforts into my overall mental wellness. Also, due to my experience with this horrible, unfair condition, my family and I made the difficult decision not to have any more children.

Even though our family doesn’t feel 100% complete, it would be unfair to my entire family, a new baby, and me, to ever go through this again. My children need a present mom and that’s what I strive every day to be. It’s always a process.

Some days I fail – I still have crippling anxiety on occasion. But I keep trying to better myself because my kids need me. My husband needs me. And while I resent the fact every day that before I had children, I wasn’t depressed, I do not resent my children at all. But I do wish that my postpartum depression hadn’t taken me away from them as long as it did.

If you are in any way affected by postpartum depression, I urge you to reach out for help. Having an honest conversation with your OBGYN can be helpful and you’re likely to be seeing him or her soon after your delivery. I deeply feel sad when I look back and realize how much time this condition took from me. The best thing you can do is to get help as soon as you can. This is because the sooner you feel better, the sooner you will be able to bond closely with your baby and experience the amazingness that is motherhood.

Natural Remedies for Postpartum Depression

If you’re doing any independent research on the internet, you’re also going to see many recommendations for natural remedies for PPD. Some of these are good for some people. However, for people like me, natural remedies were not going to be enough on their own. It’s dangerous territory to suggest that natural remedies alone can cure PPD so I’m not going to put too much time here on them, but they can be helpful for many people when used as one PART of an overall treatment plan.

If you want to consider natural remedies, I think they can definitely add to the help you are already getting from your medical team, but always do so under the care of a professional.

Some of these things we mentioned earlier can help:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Finding time to exercise (light exercise after delivery is fine)
  • Eating regular, nutritious meals
  • Having a great support system
  • Reducing other stressors in your life (when and where possible)
  • Having others help take care of your baby so you can get a break

In addition to this, you can work on mindset and mindfulness. When you feel the feelings of sadness or depression taking over, use grounding techniques or mindfulness to help you center your thoughts and shift them into something more positive.

Vitamin D is also very helpful for people. Your skin makes vitamin d when exposed to sunlight. It acts like a hormone in your body and many people who are struggling with depression are also low in it vitamin d. It can be helpful to have your levels checked, but again, a vitamin alone is not going to help a serious case of PPD. Light therapy or vitamin d supplements can be an asset in your overall plan to wellness.

Other vitamins that have helped some people include Omega-3S and vitamin B12.

Aromatherapy is also helpful for many people. You can use this along with medications and therapy for optimal results. Some aromatherapy scents to consider are clary sage, orange oil, jasmine, and any other citrus blend.

At the end of the day, listen to your body and listen to your instincts. If you feel like something is not right, get help. And if your doctor is not listening, get a second opinion or a new doctor. You do not – and should not – suffer alone.

You deserve better.

Your child(ren) deserves better.

You are not alone.

Best Postpartum Jeans 2019

Finding postpartum jeans can be challenging. And if you’re like me and need to participate in newborn baby photos, you’re going to want to look nice and feel confident. There are several options for postpartum jeans, and none of these involve you continuing to wear your maternity jeans. Even though you feel like you still look pregnant, there’s a very good chance that your maternity jeans are going to fall short of making you feel comfortable in your new body. Compression leggings and high-waist jeans are going to be your new friend, and thank goodness that high-rise options are stylish again! No low-rise jeans are ever kind to a postpartum belly. So you’ll find my favorite jeans below (I listed my absolutely favorite pair first).

Postpartum Jeans Option 1: American Eagle Super Soft High Waisted Jeggings

american eagle postpartum jeans

I love these American Eagle jeans because they keep my stomach hidden. And they also give my legs some shape too. They are also ultra stretchy so you don’t feel like you need to take them off the minute you get home from being out and about. Also, unlike some high-rise Gap jeans that I have, these do not lose shape. Which is good, because come mid-day, the Gap high-rise jeans that I had were super slouchy and made me feel awful about my body. I also have another pair of these that I got in the long length so that I could cuff them.

Postpartum Jeans Option 2: Express High Waisted Stretch+ Performance Denim Perfect Leggings

express postpartum jeans

These Express jeans are structured, look slimming (particularly in the darker colors), and can be dressed up or down. Plus, I have to love most jeans that have a stretch. And because these jeans are more structured, they won’t lose their fit as the day goes on. These are a bit thicker than other jeans which is what, in part, allows them to be more structured.

Depending on how much of your postpartum stomach you are trying to hide, you could also try mid-rise options, but the ones above are the tried-and-true pairs that I wear to this very day.

Postpartum Jeans Option #3: Bounceback Cropped Jeans

bounceback jean postpartum jean motherhood

If you’re not quite comfortable wearing regular jeans, but your maternity jeans are falling off, a good in-between option is Bounceback jeans. These jeans have a compression waistband that holds you in. Also, they are high waisted, which is more flattering too. I wore these jeans almost exclusively when I returned back to work. And, if you don’t find that cropped jeans are your thing, here’s the full-length version of the bounceback jean.

Compression Leggings

High-rise compression leggings are a close friend of mine, and my favorite ones are from Old Navy. Compression leggings are nice because they allow you hide your stomach area in a flattering way. These leggings are also incredibly stretchy, which is perfect for a changing body.

I prefer my compression leggings to come in black as I’m usually in a rush to leave the house. Black is an easy color to match any top to, and it’s also slimming.

bounceback jean postpartum jean motherhood

Bounceback Leggings

bounceback leggings postpartum leggings motherhood

Similar to Bounceback jeans, these leggings have a compression mesh waist that holds in your postpartum belly. These leggings are very soft, and I found these especially handy when I was returning to work. Trying to squeeze into anything with a real waistband was awful, so I’m glad the Bounceback line was available to me.

What are your favorite postpartum jeans and postpartum legging options? I’d love to hear from you!