As you cradle your newborn to your chest, look into her eyes and gently kiss her cheek, a wave of amazement will fill you. This tiny creature, this beautiful little thing whom you carried inside you for 40 weeks (give or take a few) is now in your arms.
You would have read up about newborn challenges by this time – you would have practiced bathing a plastic baby, bought all the baby essentials, and have probably ordered your confinement food. But your own body will have some surprises in store for you, and the remedy, relief or cure for these… erm, bodily changes, could possibly shock you.
We asked eight mums to share with us the things they found most helpful in the during those early postnatal days. Warning: these items rank high under the “Very Unglamorous and Possibly Embarrassing” category. (because glamour comes nowhere close to comfort!)
1. Milk Collection Shells
What they do: Sometimes, milk leaks from your breasts when you nurse your baby. These shells collect your precious breast milk during nursing sessions.
What they look like: Huge suction cups that are to be attached to (uh huh) your breasts.
Where to get them: BabyOnline, $26.90 per pair
What mum says: “Ah, the unfortunate postnatal trio leak – eyes, boobs and nether regions! Breast milk collection shells are an absolute must-have for excessive leaks.” – Josephine Yeo, 37, project manager and mum to Elizabeth, 7, Michael, 5, and Emily, 10 months.
2. Bed Liners (Underpads)
What they are: Disposable protection sheets for your mattress.
What they look like: A noisy absorbent plasticky sheet, kind of like the inside of a diaper, but flatter.
Where to get them: Guardian Pharmacy, from $3.95 for a pack of 10.
What mum says: “Buy bed liners. You won’t stain your wonderful expensive bed when all the lochia (a vaginal discharge that’s a mixture of blood, mucous and tissue from the uterus; it lasts for about four to six weeks post birth) comes out.” – Daphne Ng, 35, operations manager and mum to Declan, 7 and Dana, 2.5.
3. Pseudo Breastfeeding Pyjamas (commonly known as “auntie pyjamas”)
What it is: Pyjamas with buttons in front to provide quick and easy access for breastfeeding.
What it looks like: A two-piece pyjama set.
Where to get it: People’s Park Centre, or most neighborhood markets, from around $15 per set.
What mum says: “Auntie pyjamas (I wore my mum’s!) were so comfortable, but more importantly, they had buttoned openings in front, which made them perfect for breastfeeding!” – Freda Tham, 43, stay-at-home mum to Marcus, 3.5 years.
4. Squeeze Bottles
What it is: Squeezable plastic bottle with removable top
What it looks like: Think of the red and yellow ketchup/chilli bottles used by Western food stalls at the hawker centre.
Where to get it: Available at most supermarkets or neighborhood sundry shops from around $1.
What mum says: “A squeeze bottle was vital when I needed to pee – it really helped with my pain! Nothing fancy, just the regular plastic bottles that can be squeezed, with removable tops. Fill with cold or icy water and squirt between your legs before peeing to numb the pain.” – Valerie Neo, 34, HR manager and mum to Rebecca, 7 and Rachel, 5.
5. Breast Pads
What they are: Absorbent and adhesive pads to put in your bra to absorb milk leaks when you are out and about.
What they look like: A bigger version of regular facial cotton squares.
Where to get them: Pigeon disposable breast pads can be bought on MotherCare , or at most department stores and supermarkets at around $18.90 per box.
What mum says: “Breastfeeding mums, don’t leave home without extra breast pads. Once, in my dazed state, I left the house without breast pads and ended up with two big wet patches the size of tennis balls on my shirt !” – Sarah Pang, 30, consultant and mum to Lydia, 3.
6. Disposable Underwear
What it is: Underwear that you can wear and throw!
What it looks like: Regular underwear, but gone are the days when disposable underwear was scratchy and ill-fitted; these days they are as comfortable as cloth!
What mum says: “Childbirth is messy business! Why mess up your Victoria’s Secret collection? Disposable underwear is undeniably the most essential of essential products!” – Theresa Evanoff, 39, stay-at-home-mum to Aidan, 3, Jonah, 2, and Brendan, 1.
7. Donut Ring Cushion
What it is: A cushion for mums to sit on post-natural birth to prevent sore private parts from touching surfaces.
What it looks like: A cushion with a hole in the middle.
Where to get it: The Baby Specialist carries this maternity donut ring cushion, available at $48.95.
What mum says: “Bring a donut cushion with you when you go to the hospital – it prevents tender nether regions from touching hard surfaces. And that includes the hospital bed.” – Celine Low, 39, analyst and mum to Cedric, 7, and Clement, 5.
8. Maternity Pads
What they are: Extra long and extra absorbent sanitary pads.
What they look like: The longest sanitary pads you have ever seen.
Where to get it: The hospital will most likely provide a pack, but you will need more than that. RedMart sells Kotex Maternity Loop Pads at $6.30 for a pack of 10 pads. They are also available at NTUC Fairprice. When your flow decreases, switch to regular overnight pads.
What mum says: “During my first 24 hours after birth, I probably went through almost an entire pack of maternity pads. ! had to send my husband out to buy more! He took so long to find the right one and kept sending me pictures asking ‘Which one!’.” – Cynthia Tay, 35, entrepreneur and mum to Si En, 3.
9. Double Duty Panty
What it is: A regular panty that also has another function – to care for your C-section wound, or to help you slim down!
What it looks like: The C Panty has a silicon panel inside to help you heal faster and reduce scarring, and the Shrinkx Hips Ultra works hard to get your hips back to pre-pregnancy size.
10. Nursing Bras
What they are: Bras that offer easy access for breastfeeding sessions.
What they look like: There are some with flaps that can be opened that expose only the nipples while the bra stays on, and those that stretch, allowing only one breast to be exposed for nursing and the other to remain concealed.
What mum says: “Get the elastic ones that can be easily lifted because when faced with a hungry baby, you won’t have any time to fiddle with clasps!” – Karen Chia, 38, corporate communications manager and mum to Darrell, 5, and Denise, 2.