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(Mostly) Eco New Mom Essentials

by verdemama on June 21, 2011

Every new mom has a list of must-haves; I’m going to skip all the obvious stuff, like breast pumps and nursing pillows, and go straight to some of my fave eco finds that make being a new mom (even for the second time) that much easier.

Nursing pads

I didn’t even know these were something I needed until my mother-in-law brought a box of disposable nursing pads to me in the hospital after I gave birth to Orion. Good thing she did; otherwise I would have always been parading around with leaky boob stains adorning my shirt.

Eventually I realized I didn’t need to use wasteful throwaway pads when there were some really nice reusable options available. (Not to mention those disposable pads contain the same toxic absorbent gel found in disposable diapers and maxi pads. Not exactly what I want my babies putting their mouths on.)

Happily, I discovered Bamboobies—super soft breast pads made from bamboo and other natural fibers. These heart-shaped babies are luxuriously soft, thin and oh so cute. Your boobs will love you for using these. (Disclosure: Bamboobies sent me some samples of their awesome pads last year.)

Nipple Cream

And while we’re on the subject of boobies, nipple cream is an absolute must for breastfeeding moms. With Orion I started out using a tube of Lansinoh the hospital gave me. It’s a decent product, but its main ingredient is lanolin, which can be highly allergenic, not to mention a bit gross considering it’s harvested from the sebaceous glands of sheep. After ditching the Lansinoh I ended up switching to Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter, which I love. I’m a huge fan of EMAB and have sung the praises of their products here before.

Another great product (discovered courtesy of the Natural Products Expo, where I received some free samples) is Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, an all-natural, food grade cream that, unlike the EMAB Nipple Butter, comes in a handy-dandy pump so you don’t have to keep dipping your dirty little fingers in the tub. It may just be my new favorite!

Maternity Pads

If you’re a mom, you already know this, but if not, here’s a big-time TMI alert: new mothers bleed and dispel other uterine fluids for up to six weeks after giving birth. It’s like Aunt Flo comes to town and never wants to leave. I’m not a fan of conventional pads, because a.) they’re wasteful, and b.) they’re full of chlorine, dioxin, fragrances, plastics, and other gross stuff that can be irritating and unhealthy for sore postpartum lady bits.

Luckily Maxim Hygiene (also discovered courtesy of Natural Products Expo) offers super comfy 100% natural cotton maternity pads that won’t piss off your battered nether region. The company sent me some to try out and I can’t say enough good things about them. These are pretty much the only thing you’ll want touching you down unda in those first few days after childbirth.

Compression Garments

Unfortunately for me, I’m not one of those women whose abs instantly snap back into shape after giving birth. In fact, at three weeks postpartum, my uterus is still not completely shrunk down to its usual size, meaning… I still look a little pregnant. Sigh. Belly binding is supposed to help to shrink the uterus and help the skin return to some semblance of normalcy.

Immediately after delivery and throughout the first postpartum week or so, I wore a Bellaband, which technically isn’t a compression garment but it helped to comfortably hold everything in so it didn’t feel like my guts were free-floating around my huge, now-empty abdomen. Next I moved on to the Belly Bandit (leftover from my first pregnancy) which, I must admit, I slacked on because it’s just not that comfy to wear. And now I’m rocking ab-compressing nursing tanks such as this one. Hopefully any day now people will stop asking me when my baby is due. Especially when I’m holding my three-week-old.

Swaddling Blankets

There are a million swaddling blankets on the market but I really do think Aden + Anais are the best of the best.

Their bamboo muslin swaddlers are soft, beautiful and incredibly versatile; I use mine as lightweight nursing covers, tucking one corner under my bra/tank strap and tenting it around me to keep out wind, sun and prying pervy eyes.

Instructional DVDs

I don’t know where I would be without these two very important and informative videos.

Dunstan Baby Language teaches new parents how to translate baby’s cries using five distinct sounds that all newborns, regardless of nationality, “speak.”

The Happiest Baby on the Block is another must-have tool to understanding and dealing with newborns. Dr. Harvey Karp = a friggin’ genius.

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