What I Have *Actually* Been Using 2 Months Postpartum

As baby Austin approaches his second month of life, I am reflecting on some of the experiences I have had postpartum- the most useful items I have needed for myself and for baby. We had THREE baby showers, and between my and my husband’s family and friends, we were (thankfully) gifted soo many baby things! Every baby is different, but there are certainly things that have came in SUPER handy these past four weeks, and other items that I haven’t really needed to use (yet). I figured sharing my thoughts could some folks some time, and maybe money too.

Best Items for Mommy:

  • Tucks Witch Hazel Pads
  • Dermoplast Spray
  • Overnight Panties (aka adult diapers)

All of the items above were ABSOLUTE necessities in the first two weeks after birth. I delivered vaginally and suffered minor tearing (I only needed two stitches), and was in absolute agony going to the bathroom or moving around too much. Using the witch hazel pads+spray every time I went to the bathroom helped. I recommend the “panties” because frankly, you are going to be bleeding too much and be too sore and exhausted to change a pad every hour or so. (If you DO wear pads, CHANGE THEM THROUGHOUT THE DAY!) Wearing the “panties” helped me only need to change once or twice a day.

  • A good breast pump

If you are breastfeeding or pumping, a good pump set-up is so crucial. I currently have an electric pump from Medela which works well, but I am still figuring out ways to make it simpler. It truthfully is a very time consuming and exhausting process, so finding something that works and makes your life easier is priority. I am also currently looking into nursing bras so I can pump hands free, so I will update y’all on that. (Spending a few HOURS a day pumping boobie juice adds up and I realize I am just not using that time efficiently right now.)

  • Moisturizers for everything

But seriously. My skin and lips have been super dry since I gave birth. I also have much less time lately for a full beauty routine every day. The best thing I have done is keep lotion or butters (shea and cocoa) everywhere. Upstairs, downstairs, in my purse, in the car, even at my moms… It makes remembering to put on moisturizer easier. I also hope this helps to reduce the appearance of my stretch-marks over time…My entire pregnancy I used moisturizers almost every day, specifically always on my stomach hoping to steer clear of stretch marks. Unfortunately, I still developed quite a few on the center of my stomach around my belly-button during the third trimester of my pregnancy. Hiss boo.

Best Items for Baby:

  • Not being afraid to use formula

I am not able to produce enough breastmilk to feed Austin, so we supplement with formula. When I was in the hospital after birth, a lot of the nurses were very adamant on him breastfeeding exclusively. However, I realized that it would be impossible for me to sustain a pumping schedule for that… I also really find it difficult to transport breast milk whenever I am on the go with baby. Formula just makes life a lot easier, and I do not feel bad for doing what is best for both me and my baby.

  • Gassy meds

ALL HAIL MYLICON, an absolute lifesaver on days when baby is especially fussy. Austin has been fine for the most part, but we have had days where he is very gassy and upset and won’t stop crying. Gassy meds work almost immediately and I can tell that they help little Austin a lot. I think they are sooo necessary for any newborn.

  • A bassinet (or something similar)

You need somewhere to put your baby (duh), but Jose and I did not realize that Austin’s actual crib was going to be basically unusable until he is at least a few months old. We have found that a portable crib or a bassinet is needed in order to stay sane. Baby needs a place to safely be put down and sleep, and parents need a way to catch a break every so often. The particular bassinet that we have actually has WHEELS so you can roll baby around with you (aka when you go to the bathroom), and holds extra diapers and clothes in the bottom for easy access.

  • Burp rags everywhere

Babies spit, cough, drool, cry, spill… they are literally helpless little mess humans until they get older. So yes, you will need LOTS of burp rags to put everywhere you can imagine. Bedroom, kitchen, livingroom, bathroom, bassinet, diaper bag, car, grandma’s house…you name it. Being caught in a mess of spit up with no towel is not a situation you wanna be in.

  • A sink bathtub. Omg.

My husband and I were gifted both sink bath tubs and bathtub seats to bathe baby in. We attempted bathing baby in the bathtub for the first few weeks until we finally got around to using the sink-style tub. The sink tubs are SO much easier, especially because baby Austin is so small and weak right now. Baby is confined to a smaller space and has less room to wiggle around, and the set-up and clean up is much easier because the tubs usually have a drain on them that you can unplug right in the sink.

  • Coconut Oil

We also have an use baby lotion, but pure coconut oil has helped Austin a lot with baby acne and dry skin. We use it on his face and body after every bath, and we keep it around so we can use it when we see more dry spots pop up. I have found that it absorbs super well into his skin, so there is no greasy residue.

  • Pacifiers

Listen, I know some moms try to steer clear of pacifiers because getting babies to give them up can be very difficult. But Jose and I have chosen to use them because I literally think that baby would never stop crying without them. Austin calms down significantly when we give him a pacifier when he is fussy, and to me, it is better to have a calm and happy baby than to worry about weaning him off a pacie.

Overall, motherhood has been a lot of fun so far. A lot of my day is consumed with worrying, stress, and lack of sleep, but those seem like fair trade-offs for having such a beautiful little boy to love and raise.

How to Start Seeing Red Flags After Growing Accustomed to Trauma

While I want to assume that most people in this world are nice, caring individuals, I have to accept that there are a lot of mean folks out there, too. Perhaps ‘mean’ isn’t the right term- people can be stubborn, rude, aggressive, violent, unappreciative, emotionally insensitive… the list goes on. Not everyone you meet will be as kind as you are, and it is important to remember that.

“Red flags” are basically warning signs. They can be noticed in people when you are getting to know them. They can alert you that something is off, or not quite right with them, and often is associated with an odd ‘gut feeling’. Sometimes, red flags can be misinterpreted, and it is important to note that not everyone operates on the same wavelength so misunderstandings when meeting new people are not inherently bad. However, keeping an eye open to ‘off’ traits of a person is very important for your own safety, mental health, and well-being.

In an ideal universe, you were raised in a loving and caring home, won homecoming King and Queen at your high school, went off to marry your sweetheart and have a beautiful, stress-free life. For most of us, however, this simply isn’t the case. It is not uncommon to have been raised with a chaotic family, witnessing and perhaps even suffering verbal, physical, or other abuse. Even if you didn’t experience a dysfunctional home life, your dating life could have been tainted by people who lied, cheater, or otherwise abused you. Of course, I am simply touching the surface of the intricacies of traumas, abuse, and ‘broken’ homes. I am just here to say that all of these traumatic events can make it very difficult to see ‘red flags’ as we get older.

Growing up with the ‘norm’ being dysfunction can be a very confusing experience. We are accustomed to the ups and downs, to being ‘on-guard’, or to hearing yelling and shouting all the time. Or, if you experienced a long term, abusive relationship, your abilities to detect what is ‘wrong’ and what is normal can become weary. Red flags? What red flags? This is what I’m used to!

Our weakened capabilities to fend off (potential) predators can result in repeated abuse. It is not uncommon for people to find themselves in back-to-back relationships with abusive partners, or to repeatedly make ‘friends’ only for them to steal or lie to you. Identifying red flags is an incredibly important step to stop the circular cycle of trauma, abuse, and dysfunction.

I have experienced a great deal of trauma in my past, and unfortunately have dated many men who were absolutely less than sub-par partners. I bounced back and forth between a few unstable and very unhealthy relationships, experiencing abuse in many forms before finally leaving the situation. Towards the end of 2019, I began to realize that these patterns were not serving me in any capacity. I was only hurting myself by meeting and dating people who had problematic traits. I needed to refocus my life onto myself, my well-being, and my standards in a relationship. I did not deserve to be yelled at, lied to, or mistreated. I deserved better.

When you are used to being mistreated, it becomes very difficult to treat yourself with kindness and respect. It is even more difficult to recognize toxic traits in people before you become close to them. However, learning to do both of these things is imperative to your own happiness.

While my advice is mainly anecdotal, I wanted to offer some options to people trying to “re-set” their standards their and ability to see red flags (before they become bigger problems).

  • Find a therapist specialized in trauma. Seriously, this is a huge factor. Therapy will help you reflect on your past, and assist you in better identifying troublesome habits. You can work on healing yourself while better preparing your mind, body, and psyche for the present and the future.
  • Read books. Make sure they are written by experts in psychology, or authors that are reliable and not trying to shove their own agenda down your throat. (I only say this because the amount of Jesus-centric “self help” books I have filtered through is ridiculous. Unless, of course, the Jesus thing is your jam.) This tip can also apply to blogs (maybe like mine!), articles, or other reliable, honest mental health resources. My personal choice for literature on this topic is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I read it for the first time a few years back, and have reread it multiple times since. My past therapy groups have also highly recommended it. It is a fantastic tool to reshape your views on boundaries with yourself, your partners, and others.
  • STAY SINGLE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (Kinda contrary to the whole Jesus thing I just said, but oh well.) If you aren’t in a (healthy) relationship or marriage already, please do yourself a favor and stay single while you figure this out! Dating/hookups/flings only make things 10x worse when you are trying to evolve and become a better YOU. This is a great time to focus on all the things about yourself that you might have neglected in the past. What hobbies do YOU like? What things should you be doing to take care of yourself, like eating better or being more active? What about going back to school, or starting a certificate? There are so many ways to turn that nervous, anxiously single energy around and re-focus on yourself.
  • Focus on the family and friends that genuinely love and care about you. I hope that all of you have at least a handful of healthy, loving, and reliable people in your lives that you can turn to when things get rough. The love and care that they provide you should be guidelines to how ‘new’ people in your life should treat you. Healthy family and friends can also provide insight on to a person you introduce to them (like a new friend or partner), and could help you see ‘red flags’ before you do.

I hope this post helps people in some way. I know that healing and recovering from trauma can be very difficult, and a long process. Stay encouraged and know that even a small step forward is a step in the right direction.