Welcome to the new world of baby registries, where mamas all around are getting the services and support they truly need. If you're new to having a baby, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed as to what sort of services you should be putting on your registry. We've put together a list of the top ten registry essentials to make the transition into motherhood much more smooth.
While there are dozens of friends and family members ready to dote on the new baby, a new mama is really the one who needs the most support. Birth doulas are support systems for the mom (and partner). They can answer quick questions about body and baby questions that a mom wants answered in between Midwife or OB visits. They help the mom and partner prepare for what labor and delivery will look like, how it might feel, and what their wishes are. A birth doula holds space for the desires of the soon-to-be parents, honoring their choices, judgement free. During birth they are a voice of reason amidst uncharted territory, no matter where a mother decides to birth.
Postpartum doulas provide support as the transition into motherhood is happening at home. They are available to assist in the midnight feedings, to help everybody in the house get some sleep, and make sure everyone has eaten. The difference between a postpartum doula and a mother-in-law, is that a postpartum doula has no preconceived notions or opinions about what a mom should be doing, and you don’t have to worry about your rough experience being the topic of discussion at Christmas in five years.
Many women feel that their birth experience was beautiful because they had a doula present, and many women feel that their postpartum experience was manageable and really positive because they had a postpartum doula.
Sometimes mom and baby easily figure out that first latch and from then on, breastfeeding is smooth sailing. But, sometimes, the latch is definitely not happening, but mama is determined to make it work or sometimes, a mom is brand new, sleep deprived, recovering from birth and she has honestly no idea if her baby is eating or not. That’s when lactation support is crucial.
Having someone who is professionally trained in getting babies to eat and getting mamas to make milk can be the biggest relief. Many hospitals and birthing centers offer this service while mothers are still there, but having someone come to your home, and show you how to nurse in your favorite chair or in your bed. She can help soothe sore breasts and cracked nipples. She can help the partners be involved in the feedings. She can also point out issues that might be hindering proper feeding and weight gain, like tongue ties or tummy problems, and then recommend a trusted specialist.
Of course a lactation consultant won’t always have all the answers, but they are such a comforting resource, for both the new mom and the new baby (and therefore the rest of the family).
Having delicious and comforting food made and ready to eat is so essential in the early postpartum period. Learning your new baby, cluster feeding, and sheer exhaustion make thinking about cooking a meal nearly impossible, let alone actually cooking. Registering for food service, whether it’s a gift card to Uber Eats or Doordash, or a meal delivery service, takes the pressure off both new parents.
Although many friends and family members are willing and able to help, they’re not always able to deliver a packed burrito in 30 minutes or less, or a plate of pasta, or fruit salad. Planning for this service by registering for it makes the deliberation of what to order and when a much smoother process for the new parents.
In the postpartum period, everyone’s focus is mainly on figuring out the new baby, feeding it, helping it sleep, and sometimes taking a shower or a nap. Dishes pile in the sink (or on the floor next to the couch) and laundry just doesn’t happen. Many loving mothers, sisters and best friends are helpful in tidying up the house, putting away the dishes, or organizing the fridge, but sometimes having hired help for the house is better. Since this person is being paid, you can tell them exactly what you want done with your shirts, to really dust well those crevices by the windows, and not feel bad about it, and without worry that you’re damaging the relationship by being picky about how you like to keep your house.
This is not just for people who are planning on cloth diapering (although we do have diaper services that you can add to your registry too). There are great services that will pick up your piles of laundry, handle them with care, and then return them to your door folded and hung. Like magic. In those early days of postpartum, one week can feel like one day, and one day can feel like one week, so it can be nearly impossible to keep track of who in the house has clean underwear and towels. Hiring a laundry service helps the whole family find their groove with a newborn.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Having mental health support can be crucial as a family transitions from pregnancy to life with a baby. This isn’t just for those experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. Pregnancy and birth brings to light different fears, worries, and questions for moms, their partners, and for their family unit as a whole. Having an outside perspective brings a lot of comfort as well as support for this time of epic change. Putting this on a registry allows a new mom to be selective in finding mental health support that specializes supporting women and families in the pregnant/postpartum period.
Making new friends while wrangling a baby who has just had an explosive diaper can be a little tricky. Mommy+me groups offer a respite for moms, allowing for some time in their days where they aren’t the ones planning or creating activities for baby. These groups, although typically centered around some growth and developmental aspects of baby, also hold space for new moms to learn from each other, lean on each other, and form lasting friendships, and if nothing else, someone to text at the next 2am feeding.
Childbirth education is a necessary part of any birth preparation. Having an understanding of what is happening inside of our bodies, what is normal (and what isn’t), and what to expect going into the most transformative moment of your life is what every new mom needs. When you take childbirth classes you get the information you need to have an empowered birth experience.
PELVIC FLOOR HEALTH
It’s no longer considered “normal” for women who have had babies to pee their pants. No matter what your mother tells you. Seeing a pelvic floor specialist helps a new mom to confidently transition into her new body. Whether your goal is to run marathons again, or to just be able to sneeze without crossing your legs, seeing a trusted pelvic floor specialist can provide assessments, and offer advice on how to strengthen and support your pelvic floor, and bring peace of mind to a new mom.
There is a reason all parents say “Time goes so quickly.” It’s because it does. Hiring a photographer for the birth and for the newborn stages allows you to be in the moment and to be in the photos, and to come away with beautiful memories from the early stages that go by so fast.