Setting Up Your Nursing Station
It’s the final countdown! Your little bundle of joy will be showing up any day now and you’ve got everything prepared. The crib is decorated, you’ve got piles of diapers and wipes and a bazillion onesies. Everything for the baby is ready to go. But, what about for mama? Has the house been set up to accommodate the postpartum needs of a new mom? Get ready to nurse your baby with the below tips.
There are many ways to prepare the house for new moms. For both breastfeeding and formula feeding moms, one of the most important ways to prepare for the first 3 months is to set up a nursing station designed around her postpartum needs.
What, pray tell, is a nursing station you ask? Well, it’s the area where mama feeds her baby and where she’ll probably spend about 20 hours of every day for a couple months. Having a nursing station is important for breastfeeding and formula feeding moms alike. And getting it right is about mama and her needs. So, let’s dive into it. How do you set up a nursing station? Let’s talk location and gear.
I imagine you have a chair you plan to nurse in. If not, I highly recommend you get one. There are great options out there for less than $200 if you have budget constraints. Having said that, considering the amount of time you’ll spend in your nursing chair, it’s worth the investment. I got my chair for less than $400. It and just about everything else I own came from Amazon. I chose to go for a glider (vs a rocker) and ottoman combo. It was delivered fully assembled and, to date, has been one of the best furniture purchases I’ve made. You are going to spend a lot of time in your chair, pick a good one.
Now, your initial inclination might be to set your chair up in the nursery. I mean you do nurse a baby in the nursery, right? Wrong. Your little one is going to need to eat every 2-3 hours and each feeding session could take 30 minutes or more. Keeping that in mind, you are going to nurse your baby where the family action is and where you are most comfortable. In fact, you may not even use your nursery in the first month if you have the baby sleeping in your room which is something else I highly recommend. So, situate your chair where you will want to spend most of your time. Try to be sure it’s in a place with good sun exposure, close to a bathroom and, if possible, near the kitchen too. For me, it was next to the window in our living room, and considering we live in a New York City apartment, every room is close to the kitchen and bathroom.
Once you have your chair in place, get ready to set up your station. This will require you get a couple folding trays or small tables. You’ll want to have a place to put things within arm’s reach on either side of you. You aren’t going to want to get up and move around a lot, especially if you’ve had a caesarean section. C-section or not, for the first month, you are going to be healing from the physical trauma of giving birth. You’ll be sore and exhausted. Having this station set up will help you minimize the discomfort you are certain to feel and make it just a little easier to care for your baby. First, you’ll need things for you. Following is a list to get you started.
What a New Mama Needs In Arm’s Reach
- A very large water glass and a sealed water bottle- Your partner should plan to continuously fill your water glass, but in the event that they are nowhere to be found and you are thirsty, you’ll have your water reserve an arm’s length away. If you do empty your reserve, be sure they fill up both your water glass and your reserve container the next time they are available.
- Lip Balm- Because you will be dry
- Hand lotion- Because you’ll be washing your hands a lot, and again, you will be dry
- Hand sanitizer- Just in case
- Snacks- Keep a small basket or tin filled with nuts, crackers, pretzels, apples, protein bars, and other snacks nearby. Even though you may find yourself ravenous (especially if breastfeeding) you will be slightly delirious and may forget to eat (especially if breastfeeding). Keep snacks close by so you can nosh at your leisure.
- Small pillows- Holding your baby can take a toll on your body. Oftentimes, you’ll feel that the position the baby is most comfortable in is one you can’t easily sustain. So, to help with this, keep small pillows such as travel or throw pillows nearby. You can use them for lumber support and place under your arms and elbows to support you as you support your babe. Remember to relax your shoulders.
- Lap blankets- You may have trouble regulating your temperature so keep a blanket nearby. The softer the better.
- Your baby books- Whether you are reading Dr. Sears, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Bringing Up Bebe, or something else, keep those books close at hand. You’ll be better off looking there than the internet when you have a concern.
- An extra-long phone charger so that you can charge and reach your phone from your chair
- A noise machine- you’ll want a bit of ambient noise to help calm your baby and occupy your mind. I’d recommend getting one that does multiple sounds for the nursing station, rather than one that only does white noise like you would want for the baby room.
- A portable speaker (or the remote to your home sound system)- At some point, you will get bored of TV, having easy access to your favorite podcasts and music is a must
- A candle or essential oils- this one may not seem like a necessity but it’s going to be difficult to do things for yourself. Lighting a candle helps to change the tone and can be a little something special you do for yourself each day.
- Extra hair ties
- An extra t-shirt- just because you have a pukey baby doesn’t mean you need to sit in vomit all day. Keep an extra shirt close by so that you can easily clean yourself up.
- Face wipes- let’s be real, your hygiene comes second to your babies needs which means you may not get to bathe as often as you like.
- Deodorant- see above. Oh, and one pro tip here, you might find your body odor is stronger or your deodorant is less effective postpartum. If that’s the case, try switching deodorant brands. I don’t why, but it helps.
Second, you’ll need a few things for the baby.
What A New Baby Needs In Mama’s Arm’s Reach
- Extra bibs and burp cloths- you may go through these very quickly
- Extra muslin blankets – these will be great for everything from swaddling your babe to wiping your own sweat
- Extra pacifiers – they fall out a lot
And of course, add anything else you think you might want or need. The point is to be sure you have easy access (that means you don’t need to stand up) to the things that will make your life easier during the first 3 months.
One additional recommendation is to be sure that near your nursing chair, you have a safe place such as a bassinet, swing, Rock and Play, or a bouncer to set the baby. As much as you’ll want to hold your little bub, you will want to set him down at some point, and being able to do that quickly and safely is key.
I hope this has helped you think about how you can take care of yourself Mama. I’d love to know what else you find important to have within arm’s reach. Please comment below.