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“My expertise, I would say, is in pregnancy, the birth process, and initial postpartum needs for mom,” says the Asheville-based doula Carson Meyer, who has been practicing for six years. “That’s a strong suit of mine.” Meyer has attended over 100 births and is constantly picking up product insight from expectant and new moms, like why a certain nursing pillow gets better results than the cute rounded ones (they’ll just fall to the side) or the name of the comfy leggings she sees at almost every prenatal visit. During COVID, when Meyer had to temporarily stop attending her clients’ births in person, she created Growing Together, a 12-week online childbirth-education class that goes deeper than your standard one-day or weekend-long course. This expanded Meyer’s new-mom circle even wider as well as the feedback she was hearing about what stuff worked and what didn’t. Now, with her first baby due later this year, Meyer has compiled her years of experience, along with clients’ recommendations, into a thoroughly vetted list.
Every time I would see a client at prenatal visits in leggings, I’d ask who makes them. “Hatch. Hatch,” they’d all say. It’s such a good staple, and the brand does such a good job of not making their stuff feel like maternity clothes. I was so denial that I needed to buy anything. I believed I could live with my looser fitting clothes. These are great because I can still wear them after my birth.
Bedding is one of the places where I try to not skimp out on quality in terms of toxins — it’s such a time of healing. I’d tried out a few others, but they had a funky off-gassing smell. This one didn’t have a smell. It is easy to fold up and feel so supportive. It is also great for prenatal massages. You can easily transport it to the table. This is something that I learned by trying several.
Due to the increased levels of relaxin and expanding pelvis, I experienced some lower-back discomfort in my first trimester. This ball was great for massaging my glutes and was very helpful when I put it against a wall. I recommend these to my clients because it’s something they can do at home. I also like pelvic-floor therapy and massage, but I tell clients to use these to get to places they can’t reach themselves. It’s so important to be able to release the tension around the pelvis.
There are so many prenatal vitamins to choose from. Some of these lack the essential nutrients needed for pregnancy, while others are formulated with artificial fillers, sugars and dyes. The best and most comprehensive prenatals are needed. The founder is one of my clients, and I love the fact that I can trust her. I know how much she cares about quality and that they’re very thoughtfully formulated. It’s one of the only prenatals out there that is super-comprehensive and reflects the latest evidence in terms of what is actually needed for pregnancy. Seeking Health is also great. Although it has a less refined taste, it still offers the same profile.
This is something I’ve learned from midwives working home births, and my clients really like it for reducing swelling after birth. You use a little plastic insert that looks like an upside-down hat — you can get it anywhere: CVS, Amazon — and place it on your toilet seat and fill that up with warm water and the herbal blend. This can be done within a few days of birth. You can still reduce swelling even after a Cesarean.
I recommend these tinctures to all of my clients, to keep in their bag in case of breastfeeding difficulties or postpartum blues. This bundle includes four different tinctures. I’ve seen AfterEase used immediately after birth to help with cramps. Baby Blues is so nice for anyone who’s feeling the hormones that are raging after birth. The milk rich and happy ducts make great companions for breastfeeding.
This was one of the first things I learned from a client many years ago when I was still a novice doula. I’ve since recommended it to every single one of my clients in class. I love that you can use it to manually pump a little milk, but I’ve also helped clients clear mastitis with it by putting Epsom salt in it and using it as a sitz bath for the nipple.
They are used by my mamas to soothe their nipples during between feedings. They’ve been around for a long time. They’re made with silver, which has healing properties. Balms are great, but with these, you don’t have to deal with wiping off messy ointments between feedings. If there are tongue-tie or latch issues, it’s a great emergency thing to have in between correcting that with a lactation consultant. They’re really soothing, even if breastfeeding is going well.
While not everyone will need a nursing pillow, it can be very helpful in the beginning, when baby and mom are still learning the ropes. A nursing pillow can help prevent back or shoulder pains from breastfeeding. The Brest Friend, which I don’t think is the best-looking one out there, is the one that ends up getting the best results. It is something I hear from lactation consultants and clients all the time. The strap holds baby in a great position for latching. My clients prefer the flat surface to the round, which can be tipped to one side.
It was a great surprise to find that UppaBaby car seat covers are made from merino wool. Merino wool is naturally fire resistant, and does not require the use of fire-retardant chemicals.
Since we will be co-sleeping for the time, we decided not to purchase a crib. However, I did buy this bedside-bassinet with a standing. I love that it can be moved from room to room and rock baby. This recommendation came from a client looking for something handmade made with natural fibers and no plastic.
While I intend to use cloth diapers, I know we will eventually switch to disposable diapers. I’ve heard great things about Dyper from clients, and I love that they can be composted at home or via the company’s diaper-collection program.
This is the registry I use. Since I’m planning to get more hand-me-downs, the Little Honey Money registry lets you set up custom funds for services like doula support, meal deliveries, lactation consultants, pelvic-floor therapy, child care, and more — all at the mom’s discretion.
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