“My expertise, I would say, is in pregnancy, the birth process, and initial postpartum needs for mom,” says Carson Meyer, the Asheville-based doula and founder of the skin-care line C & the Moon. “That’s a strong suit of mine.” Meyer, who’s attended over 100 births and has been practicing for six years, is also 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 in denial about having to buy anything; I really thought that I could just get away with wearing some of my more loose-fitting clothing. I love these because I can wear them after birth, too.
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 folds up perfectly in bed and feels so supportive. I also use it when getting a prenatal massage; you can bring it onto a massage table really easily. This is something I found through trying out a few.
Cork massage balls
I had some lower-back discomfort during my first trimester from the increase in relaxin and my expanding pelvis. Using this ball up against a wall to massage and release my glutes was so helpful. 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 on the market to choose from, many of which lack important nutrients for pregnancy and are formulated with synthetic fillers, sugars, and dyes. Needed is one of the most high-quality and comprehensive prenatals on the market. One of my doula clients is the founder, and I love that I can trust the woman behind it. 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 really great; it has a slightly plainer taste but a pretty similar profile.
Hair and body oil
As a doula, it was really important to me to create products that could be used throughout pregnancy to hydrate changing skin and hair without harmful chemicals or toxins. I use this daily for breast and belly massages and to add shine and texture to my hair. It has provided so much moisture and relief to dry pregnancy skin, and, I have to say, there’s not a single stretch mark in sight.
Breastfeeding and Postpartum
Herbal sitz bath
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. You can do this a day or two after birth. Even if you have a Cesarean, it can help with swelling.
I recommend these tinctures to all my clients to have on hand in case they face any breastfeeding challenges or postpartum blues. This is a bundle with 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. And Milk Rich and Happy Ducts are great breastfeeding companions.
Manual breast pump
This is one that I learned from a client years ago, when I was a newer 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.
Silver nursing cups
My mamas swear by these for soothing nipples in between feeds. 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.
Not everyone needs a breastfeeding pillow, but in the early days, when mom and baby are still getting the hang of it, a good nursing pillow can make all the difference. It can also prevent you from getting back and shoulder pain from feeding. 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. I always hear about it from clients and lactation consultants I work with. The strap keeps baby in a really nice position for latching. And my clients like the flat surface more than the cute round ones, which can fall to the side.
Merino-wool car seat
I was very excited to discover that certain UppaBaby car seats are made with merino wool, which is naturally fire resistant and passes safety standards without using fire-retardant chemicals.
Bassinet with stand
We chose not to invest in a crib for the baby since we plan to co-sleep for the time being. However, I did purchase this bedside bassinet with a stand. I like that I can bring it from room to room, rock baby in it, or place it on a stand by the bed. This was a recommendation from a client who wanted something handmade with natural fiber and no plastic.
I plan to use cloth diapers, but I also know that we will be turning to disposable ones from time to time. 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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