Author Archives: Matilda

UPDATE- Blinc Mascara Review: I Have to Buy “Primer” too?!!?!!!????a

A few weeks ago, I wrote about coming to terms with the aging process. Or more specifically, coming to terms with my new “I must wear eye makeup” stage of the lifecycle, somewhere between the “I’m eating THREE Otis Spunkmeyer cookies a day without consequences” stage and the “I’ve gotten a haircut like the attractive newscaster on channel five!” stage. It’s all part of the process. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Is this what the public school board pictured when they created “nutrition break”?

To celebrate this transition, I splurged on a really expensive mascara with seemingly space-age technology. (Wait, we’re already in the space age right?) As you’ll see when you read the review in full, Blinc mascara, the product in question, offers a lot of advantages over regular mascaras. These tubes don’t come off, until you want them to! Of course, every time I do pull them off I have a mini-panic – “Did I just pull out all of my eyelashes?”, but that’s crazy talk because pulling out your own eyelashes would hurt like hell (I assume), and this is only a tugging sensation.

So far I’ve tested Blinc mascara in the following conditions:
• In a pool at the local YMCA with a 10-month old
• On a treadmill workout at the unventilated aforementioned YMCA
While crying about my husband’s vasectomy
• On a 3 mile walk to pick up my vehicle from the auto body shop in 80+ degree weather with that 10-month old strapped to my chest and pushing a double stroller loaded with 2 preschoolers, a CSA box, and assorted child-related debris

And in all of these scenarios………NO SMUDGING or FLAKING. Ever. At all.

If only Blinc created more volume, it would be a miracle product. But by itself, the effect is long, dark, and sparse. As if some clear-cutting just went down in your forest of lashes. For $20, that’s a pretty serious drawback. So how does Blinc remedy the issue? Sell an additional $20 product to help volumize your lashes! And guess what? Suckers like me will buy it!

The product is the Blinc Lash Primer, which is supposed to condition lashes and add volume when applied before the mascara. Here’s a step-by-step of the process.

Somebody get me some coffee.

The Lash Primer goes on white, and while the promotional copy suggest that you can wear it without mascara to soften lashes, I think that it feels unpleasantly sticky. In addition, I don’t always go for the white “old lady” lashes look. That’s pretty much precisely what I’m trying to avoid by wearing eye makeup.

I am the Snow Queen of Narnia!

When the mascara is applied on top of the primer, my lashes do seem a bit thicker. They also look and feel clumpier, and are hard to separate. For now, I’m wearing the Primer but I can’t say that the effect is worth the extra expense.

The missing Kardashian.

Wait a minute, I just thought of something! What if Blinc tried to make their existing mascara even better instead of creating a totally separate product that doubles the price?
Unfortunately, things like this will happen the day I’m able to eat my daily dose of 3 consequence-free Otis Spunkmeyer cookies again. Overall, Blinc mascara is a great option for daily wear, but if you want fuller, lusher lashes once in a while, I suggest skipping the Blinc primer/mascara combination and opting for an $8 tube from your local drugstore. Your wallet will be grateful.

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A Culinary Point of View™: My Next Food Network Star Application

We all want to be this “Guy”


Has anyone else been watching the Next Food Network Star and thought, “hell, I could do that”! Oh, everyone? Ok. Well that’s because the Next Food Network Star is a culinary competition in which culinary prowess, knowledge, or experience are not required. What do you need to win? A Culinary Point of View™ and some guidance from one of the Food Network’s top-notch mentors, Iron Chef and probable adulterer Bobby Flay, rumored nymphomaniac and real-life bobble-head Giada De Laurentiis , and my favorite crabapple, Alton Brown.

The esteemed culinary mentors

But as we’ve seen from season after season of the show, finding your own Culinary Point of View™ isn’t that easy. Because your Culinary Point of View™ has to simultaneously reflect your “true voice” and be “responsive to criticism” from Bob and the Sooze. And what Bob and the Sooze want depends on the week, the season, and possibly whatever chemicals are laced in their self-tanner.

For example, while Bob and the Sooze loved Ippy’s authentic Hawaiian style at the beginning of the season, now they’ve decided that he’s too “laid-back”. Isn’t that like accusing someone from Minnesota as being too nice? That’s what Hawaii is about, guys. That’s called Hawaiian style. Oh, you want him to be his authentic self, but in a more frenetic way? That’s helpful, thanks.

Ippy’s got too much Aloha

Or how about when they eliminated previous favorite Emily for having a mediocre week and kept Giada’s “fiery hot Latina” Martita? The same Martita who finished her promo 30 seconds early and instead of trying to fill the time smiled wide-eyed at the judges for 30 Seconds. Of. Dead. Air. Oh, you didn’t want them to even try to do the challenge this week, Bob and the Sooze? I’m sure if you had told Emily what you wanted she could stand in awkward and confused silence for even longer than 30 seconds!

Martita, pretending like nobody can see her. And it worked!

The rampant discrepancies and conspiracy-like eliminations are almost making me think that winners and losers are decided by a complicated calculus of Network need, focus groups, demographic pull, and the aforementioned toxic self-tanner, instead of the actual challenges themselves. There, I’ve said it. The Next Food Network Star may be rigged.

This isn’t going to stop me from applying for next season. As some of you already know, I like to cook. I make salad dressing from scratch! And bread! And I soak my own beans! In Food Network parlance, I’m not a occasionally better than average home cook- I’m self-taught with a unique Culinary Point of View™. And the fact that I can’t tell you the difference between a hollandaise and béarnaise doesn’t matter. Because my ignorance is relatable! Who wants to learn how to cook from someone who knows interesting information about food when I can add a pouch of powdered ranch dressing to a casserole and tell stories about my Nan? That’s right, nobody.

The following are real questions from the Next Food Network Star application. I can’t make this stuff up.

Complete this sentence: If I were an ingredient, I would be…….

How can I answer this without it becoming a sexual innuendo? Um, salt? Because it’s in everything? Damn it, that doesn’t work. Okay, how about tomatoes? Because of the way their taut skin bursts in your mouth? Never mind. Breadcrumbs? Because they are getting old? They make everything crunchy when submerged in hot oil? Ugh, I give up.

Is there a non-perverted way to answer this question? People aren’t food, after all.

Unless……if I were an ingredient I would be Soylent Green. Because Soylent Green IS PEOPLE! IT’S PEOPLE! And there’s nothing sexy about that.

What is your unique Culinary Point of View™?

I’m not sure what to put here. I’m guessing that my real Culinary Point of View™, food that your kids won’t want to eat isn’t going to fly with the Food Network. And shows about Healthy! Delicious! Organic! Foods! That your kids WILL eat! are often a joke. (Case in point, when Nikki served a “kid-friendly Kale smoothie” to a group of gagging 10 year olds.) Kids are crazy. Some things they like, some things they don’t. Sure they are often more picky than many adults, but their list of likes and dislikes are impossible to generalize. My son loves Kale chips and hates pizza. My daughter could eat Fettuccini Alfredo for every single meal of her life but will not drink a glass of chocolate milk. She likes cashews, he likes almonds. See what I mean? It’s a boring show idea, because there is no “kid food” and that’s why these contestants never win.

Bob and the Sooze: The Orange Masterminds

Okay, here’s another idea for a Culinary Point of View™. How about The Boozy Chef? I’ll focus exclusively on recipes requiring the hard stuff and drink the leftovers as I cook. How about Grand Marnier French Toast, or Hooch strawberry salad dressing? Or what about potatoes two ways? I’ll just put some potatoes in the oven to roast and drink some vodka. I have a feeling the Sooze is going to love this one.

Unfortunately, I drank so much prepping my recipes that I can’t pull it together to fill out all ELEVEN pages of the application. So nobody will ever know what kind of role I generally play in groups, what topics are off limits to me at a dinner party, or other highly relevant food-related information. Maybe I’ll work on finding my adaptable authentic voice in the meantime.

What’s your unique Culinary Point of View™?

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Filed under Culinary, Humor, TV shows

How to (Not) Support Your Partner Upon His Vasectomy: A Step-by-Step Guide

So, he’s going to get the big V! You’ve debated about it for hours, days, or years and finally decided that his swimmers are getting kicked out of the pool for good. For my husband and I, it was less a rational discussion and more of a battle cry oft repeated through a complicated third pregnancy. L’Shana Haba’ah Vasectomy! Although our dedication to sterility waned a bit immediately after our beautiful baby was born, a few months later we looked again at our three children under five, our inability to save or find me a job to cover the cost of daycare, and our seemingly unending future of sleep deprivation torture, and decided to do the snip.

The Vasectomy: This time it’s HIS turn

Assuming that your partner has been like mine, a true mensch and a source of support and (most of the time) assistance through long pregnant days and sleepless newborn nights, you’ll want to extend the same courtesy to him for what is a psychologically daunting procedure. Men do seem to care a great deal about their balls. I don’t understand it, but I can be there for him. That’s why I’ve created this simple step-by-step guide- your partner will be so thankful.

1. Act Casual

It’s not a big deal, this whole thing, right? In fact, you should be like me and model such excellent nonchalance that he’ll think that you actually forgot about it. And that you didn’t schedule a babysitter or actively plan to be at his side. Okay, maybe you did do that, but you did make some last minute calls when he asked why you didn’t plan to come to his (minor!!!) surgical procedure. That counts!

2. Express Support and Concern

When he does seem like he wants to discuss the upcoming procedure, be there to hear his concerns. And voice your own, of course. About his health, and about the fact that you won’t be able to have any more babies any more ever, and doesn’t he think that the timing is a little crazy and that this decision is a little rash, after all? Why make it permanent? Sure, you don’t plan on having more children- but what’s wrong with condoms for the next 12-15 years that you remain fertile? They don’t bother you!

3. Document the Process

Even though he might be feeling apprehensive and a little irritable, make sure to take pictures of the process to document it for your blog. He’ll thank you later, I promise.

This is not annoying at all

4. Encourage Recovery

After the procedure, go ahead and leave him and the three kids at home while you rush to the pharmacy to pick up his Vicodin prescription. If there happens to be a long line, feel free to sit and wait in the lobby area. If there are a few new US Weekly magazines to peruse while you wait, no problem. He and the kids will be fine.

5. Maintain Comforting Routines

After a traumatic incident, it’s often best to keep up with your normal routines. If he regularly wakes up at dawn with the kids on Saturday while you sleep in, why change that now? That icepack he was up changing all night long was sure to keep down the swelling.

6. Help Transition Back to Normalcy

Although taking narcotics post-procedure is helpful, your partner might need you to suggest backing off of the heavy-duty stuff or transitioning to Ibuprofen instead. Even if he had what his urologist called “a bleeder,” for safety purposes he should ease off the Vicodin. Because he’s got to save some for you! (Note: I’m just kidding!)

Houston, we have a bleeder

7. Harness His Other Sources of Support

Make sure that others can also support him by letting all of them know. Is he walking a tad funny? Point it out in a loud and clear voice so that they don’t have to worry. Does his bulge seemingly protrude? Assure everyone that’s it is just an icepack from his recent vasectomy! No cause for alarm!

8. Be Authentic to Your Own Emotions

As carefully as you’ve handled his concerns and fears, you must find the space to share your own to preserve the balance in your relationship. So if he forwards you a birth announcement from an acquaintance four days after the procedure, feel free to let those tears flow. You’ll never have another newborn, after all. At least not with him.

Estimated Cost of Family Planning/Creation Procedures:
You- $78,000 (3 births)
Him- 35 bucks

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Eshakti.com review update: The dresses are here! The dresses are here!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my first order with Eshakti.com , an online women’s clothing retailer. You should read it in full, but just in case, here’s the recap:

1. Eshakti.com sells customizable dresses
2. Many of them come in… statement colors. Take this one:

I call this “Old Highlighter From the Bottom of my Backpack” yellow

3. Others have lovely vintage-like patterns and styles
4. The sizing may be a little wack. I took a gamble and ordered a smaller size. Um, no, the decision wasn’t based on vanity. How DARE you insinuate such a thing?
5. I thought I ordered two, but wasn’t sure because…
6. I didn’t hear from Eshakti.com for several days
7. I finally received a customer email that appeared to be written by a cross between Charles Dickens and Emily Bronte
8. The gist of the email was that since my shipment was late, I would receive an unspecified discount
9. Questions remained- Will the dresses ever arrive? Were they made at the Wonka factory? What will happen next?

Eshakti, is that you?

Well, folks, the dresses did arrive. But not before being held up in international customs in Chennai, India, and brief sojourns in Bangalore, Leipzig, Cincinnati, and San Francisco.

Finally, a little less than a month after I originally placed my order- a joyful noise on my doorstep! Hark, hark, the dispatched package has come hence!

Let’s start with the “Birds who gossip dress”, which retails for $69.95. (I got it for less. Read the original post.) The dress is polyester but does not have the cheap and shiny look of a….cheap polyester dress. It is well constructed and surprisingly soft and comfortable. The seams are evenly finished and strong. Most importantly, there are pockets! Unadvertised pockets! Talk about a delightful surprise! It could have also come with a unicorn and I would have been more excited about the pockets.

Yes, that’s a Buzz Lightyear sticker by my foot

The size six fits well, although it is mere millimeters from being too tight around my ribs. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I’ve recently stopped running. Although I had customized the length to fit my height (5’7”), the length is a little longer than the described knee length. I guess we could always give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that I’m shrinking. My least favorite thing about the dress is the neckline, a deep v-cut. What looks nice and feminine on the flat-chested non-human dress-form pictured on the website is A LOT OF BOOB in real life. It doesn’t look like it in the picture, but trust me, the buffet is on display, as my breastfeeding infant might say. I decided to keep it because it’s something different than every other dress in my closet, and a tank-top and a cardigan will make it work appropriate.

Another view of my heaving bosom

Finally, for the “Ranunculus” dress. (Not to be confused with the Redonkulous dress.) This was one was a hit, at $69.95 retail. It’s 100% cotton, with lovely embroidery and quality fabric, although it is not as soft as the polyester. It fits looser than the first dress, as this one has room for a few extra Pretzel M&Ms, and is a good inch plus longer than knee length. (I’m 5’7” darn it!) To quote my mother, it is not as “Booby Ruby” as the “Birds who gossip” dress. AND THERE ARE POCKETS!

Bonus points if you spot the baby in the background!

A few days after my shipment arrived, I received an email with a $10 gift certificate towards my next order, plus a receipt for $5 taken off of this order due to the slow shipping. In general, I’m impressed. Sorry for making fun of your emails, Eshakti.com! I was just joshing ya! I’ve spent way more at other retailers and never received unrequested delay discounts, even from places whose shipping takes forever (I’m looking at you, J Crew). These dresses are also conversation starters in a way that something from the Gap or J Crew will never be. I may order again, if I ever give up on that whole “I’m never going to shop online again because my clothes are full of holes” thing.

What do you think? Cute or scary? Pockets!

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Filed under Consumer, Wednesdays

The Eye Makeup Day of Truth: A Blinc Mascara Review

You look tired


A few months ago, my aunt reached for my hands and gently told me that I need to wear eye makeup every day.

“I’ve noticed that sometimes you wear eye makeup but most of the time you don’t. I think that it is well worth the effort.”

Two questions:
1. What the fuck?
2. What’s with the handholding? Was that supposed to soften the blow? It’s not like she was telling me I have cancer. Just that I look like shit on the 95% of days when I don’t wear eye makeup.

My first response was denial. I loved sharing the story with friends, so we could all toss our heads back in rollicking laughter. “Ha ha ha ha ha! What is she talking about? Doesn’t she know you have three kids and work? And you’re only in your early thirties! Jus jealous, amirite?”

But then it happened again. I recounted the story to my mother-in-law (who is wonderful, by the way), expecting the same “Ha ha, that’s bitchy” response. And at first that’s what she said, in her nice and supportive way. Followed by a pause.
“I do think that it looks really nice on you,” she said. “Sometimes you look tired without it.”

Which brings me to the next response: anger. Look tired? Gee, why would that be? OF COURSE I’M FUCKING TIRED. I have an infant, two pre-schoolers, a dissertation to write, a husband who works 60+ hours a week, and lots of time-wasting Internet reading to deal with. Isn’t recommending eye make-up BLAMING THE VICTIM, here? Fuck 60-something women and their slavish devotion to potions, crèmes, and chemically derived painter’s spackle! I’ll just be over here au natural, keeping it real, showing true beauty, providing a healthy and self-confident example for my daughters, or whatever you want to call it.

The anger started to fade when I decided that I didn’t really care about being self-righteous more than I cared about not looking tired and run-down. With this acceptance is the realization that when I look more pulled together, I feel more pulled together. It really doesn’t take that long, and if I’m honest with myself, I certainly have time to do a brief makeup routine. I’m just lazy.

Since the Day of Truth, when I accepted my own need to apply eye makeup, I’ve discovered two things.
1. Once you become a person who wears makeup everyday, you need to wear makeup everyday. When I was an occasional makeup wearer, days when I slathered a bit on were pleasant surprises. “You clean up well!” a potential date once remarked to me (I’m not even going into that phrase). When people are used to seeing you in makeup, however, days when you don’t get a chance to put it on are “You Look Tired” days.
2. You really don’t need a lot to make a positive difference. I reserve the right to qualify this as I age, but for now, one eyeshadow applied with my fingers, two coats of mascara, and tinted lip balm are all I need to look “Not Tired.”

Magical mystery mascara

Mascara is the most important of these products, as I have fair coloring and light colored eyelashes. Unfortunately, we all know that mascara can kind of suck. You put it on and it looks great for a couple of hours… until the flaking settles in. After a 10-hour day, there is more mascara on towels, couch pillows, and my under eyes than there is on my lashes. Waterproof mascara helps a little bit with melting on hot days, but it just prolongs the period of black smudge transmission to include my sheets as well, as eye makeup remover leaves an oily slime on my face that I find disturbing.

I read enough beauty magazines to know the general maxim is that cheap drug store brand mascara’s are great and that there is no reason to spend more than $8 for a tube. And that’s what I’ve done, typically buying Almay, Cover girl, or Maybelline. They’ve all been fine, making my lashes temporarily look thick and long, and then over the course of hours leaching from my face. The only mascara I’ve hated was the Sei Bella Melaleuca brand. (Incidentally, I really hope that Charlie writes a Melaleuca expose at some point).

I did wonder if there is something better out there, which is why I recently (gulp) plopped down $17 for a tube of Blinc’s Tubes Mascara.

Blinc describes their mascara as forming semi-magical water-resistant “tubes” around the lashes. That sounds about as believable as leprechauns, right? It makes more sense to think about Blinc as a liquid that turns to solid when exposed to air. Heat, water, or tears can’t change the solidified “tubes” back into a liquid- thus they stay on all day without flaking or smudging. Blinc mascara is supposed to be ideal for contact lens wearers (check) and those with sensitive eyes (check again). To remove, just gently rub your eyes with warm water, and the “tubes” slide off.

Getting Tubey

So how does the product measure up? Should I be spending the equivalent of lunch out for my family of five on a tube of mascara? The answer is a qualified yes. Blinc does many things better than every other mascara I’ve tried. It stays on the eyes during the day and is easy to remove. Several hours after applying, it looks almost the same as when I applied it.

Unfortunately, Blinc doesn’t create the volume that other mascara’s do. Lashes definitely look longer and separated, but they aren’t thickened. The website calls the effect “spidery” but I think it looks a little bit like this:

Just sayin’

A “lash primer” is available for an additional $20, which is supposed to help with volumizing. The mascara is a little messier than I’m used to, as every time I’ve put it on I’ve had some black smudge marks to clean up. It’s easy enough to do with a moistened Q-tip, but may be more annoying for those who have just finished applying other eye makeup. It makes my eyes feel a little itchy, but so do other mascaras.

Although I think the price is pretty high, the prominent role of mascara in my beauty regime (which is otherwise non-existent) makes me feel like a superior product is worth it. And Blinc is superior, in many ways. As soon as “extra-wide volumizing tubes” are available, it’ll be about perfect.

What drives you nuts about mascara? Any great ones to try?

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5 Free Ways to Entertain Imprisoned Children: Saving Lives, One Car Trip at a Time

Minivans are awesome!

Have you seen those Swag Wagon™ commercials? Oh wait, of course you have. For a while there they couldn’t be escaped, and they were indeed mildly amusing. I say “mildly”, because the premise that minivans can actually be cool is not a huge shocker for me. Minivans are awesome. They are functional, they are easy to drive, they won’t topple over when there are high winds on the freeway, and most importantly, your kids can safely be seated far away from you.

Unfortunately, even when they are all the way back in the third row, you are still going to hear them. Especially if your Swag Wagon™ is not Swagged out with DVD or video game players, like ours (the SwagishWagon™?).

Buying entertainment for them can quickly get expensive. This last weekend things got so desperate in the Swagish Wagon™ that I found myself running into a coffee shop with Wifi in order to download $30.00 of children’s audiobooks, while my husband ducked flying feces in the minivan. Just kidding! (The flying feces was from another time.) DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

But with a little preparation, there’s no need to spend any money in order to entertain your kids on your next car trip. And I’m not talking about the old tried and true methods of junky snacks and endless “I Spying”. The following options won’t fuel the obesity epidemic, and allow for moments of thoughtful conversation or mutually silent contemplation up in the front. Just make sure the speakers are on only in the back!

1. Molly and the Sugar Monster

This free podcast chronicles the adventures of the Sugar Monster and his adorable foil, Molly. Each episode is quite short, but they are funny enough that kids will want to listen to them over and over again.

2. Elmo’s Adventures in Spending, Saving, and Sharing

In this series of short podcasts, Elmo learns about financial responsibility through conversations with his father. (Note to Wall Street). Elmo is his charming self, and kids will learn about ATMs, debit cards, and most importantly, the concept of “value”.

3. Pinky Dinky Doo

Pinky’s got a story, she knows just what to do! If your kids have seen the PBS cartoon series, then you are as familiar as you ever wanted to be with Pinky, her little brother, and their rock star guinea pig. Although this series was originally designed as a video, it translates well to a podcast. Each episode is about 10 minutes long and introduces a new vocabulary word. Pinky Dinky Doo can be blamed for the following conversation between my husband and our three-year old:

Three-year old: Daddy, did you have ice cream for dessert?

Husband: Yes

Three-year old: I did too! Isn’t that a cacophony?

Husband: Do you mean coincidence?

Three-year old: Yeah, a cacophony is when it’s raining cats and dogs and they are making a lot of noise.

4. Keith M. Bower’s Free Stories for Children

This series of free fairy tales are well-narrated familiar stories such as Hansel and Gretel or Jack and the Beanstalk. The narrator has a nice, expressive voice, although they may have been recorded in a closet somewhere as the audio is not perfect. A note of warning, however. While the first 3 podcasts on this list are great for kids 8 and under, these are not sanitized or modernized versions of fairy tales. The o.g. versions contain some scary stuff, with parental abandonment, murder, starvation, etc…. Older kids will love how gruesome they are, but stick to Elmo or the Sugar Monster for the youngest kids.

5. Free Audiobooks from your Local Library

In addition to the audiobooks on CD that libraries have in their collections, many are now offering digital audiobooks that can be downloaded over the internet. My library has hundreds of available audiobooks- may sure to check yours for information!

What are your favorite free family podcasts?

Not me, or my husband

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Matilda’s Top 5 Post-Partum Products: How to Unbust the Busted

In honor of Charlie’s gestating body (which is due to expel a child-being in the early fall) today I’m going to review my top 5 post-partum products. During labor and birth your body feels more powerful than it’s ever been. Afterwards, it feels…..well, more busted than it’s ever been. But it’s not! It’ll get back to normal-ish sooner than you would imagine. It’s going to require some help, though, and these are the things you’ll need to get there, in chronological order of when you’ll need them.

1. Handy Dandy Spray Bottle

The Miracle Worker

This small chunk of plastic, which likely retails for about $1.49 (I’m not sure because my hospital gave them away for free), is your first post-birth lifesaver. Because There Will Be Blood. And the blood will rain down so profusely you will wonder many times if something is wrong. I had this conversation on repeat with my nurses:

Me: (nervously) There’s a lot of blood….

Nurse: Yes.

Me: Are you sure that this is a normal amount of blood? It just really seems like a lot.

Nurse: (looking over distractedly) Yes.

Me: But I just passed a huge clot!

Nurse: (glimmer of interest) How big was it?

Me: As big as my fist!

Nurse: (walking out the door) Yes. That’s normal.

So even if you feel like the special effects director from Carrie, it’s probably normal, and they don’t care. But these little spray bottles will make you feel semi-human again. Try to talk someone into tearing their eyes away from the baby for a few minutes every couple of hours to refill with warm water and spray liberally all over your blooming lotus every time you change a pad or use the bathroom. You’ll feel clean and soothed, if only for a moment. Make sure to hide the first one the hospital gave you the day before you are released so that they’ll give you a spare, and trust me, water is all you need. Why on earth you would want to purchase organic witch hazel PEPPERMINT OIL fluid to spray on your very sensitive, swollen, and bruised parts is beyond me.

2. Pads and Cheap Cotton Panties

These are the hideous mesh panties you get at the hospital. Ladies with sensitive skin- beware! I was allergic. Think red, prickly, underwear-shaped rash allergic.

While in the hospital, you will be equipped with what seems likes cases of brick-like pads and several pairs of mesh-like underwear. But though it will have slowed down a bit, you’ll still be bleeding. For WEEKS. Or MONTHS.

Consequently, you’ll need to replenish your supplies quickly, and often. For the early days, when you still need to change pads every hour or so, I recommended Always Ultra-Thin Overnight Pads. Note that these are not the “fresh scent” ones. I don’t like my children or my pads “fresh”. If I wanted to smell like an incontinent person I would pee in my pants. See what I mean? The “freshness” isn’t fooling anybody. Plus, you’ll be changing those babies so often at the beginning they won’t have enough time to develop an odor.

If you wear your regular underwear at this point in your post-partum life you will: A. Potentially be depressed because they don’t fit;
and B. Ruin them.

So it’s smart to buy a couple of packs of 100% cotton underpants a few sizes larger than you would regularly wear. The 100% percent cotton part is important because you are still swollen and uncomfortable and the last thing you want is polyester rubbing against your wounded skin (the same will be true of your incision if you have a c-section).

Cheap cotton panties. You’ll rejoice when you get to toss them!

Finally, I really can’t say enough about how much more comfortable cloth pads are than disposable ones. When the blood flood finally starts to recede, you will be a lot more comfortable with a cloth pad set-up than continuing with the disposables. I don’t recommend them for the first week or two after birth because you would need so many that doing laundry would be a constant issue, which is the last thing a new parent needs. Here is a very helpful primer on how to make your own cloth pads, should you be interested. And don’t think that you’ll just wear tampons instead, because you aren’t supposed to and I really can’t imagine wanting to put something up there at this point in time. But I had a nine-pounder, so take that for what it’s worth.

3. Nursing Pads

The best disposable option

In general, I am a huge fan of reusable products. Not only are they beneficial for the environment, they are also genuinely more comfortable. I’ve used cloth pads for years and cloth diapered three children. But I just couldn’t find any reusable nursing pads that I loved. There must be some out there, and I’d love suggestions. But if you are going to go disposable, then these Lansinoh pads are the best. They stay firmly in place, are discrete, are large enough, and don’t have a “fresh scent”. You know I don’t like “fresh scents”.

4. The Nursing Gown

Your boobs will also be this big

The first three items on the list aren’t much fun, as necessary as they will be. But these amazing Aimee’s nursing gowns are the post-partum product that you didn’t know that you needed but you can’t live without. I promise I have no affiliation with this company, and in some ways I find them annoying because their shipping takes a while and they seem to be out of stock of the colors I want fairly often. But their product is really superior. The gowns are very well-made, soft, and amazingly supportive even for frightening massive “first milk” breasts. Most importantly, they make you feel attractive and put together at a time when you are leaking from all orifices. I buy one for every single friend of mine who gets pregnant and every single one has told me that it was the best gift that they got. I wish that they came in patterns and more color options, but otherwise these are as close to perfect as it gets.

5. If You Must, Here’s a Girdle Recommendation

“Breathable” mesh makes this one slightly bearable

Here’s the hard truth: your uterus will remain larger than normal for a while. Consequently you will still be looking pregnant even when you are holding your baby in your arms (which is why you should have your baby in your arms at all times, by the way). There are all kinds of “miracle girdles” out there that promise to make your stomach flatter faster, as long as you bind it tightly for the month immediately after birth. Needless to say, I couldn’t find any randomized control trials examining this. But I fell for it, and purchased several different kinds after my second and third children. Did the girdles help? After my second and third pregnancies it seemed to take forever for the belly overhang to fade, but it retrospect it was only 1-2 months. I never wore them all day every day because they can be really uncomfortable. I liked this one purchased on Amazon the most (and the price was comparatively reasonable).

So why am I recommending girdles if I’m not sure they worked and they were really uncomfortable? Because sometimes the placebo effect is real. That’s why it’s called an effect.

And there are Matilda’s top 5 post-partum products! Some of you may be asking, where are the prescription painkillers? And yes, those are important. Very, very important. But as pregnant ladies can’t buy those ahead of time (or if they do, we don’t condone it) I decided to focus on things to stock up on. What are your favorite post-partum products?

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