No matter how many kids you have, I feel like remembering what all you need postpartum is a point of anxiety. Anyone else? Maybe it’s just me. 🤣 I’m extremely type A and constantly trying to get an idea for all the planning that needs to take place. Currently I’m 20 weeks pregnant with baby number FIVE and yet I still had to sit down and plan it all out because pregnancy Brian is real and with so many kids running around I can barely keep track these days.
After four deliveries I have a good idea of what I will actually need postpartum and what I probably won’t end up using. But, nonetheless, I still like to be prepared. So I compiled a list of all the things I actually used each time, all of which I had with our youngest and made my transition so much easier! I’ve even made a list on Amazon so I can go in a buy everything as we get closer to delivery. With each of my previous kids I was very blessed to have uncomplicated vaginal deliveries, for the most part, so I can only speak to that but I know that many of these are absolutely still helpful for C-Sections mamas as well!
This list is JUST for YOU! As moms, we tend to get everything all set and ready to go for baby but it’s easy to put you and your body on the back burner. But I can 100% say that postpartum is hard. It’s a transition and your body (whether through vagina or c-sections delivery) has just done something magnificent and incredibly hard so it’s important to acknowledge that. If we are not properly taking care of our body and our needs we will not be able to take care of our babies. We need sleep, nourishment, water, and as little stress as possible to have all the energy to feed, change, cuddle and stare lovingly at our new bundle(s) of joy! So without further delay, here are some of my absolute favorite and necessary Postpartum Must Have’s For Mom.
1. Yeti/Water tumbler or Bottle – As a new mom hydration is so important, especially when breastfeeding. Your body uses all the water in your body to A. HEAL and B. Produce breast milk for your baby. It is particularly important in the first 6 weeks while building your supply to maintain water intake because your body is repairing itself. Your stomach muscles are completely separated during pregnancy and for a long time there after. There is blood loss your body has to make up for. And on top of all that, your body (whether your chose to breastfeed or formula feed) is trying to produce milk. Because of these things high water intake is critical. Each time I sat down to feed my kids whether at the breast or bottle, I would bring a full tumbler of water and drink it. For whatever reason the second I sit down I was always EXTREMELY thirsty. I guess it’s your body’s way of telling you “HEY! I need some hydration!” Having a large insulated bottle or tumbler that is designed for your area you sit to feed helps so much with making sure you’re meeting that need for your postpartum body.
2. Advil/Ibuprofen or Motrin – **Check with your doctor before you take any medication postpartum!** With each of my deliveries I took Advil regularly for the first four day and then periodically over the first two week post delivery. Some doctors will send your home with a prescription but the strength is what you want to pay attention to. It’s the same stuff you can buy over the counter. I preferred Advil over Tylenol because of it’s anti inflammatory properties. I was swollen (vaginal deliveries) and sore and it definitely helps make day to life more manageable. I, personally, prefer the liqui gels because they go down easier, don’t have a taste and they work faster than regular Advil.
3. Collace/Stoolner – Whether you have a vaginal delivery or c-section your body goes through a lot of trauma during delivery and your body will naturally pause your bowel functions. If you are taking prescription pain medications post delivery, those can also contribute to constipation. LET ME TELL YOU! As for a stool softener before you leave the hospital. It takes several hours to take effect and take it regularly for the first week. The first several bowel movements (atleast for vaginal deliveries) were extremely painful. Like make you sweat, bad. So get on top of that and take some Collace. This is another reason to keep your water intake up. Collace with draw water from your body to soften your bowel so increased water intake is super important.
4. Depends and Maxi Pads – Listen, I know what you’re thinking. Depends? No way. Trust me. Coming from a mom who is getting ready to deliver baby number five, I WISH I had used these sooner. The first week is brutal. You don’t want the added stress of leaks. If you’re a first time mom and no one has told you yet, you will bleed postpartum. The length and amount caries depending on your delivery type and your body but bleeding will happen. For me, it was like an extremely heavy period with period amount of tissue. You don’t want to wake up at 2am to feed a newborn baby and find your sheets need to be changed or be out and about and realize you bled through your clothes. Depends DO NOT leak and they hold and enormous amount. Go ahead and buy a pack. You’ll thank me later. For week 2-6 postpartum bleeding can be sporadic and it is extremely different for everyone. After about a week and a half mine slowed down enough that a pad was sufficient and I would just wear a depend at night so I didn’t have to worry about it. I really like the Always Infinity pads because they’re thin, breathable and still absorb a lot.
5. Epsom Salt – Depending on your type of delivery and your recommendations from your OBGYN epsom salt can be great. My midwives have always recommend epsom salt sitz baths to reduce swelling, irritation and hemorrhoids (yes you will prob have hemorrhoids.) There is a risk of infection with sitting in any type of water so check with your provider first. I would always make sure the tub was cleaned with a good disinfectant and rinsed well before running my sitz bath. Warm water and epsom salt is extremely soothing on the tender parts and can also be relaxing.
6. Tucks Pads/ Dermoplast/Peri Bottle/Wet Wipes – These are all things that have been provided for me, upon asking at the hospital, but that is not the case for everyone. Even if they are provided, it is a great idea to have them at home as a spare or extra incase you forget to bring yours home with you. Tucks pads were probably my saving grace with each delivery. They have witch hazel in them and they are cooling which makes them AWESOME! They’re excellent for swelling, hemorrhoids, and can help ease the burning (again, if you have a vaginal delivery there will be burning. A baby just came out. It’s totally normal but not totally comfortable 😬.) Dermoplast is one of those thing that I can take or leave but most women swear by it. I think it has a lot to do with how much/if any testing your experience during delivery. With my last 3/4 I only had 1st degree tears so I found Dermoplast to be nice for the first day but not totally necessary for the subsequent days. With my first delivery I had a terrible 4th degree tear and Dermoplast got me through the first week and was definitely mandatory. The spray will offer a numbing and cooling effect and is supposed to help ease the pain “down there.” Now a Peri Bottle, is you get nothing else, make sure you do not leave the hospital without one. With all that your body (and vagina) has been through, you do not want to aggravate/agitate or even really touch your vagina, labia, anus etc. the peri bottle gives your the option to spray off and get clean without the added irritation that wiling will give your body. I probably used mine for the first 4 days and I was super beneficial. When you do start wiping again, you can be very dry. I liked having a wet wipe option to use for a week or two until I felt comfortable using regular toilet paper. Honestly, if you have stitches, you will want to make sure you get no toilet paper parts stuck in there. If you do it can aggravate the stitches and make them increasingly uncomfortable. A good wet wipe is a great option to avoid that!
7. Nipple Cream/Breast Pads/ Haaka – If you’re preparing to have baby number 2+ then you probably know the pain of removing a stuck breast pad from a dry nipple. If you’re a new mom, here’s the deal…When you first begin breastfeeding your nipples will be dry and sore. Often they can crack and start scabbing. Keeping your nipples moist is a must. Just like putting ointment on a cut, helps it heal better, your nipples need to be protected so they don’t scab or rub on your breast pads. It is completely safe for the baby and you can apply it after each feeding. As far as breast pads go, I think it goes without saying that (like every other thing happening) your body is trying to adjust to postpartum. Milk production is an important part of that. As your milk starts to come in, you will leak. Until several weeks after delivery when your bish starts to regulate, leaking is very likely to happen, especially while you sleep. No one wants to wake up in a puddle or be out in your first postpartum trip and then realize you’ve soaked your shirt. There are great disposable and reusable breast pad options. I prefer the reusable ones because they’re softer on the nipples, you never run out and they tend to hold more than the disposable ones. You do so much laundry with a newborn anyway so it’s not an extra hassle to throw them in the wash with the baby clothes. Now, you may or may not have heard of the HAAKA. I personally didn’t use one until my fourth because they were around. But HOLY COW THEY ARE AMAZING. The haaka is a silicone manual breast pump by name but it really isn’t used as a pump. From day one when my milk came in I used the haaka. You simple squeeze the bottom, place it on your breast (the opposite side while baby nurses on the other) and let go. It will suction to you. You do not have to hold it. The suction will stimulate your body to think you have a baby nursing on both sides and/catch any milk that leaks out while your baby feeds on the other side. Just to tell you how great this thing is, when my youngest was 3 months old I had never used my pump, only my haaka. I used it every time I nursed while we were home. At that time I had 250oz of breast milk frozen in my freezer without ever having had to pump. Get one. Try it. Trust me.
8. Nursing Bras and postpartum underwear – Okay, this might seem like one of those “DUH Leslie. I know.” but really. Nursing bras are so important. You will be sleeping in your nursing bra for the unforeseen future. If you don’t, you’ll leak everywhere. So it’s crucial to find ones that fit well, are comfortable and are easy to use. When choosing nursing bras, remember that you do not want underwire! Not only is is uncomfortable to sleep in by it can hurt your milk supply in the first few weeks while your supply regulates because it pushes on your breast tissue and can cause your milk ducts to not fill up. So find some good nursing bras that fit a little loose around the ribs, have comfortable strap and are cozy enough to sleep in. Later on your can find a nice push up nursing bra if you choose but it’s not a good option for immediate postpartum and honestly ( with postpartum boobs you don’t need any help 😉) they will be huge and won’t need underwire support with all that milk holding them up. As far as underwear goes. Get yourself a pack of cotton, loose fitting grandma panties. You will want something comfortable, breathable and that won’t push or tug on your postpartum belly. For the first several weeks your belly will still look about 6 months pregnant. It takes 9 months for your body to carry that baby, it will take a bit for it to go back down to normal. That timeline is different for everyone but in the meantime you want to be comfortable. You also don’t want underwear that you love. You will want ones that can be stained and wore a lot and thrown away when you are done. Don’t waste your cute little lace briefs for that. And cheeky ain’t cute or comfy right after a baby. Not in the slightest. Take my word for it.
9. Hair ties, Chapstick and slippers – If you have hair that you can put up in some sort of pony tail or bun you’re going to want hair ties. Lots of them. Often breastfeeding can be painstaking in the beginning. Watching babies latch, holding your breast in just the right position and the oh so familiar staring at that precious little baby you’ve been dying to meet. You definitely don’t want to be frustrated or fussing over your hair while you’re doing that. I always pack a full new thing of hair ties in my hospital bag because without a doubt mine will snap mid labor and I will be so frustrated. The same with being home and breastfeeding those first few days, you won’t want that to worry about. The same with chapstick. For whatever reason (just like getting extremely thirsty while I nurse) my lips are always so chapped postpartum. I don’t know if it’s the hospital air or the stress on my body or what but having a few extra of your favorite moisturizing lip balm or chapstick easily accessible makes life a lot easier. Like hair ties and chapstick, I always bring a good, comfortable pair of slippers to the hospital but I LIVE in them that first week at home. After each delivery my feet and ankles had been extremely swollen, probably from the fluid during delivery. A good comfortable and supportive shoe that you can wear around the house is a must. Plus with all the raging hormones my feet are always freezing until six weeks or so postpartum. That’s also why I try to make sure I have good cozy socks. If you are hungry, thirty, cold or uncomfortable you body can sense that and it can effect your body’s stress level and therefore you ability to produce milk and heal properly. It may seem silly but simply having warm ties brings me so much comfort and it made the first few weeks home much more comfortable.
10. Breast Pump – Last but certainly not least is a breast pump! These days many insurance companies provide a breast pump as part of your prenatal care. If they do not, you can often get one through WIC or Social Services. Check with your local Department of Social Services if you’re in need and they can point you in the right direction. As much as many of us strive to have that ideal breastfeeding relationship from day one, that is not always the case. Whether your babies is a premie or full term, there are many reasons why breastfeeding can be difficult. Your milk doesn’t come in the day you give birth. For most women it’s between day 4 and 7 post delivery. Some babies do just fine nursing and others need more assistance. Regardless, having access to a pump is very important if you want to give your baby breast milk! Even if it’s just pumping for an occasional date night for you and your partner or pumping so your partner and can over one of the nighttime feedings so you can get a little linger stretch of rest, there are a great aid to new moms and can be so beneficial to both mom and baby!
Now, you may be a little overwhelmed by all of this or just overwhelmed at the thought of having a baby…or another baby…or multiple babies! Whatever the case, just know, your body is amazing and it has done or will do amazing things to bring your baby(ies) into this world. Your hearts greatest desire is to love and take care of that baby the best you can! Make sure you’re taking care of YOU too! Babies need their mamas to be 100% happy and healthy in order to give them everything that they need! Don’t put your postpartum body on the back burner. You’ve got this!
All of these items can be found HERE on Amazon but can also be found at many retailers local to you! Or you can pin it to refer back to later! Congratulations, mama! You’re doing a great job already!