If you’ve never had a baby before, it’s hard to know exactly what postpartum essentials you’ll need after the baby comes. Actually, this is my third time around and I still had to think pretty hard to remember what I’ll need postpartum. Here are the things I found most helpful after my babies were born!
Postpartum Essentials for Mom
Most postpartum essentials lists will recommend that you stock up on maxi pads, but I’ve always thought adult diapers were a better alternative. They hold way more, and if you’re spending a lot of time resting or lying down, you don’t have to worry about leakage nearly as much. And you should be spending most of your time during this period resting!
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Things are going to be a bit sensitive down there for awhile after you give birth. Toilet paper is not going to be an option for at least a few days, especially if you had any tearing. This little bottle will be your new best friend. If you have a hospital birth, they will probably send you home with one. Otherwise you’ll want to make sure to have one on hand before you have the baby!
If you like staying dry, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a good supply of nursing pads available after the baby comes. Your milk will most likely come in full force after just 2 or 3 days, and there will be milk everywhere. Keep the mess nicely contained with a good set of these.
There’s so much going on in the bathroom when you have a baby. People talk about how scary it is to poop for the first time after birth, but peeing is no picnic either! A bottle of Dermaplast was my very best friend after my vaginal birth. Just a quick spray before you go to the bathroom and it takes allll the pain away.
To all you mamas out there who had a natural childbirth, you can stop being a hero now. It’s okay to take some ibuprofen to be able to sleep or, you know, sit down. I was always resistant to taking medicine even after I had a baby, but I always felt so much better when my husband insisted that take a little pain relief.
You probably already have a breastfeeding pillow on hand for, well, breastfeeding. But this thing can be quite useful even when the baby isn’t eating! If you have a lot of pain when you sit upright after birth, try putting the Boppy down on your chair. It’s perfectly shaped to help you sit with a little less pressure on your bottom. Just make sure you have a Boppy: they are softer and more pillow-like than some other more structured nursing pillows.
Having a breast pump postpartum is probably a given, but that’s because it’s so important! If you find yourself feeling engorged during the first few days after your milk comes in, pumping for a few minutes can really help take the pressure off. Since there’s often so much extra milk during that time, it’s also a great opportunity to start building up a little freezer stash of breast milk!
I used a Medela, but the Spectra is supposed to be pretty great too!
Long phone charger
This is one of those postpartum essentials you wouldn’t necessarily think of, but I speak from experience when I say that the worst thing ever is being trapped underneath a sleeping child with a dying phone. Go ahead and invest in a really long phone charger so that it’s easily accessible from your bed or couch or where ever you’ll be spending the most time resting after giving birth. It’ll come in handy at the hospital, too. They never have outlets near the bed.
You might need nipple cream, you might not. But when you need it, you need it, so it’s best to have it on hand in your postpartum essentials basket just in case.
Sure, the time you have postpartum is a great time to binge watch all of your favorite shows. But no matter how much you love TV, at a certain point it really gets to be too much. It’s a great idea to have some good books on hand to keep yourself entertained during all those hours of nursing the baby. Better yet, invest in a Kindle or other reading device so you can easily read even if you only have one hand to spare.
Using the haakaa is one of my favorite tips to easily start building up a stash of breast milk. All you have to do is attach it to the breast that your baby isn’t using at that moment, and let it collect all of the milk that leaks out! Nothing goes to waste, and it saves you from the mess of leaking everywhere, too.
Essentials for baby while you are postpartum
A good swaddle will save your life postpartum. Or at the very least, your sleep. My babies always slept so much better when they were swaddled nice and snug. If you have a hospital birth, they will most likely give you one when you go home. But you’ll probably want to stock up on a few extras, too!
Fact of life: babies noses get super stuffy all the time. They’ll give you a bulb syringe at the hospital to help clear your baby’s nose. It sort of works. But the Nose Frida is way better! The concept of the thing is a little gross (literally sucking the snot out of your baby), but hey, there’s so much other grossness that goes along with having a baby, what’s one more thing?
I know, you got tons of cute little newborn outfits at your baby shower and you just can’t wait to dress your baby up in all of them. Reality check: it’s so much easier to dress your baby in the simplest outfit possible in those early days. Between the hundreds of diaper changes, blow outs, and spit up issues that are inevitable, you’re going to want as little clothing on your baby to deal with as possible. I find that footie pajamas are easiest for babies born in cooler months, and onesies (or nothing!) for summer babies.
You can go ahead and toss out that pacifier they gave you at the hospital. They are NOT good for newborns as they are way to heavy for them to keep them in their mouths. Save yourself the heartache of lying there at night for hours holding the pacifier in your baby’s mouth and pick up a couple of MAM pacifiers designed for newborns. You’ll thank me at 2 AM.
A co-sleeper is a bit more a luxury than a necessity. For our first two babies we just had the crib in our room which was fine, but this time we’ll be using this co-sleeper/bassinet and I’m super excited about it. I think it will make it so much easier to be able to reach the baby easily without having to even get up. The sides collapse with the weight of your hand and spring back up once you remove your hand, so it’s super easy to get access to the baby without compromising safety.
Newborns love to be held and they really can’t be spoiled. Even if they’re content in a seat or swing, I still like to keep my babies close anyway. Baby-wearing has so many benefits for moms and babies, which means that a baby carrier is an absolute must!
This stuff is magical for babies’ bottoms. For best results, apply it with every diaper change to keep your baby from getting a rash in the first place. I tend to get lazy about that though because it’s a little messy to deal with. But even if your baby does get a rash, Bordeaux’s Butt Paste will get rid of it pronto.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.