If you are hoping to find more information on postpartum necessities for moms – trust me. I’ve been there.
I don’t know about you, but with my first pregnancy, I was so overwhelmed by the thought of a baby that I spent all of my energy obsessing about her. This meant I spent hours researching all things baby, as well as spending all of our money on all things baby.
Gathering items for my postpartum healing period never even occurred to me.
My focus was on our little nugget, and everything else came second. Or third..or tenth. This mindset turned out to be a huge mistake because it turns out you have to be taking care of yourself (at least a little) to care for another person.
I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you are in so much pain that you can’t walk, or you end up starving to death, who is going to care for your precious little one?
That may be a little extreme, but my point is valid..
The whole process of having a baby feels kind of like the universe playing a joke on us. They make us wait nine months to meet our precious baby. During those nine months, we are sick, sore, and tired all of the time.
Then, we give birth, which is its own kind of trauma. By the way–I recommend you decline the mirror in the birthing room.
After this we have to deal with the postpartum period, which parts of it were worse than pregnancy or childbirth–at least for me. All I will say is that the first bowel movement is going to be one of the most painful experiences of your life.
There’s also all this bleeding, leaking, and aching coming from different places…all on top of taking care of a defenseless newborn. Somehow, women have been doing it successfully for eons.
We have the ability to limit the suffering we go through, so be empowered to prepare yourself properly.
I wanted to compile a list of things that can actually be counted as postpartum necessities for new moms. Some new mother’s need more, others need less.
Related: Third Trimester Checklist
***hint***Any hospital worth their salt will give you most of the items below to take home with you. Make sure you empty the cabinets or ask for extras before you leave the hospital. Don’t feel sorry about it, this is what you paid for!
I was totally open with the nurses that I planned to empty the room before I left, and they brought me a bag to carry everything out.
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POSTPARTUM NECESSITIES FOR COMFORTABLE VAGINAL HEALING
A PERI BOTTLE
You want to have one of these Cleaning Bottles for every single bathroom in your house, so we ended up with two of these little beauties. They can be used for a multitude of things during the postpartum period.
- To help decrease sensation when peeing (because peeing does hurt postpartum for some women–try warm water!)
- Use the peri bottle instead of wiping (If you tore a little and had to get stitches, you aren’t going to be able to wipe until the stitches dissolve).
- Use it to clean your perineum area
There are premade peri washes you can purchase, but it’s just as easy to DIY it. Mix Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, or Epsom salts to the peri bottle for natural relief and faster healing–just check with your doc first.
Honestly, it’s not that bad. It’s kind of like using a Bidet without the hefty cost attached.
When using one of these, remember to fill the bottle with warm water instead of cold before you sit down to use the toilet. Warm water provides less of a shock and probably cleans you better.
After filling the bottle, you can squat over the toilet, hold the bottle between your thighs, and spray the bottle upwards.
Some women will pat gently with a little toilet paper to dry, but if you had stitches, this could irritate them a little.
This is one of those postpartum necessities for new moms that you SERIOUSLY can’t live without.
If your doctor is worth anything, they will make sure and go over the importance of Stool Softeners with you. There are many reasons for the stool softeners.
Not only will you need them for constipation you may experience from pain meds (if you take them), but iron supplements (for postpartum blood loss) and dehydration can also cause constipation.
Also, if you developed hemorrhoids or have any tears, you want to go easy on yourself and avoid straining. The stool softeners can help with that.
Other things that will help with constipation
- Eating foods high in fiber
- Drink a lot of liquids
With my first daughter, I didn’t start taking stool softeners until the third day after my daughter was born. I am pretty sure that my first bowel movement was the most painful experience of my life (yes-it was worse than the birth!)
Lots and LOTS of Heavy Flow Pads. Postpartum bleeding can be kind of intense, because there’s a lot of it, and it goes on for what feels like forever.
It’s normal to see heavy period-like bleeding postpartum. You may see the bleeding more intermittently in small gushes, or it can flow more evenly.
If you’ve been laying down for a while, you may see small clots when you stand up due to blood being collected in your vagina.
Since postnatal bleeding results in a significant amount of blood clots, make sure that you have something wide enough to prevent underwear stains.
When I gave birth to my first daughter, I had a hard time accepting that I had to use a pad as big as my head, but it’s a fact of life and…I got over myself.
Okay, so this is really a personal preference, but using Disposable Mesh Underwear during the postnatal period is such a good idea. The hospital will give you disposable mesh underwear to wear during your hospital stay.
It’s big and ugly, but surprisingly pretty comfortable.
I decided to purchase a bunch of the mesh underwear that I could change them out daily and discard the old ones. Wasteful, I know.
It doesn’t matter how good of hygiene you have; it’s likely that you will smell a little strange down there for a while. I didn’t want the funk on my cute underwear, so I found a suitable alternative.
This stuff is a lifesaver–and definitely one of the things you need after giving birth. Dermoplast is a brand of benzocaine spray that works as a local anesthetic and numbs the area that it contacts.
This stuff relieved so much of the soreness after giving birth. I used it every time I went to the bathroom for the first few days, and sometimes, just because.
They will likely give you some of this at the hospital, but make sure you have an extra can at home.
Witch Hazel Pads
These Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads are medicated pads that you can keep in the lining of your underwear. Don’t worry, they are COMPLETELY safe for postpartum moms, and are often recommended by health care providers.
These pads work as an anti-inflammatory and a bit of a pain reliever.
Witch Hazel pads can be used in the following ways
- Applied directly to the perineum
- Soak a cloth in cold water, wring it out, and put witch hazel on it before applying to perineum
- Chill it in the fridge before applying to perineum (the Mayo Clinic agrees!)
- Fill your peri bottle with witch hazel and spray the perineum area
- Fill your peri bottle with warm water and a small amount of witch hazel. Spray on your perineal area to clean and reduce swelling
You may already be familiar with these if you experienced the unsavory pregnancy symptom of hemorrhoids, as they are often recommended for them.
I used these in conjunction with the Dermoplast, which was probably the biggest thing that made my recovery bearable.
I know this is probably a no-brainer, but make sure you have some Ibuprofen on hand for your pain and inflammation. Your doctor will likely prescribe you some, but it’s not a bad idea to have a bottle of it already at home just in case.
I ended up taking my regular Ibuprofen most of the time because the prescription ones (even though it’s the same thing) upset my stomach more for some reason.
Plus I hate the process of trying to gag down horse-sized pills.
Postpartum Necessities for Your Comfort and Health
After having your baby, your body is still severely depleted of a lot of necessary nutrients. If you are breastfeeding, it’s even more important to make sure you are taking your Prenatal Vitamins because you are providing nourishment for two different beings.
There was a study done that PROVED the importance of continuing your vitamins through breastfeeding. Apparently researchers saw increased visual acuity, skills processing, and brain development in infants. You can see that here.
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t take these postpartum with my second child. Now, I did take them with my first, as I followed every single instruction from my doctor to a T.
With my second, I was busy and forgetful so taking vitamins was nowhere on my list of priorities. I ended up with cracked nails and hair.
I wasn’t getting all of the nutrients I needed, and your hair and nails are one of the most obvious places you can visualize this. Once I started retaking vitamins I noticed an improvement within a month or so.
Your body is trying to recover from some pretty major trauma after birth. If you are breastfeeding, you are depleting yourself of vital nutrients further.
Related: After Baby is Born Checklist
I ate so much during the postpartum period. But it wasn’t all healthy.
I loved the hospital I gave birth at because they gave me so much stuff to take home with me! One of these items included a large water bottle which I kept with me at all times.
Keep your water bottle within arm’s reach as often as you can so that it is easier to remember to drink. When you are breastfeeding, you are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated, so you need to be drinking a lot of water.
The average person should have 64 oz of water a day, and breastfeeding mama’s need at least 92 oz. That’s a pretty large amount, and I think many of us are lacking.
I love Contigo water bottles, because they are cheap and versatile. You can drink them with or without a straw, and they come in many exciting colors.
This may seem like a no-brainer; however, I always forget the little things. So I include the Hand Sanitizer just in case you do too.
Everyone who touches your baby should only do so with clean hands. People should be using old-fashioned soap and water, but it’s still good to have some hand sanitizer around just in case someone “forgets.”
Downtime Activities For You
Believe it or not, you will have some downtime with a new baby–because babies sleep a lot.
You will hear people tell you to sleep while the baby is sleeping, but anyone who says that has never had a baby. Baby sleep is sporadic and short, and you will probably have some other things you will need to get done while the baby is sleeping.
Related: Self Care for New Moms
Rest is good, but you will be surprised how much you can go without. Pick up some simple quiet time activities that you enjoy so you can have some “you” time–even with a new baby.
If you plan to breastfeed, every clothing item you look at for your postpartum period should be nursing-friendly. Get clothes that are comfortable, but don’t make you feel like a frumpy animal.
You will always feel better if you take a little time in the morning to get ready so you can feel a little more like yourself.
Items for the Breastfeeding (or Pumping) Mom
Stacey’s Milkology course is an amazing online breastfeeding course you can take at home.
There is a lot of free information you can get on the internet, but it can be difficult to navigate the difference between good and bad information.
The instructor of this course has been a lactation consultant for years, and has helped hundreds of women be successful with breastfeeding.
Some nipple cream is a must if you are breastfeeding because your nipples are going to go through some pretty severe abuse for the first few weeks.
You will get used to it, and eventually, it won’t be painful anymore–unless you don’t take care of yourself.
Look for the following when comparing which nipple cream to add to your postpartum necessity kit
- Nipple cream that does not contain alcohol
- Cream that does not contain anesthetics, petroleum, or parabens
- Avoid flavored or scented nipple cream
- Avoid possible allergens
Some brands seemed to be either too waxy or too sticky, and so I had to try a couple of different kinds before I found Lansinoh, which had the consistency I wanted.
Related: Breastfeeding Hacks
Nursing Bras (at least 2)
Nursing Bras are just more comfortable than regular bras during the postpartum period. They are usually stretchier, and you really can’t beat the convenience they give you for nursing.
My biggest motivator for using a nursing bra was the fact that I didn’t want all of my regular bras destroyed. You tend to be pretty leaky those first few weeks, and washing your bra daily will likely wear it out much faster.
Pick up a couple, so you have a spare when you have to wash one inevitably. Every day.
With my first, I started pumping right away because I wanted to make sure I had a healthy supply built up for when I went back to work.
I loved my Medela Pump in Style and I even got my insurance to cover the entire cost. Definitely check with your insurance provider, as most companies offer this benefit.
Don’t start pumping right away if you don’t intend to keep it up because that could potentially cause engorgement if you suddenly stop–and definitely check with a lactation consultant or your doctor if you are unsure.
Keep in mind that your breast milk chemistry changes depending on what your baby needs. Later when you use the breast milk you saved, it may not be the most optimal for the period of growth your baby is in.
Regardless, it will still provide your baby with amazing nutrition. Having a huge stock of frozen breast milk was the only reason I was able to keep my baby on breast milk as long as I did. Make sure you pick up some freezer bags while you are at it.
Despite the ridiculous name, these cute little nursing pillows are a real life saver.
Your arms will get tired very quickly when you first begin to nurse, and this pillow will allow you to be comfortable and actually enjoy the process of breastfeeding. It really is something special.
Eventually, you will build up the supermom arm muscles that come with having a little creature that needs to be continuously held and carried, but it takes time.
Related: Newborn Hacks
This pillow will also be useful when your little one’s neck gets strong enough to prop them up against the pillow.
Wrapping Up Postpartum Necessities for Moms
Listen carefully–don’t try and do everything by yourself. I recognize that some of you momma’s may not have a partner, or maybe your partner can’t take time off work.
Regardless of the reason, do what you can to make sure you don’t have to do it all alone. Call your mom, sister, or friend. Make sure and voice your needs.
Do you need to catch a few hours of sleep? Ask your loved one to take the next shift with the baby. Don’t be afraid or too prideful to ask for help. That doesn’t benefit you or your baby.
My husband’s super awesome company gave him three months of paid paternity leave for each of our children. I don’t know what I would have done if he wasn’t around. He seriously did everything for me that first week, and that’s okay.
You are recovering, and the more you rest, the faster you will heal.
What worries you the most about the postpartum period? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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