What are the postpartum essentials?
Where’s the postpartum care kit registry?
All throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, you’re preparing for the baby’s arrival.
You have a baby shower. Get all these cute baby products from clothes to toys. It’s all about the BABY.
Not to say that the focus shouldn’t be about the baby. As a first-time mom, how is it that there’s seemingly little preparation for postpartum recovery?
You often only find out about how important this is when you’re ALREADY postpartum!
Where’s the postpartum care package registry? Where’s the postpartum kit gift box?
If you’re a postpartum mama, YOU KNOW about the difficulties right after birth.
How weak you feel. How your lady parts are in pain. You are completely petrified of peeing and pooping.
Not to mention you’re exhausted and you have to take care of a little person. That is a whole other mental struggle!
Any postpartum mom has just gone through a major shock to their system between pregnancy, labor and birth. Moms need care too!
The LAST THING any postpartum mama wants to do is run to the store and buy things!
What supplies do I need after giving birth?
Here are my 8 essentials for mom after birth.
8 Postpartum Essentials
1. Postpartum Underwear
After your delivery, you will have vaginal bleeding like you’ve never had before! Mine lasted for 8 weeks. I’ve heard for some it can be as short as 2 weeks.
With this type of heavy flow, even overnight pads won’t cut it! DO NOT use tampons.
You will need to include postpartum underwear in your post pregnancy care package.
What’s the best postpartum underwear to use after giving birth?
I highly recommend getting this pull-on underwear. You can easily slip it on while you’re on the toilet and it’s comfortable.
Make sure you get the “pull-on” ones and not the ones with sticky tabs that go on like diapers. The sticky tab undies are not easy to maneuver. You might get blood on the floor like I did!
When you’re looking at the sizing, go with one size up from your pre-pregnancy size. For example, I’m usually a size S and I went with the size S/M.
Everyone will require different quantities. I ended up purchasing 3 packs of postpartum underwear.
2. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is an important postpartum need. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s especially important for your milk supply!
With “mommy brain” and everything else you’re doing as a mom after birth, it was difficult to constantly remember to drink water.
I stayed hydrated by always having a water bottle on hand. I just used this Voss water bottle that I’ve been reusing for few years now. It’s extra large and made of glass so there’s no unwanted flavoring from the package.
I have friends that love this water bottle. It’s also made of glass, but has this silicone sleeve for easier gripping. It has an opening that’s large enough to put ice cubes easily in if you overheat and just need to chomp on cubes.
3. Postpartum Meals
Having postpartum meals handled before you give birth is a must! Definitely add this to your postpartum care checklist!
You’re fragile in that first month and healing. You need to conserve your strength so you can take care of the baby and recover quickly.
Also, when you’re breastfeeding, you are hungry. ALL. THE. TIME. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from moms how they only have time to prepare the meal, but not to actually eat it.
I highly recommend preparing weeks’ worth of meals in advance. Don’t cook the meals yourself. Work out a system to have meals prepared for you.
We had 1 month of meals and easy-to-access snacks ready when she was born.
Preparing meals in advance sounds like a lot of work, but trust me – you’ll be so happy you did this.
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4. Household Chores Delegated
The same thing applies to chores.
Ask family to help you with this in advance. Lower your expectations for getting household chores done in the first few months. What’s most important is that you get better so you can take care of your child.
5. Comfortable Clothing
Comfortable clothing is one of the most essential postpartum recovery items.
I lived in my robe. I still wear it regularly at home. It’s not only comfortable, it’s convenient for breastfeeding. A robe gives your baby easy access and you can quickly cover up when finished.
I was also wearing my maternity leggings often. Yes – you’ll still look 6 months pregnant after you give birth! It takes a few weeks for your uterus to shrink. Leggings are the best. Snug, but also stretchy.
If you’re breastfeeding, I’ve found a nursing bra necessary, especially when you leave the house.
It’s comfortable even when you’re both full and empty. It has clips that make it easy to pull the front part of your bra down to breastfeed. The nursing bra comes with a pad to conceal leaks.
Even if you don’t have “nursing pads”, I found this nursing bra sufficient to cover leaks.
A pair of comfortable slippers you can slip into easily is a great product to have after delivery.
When you’re postpartum and constantly getting in and out of bed to feed the baby, change diapers and use the bathroom with the cold bathroom floors – you’ll definitely appreciate it!
6. Peri Bottle
If you had a vaginal delivery, you’re going to need a peri bottle in your after birth care package. Usually the hospital provides this and explains how to use it.
Here are the basic steps:
- Before you use the bathroom, fill your peri bottle up with warm water.
- Do your business
- Squeeze the water from the peri bottle onto your lady parts to cleanse it
The peri bottle is awkward to aim. I missed several times! I often had to waddle back over to the sink with my pants down to refill the bottle!
Some moms use this peri bottle. This is designed for postpartum use! The spout is angled. You can perfectly aim your bottle and actually clean the whole area in one sitting!
I think I’ll get this if I have a second. It’s handy to have a second peri bottle, especially if you have multiple bathrooms in the house. You don’t want to always be running to the bathroom with the peri bottle. If you have urinary incontinence like I did, you won’t make it there in time anyways.
Watch this video to see how this peri bottle works:
7. Sitz Bath
If you had a vaginal delivery, you’re going to be extremely sore down there!
I highly recommend doing a sitz bath, especially if you have tearing or hemorrhoids! I had both and a sitz bath helped tremendously with comfort and recovery!
You don’t need a sitz bath kit in your after birth care kit.
This is what I did after a couple of days into being postpartum:
- I just cleaned the bath
- Filled it with around 2-3 inches of water
- Put some epsom salts in (but you don’t need these)
- Sat in the bath for 15 minutes/day
Getting a bath kit saves you from having to fill up the entire tub with water though. It’s a personal preference.
8. Stool Softener
With breastfeeding, it’s easy to get dehydrated if you’re not constantly drinking water. Dehydration can cause constipation!
I have never been constipated before so this was my FIRST AND HOPEFULLY LAST experience with constipation. If you’ve never been constipated, it is no joke! I felt like I was giving birth all over again.
After it happened, I just drank lots of water and ate prunes like there was no tomorrow. Luckily this worked. I haven’t been constipated since.
For some, I know they’ve taken stool softeners like Colace at the recommendation of their doctor. I would highly suggest asking your doctor before getting any stool softener.
Additional Postpartum Must Haves for Moms
Every mom is different. I never used these. I know they have been essential for other postpartum moms.
Just in case they’re handy to you, I’ve included them below.
1. Nursing Pads
I never used these as the pads in the nursing bra were sufficient.
In hindsight, I should have just tried including a baby wash cloth to see if I leaked enough to require additional breast pads before I purchased these ones.
If you leak a lot, you’ll probably want to have nursing pads available.
2. Nipple Cream
When my nipples were sore and cracked, I just used saliva and breast milk, which worked well for me. I know this doesn’t work for all moms.
If you need nipple cream, here are 2 options I know have worked for other postpartum moms.
They’re both organic.
There’s no petroleum, parabens or lanolin.
You don’t need to worry about washing it off before breastfeeding and your baby accidentally ingesting something he or she shouldn’t have.
I’ve included 2 because they’re made from different ingredients.
1. This nipple cream is made with beeswax. I actually heard about this from a reader who highly recommends it.
As you can see, it’s an Amazon bestseller.
2. Another option is to use organic coconut oil.
I have this coconut oil and I love that it has many other uses like cooking, as a moisturizer on your hair or skin etc.
3. Breast Milk Storage Bags
My baby always fed directly on the breast so I just didn’t need the storage bags.
If you want to have a break from breastfeeding or get out of the house without the baby for some “me time”, you’ll need breast milk storage bags so that someone else can feed the baby.
4. Perineal Spray
Many moms have included a perineal spray in their postpartum recovery kit.
I like how it uses organic herbs and provides a soothing and healing effect. I’ve personally never used this.
The sitz bath was good enough to soothe my second degree tear.
If you have more severe tearing, an episiotomy or a low tolerance for discomfort, this might be one of the essentials for your after birth kit.
5. Sleep Book
This is actually something I regret not getting.
I never used to have issues with sleep. When my daughter was born, sleep became the main challenge. I was just too exhausted to do anything about it.
I’m not alone. Every postpartum mom I’ve talked to wonders how to get more sleep and whether she should sleep train her baby.
This issue actually still plagues me on and off today and my daughter is 2 years old.
Knowing what I know now, I should have spent some time looking at a book like this sleep book. I definitely think this is a postpartum essential for moms.
6. Relationship After Kids Book
Another regret I have is not putting a lot of thought into how to manage my relationship with my husband after birth.
When my daughter was born, we just went with the flow.
We were overworked, exhausted and feeling neglected by each other.
In hindsight, we should have anticipated these new realities and put a plan in place to make more time for ourselves. We should have prioritized us.
This is why I wish someone had introduced us to a relationship book like this one earlier.
In this book, the author talks about how to work together with your spouse to have a successful marriage with kids. It includes the latest research about relationships, information from couples’ therapists and her own experiences.
Topics addressed include how to divide chores, raising children and sex after giving birth. This type of knowledge is definitely a postpartum necessity for moms.
7. Breastfeeding Course
If you’re anticipating breastfeeding, you might want to consider taking a breastfeeding course.
This breastfeeding class was created by registered nurses and lactation consultants Cindy and Jana. It comes highly recommended by other postpartum moms.
If you want to check out Cindy and Jana’s style and content, they offer a FREE course about top pregnancy mistakes their students shared with them in secret.
Their breastfeeding course offers extensive tips on how to breastfeed successfully like
- How to get that deep latch
- What to do when breastfeeding is not going well
- How to know if the baby’s getting enough milk
- How to address mastitis
Mastitis is when your breasts get PAINFULLY engorged because you’re not breastfeeding properly. It’s when the latch is not quite right and the milk is not being drained.
If the mastitis gets really bad, you have to go on antibiotics (this is what happened to me!).
Breastfeeding was way more difficult than I anticipated. While I took a general prenatal class, breastfeeding is an entirely different topic. I wish I had been more prepared going into it.
One thing is that this course is not cheap – it’s $40. The price reflects the extensive amount of information the course offers. It includes everything you need to know for breastfeeding.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, this online breastfeeding class is a good option.
It’s created by Stacey who is a Certified Lactation Educator. Her course does a great job of explaining the basics of breastfeeding. There is even a 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t feel completely prepared for breastfeeding after taking the class.
8. Maternity Belt
I didn’t use a maternity belt when I was postpartum. I asked my doctor about it and she didn’t advise it.
I’m not sure if this was the right advice because I ended up getting severe diastasis recti (when your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy so you still look pregnant many months or years after giving birth).
For me, it wasn’t until after the 1 year mark that my abdominal muscles came back a little with some help from a physiotherapist.
In speaking with other moms, I realized that a maternity belt would have helped with the diastasis recti. It supports your abdominal muscles.
This isn’t its primary function. A maternity belt is often used to ease the hip and pelvic pains when you’re pregnant and your belly is growing. It more evenly distributes the extra weight.
It also helps to correct your posture and reduce bladder pressure.
Final Thoughts on Postpartum Must Haves
That completes this postpartum essentials list!
All the best during your postpartum recovery! Don’t forget to put your ideal postnatal care package together well in advance! Take care!
If you’re wondering, “What essentials do I need for a newborn?”, I have an article on all of my baby essentials for the first 3 months. This checklist is what I actually used until 6 months.
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Recap of the postpartum necessities:
- Postpartum Underwear: pull-on Depend underwear
- Water Bottle: Lifefactory water bottle
- Postpartum Meals: freezer meals, meals other people cook and bring over, snacks (like Cliff Bars)
- Household Chores Delegated
- Comfortable Clothing e.g. robe, maternity leggings, nursing bra
- Peri Bottle: Fridababy Peri Bottle if you want something better than the hospital peri bottle
- Sitz Bath: possibly a sitz bath kit
- Stool Softener: water, prunes, possibly Colace
- Other possible essentials: Lansinoh Nursing Pads, Coconut Oil, Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray, Healthy Sleep Habits Book, Relationship book when you have kids, Breastfeeding Course, Maternity belt
Related Postpartum Essentials Articles:
- Breastfeeding Must Haves
- Baby Essentials for the First Three Months
- 6-12 Month Baby Essentials
- Baby Freebies
- Diaper Bag Essentials
- Essential Baby Clothes for the First Year
- Baby Checklist for Second Baby
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