Prepping for baby’s arrival? Aside from choosing your baby’s name and packing your hospital bag, it’s also important to prepare with postpartum essentials, which you and your baby will need after birth.
Stock up on these items for at least two weeks before your due date because you never know if your little one will arrive early.
Postpartum Recovery Essentials: What Does A New Mom Need?
In packing your postpartum care and recovery essentials, think about what you’ll need “down there,” how you can feel more comfortable, and how to heal faster from potential bruises and vaginal tears.
The following are the things you need to prepare before your new baby arrives.
What Do I Need For Postpartum Recovery After A Vaginal Birth?
Absorbent Maxi Pads: How Many Pads Do I Need Postpartum?
Lochia is a normal discharge that new moms experience after childbirth. It’s a mixture of blood, uterine tissues, mucus, and other stuff that your body produces during pregnancy.
It’s heaviest during the early days (first three to five) after childbirth, so be sure to stock up on lots of absorbent maxi pads. Expect to use 5+ pads daily during the first week postpartum.
Call your doctor If you’re soaking over one pad per hour and there are plenty of clots because this can be a sign of postpartum hemorrhage or excessive bleeding.
Don’t use tampons for lochia or postpartum bleeding because these can increase your infection risks.
Disposable Underwear Or Hospital Undies
You might bleed through your maxi pads and underwear a couple of times.
Disposable mesh underwear can be handy, so you wouldn’t have to spend plenty of time doing laundry while still recovering from childbirth.
We recommend Frida undies, waaaay better than the hospital ones.
You can put these absorbent pads over your bed sheets or chairs to keep them from getting soiled if your postpartum bleeding leaks through your pads.
A peri bottle (perineal irrigation bottle) is really just a squirt bottle that you can use to keep your perineum (the area from your genitals to your anus) clean. You can think of them as portable bidets.
Fill the peri bottle with warm water and spray liberally around your perineum while urinating to help ease the stinging pain.
You can continue spraying after you’re done peeing to clean the area. Pat dry. Don’t rub.
We recommend the Frida Peri Bottle. (Plus: Our editor-in-chief has also used it as a newborn bathing tool once thoroughly cleaned.)
Hemorrhoid Relief & Witch Hazel Pads
Studies show that witch hazel pads can help reduce bruising, swelling, and inflammation in your perineal area. (1)
Put these pads on top of your maxi pads. An example would be Tucks medicated cooling pads, which can be used for hemorrhoids and your perineal area post-birth.
Ice Packs & Cooling Pads
A cold compress helps reduce swelling and pain in affected areas. Don’t forget to put a towel or soft cloth between the cold pack and your skin.
You can also pick Frida Mom 2-in-1 absorbent “padsicles” that are both maxi pads and an ice pack to cover your perineal area.
These can be useful for engorged breasts or to ease pain in your vaginal area. Be sure to check that the heating pad is at a comfy temperature (not too hot) so you won’t get burned.
Sitz Bath & Warm Water
This shallow bath can help you cleanse your perineal area post-birth and ease the pain from hemorrhoids, vaginal tears, or an episiotomy (a surgical cut on your perineum done during labor to help prevent tissue rupture).
Add warm water to the bowl. Soak your perineal area for 10-20 minutes. You can add more warm water to keep the temperature comfortable.
Pain-relieving Perineal Spray Or Foam
Thanks to its numbing abilities, a perineal spray is another way to ease the discomfort in your perineum.
Examples are Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray (Take Care “Down There”) and Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray.
Straining to pass stool can open vaginal tears and episiotomy. Your doctor might give you a stool softener like Colace to take during the first week postpartum.
You can add one cup of Epsom salt to your sitz bath to help soothe the aches and pains in your rectum and perineal area.
Medicine Cabinet Staples For Pain Relief
Ibuprofen (such as Advil) and acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) are over-the-counter pain relief medications you can take post-birth, but be sure to check with your doctor, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Other Postpartum Care Essentials For New Mamas
Your nipples are prone to cracking and developing painful fissures post-birth, especially if you’re a first-time mom.
Nipple creams like Earth Mama Nipple Cream and The Honest Company Calm Your Nip Balm can help soothe your aching nipples.
A nursing bra has special flaps that you can remove to breastfeed your baby without removing your entire bra. This can be useful, especially if you’re out in a public place.
Nursing Clothes With Boob Access
Like the nursing bra, these nursing clothes also have cleverly hidden flaps or openings that allow boob access to your hungry baby.
These absorbent breast pads absorb excess breastmilk and keep your breasts and clothes dry.
Check that your nursing pads are made of material that doesn’t irritate your skin and nipples.
These special breastfeeding pillows let you and your baby find a comfortable position for breastfeeding. There are adjustable options and those designed for moms with C-section wounds.
Baby Tracker Pro and Sprout Baby are some nursing apps that let you track your baby’s feeding, sleeping, and diapering patterns.
Lactation Cookies, Tea, & Supplements
These lactation cookies, supplements, and teas can help increase your breast milk supply.
Healthy Snacks & Juice
Reusable Water Bottle
Keep yourself hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding and have postpartum swelling.
Don’t try to squeeze into tight clothes, especially those tight around your waist, ankles, or wrists, because that can worsen postpartum swelling.
You can continue wearing your maternity clothes to feel more comfortable even if your tummy is still tender and swollen.
Comfy clothes can also help reduce postpartum night sweats.
Even if you’re planning on breastfeeding, having a breast pump can come in handy for establishing your milk supply, dealing with engorgement, or storing a stash in your freezer for emergencies.
If you’re in the US, you’re likely to be eligible for a free breast pump through insurance.
Most pumps come with one or two baby bottles, but breastmilk bags can also be useful, especially if they’re freezer-friendly. Don’t forget to add a label before freezing your freshly pumped breastmilk.
These are similar to nursing bras but are designed to accommodate and keep baby bottles in place while pumping hands-free.
A diaper bag lets you bring your baby’s essentials when you’re on the go.
A baby carrier can be useful for carrying your baby around without putting too much strain on your body.
It’s also a good tool if you’re doing attachment parenting to stay connected and attuned with your baby.
Shower Chair: Can You Take A Bath After Giving Birth?
Bathing can be a challenge after childbirth, especially if you had a C-section. An adjustable shower chair helps you take a less painful bath.
It provides support, especially during the difficult first few weeks of your postpartum period.
Bidet With Adjustable Water Pressure
It can help you clean up without straining your body.
Always keep your hands clean to reduce the risks of infection and other diseases by washing your hands or using hand sanitizers.
Help From An Extra Pair Of Hands
Ask help from your partner, a family member, or a postpartum doula to care for your baby and/or their older siblings so you can rest.
Having someone to help you out can be a lifesaver.
Keep extra batteries in stock to always have something to replace weak ones, especially for essential items like portable breast pumps.
Movie List Or Netflix, Apple TV, or Amazon Prime TV Subscription
This modern essential can help you stay awake while feeding your baby, but be sure to take a rest after each feed once your infant is sleeping.
This can be useful if you need to call someone or listen to music without disturbing your baby while doing other things with your hands.
Coffee (In Moderation)
Breastfeeding moms can still drink around 1-2 cups of coffee. (2)
Cooking can be a challenge, especially during the first weeks. You can prepare freezer meals ahead of time.
These specially designed pillows let you sit down more comfortably even if you’re still sore from your vaginal tears, episiotomy, or hemorrhoids.
Nourishing Shampoo For Hair Growth
New moms might experience postpartum hair loss. You can help keep your hair nourished with a shampoo and conditioner that can promote hair growth.
Examples can include GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner for Hair Growth and Honeydew Biotin Shampoo for Hair Growth B-Complex Formula for Hair Loss.
For C-Section Recovery
Healing salves like Earth Mama’s Skin and Scar Balm can help speed up your postpartum recovery and wound repair.
Postpartum Underwear & Support Garments
These washable undies are especially useful after a C-section but can also provide support after a vaginal delivery.
Pillow For Supporting Your Belly
Sudden movements such as sneezing, coughing, or laughing can be painful on your belly. An oversized C-section pillow can provide support for your belly.
Straining to pass stool can open your vaginal tears and episiotomy. Your doctor might give you a stool softener such as Colace to take during the first week postpartum.
These can be useful if you’re constipated.
What Do You Put In A Postpartum Care Package?
If you’re planning on giving a postpartum care package as a gift for a new mom, here are some things you pick that can make her feel happy:
- Lactation cookies, tea, & supplements
- Heating pads
- Lip balm
- Nipple cream
- Cute headbands and hair accessories
- Pampering body butter or lotion
- Soaking salts
- Bath essentials (shampoo, soap, and body wash)
Some shops already offer a postpartum care package or gift box you can choose.
Postpartum Essentials For Baby
Baby Care Essentials
Fever is among the most common signs of infection and other emergency medical conditions. So, it’s good to have a thermometer to check for signs that something might be wrong with you or your baby.
Each baby’s needs are different, but make sure to buy the medicines your pediatrician prescribed for your baby.
Your baby might still have extra mucus in their nose a few days post-birth. You can use a nasal aspirator for these secretions so your baby feels more comfortable.
Don’t stock up on newborn diapers, especially because the hospital might provide you with a pack. Having a bag or two of newborn diapers is likely enough.
It’s better to stock up on the next stage (size one or XS).
Choose an absorbent diaper with a moisture-locking core.
You can find many cheap diapers online, such as Amazon, Walmart, or Target.
Using baby wipes is convenient to keep your baby’s bum clean without using soap and water. Check if these wipes are safe for your baby’s sensitive skin.
We recommend the Water Wipes brand.
Diaper Rash Cream
Your baby’s sensitive skin can be prone to having a diaper rash. Regularly apply diaper rash cream to avoid these red, painful skin irritations.
Changing Pad & Pad Liners
These can be handy for less messy diaper changes.
Don’t forget to invest in an odor-free diaper pail with lots of extra bags to keep your house from smelling like stinky diapers.
Choose a mild baby soap that’s safe to use on your baby’s sensitive skin. Organic, natural options such as Earth Mama Simply Non-Scents Baby Wash can be a good choice.
Use mild baby detergent to wash your infant’s clothes to avoid irritation.
Baby Loungers Or Bouncers
Baby loungers can be a fun spot to put your baby, but make sure these aren’t used for sleeping or other unsupervised activities. (3)
Baby Nail Clippers
Your baby’s nails grow fast, but be sure to use baby nail clippers, which are smaller than regular clippers, to cut their nails.
Baby Feeding Essentials
There aren’t specific rules on how many baby bottles you need. But it’s good to keep around 2-4 bottles if you’re also breastfeeding and 3-6 bottles if you’re an exclusive pumper or using baby formula.
Burp cloths let you catch the mess and avoid getting your clothes dirty after each feeding session.
Organic Dish Soap
This can help keep your baby bottles clean without harmful ingredients. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Gripe Water & Gas Drops
These are remedies to help with your baby’s indigestion, colic, and gas problems. Some options, such as Wellements Organic Gripe Water, might also help with hiccups.
Onesies & Nighties
Zip-up nighties and onesies might be better than those with buttons, but be sure to check that the zipper head doesn’t detach because that can be a choking hazard.
Your baby’s fingernails are sharp and often grow quickly. Put your baby’s hands in mittens so they won’t accidentally scratch their face, but always double-check for loose cords or ribbons that can also become choking risks.
Some parents opt out of mitten use because they might also interfere with motor development.
These can help keep your baby’s head warm.
Socks & Pants
Your baby’s body is too young to regulate their temperature, so it’s good to let them wear socks and soft cotton pants to keep them warm.
These sleep sacks are wearable blankets that help regulate your baby’s temperature but reduce suffocation risks from becoming entangled in a traditional blanket. Pick the right size for your baby.
Swaddling your newborn baby can make them feel comfortable and secure. It can also help them sleep well.
Sleeping & Travel Essentials
Crib, Bassinet, Or Co-sleeper Beds
A crib or bassinet can be a safe place to let your baby sleep to reduce the risks of accidental deaths or SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Avoid putting any blankets, soft toys, or objects that can cause suffocation or strangulation.
Bed-sharing isn’t recommended for babies younger than four months of age. It puts your baby in danger of getting crushed or suffocated. (3)
Choose a firm, breathable crib mattress with an organic, hypoallergenic cover for your baby to reduce SIDS risk. The natural cover can also help prevent irritation on your baby’s sensitive skin.
A waterproof mattress cover can extend your crib mattress’ life, but it’s important only to use it when your baby is over six months old. The waterproof material can make it a suffocation hazard.
To reduce suffocation risks, it might be better to get an extra mattress cover made of the same breathable material as your original mattress cover.
These strollers are useful when you need to go out with your baby.
Your baby isn’t allowed to ride in a car if they aren’t securely strapped in a car seat.
The AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommend using pacifiers to help reduce SIDS risk during the first six months of life. (3)(4)
A baby monitor lets you monitor your baby even from other rooms of your house.
It can produce white noise or soothing music to help your baby sleep soundly.
Be sure that the light isn’t harsh on your baby’s eyes.
Postpartum Recovery: What To Expect & What You Shouldn’t Do After Giving Birth
Postpartum recovery takes around six weeks, longer if you had a C-section. Some things you shouldn’t do post-birth:
- Carry objects heavier than your baby
- Ignore your pain, excessive bleeding, or other emergency symptoms
How Can I Prevent Tearing During Birth?
- Practice correct labor breathing techniques, and don’t try to push if you aren’t having contractions.
- Use essential oils such as frankincense and sweet almond oil.