Must Have Essentials for After Giving Birth
Updated: May 28, 2022
When you are making the list of what to buy for your new baby, no one ever tells new moms the items you need after you give birth. It seems like such a taboo topic and leaves many moms feeling unprepared when they get home.
The last thing you want to think about when you bring baby home is trying to figure out what you need when you have postpartum pain. This results in many extra store runs in the first week for new parents after bringing home their first baby.
When I had my first baby, my daughter, I did not have everything on this list, and I had to send my husband out to the store multiple times for things I needed. Thankfully he was able to buy exactly what I needed, but it's easier to purchase items ahead of time so you know you have exactly what you want.
Before I gave birth to my son, my second baby, I made sure to order all my postpartum items, so I was prepared when I got home during that postpartum period.
I made a postpartum recovery kit list for moms containing items she needs to get through those uncomfortable early days and weeks after childbirth.
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1. Nursing Bra
This one you may have already been aware of. If you are going to be breastfeeding, you will need a good collection of nursing bras to make it easier to nurse your baby. These bras are also great to wear when you are in your last trimester of pregnancy because your regular bras may not fit you anymore. I own two types of nursing bras; regular nursing bras with underwire and sports style nursing bras, which can be found on Amazon.
2. Breast Pads
Another essential item for breastfeeding mothers. There are reusable and disposable options out there, so purchase what is best for you. These will keep your clothes dry all day and night and are comfortable when you have sore nipples from breastfeeding. The most frustrating issue while breastfeeding is leaking breast milk through your shirt and bra when your new baby is due to eat.
3. Mesh Underwear
Many people will tell you not to bother purchasing these because the hospital will supply you with a few pairs to take home. I found these much more comfortable than regular underwear for the first view days at home since they do not dig into your stomach. You could look into any kind of disposable underwear if you wanted to purchase your own.
I bought some Disposable Mesh Underwear from Amazon to have at home for after I came home from the hospital.
4. Peri Water Bottle
When you are in the hospital, they will usually give you a peri bottle to fill with warm water to use after you use the bathroom. This is much more comfortable than trying to wipe such sensitive areas with toilet paper since you are very tender down there. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a cesarean, you will want to use the peri squirt bottle for comfort.
You can also purchase a peri bottle if your hospital does not supply you with one or if you would like to have a spare bottle. These Peri Bottles on Amazon are great to keep on hand.
5. Ice Packs
Immediately after you give birth, you will want to use an ice pack, or cold packs, to help with swelling. They are great to place inside your mesh underwear with your postpartum pads if you had a vaginal delivery. You will normally throw them away after use. You can find Perineal Cold Packs for after giving birth Here on Amazon and the hospital will sometimes allow you to bring a few home with you as well.
6. Sitz Bath
A sitz bath can be helpful after childbirth because it can help heal tears and hemorrhoids and are good for pain relief. Many women swear by them, and some choose not to. It's personal preference and something worth looking into.
7. Nipple Cream
If you are breastfeeding, nipple cream will help your breasts from cracking and bleeding. Overtime, your skin will toughen up and you may not need to use it anymore. It can help protect your milk supply if your nipples are cracking and is safe for baby to put in their mouth. This Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding is my favorite nipple cream and you can get it on Amazon.
8. Tucks Witch Hazel Pads
Hemorrhoids can happen, it is the unfortunate truth. You should have a box of these at home just in case. You may not need them though. This is only a suggestion and is not medical advice. If you have a medical issue, make sure to speak to your doctor. You can grab a box of the Tucks Witch Hazel Pads from Amazon.
9. Maxi Sanitary Pads
This is one of the obvious ones since you will have quite a heavier amount of vaginal bleeding. You will need them for a few weeks, so it is a good idea to stock up. Many women prefer to stick with their favorite sanitary pads brands and go with the maxi size. I have also spoken to many women who opted to wear postpartum disposable diapers for after birth. Whichever you choose to go with, make sure to stock up so you do not have to make store runs. It is not recommended to use tampons or a menstrual cup after giving birth unless you have been instructed to do so by your doctor.
10. Stool Softener
My hospital suggested I take stool softeners after childbirth to help move things along. Since your insides have shifted around, the stool softeners can help make that first bowl movement less painful. While this is not medical advice, if your doctor has suggested you take stool softeners after childbirth, you may want to purchase some to keep at home to use as needed.
11. Nursing Tanks
I really love to wear my nursing tanks around the house even months after my son was born. My children were both May babies so having lightweight nursing tanks to wear made nursing easier. Throw on one of these nursing tanks from Undercover Mama to wear around the house and you will not be struggling to nurse with complicated shirts. They are also great to wear if you are nursing around family members too because you are still covered and can be discreet.
12. Loose Pants
You will want a comfortable pair of pants to wear home from the hospital or just lounging around the house. You may have stitches and/or you could have a tender stomach, so jeans and tight pants are not ideal. I found the maternity pants too baggy after giving birth, but my regular pants were still too tight. Some women opt for dresses instead, which is a great option as well. Undercover Mama has some beautiful and comfortable nursing dresses to make life easier for the nursing mom.
13. Nipple Shields
You may not need these, but they are nice to have to prevent pain and cracking if you are a first-time mom. Just remember not to rely on them for every feeding because your baby could become dependent on them and refuse to latch on to you without them. If you are having issues with your baby nursing, make sure to speak to your doctor or a lactation consultant. I follow a great lactation consultant online and you can find information on them at your obstetrician’s office or local hospital.
14. Nursing Pillow
Nursing pillows are the best when you are trying to nurse a newborn baby who cannot hold their head up yet. Nursing pillows allow you to relax and focus on your baby instead of trying to hold up their head with your arm or a random throw pillow. I own 2 different types; My Brest Friend for the newborn stage and Boppy as they get older. Both of these pillows can be found on Amazon. Nursing pillows can also be used to bottle feed, prop your baby up on the floor, and tummy time. Just make sure to always watch your baby if you use these pillows to prop them up because they can fall off. They should not be used without adult supervision.
15. Nursing Pillow Covers
Babies tend to spit up, pee, and poop all over everything every day. You will definitely need extra nursing pillow covers for your My Brest Friend and Boppy pillow for when this happens. I found some really cute Nursing Pillow Covers on Amazon in all sorts of designs and fabrics.
Pro Tip: Lay a receiving blanket on the nursing pillow so if your baby spits up or you leak milk, you can grab another receiving blanket without having to completely change your pillow cover.
16. Breast Pump
If you are planning on breastfeeding your baby, it is a great idea to purchase a breast pump to keep on hand. I went back to work after my daughter was born, so I pumped and froze breastmilk for her so she could continue to breastfeed. If you plan on storing breastmilk for your baby, you should start pumping early on to start your milk supply. If you do not plan on freezing breastmilk, pumping can help increase your milk supply if you think it is getting low. Another great way to use your breast pump is if you are getting clogs or have mastitis. The breast pump can help to pull clogs out because you can set the suction pretty high.
Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover your breast pump before you purchase one. Many insurance companies cover a large variety of breast pumps.
17. Postnatal Vitamins
If you were taking prenatal vitamins because you gave birth, many doctors will suggest you take postnatal vitamins after your baby is born. This is not always the case, so speak to your doctor before taking any medications or supplements, especially if you are breastfeeding or taking any other medications. It is important to keep up with healthy habits after baby is born because we tend to focus on the baby and forget about ourselves.
18. Donut Pillow
Hemorrhoids and vaginal tears are very common after childbirth and can cause discomfort when sitting, especially for long periods of time. You can find donut pillows to help sit in a more comfortable position and you can use them for a long time. They could be great to use if you are sitting to nurse your baby for a while or to sit on the couch. My daughter liked to marathon nurse so I would be sitting for up to 45 minutes at a time with her. a donut pillow would have been great to have during these long nursing sessions. Head on over to Amazon to check out the different Donut Pillows they have.
There are many other items you may find essential to have at home after you give birth. This postpartum care kit list is just a few of the items I found helpful to have around so I wouldn’t have to send my husband to the store.
Some other great ideas for after giving birth is to keep in touch with your mom friends and support each other.
Many friends like to start a meal train to help feed a first-time mom and her family since it can be difficult to cook when trying to care for a brand-new baby.
I found it helpful to plan many freezer meals while I was pregnant to make it easier to just pop a freezer meal in the crockpot when I was tired. The meals I made had simple instructions and my husband could just dump the food in the crockpot in the morning and it would be ready by dinnertime.
These postpartum recovery essentials really helped me heal faster and even if I didn't need everything, it was nice to plan ahead, so I would not have to worry about having everything I needed for recovery.
What are some of the items you found essential to have after baby's arrival? Did you have a good personal experience?
Feel free to share in the comments!