12 postpartum essentials to have at home and why you need them
Momma, it’s nearly time for your baby to arrive. The nursery is ready and your hospital bag is waiting. You have everything you need to welcome your newborn into this world. But are you ready for the journey of postpartum at home? Have you stocked your home with the things that you will need to aid in your recovery after delivering your bundle of joy? Has anyone discussed with you the things that can make your postpartum period more comfortable? Unfortunately too often, the answers to these questions are no. But, there’s no need to fret. Let’s take a minute to discuss the postpartum essentials that you should have at home. I’ll start with the one most new moms don’t even consider:
Depends are a must for any new mom’s postpartum journey at home
It doesn’t matter if you have a c-section or a vaginal delivery there will be bleeding after the birth of your baby. This bleeding can last for up to six weeks. Maternity pads, similar to the ones that they give you at the hospital, are an okay choice post delivery, but for full coverage and less stress I always recommend Depends. Yes, you read that right. I was first introduced to them as a postpartum essential after my fifth child. My midwife sent me home with a pack and if I ever have any more children, I will be sure to stock up. Depends are perfect for the first week or two (or three). Besides being super comfortable, they prevent bleeding through onto clothes, sheets or else where during the first few days when bleeding can be its heaviest. They also eliminate the whole pads in mesh underwear thing, which can be an annoyance all its own.
Of course, if you’d prefer pads, the hospital will most likely send you home with some. After the first week or so you should be able to switch the heavy flow pads. And then down to regular pads shortly after. Remember, that you should not use tampons, menstrual cup or anything else that needs to be inserted into your vagin. It is best to wait until after your doctor has okayed it.
These are another hospital item that the hospital may send extras home with you. And honestly, while not the most beautiful underwear choice they are comfortable, hold the big maternity pads (sort of) and are disposable. Which makes for an easier clean up. As I’ve mentioned I personally don’t care for them. This is because far too often my pad didn’t stay in place. Which meant I ended up destroying some of my most comfy lounge pants. Not everyone has my luck though, so these are worth stocking up on. And you can order mesh panties online if you don’t think your hospital will be generous.
a peri bottle is a postpartum essential you have to at home. trust me, you’ll thank me later
This is something I knew nothing about until my fourth child. While the hospital I delivered at gave me one during my stay they did not send me home with one. And for some reason, I was naive and thought I couldn’t take anything home with me. Hopefully you are sent home with a peri-bottle from the hospital, birthing center or your midwife provides you with one. However, if you have more than one bathroom, it may be more convenient to have a peri-bottle in each one.
Having one of these bad boys on hand will grant you so much relief. Listen, to put it nicely, your vagina is going to be swollen, extra sensitive, and maybe even recovering from being torn. A peri-bottle used with warm water whenever you feel the need, will help soothe some of the pain, keep your perineal area clean, and promote healing. They are also especially wonderful to keep things from getting a little dicey down there after going to the bathroom to urinate. Take it from me, tearing and trying to urinate without one is asking for trouble.
Yes, mama, even if you are planning to exclusively breastfeed, you may need to have formula. This can be used in case of emergencies if you have to leave your baby and you don’t have milk pumped ahead of time, or if you are having breast milk supply issues. If you never need it, you can always donate it to a local shelter when the expiration date is nearing. Its always better to be safe then sorry. And please remember, FED is best.
You will need to have some bottles on hand even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed. My husband and I would start introducing our exclusively breastfed children to bottles around 4 weeks. Just an ounce or two at a time. it helped them get used to a different nipple so when I had to return to work the stress of me not being there for feedings wasn’t so hard on them. Also, it allowed me a chance to rest from around the clock breastfeeding too. Having dad do a few of those middle of the night feedings was a huge help.
Also realistically sometimes things don’t work out quite as planned. And that emergency formula you have won’t do you much good with nothing to put it in. Because again, focusing on fed being the best method for baby, means we want to be ready for any possibility.
After birth, your breast can be so tender. From engorgement and sore nipples having a bra to support your tender breast is what you are going to want momma. But with that, you will want to stay away from wires, if possible. Which is why I recommend a nursing bra. Even if you aren’t planning to nurse, these bras still offer support but are also uber comfortable and help keep milk from leaking through to your clothes. Plus if you are nursing you’ll get all of these same comforts and the added convenience nursing bras offer.
You will need to have some breast pads in your postpartum essentials kit at home whether you plan to breastfeed or not. Every new mom makes milk and if you don’t have something to soak it up you can be very uncomfortable, and wet!
Have plenty of Freezer meals stocked up at home or even gift cards to your favorite restaurants for your postpartum journey
Taking care of a newborn and recovering from delivery are hard work, and you are probably not going to feel much like cooking in those first few weeks. Try to stock your freezer with premade casseroles, dump meals that you can put in the crockpot, and other very easy to put together meals. Buying gift cards to your favorite restaurants, DoorDash / Uber Eats or asking for some at your baby shower are also great ideas. I do not think anyone can accurately prepare you for how tired you will be after baby. Having ready to eat meals, or quick dinner options will make taking care of your newborn that much easier.
Your freezer isn’t the only thing in your kitchen you should stock before your new baby arrives. Make sure that you have a good stock of healthy snacks, preferably that you can eat one-handed, ready for you at home. Protein bars, nuts, fruits and granola bars are some good options, and you can keep some near your nursing/feeding station as well. You will likely forget to eat, and if you are nursing you will be hungry a LOT!
Numbing products are a good send and should be on all new moms postpartum essentials to have at home list
For some reason, very few new moms know about the numbing products available to them to make their recovery a little easier. Im telling you now, you’re going to want to have some ready at home in case you need it. There are different types of products available including sprays, foams, and creams. They simply numb and in some cases cool the area to give you some relief from your discomfort. Which, when everything down there is swollen, will be a Godsend. Dermoplast is the most popular choice with postpartum moms, and the one I used. It being spray made it easier to use, plus it has a cooling factor that’s great for use after a trip to the bathroom.
Over the Counter Pain Relief
You may come home from the hospital with a prescription for pain meds, but it is never a bad idea to make sure that you have a supply of your favorite over the counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. I know for me personally, the amount of people who are becoming addicted to pain meds scares me, which is why I opted for something a little less in strength. Again, that is my own personal fears, the pain medications prescribed are not meant to cause addiction and I truly believe if taken as directed won’t be a problem. Its important to note that if you are nursing look for pain relief products that are safe for the baby.
Heating pads and cooling packs can be a lifesaver for any postpartum mom. You can use the cold or hot packs on your perineal area or your swollen tender breasts. Pro tip: using the heat packs just before nursing or pumping can make letdown easier. Another tip: a heating pad is great for uterine contracts.
And last but not least, Stool softener
Going to the bathroom after delivery, c-section or vaginal, can be less than pleasant. And some of the medication you receive after birth, such as narcotic pain relievers or even Iron supplements, can cause constipation in many women. Which obviously only makes the situation even worse. Have some gentle, stool softeners on hand so that you can take them if you need them. Before I left the hospital I requested a prescription for some just so I knew what I was taking was great for me and baby, as a breast-feeding mother.
This isn’t a complete list, but it’s a good start…
Most new moms have absolutely everything they could possibly need to care for their newborn in the house before they head to the hospital. But we often forget, or don’t think about, ourselves. It is very important to make sure that you practice self-care from the very beginning. Having the things on hand that you need to make your postpartum journey as smooth as possible is key. Make yourself a list, here’s one for dads, and start stocking up on the postpartum essentials that you need to make your recovery and transition into motherhood as smooth as possible.