Looking for the ultimate list of Postpartum Essentials for Mom and Baby? As a two-time mama, AND labor and delivery nurse, I know a thing or two about postpartum recovery…
AND what you need to make it through this strange (and uncomfortable) time in your life when you aren’t pregnant, but you still don’t really feel like your normal, non-pregnant self.
This list of postpartum essentials is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to stock up, AND for the mama who already had a babe and realized there is a lot missing from her postpartum life.
It’s in no particular order, but I know ALL of it is going to make your life just a little bit easier with the new baby around.
PS: See my Instagram highlight ALL about postpartum recovery with tips, advice, essentials and what I did different the second time around.
Preparing for postpartum
I’m going to admit, the first few postpartum weeks were tough for me – especially the first time around. In fact, it’s tought for MOST new mamas. It can be hard adjusting to this period if you don’t know what to expect, or if you’ve got another kiddo or two running around.
With my second baby, things were actually WAY easier. I think it’s because I knew what I needed to have on hand, and I knew I needed to seriously rest and take it easy.
Another huge difference? I had awesome postpartum supports in place. That included my family, but it also included professional support from Pebble Parents.
I seriously can’t say enough good things about this company and their mission to provide the postpartum care that the US healthcare system lacks. Check out my Instagram highlight all about Pebble to learn more about why I love them.
Alright, on to that postpartum essential checklist !
10 Postpartum essentials for mom
Your hospital may give you those super sexy mesh underwear (which are awesome by the way), but it’s also a good idea to have about 7-10 pairs of HUGE GRANNY PANTIES.
It’s going to be a little bit of time before you are not wearing a pad, and you don’t want to mess up your normal-nice underwear. These come in a 5 pack!
Stock up! Get the biggest, most absorbent ones you can find, but also buy some regular absorbency and panty liners.
This way, as your postpartum bleeding decreases, you can use the appropriate sized pad or liner for your needs and comfort.
I know, I know, I already referenced granny panties in this post. I’m sorry, you’re not a grandma once you have a baby.
Truth is, some women really like wearing Depends in the postpartum period. Especially in those first few days when your bleeding is the heaviest.
2. Tucks pads/Witch hazel
These may be given to you upon discharge, but not every hospital does provide them. Tuck’s are great for healing and preventing hemorrhoids after you give birth. And, unfortunately, hemorrhoids are a common occurrence. Some women prefer to apply witch hazel to a wipe or cotton ball, but I totally love the Tuck’s pads for convenience.
Again, this may be given to you upon discharge. Dermoplast is a spray that is wonderful for relieving pain from vaginal tears, or general vaginal soreness. It contains Aloe, Lanolin, and Menthol.
4. A Momwasher or peri bottle
The MomWasher is a super awesome product you didn’t know you needed until you have one.
Your hospital will most likely give you a “Peri Bottle” (a little squirt bottle you fill with water to clean yourself up after you use the bathroom/change your pad), but the MomWasher is different because it’s angled, and it has a one-way air valve for continuous, gentle water pressure.
If, for some reason, you don’t receive any peri bottles while you are at the hospital, and you’d prefer to go the cheaper route, snag a few here.
I like to put this, along with a few other bathroom essentials into a little basket in each bathroom of my house. See my postpartum basket details over on Instagram
4. Ibuprofen (motrin)
Stock up. I went through a whole bottle and then some during those first 6 weeks.
Goes along with the Colace…if you get to the point where you are so constipated you need a suppository…trust me…you don’t want to drive all the way to the drug store for that a few days after you have a baby (not speaking from personal experience or anything here *sadly sarcasm*). Do yourself a favor and pick one up the next time you go out, (or right here on Amazon) your future-constipated-4-day-postpartum self will be high-fiving you.
7. Prenatal vitamins
Just because you’re not pregnant anymore doesn’t mean you should stop taking your prenatal vitamins! If you are breastfeeding, your doctor/midwife will most likely recommend you keep taking them once you return home. So, just make sure you have an extra bottle!
I personally use and love Ritual prenatal vitamins because they contain folate (as opposed to folic acid), they’re easy on my system, and they’re third party tested for effectiveness.
8. Heating pads
You’ll have some uterine cramping in the first few days/weeks after you deliver (regardless of if you have a vaginal or C-Section).
BONUS Newborn sleep tip: I also used to use a heating pad to warm up the bassinet/crib before I put him to sleep!
I would put it in there for 5-10 minutes on the lowest setting while I was nursing him. I’d take it out RIGHT before I laid him down so it was nice and toasty warm. He loved it!
Padsicles are fancy little pads you can make before-hand and stick in your freezer. They are WONDERFUL.
In short, you’re gonna load up a pad with aloe, witch hazel and some other soothing herbs. Then, pop that baby in the freezer and thank me later.
Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need:
- Extra large absorbent pads
- Witch hazel
- Sandwich bags
- Aloe Vera (optional)
- Lavender oil
- Coconut oil (optional)
- Teatree oil (optional)
Head on over to this article for all the details on making your own padsicles.
10. Postpartum Support Garments
They are super popular right now, and for a good reason! They are awesome for postpartum support, and C-Section recovery.
9 Postpartum essentials for breastfeeding
Just like I recommend creating a postpartum supply basket for every bathroom, I also made a little breastfeeding basket with supplies I needed for each feeding.
So much easier to tote everything around and have it in one spot. And you bet I have an Instagram highlight about what I put in my breastfeeding basket!
You’ll find a lot of these breastfeeding items (plus a couple of others) on my bedside table for middle of the night feeds, too! Want a little tour of how I prepped my bedside for baby # 2? Head here!
1. Plenty of nursing bras, and nursing-friendly attire
As a breastfeeding mama, you are gonna spend a lot of time feeding that babe. Nursing bras make the boob SO much more accessible. They’re also a bit roomier and stretchier so they won’t compress your boob to much or cause a clogged milk duct.
2. Nipple Cream
You want to buy this stuff BEFORE you start breastfeeding. Cracked and sore nipples can happen pretty fast.
And if you have some left and nips aren’t sore? They work great for lip balm 🤣
3. Nursing pads
For the leaky booby mamas. Some moms prefer the disposables (my favorites were always the ones by Hey Mama) but you can buy washable pads as well!
I’d suggest buying at least 3-5 pairs of the washable kind, so you know you always have a clean pair on hand. I’ve heard really good things about Bamboobies brand.
4. Nipple shields and Nipple shells
- Nipple shields are ideal for mamas who have flatter, or inverted nipples. In fact, if you know this is how your nipples are already, I would go ahead and purchase them, because you will probably need one in the first few weeks. If you have very normal, or everted nipples, you can probably hold off on buying any, until you start breastfeeding.
- Nipple SHELLS, on the other hand, are wonderful for any breastfeeding mama. They are basically little shells you can stick in your bra in-between feedings, so that your sore nipples do not touch your shirt/bra. Really, really, really nice. Trust me.
5. Hot/Cold Packs for your boobs
File this under things you don’t know you need until you’re actually in the throes of breastfeeding…
These are breast packs made with organic cotton shell and filled with flax seed that can be heated or frozen to provide relief when breastfeeding gets painful (and believe me it, unfortunately, does at some point).
You can stick them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and use them warm to help your supply, or keep them in the freezer and use them for engorgement. Soooo much better than frozen peas.
THESE are a cheaper alternative, but I will say the booby tubes take the cake! (I’m all about saving money though!)
6. Breast milk bags
If you plan on pumping from the beginning, you’ll need a way to store that breast milk! It’s so much easier to keep milk in bags, instead of using up all your bottles and constantly washing.
On another note, these are important to have if you have over-supply issues from the beginning. Never pump and throw away that breast milk! You never know when you might have an unexpected dip in your supply and you need to dive into your freezer stash!
Parent’s Choice Breastmilk Bags are BY FAR my faves out there! I’ve tried a bunch of different brands, and for some reason these cheap-o ones are awesome!
7. A Haakaa
This is fabulous to have on hand for breastfeeding moms, to collect milk from the other side that lets down while you’re nursing (waste no breastmilk, mama!)
It’s also just generally awesome to have manual breastpump in addition to your electric pump for when you need to relieve a little pressure (breast engorement is the worst), or need to pump on the go.
8. A few big a** water bottles
You will be SO THIRSTY as a breastfeeding mama. Get some cute, BIG water bottles to keep IN EVERY ROOM! Extra points for an insulated one!
9. Nursing Pillow
I think, generally, most women like the My Brest Friend better (especially in the early days), but a Boppy is nice to have for an older baby because you can use it as a little infant lounger and tummy time support.
13 Postpartum essentials for baby
Okay, this is kinda of the stuff that I either hadn’t thought of ahead of time, wish I had, or had to grab because of certain situations or scenarios.
1. A variety of swaddles
Ok, I PROMISE this one is so important. There’s going to be a night (or many nights) you Google “best swaddle for getting baby to sleep”. I think I went through 4-5 different kinds before I found one that my little one liked.
My son liked the bottom half of his body swaddled, but his arms out so he could suck on his hands. It took a few different trials before we found a good one (after which a few months, we ended up switching AGAIN)
It’s nice to have a few different kinds up front, though, because babies are picky!
Here are a few options that I either personally used, or close friends have personally used:
A weighted swaddle
Nested Bean Zen Weighted Swaddle: If your baby sleeps better in your embrace or with your palm on their chest, The Zen Swaddle simulates the pressure from your touch with lightly weighted pads on their chest and sides.
Nested Bean coupon code: I love this company, and scored you guys a code for 15% off! (LIESEL15)
A sleep sack
The Halo sleep sack is a popular one among all moms out there! This is basically a wearable blanket, and the small size has velco you can use to tightly wrap their arms, or just the torso with arms free.
Once your baby is rolling (and then full on MOVING) a sleep sack is essential because it actually stays on and is WAY safer than a loose blanket (which is recommended until after your little one’s first birthday)
A traditional swaddle
Sometimes minimalist and traditional is the way to go. If it ain’t broke….as the saying goes. Some people can’t master a tight swaddle, but after you watch a couple of Youtube videos, I know you’ll get this down.
Love, love, love me some Aiden and Anais muslin swaddles. The prints are to die for and once baby doesn’t need to be swaddled there are so many other uses for them.
Use your basic swaddle as a burp cloth, nursing cover, car seat cover, light blanket for on the go, picnic spot, diaper changing surface, fashionable scarf, the list goes on and on!
2. White noise machine or app
My son doesn’t sleep without a white noise machine (neither do I for that matter).
You can just download a free app on your phone for the newborn days, but I would suggest buying one once you transition to a separate room.
I’d go as far to say that a white noise machine is ESSENTIAL to a baby sleep environment. Don’t skip this one, mama.
3. A soft light
I would recommend picking up a small nightlight to have by your bedside for these middle of the night feedings/diaper changes.
You definitely need some source of light when changing a diaper at 3am. Having one of these is way easier than turning on an overhead light (and it’s nicer to your sleeping partner too!).
I love mine, all you do is tap the top to turn it on.
Pssssst – this is THE MOST popular item on this whole list 😊
4. Newborn and size 1 diapers
You never know how big baby is going to be until he/she comes out! 9lb+ babies don’t fit so well in the newborn diapers, so make sure you have at least a pack of size 1’s in case baby turns out to be a wee bit bigger than you anticipated!
5. Newborn onesies/sleepers
Sometimes simple newborn onesies and sleepers get missed as an item to put on your baby registry.
Everyone buys you all the cute outfits, but you really just need some simple onesies/sleepers for the newborn period.
Formula feeding mamas are probably like, “Well DUH!”. True, DUH! Even if you plan on breastfeeding, I would plan on having a small can of formula at home, for emergencies.
Many times the hospital will discharge you with a can or two regardless of your feeding plan. I remember the discharge nurse telling me the importance of this.
I’m ALL for breastfeeding, but, there may be a day when you just have had enough, and just need to give your baby a bottle of formula. Or you unexpectedly have to be away from baby and don’t have milk pumped.
Stick it in the back of the pantry for emergencies.
Read all about how to choose the right formula here
7. Gas drops
8. Gripe water
Gripe water is very popular nowadays. I had some, but I never needed it because my son had a pretty good tummy.
It’s an all-natural supplement you can give baby if you suspect they have tummy troubles (as an alternative to gas drops). It contains organic ginger and fennel, both of which aid in digestion, relieve gas, and calm little bellies.
9. Nose frida
I should really put this FIRST on the list! I may be slightly obsessed with this thing. If you’ve never heard of it before, it may seem gross at first, but I PROMISE IT’S NOT.
Works 1 million times better than the blue bulb syringe. All hail the almighty snot sucker!
Babies have a tendency to have super sharp nails that grow FAST and become hangnails FAST.
Get a good pair of nail clippers, and I promise it’s not as scary to cut a baby’s nails as everyone says it is! Once you do it a few times, you get the hang of it!
11. Aquaphor/booty cream
I LOVE AQUAPHOR. I put that stuff on everything! (diaper rash, bug bites, scratches) It’s absolutely your choice as to which kind of butt cream you use, and some kiddos do better with different brands. You’ll just have to do a trial and error.
12. Hand mittens
Along with the nail issue, hand mittens are nice to have so your poor baby doesn’t get any face scratches. I’ve also heard socks work just the same (or better).
13. Dreft or any baby detergent
I don’t use baby detergent anymore, but I LOVED the smell of Dreft! There are a few different brands out there, but it’s definitely a good idea to use a baby detergent for a few months on that sweet baby skin.
If you don’t want a baby specific one, you can also just get a scent and dye free regular detergent – Like All Free and Clear.
Basically just don’t wanna irritate baby’s skin.
10 Other random postpartum essentials
Ok, I’m a nurse, so I’m supposed to say “wash your hands after every diaper change”.
Yes, DO THIS. However, if you just can’t do it every time, use some hand sanitizer!
Just make sure you have some extras on hand. You will be cursing if that baby swing dies during naptime.
Cluster feedings come with lots of couch time. I remember literally sitting on the couch attached to my son for DAYS. Since you’re stuck sitting there, might as well get some good binge watching in.
4. Amazon Prime
All moms need Amazon Prime. Seriously. I LOVE IT, and it’s so worth it. Sign up now to receive 30 days for free!
I found Instacart while I was on maternity leave and I still use it! It’s a grocery delivery service! It’s $150/year for free unlimited delivery.
Sounds expensive at first, but if you think about the gas and time you will save…$150 is NOTHING. The app is super easy to use and it seriously saves me SO MUCH TIME!
Use promo code LTEEN1DA to get $10 off your first order!
***If you have Amazon Fresh in your area, that’s a great grocery delivery service as well!***
If you’re one that talks to family/friends on the phone a lot, you’ll want one of these! You need your hands for baby-related activities!
For cleaning baby bottles!
*No caption needed*
9. Lots of snacks
I referenced above that you will be very thirsty if you breastfeed. You will also be very hungry, ALL THE TIME. You may wake up in the middle of the night hungry. I had fruit snacks stashed in my bedside table for this reason (they may or may not still be there).
And, honestly, if you don’t decide to breastfeed, a girl still needs some extra snacks on hand.
10. Freezer meals
Stock up! You are not going to want to cook anything for at least a month (or three).
Also a great suggestion for visiting friends and family, if they ask “What can I bring?”
EVERYTHING you need for postpartum, on one list
Okay, so did I just overwhelm you? I’m sorry. That was totally not my intention! Reading back over this list, I DO REALIZE THAT IT’S VERY LONG!
Who knew there was so much stuff out there that can help you during those first few precious months with your little babe?
The reality is, when you’re up every 2-3 hours feeding your little one, it may seem like this period you’re in will never end. Unfortunately, it actually goes too quick! I blinked my eyes and my child was ONE.
I remember him being so small and frail in the beginning and now he’s A CHUNK, eating cheese and scrambled eggs like no one’s business.
I’m asking the vets out there, what’s one thing on your list that you absolutely recommend for new-postpartum mamas? Leave me a comment!
Looking to learn more? Here are some other Mommy Labor Nurse Resources to help you prepare:
- Free Preparing to Breastfeed Miniseries
- Pregnancy Email Series: Tailored to Your Week!
- How to Have a Natural Birth: Free Email Course
Happy Postpartum Life! 🙂