38 Must-Have Postpartum Essentials For Mom and Baby! [Includes FREE Postpartum Checklist]

Last Updated: March 27, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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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.

I also know what you need to make it through this rewarding, yet difficult time in your life. This limbo where you aren’t pregnant, but you still don’t really feel like your normal, non-pregnant self either.

This list of postpartum essentials is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to stock up before she’s due, and for the mama who already had her baby and has realized a lot is missing from her postpartum life.

The goal of all these things is to make your life just a little bit easier and a lot more comfortable while you’re healing from birth and caring for your new baby.

So, let’s take a look!

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Preparing for postpartum

I have to admit, the first few postpartum weeks were tough for me – especially the first time around. In fact, it’s tough for most new mamas and veteran mamas alike!

With my second baby, things were a little bit easier than the first time. 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.

I also had a much better handle on how to care for my newborn and better understood the ins and outs of breastfeeding too. All this helped to keep my anxiety in check and allowed me to focus on healing.

If you’re interested in getting educated on postpartum and newborn care, know that The Mommy Labor Nurse Online Birth Classes all contain information on postpartum and newborn care too!

Related Reading: Preparing for Postpartum: What You Can Do Before Birth

Postpartum essentials for mom

To kick off this article, let’s talk about the absolute, non-negotiable essentials I want you to have on hand. Trust me when I say – you don’t want to send your partner to the store for witch hazel and Dermoplast as soon as you get home!

One of the best things you can do is create a postpartum bathroom basket with everything you need to stay clean and comfortable in the weeks after birth. 

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Postpartum care kit for the bathroom

1. Pads

I don’t have a particular brand I recommend, but I do recommend stocking up on two different absorbencies.

You’ll want something for heavy bleeding in the beginning, and then something a little less intense as the bleeding slows down.

2. Peri bottle

Cleaning yourself with water is way more comfortable than wiping. Your hospital will almost certainly send you home with a peri bottle so you shouldn’t have to stock this ahead of time. If you want an extra to have on hand I highly recommend the one by Frida Mom!

3. Sitz bath spray

This isn’t essential, but I did really love having sitz bath spray to soothe my hemorrhoids and swelling when I didn’t have time for a full-blown sitz bath. This spray has a soothing and cooling components to help ease that post-birth discomfort too. You can spray it directly on your perineum or on your peri pad!

4. Extra underwear

I liked having a couple of pairs of undies in my postpartum bathroom basket just in the case of an unexpected underwear change.

5. Hemorrhoid cream

Some mamas don’t get bad hemorrhoids, but many do! So go ahead, do yourself a favor, and put a tube of hemorrhoid cream in there, just in case!

6. Numbing spray

Dermoplast is numbing spray and a lot of postpartum mamas call it heaven in a can – and I would have to agree! This stuff is glorious, mama! Stock up on a couple cans of this so you have it ready when you get home from the hospital. You will not be disappointed, I promise you that!

Postpartum essentials for your medicine cabinet

7. Glycerin suppositories

Glycerin suppositories are one of these things that you’ll be glad to have in the event that you need them. These can really come in handy for the first postpartum poop, trust me!

8. Colace

Colace is a stool softener, and something that I recommend every mama take regularly for the first few weeks after giving birth. It’s good to keep things soft as you are regaining strength and function of your pelvic floor, and while everything is likely going to be super sore down there!

Constipation is pretty common during pregnancy too. A lot of mamas will start taking a daily stool softener at some point during their pregnancy.

9. Ibuprofen

This is how you’ll likely manage any pain and inflammation you may be experiencing after birth, so if you don’t have it – go ahead and grab a bottle!

10. Prenatal vitamins

Did you know that you should continue taking your prenatal vitamins after birth? Ritual is my favorite brand!

Stay comfortable in the postpartum days

11. Comfy underwear

Vaginal bleeding occurs after birth (whether you have a vaginal delivery or C-section) for the first 3-6 weeks. This means wearing a pad, and in the first week or two, a big pad is necessary.

Having some comfy “granny” panties ready to go is a good idea because they will likely get dirty or stained. They will need to be big enough to fit a large pad, I recommend a good old Hanes 10 Pack for this!

12. A lightweight, cotton robe

I find having a lighter weight robe really nice postpartum, especially if you plan to nurse. I would wear it with a nursing cami and some leggings to feel a bit more put together if visitors stopped by.

13. Wide waistband lounge pants

Again, whether you have a C-section or vaginal birth, a wide waistband is so much more comfortable after giving birth.

14. Heating pad

You’ll have some uterine cramping in the first few days and weeks after you deliver (regardless of if you have a vaginal delivery or C-section).

Heat works great at relieving those cramps, or any back pain and soreness you are experiencing. I personally like the plug-in ones, but I know plenty of mamas are fans of the microwaveable kind too!

15. Bidet attachment for your toilet

Bidets make cleaning yourself postpartum so much easier and more comfortable!

I absolutely LOVED The Tushy after I had my second. It’s so easy to install right on to your existing toilet. You can thank me later for this one!

16. Padsicles

You can click the image below to purchase some pre-made ones, or make your own!

Homemade padsicles are pads that you soak with aloe, witch hazel, and optional essential oils and freeze prior to birth. They function as a soothing ice pack for your sore perineum in the postpartum days.

Find everything you need to make them right here!

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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. It’s so much easier to tote everything around and have it in one spot!

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!

17. Plenty of nursing bras and nursing-friendly attire

As a breastfeeding mama, you are going to spend a lot of time feeding your baby and nursing bras make things way more accessible.

This 3 pack is very budget-friendly and ones that I actually used and loved.

And then more of a splurge – but my ALL time favorite – is the Larken X!

18. Nipple Cream

Equally, love me some MotherLove and EarthMama nipple creams! You can’t go wrong with either one!

19. Nursing pads

I suggest buying at least 3-5 pairs of the washable kind, so you know you always have a clean pair on hand. The Bamboobies brand ones are great

20. Breast milk bags

If you plan on pumping from the beginning, you’ll need a way to store that breast milk! Lansinoh Breastmilk Bags are my favorites

21. A Haakaa

This is fabulous to have on hand for breastfeeding mamas. It’s a great way to collect milk from the other side that lets down while you’re nursing (waste no breastmilk!).

It’s also just generally awesome to have a manual breast pump in addition to your electric pump for when you need to relieve a little pressure (breast engorgement is the worst), or need to pump on the go.

The Haakaa is loved by ALL mamas (pretty universally) and I can’t say enough good things about it. I even packed it in my hospital bag just in case

22. Nursing Pillow

Ahh, the breastfeeding pillow debate…Boppy vs. My Brest Friend. I actually had both, and I liked them for different reasons.

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 for tummy time support

Related Reading: Breastfeeding Essentials for the Nursing Mama

Related Reading: Bottle Feeding Equipment Every Mama Needs!

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Postpartum essentials for baby

I wanted to include some info on essentials for baby while we’re talking about postpartum essentials. This is by no means a definitive list, and it’s definitely not meant to take the place of your registry!

But when you boil it down all you actually need to care for a newborn baby is:

23. Car seat

24. Safe place for baby to sleep

This might look like a crib for some and a bassinet or pack n play for others. Whichever you choose, just be sure you are following The American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines, which you can find here!

25. Diapers and wipes

I’m a pampers gal myself but there are so many options out there when it comes to diapers and wipes!

26. Pack of onesies

27. Bottles

28. Formula (if not breastfeeding)

Related Reading: Organic vs Non Organic Formula: The Best Organic Baby Formula

Seriously, on the most minimalist level that’s really all you need! But here are a few other items that you might have forgotten on your registry to all around make life easier during the first few weeks with your newborn.

29. Soft light

Having a soft, dimmable light for middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes is so helpful. I really love my Hatch Rest for this, but a simple touch light like this one will work too!

30. Sound machine

A sound machine will quickly become one of your favorite baby sleep items because they work so well for drowning out external noise and lulling baby to sleep.

I used the HomeMedics brand for the nursery, and my Hatch Restore while baby was in with us. For on-the-go naps (because, let’s be honest mama, they’re gonna have to happen), the Yogasleep hushh sound machine is a must!

31. Bottle warmer

I know this is a hotly debated topic, but if you are bottle feeding (especially if you are exclusively bottle feeding – whether that’s with formula or pumped milk) a bottle warmer just makes life So. Much. Easier!

32. A good swaddle (or 2-3)

Again, with the make-life-easier theme. Muslin swaddles are so pretty, but ones that Velcro get the job done quickly and effectively! The Halo Swaddle Sacks and Ollie Swaddle are great options

33. Baby wrap carrier

I think this probably *is* on a lot of people’s registries, but just in case – I really do see this as an essential.

Especially if you have other kids at home or you have an especially fussy baby. Baby wearing for the win! The Boba baby wrap carrier is one of my favorites!

Related Reading: Complete List of Baby Registry Recommendations

Related Reading: Baby Things to Buy Before Birth

Postpartum essentials for your home

To round out this article, let’s talk about some postpartum essentials for your home! These things are sure to help you survive the newborn fog.

34. Snacks

Easy-to-grab, healthy snacks are a great thing to stock in your pantry and fridge. Bars, trail mix, cheese sticks, dried fruit, pita and hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and rice cakes with nut butter are some of my favorites.

35. Hand sanitizer

Now in a post-COVID world, I think many of us do regularly keep hand sanitizer around. With a newborn, this will quickly become a staple in your life again. Anything to keep that little one healthy!

36. Streaming services

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were musts for me after I had my baby. It might also be a great time to try a free trial of a streaming service like HBO if you’ve been wanting to because you’ll have a lot of TV-watching time on your hands.

37. All the Coffee

I mean, if you’re not a coffee drinker you won’t need this, but to the rest of you: COFFEE. I actually really liked having a Keurig for on-demand coffee rather than a pot that would get old and cold. The Nespresso is really great too!

38. Freezer meals

Stocking your freezer with pre-cooked, healthy meals is something your postpartum-self will be so grateful for!

Free postpartum essentials checklist

Looking for a quick and convenient spot with all these items?

Grab our totally FREE Postpartum Essentials Checklist to download and print today!

Want to keep learning? Check out these other articles from Mommy Labor Nurse to get you totally baby-ready:

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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