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During pregnancy, expecting mothers tend to spend so much time preparing for the baby, but they forget to think about themselves, the recovery after birth, and the transition of becoming new parents. There is a fourth trimester that many women don’t know about called the “postpartum period”. This fourth trimester is the first three months after giving birth. During that time there is a lot of healing, learning, and many sleepless nights. It can be difficult to adjust during this period if you don’t know what to expect.
As a postpartum doula myself, I have helped hundreds of new mothers, second moms, third time moms, and more bring home their newborn. Women tell me all the time that they forgot how difficult this transition can be and new moms say that they weren’t fully prepared. This is why I’ve come up with a list of products that I think are essential to have during this fourth trimester, your postpartum period. I hope that this list of postpartum essentials helps your transition from expecting mom to new mom much easier and more enjoyable. Here is my list of postpartum essentials for mom and baby:
Postpartum Essentials for Mom
1. Sitz Bath/ Herbal Bath
After you have a baby, you’re definitely going to have a sore pelvic floor. Get some bath herbs to help soothe wounds, aches, pains, reduce swelling, heal tears + perineal brusing. It’s also really good for hemorrhoids, too. You can get a regular sitz bath Sitz Bath at any corner store or you can purchase Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Postpartum Bath Herbs. Your pelvic floor will thank you!
After giving birth, you will have lochia, which is vaginal bleeding from the uterus lining shedding and it can last as short as two weeks or as long as six weeks. (Note: Do NOT use tampons.) I highly recommend expecting mamas create their own padscicles for when they get home to help with healing so you can purchase some Always Maxi Pads to prepare these and have them ready in your freezer. I also recommend picking up some TUCKS Medicated Cooling Pads as well.
And you may think I’m crazy, but I highly recommend getting some Silhoutte Depends! They are comfortable, don’t leak, and are a great undie alternative especially if you just want to be able to toss what you wear. C-section mamas also like that it covers over their incision.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Mothers that don’t stay hydrated have lower milk supplies so be sure to drink enough water throughout your day. You should be drinking the normal six to eight glasses of water a day, but don’t overdo it. Drinking more than six to eight glasses will not help you make more milk or provide you with any additional benefits. Drinking an excessive amount of water has actually been shown to drop a mother’s milk supply. But again, remember to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle near you and refill it throughout the day.
Teas can be so helpful for many things, especially a recovering new mama. I absolutely LOVE Birds & Bees Teas. Their Ripe & Ready tea is made to help tone the uterus, which is perfect for healing after giving birth. Their Our Lady of La Leche tea is helpful to increase the quantity and quality of milk as well as support a nursing mother’s overall health. I give them two thumbs up!
5. Nipple Cream
6. Heating/Cooling Pads
These products are postpartum mamas’ favorites! Pariday offers TendHer pillows to new mothers, which are soothing gel pads that can be warmed or cooled to help with healing and soothing aches and pains. They have pillows for the breasts and for the perineum. When you are feeling extra sore and are wanting some relief, these will make your day.
7. Nipple Shield
Breastfeeding can sometimes be challending in the beginning. Some mothers have inverted or flat nipples which can be a challenge for babies to get a strong latch. Some babies have lip and/or tongue tie which also causes latch problems. There are so many things that can happen and make breastfeeding a bit frustrating for both you and baby. Lactation consultants will sometimes recommend that you get and use a nipple shield to help your baby learn how to latch properly. It can also give your nipples a break from getting dry and cracked. It’s not something that you need forever, but it’s something nice to have on hand if you need some assistance.
8. New Mama Bottom Spray
Earth Mama Angel Baby’s New Mama Bottom Spray is definitely a must-have for every new mom. It provides healing and relief without the harsh chemicals and all you have to do is spray.
9. Nursing Pads
Disposable breast pads are convenient, but can sometimes be uncomfortable and itchy. A company that I highly recommend is Bamboobies. They have soft, organic washable and reusable nursing pads. I highly recommend them.
10. Healing Salve
With the U.S. cesarean rate being 32.7% (almost one in three people), it’s nice to have something that can help you heal after potentialy having a c-section. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s C-Mama Healing Salve is a great all-natural product that helps with proper cell regeneration and wound repair. It can also be used for other surgical wounds, old c-section scars, stretch marks, inflamed rashes, and burns.
11. Nursing Bras/ Tanks
You’ll want to be sure to stock up on 5-7 nursing bras and/or tanks once you have your baby. You will be very leaky so it’s nice to be able to have those extra back ups. Some of my favorite nursing bras are this Underwire Free Bra from Target ($18), this Racerback Sports Bra from Macy’s ($22), and the Bravado Designs nursing bras and tanks. These are supportive and very comfortable to sleep in!
This tank is also a cute from Target ($20) that has a built in bra. It makes nursing wherever you go so easy. I like that it’s also a cute look and can be incorporated into an everyday outfit if you decide to get out of the house.
If you’re needing some major relief down there, I also recommend using Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray a few times a day to help your pelvic floor heal. It’s slightly numbing, easy to use and offers instant relief. What postpartum mom doesn’t want that?
13. Peri Bottle
For the first week or so after giving birth, peeing can sting (especially if you have stitches). Having a peri bottle handy filled with warm water each time you go to the restroom helps lessen the sting. The hospital usually gives you one to bring home, but I particularly like the peri bottles from Frida Baby. Since it has an angled end, you aren’t having to lean over awkwardly aim and spray (and probably missing) every time you have to use the restroom. This makes it so much easier. And you could use it in the future as a portable bidet!
14. Stool Softeners
Going to the bathroom for the first after birth can be scary and feel like giving birth all over again. Do yourself a favor and start taking a stool softener like Colace once after your little one has arrived. I would recommend continuing to take it for a week or so after, along with eating lots of easy to digest foods.
Postpartum Essentials for Baby
I actually prefer these swaddle blankets over everything. They are my absolute favorite. However, many parents like to save time and make their lives easier by purchasing some swaddles that are already folded up and designed to quickly put baby in. A few of my favorites are the Miracle Blanket, Ergo Swaddlers, and these ones by SwaddleMe’s by Summer Infant.
2. Zip Up Onesies
Zip up onesies are the way to go. No parent wants to deal with having to find every button in the middle of the night or having to put a new onesie on their baby that goes over baby’s head. (FYI: Babies normally hate outfits that go over their head.) Save yourself your sanity and ask for zip up onesies only from friends and family.
Diapers are an obvious essential and new parents NEED diapers. I’ve experienced that Pampers are really great for wet diapers and Huggies are great for dirty diapers, but since we don’t know when that will happen you can’t really go wrong. If you want to get an eco-friendly option, I recommend Honest.
4. Hand Sanitizers
Every new parent wants to protect their newborn so having some hand santizier on hand can keep those germs at bay. It’s great to have around the house when visitors stop by so no matter where you’re in the house, you can make sure that their hands are clean before holding your baby. I recommend Babyganics or Honest. Babyganics is an alcohol-free foam and Honest has a gel or a spray. I love that Honest’s gel doesn’t dry out your hands and their spray smells good, too!
Some parents need a good pacifier for their little one. I personally recommend Soothies and a great option is a Wubbanub. These have Soothies as their pacifier and they don’t get lost as easily. Others that I have seen many babies like are Soothies, Nuk, and Avent. Babies usually prefer a certain type so try not to buy too many of just one brand.
6. Diaper Rash Cream
Diaper rash is miserable, so don’t skip out on diaper rash creams. I recommend Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is amazing! I’ve had many clients use it and it really helps prevent diaper rash and/or treat diaper rash. I also like Honest’s healing balm as well. Since Honest provides a natural and eco-friendly option to just about everything, you know that the baby is always safe.
Here’s another product that you can’t get enough of. Some options that you can get are Pampers, Honest and I highly recommend Huggies Natural Care Wipes. These were great on baby’s skin, plus it’s a great value. You can get a massive box (1,120 wipes!) at Costco for $29.99.
8. Baby Detergent
I’ve selected two different types, Dreft and Honest, so you can choose which you prefer. They are both safe for baby, but depending on your budget and if natural/eco-friendly is important to you, you have a second option. Or you can purchase a sensative skin, fragrance free detergent for the whole family. This way you can save a little money and it’s safe for baby.
9. Nursing App
Another tool that can be a lifesaver is a Nursing App. The first few visits to the pediatrician are filled with the doctor asking how many times a day baby pees and poops, how often baby eats, how long does baby eat, etc. The lack of sleep and exhaustion of having a newborn can make it hard to track everything. With an app, it makes it so much easier for you to log eating and diapering. The apps are only a few dollars which is well worth the price and there are even some free ones too.
10. Nursing Pillow
Breastfeeding pillows are a nursing mom’s best friend since they provide relief to your back, neck, spine and arms. Ahhh… The primary function of the pillow is to bring your baby close to your body and closer to your breasts. This is obviously important if you want your little one to get a good latch and keep you comfortable during the process. It also can be a great option if you are recovering from a C-section. It protects the incision site and keeps direct pressure off of it which helps your incision heal faster. My favorites are Boppy and My Brest Friend.
11. Burp Cloths
Babies spit up all the time so it’s good to have a nice, thick burp cloth that can soak and hold all of it. I have tried many different kinds, but honestly, the product that I prefer the most is Gerber’s cloth diapers and I use them as burp cloths. I know that they aren’t the cutest, but I promise that they can absorb much more and that they will be your favorite too.
12. Baby Soap
Babies don’t actually need soap very often since they don’t get very dirty, but when they do it’s nice to have some good smelling natural body wash that is made for your baby’s delicate skin. The Honest Company and Mustela are great brands to get for your newborn.
13. Breastmilk Storage Bags
If you plan on pumping your breastmilk, you will need to be able to store it. Instead of keeping each amount you pumped in a breastmilk collection bottle, I recommend that you purchase breastmilk storage bags. This way you will be able to save much more for the future and for emergency situations. Also, you can donate extra breastmilk if you have them frozen in your storage bags as well! Here are two brands of collection bags that you can purchase: Medela Pump & Save Bags and Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags.
If you want more information on how to properly collect and store breastmilk, read my post here.
14. Breast Pump
It’s unrealistic to think that you are ALWAYS going to be able to nurse your child. You may need to give your nipples a break from nursing and pump, you may want to catch up on some sleep or run some errands and want your partner or a family member to help with a feeding, etc. Thank goodness we have breast pumps so women can still give their babies breastmilk even when they aren’t able to nurse. The pumps that I love (for purchase) are the Medela Freestyle Breastpump, Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breastpump, Philips Avent Comfort Double Electric Breastpump, and Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breastpump. Instead of owning your own, there are also hospital grade breastpumps that you can rent.
Bottles are obviously an essential to have when preparing for baby. My favorite bottles are Dr. Brown’s bottles, but, if you decide to formula feed your baby, the best bottle hands down is the Mixie Baby. You must check it out!
16. Baby Wrap/ Carrier
You can’t expect to hold your baby all the time when he or she needs you. There are some times in the day and night when you need both of your hands. This is why I am a huge advocate for baby wearing! My favorite wrap for mothers with newborns is the Baby K’tan Active wrap (their coral and bright blue are just too cute!) and my favorite carrier is the Lillebaby Complete Airflow. You will be so grateful that you have a way to keep baby close, but still get the things on your to-do list done.
17. Happiest Baby on the Block
ABSOLUTELY recommend. I feel like every new parent needs to learn these tricks. Dr. Harvey Karp teaches on this video (and his book) the 5 S’s on how to soothe your baby. Get it! You won’t regret it. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
18. Sound Machine
Inside the womb, the baby hears so much! He/she hears your heart pumping, your breathing, you speaking, your blood circulating, and more. It’s loud in there. Once they’re born, it can be quiet out here. Hearing white noise is comforting to them so this can really help them fall asleep. I highly recommend the Dohm White Noise Sound Machine and the Baby Shusher. Dohm is the Official Sound Conditioner of the National Sleep Foundation and I love how the Baby Shusher is portable and can go with you anywhere.
Having some type of co-sleeper for your little one to room-in with you is a great option. A Moses basket like this is convenient for moving your babe from room to room. A couple of other good options that are great are the Fisher Price Rock & Play or the Halo Bassinet swivel co-sleeper.
Who knew that there was so much out there that can help during these first couple of months with your new baby? It can be so much, but these products should help make it a lot easier. Did you use any of these products? Would they be on your postpartum essentials list?