These are my Postpartum Essentials for mom and baby from personal care to baby gear favorites!
Here we are just over two weeks in to newbornland, and I’ve had some time to gather my thoughts on the must haves that I’ve relied on to get us from one nap, nursing session, and soothe to the next.
If I were to have another baby (which is currently not the plan!), I would reference this post and make sure all of these items were in stock and set up before going into labor. I did so much organizing before Birch was born yet I really didn’t think much about what I would need during my recovery and first weeks.
I hope this list is helpful for those of you expecting babies in the future!
Postpartum Essentials For Mom
Make sure you have plenty of pads in different sizes. I actually ran out and had to send Thomas to the drug store!
A friend gave me this Motherlove Sitz Spray and it was amazing!! Sitz baths are often recommended to ease swelling and encourage healing for the bottom area, but the thought of sitting in a shallow bath tub (or some kind of bed pan) is the LAST thing any new mom wants to do. This spray, on the other hand, one can apply in a simple spritz and get the good effects of witch hazel and more.
Frida Momwasher (just get the bundle – everything they make is awesome). A friend gave me this too and it’s the peri bottle of all peri bottles! (A peri bottle is like a mini bidet for moms.) I came home with two from the hospital, but the Frida one got the job done so much better because it angles up. This is definitely not an essential, but I had to recommend it because it was awesome!
Earth Mama Nipple Butter and Motherlove Nipple Cream. You’ll want to have some kind of nipple cream and I love both of these brands. I never liked the plain lanolin cream because it’s very tacky and hard to spread on tender nipples. Both the Earth Mama and Motherlove creams go on super smoothly so there is no pain. The Earth Mama brand smells like chocolate because it’s made from cocoa butter! I also recommend stocking up on a pack of these Lansinoh Soothies for cooling comfort.
Bravado nursing bra. A lot of people say to wait to buy your nursing bras until after breastfeeding is established so you’ll have a better idea of what size and style you prefer. I totally agree for your long-term bras. That said, you definitely need to have at least one nursing bra from the get-go. This one is my favorite for those early days because it’s super comfortable. I prefer a more structured bra after the first six weeks or so, but I am living in this one right now. While your breasts are changing size and sensitive, a nice seamless, comfortable bra is key.
Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Tanks. These are my favorite nursing tanks from Target because they are affordable, supportive, super long to cover the tummy, and comfortable. I ordered a few other (much more expensive) kinds to try, but returned them because these are my favorite. I don’t wear a bra with these so I either wear a nursing tank + top layer OR my Bravado bra with a nursing friendly shirt.
Sleep nursing bras and pull-down tops. Put these into the optional category, but at nighttime I don’t want to bother with clips so I love these “push over” style sleeping bras and t-shirt tops that have elastic necks that you can just pull down.
Disposable breast pads. Maybe you will be lucky and not have insane let down like I do, but I have gone through a hundred of these pads already. I wish I could wear the reusable one for something a bit more green, but I leak through those in a hot second. Definitely get yourself a box of nursing pads to have on hand in case you need them (bring a few to the hospital) because this is one of those products that if you need it, you NEED IT NOW or you’ll be soaking through your shirts at every feeding.
And don’t be like me and forget to get all of this out of storage until it’s 9 pm on your first night home and you can’t remember where you stashed all your nursing clothes!
Newborn Essentials For Baby
Sure, babies don’t need much. Diapers, wipes, warm clothes, some blankets, a crib. However, the following items have made our lives a lot easier.
My Brest Friend. The dorkiest but most necessary nursing pillow for newborns. This pillow clips around your waist and holds the baby up high so he’s next to your breasts instead of down by your lap. A lifesaver for your arms and much better than the Boppy, which lacks structure. In fact, don’t even bother buying a Boppy. I used mine once in the hospital and haven’t touched it since. (I bought the black and white cover on Etsy when Mazen was born.)
Solly Wrap or other baby wearing carrier.
Hands down my MVP first two weeks item is the Solly wrap. Or any wrap. (Moby, Boba, etc.) I do SO much baby wearing because, as we all know, newborns do not like to be put down! Birch is happiest when I am holding him, but it’s great to have two hands and be able to move around. I also think the snugness of the wrap calms him much like a swaddle would, so that’s an added perk. B takes nearly all of his daytime naps in the Solly, although sometimes I am able to transfer him to the Dock-a-tot or swing.
I got a hand-me-down Solly after Instagramming you guys and I like it a lot more than the Boba because it’s not quite as stretchy and the fabric is amazing. But it’s basically the same style as the Boba/Moby. I would like to eventually invest in a ring sling as well! And we still have our Boba/Ergo style carrier for when he’s bigger. The Solly is also great for dads! When Thomas was working from home the first week or so, he would wear Birch while he did computer work.
Dock-a-tot or lounger.
Is the dock-a-tot worth it? Day 1 I would have said no, but on day 14 or so, I say definitely. You don’t need to spend $199 – any baby lounger will do – but I do love the size and style of the DOT more than other loungers out there. It’s great to have a spot on my couch to plant Birch when I need to run to the bathroom or let him catch a between-sides nursing nap.
While he can’t roll over yet, the firm bottom is a better surface than the couch itself for him to rest on, and I know he won’t roll into the cushions. I also like that it’s up off the floor and away from the dog and prefer it to bouncy seats because it’s much quicker to get him in and out of without straps.
It’s also a lot bigger than some of the other loungers out there, so I think I’ll be able to use it longer. I don’t think there’s anything magical about its “hugging” style that makes him want to daytime nap in it, but he has taken several naps in it (with us next to him on the couch for safety). Lastly, a minor detail but something important: I love how the marble looks with my home decor. So to me, that does kind of make it worth $199 : )
Rock ‘n Play. Mazen slept in the rock n play for a few months when he was born, and for some reason I thought I had given it away. But just a few weeks before Birch was born I found it under the guest room bed. I barely gave it a thought because we had bought the Halo Basinet (which I was really excited about!) and I figured we might use the RNP for a downstairs baby resting place. I had no intention of using it for actual sleep. However we quickly learned that B hates lying flat on his back in the Halo, and I seriously don’t know what we’d be doing for nighttime sleep if we didn’t have this. I did ask our pediatrician about the safety of it since there has been some controversy about flat head, etc. and she said it was fine to use in these early days but to try to transition to the Halo Basinet or his crib sooner rather than later. While I don’t love how low to the ground the RNP is, I do love how lightweight and easy to move it is, unlike the beast of the Halo that makes getting in and out of bed a big harder. Also, the ROCK feature of the RNP is great. I can rock it with my foot while sitting on the edge of the bed. I hope we’ll be able to use the (very expensive) Halo Basinet in time!
Ollie Swaddle. My sister gifted this to us, and it’s the most simple and easy to use swaddle out there. That’s the #1 reason why we love it! B’s arms rarely break out, and the fabric has a great feel. I swaddle and unswaddle him 50 times each night, so the speed at which I can do this in the Ollie is worth every penny. Definitely an MVP item!
Diaper changing liners. This is one of those products that you don’t know you need until you are washing your changing pad for the 10th time. I always put a liner down on our changing pad because poop stains and pee sprays. I found this box of 500 of them on Amazon, and the price is so much better than the Munchkin ones. We dirty at least two liners a day, so we will likely use all 500! I love that these are simply white as well. They are the perfect size.
Baby Connect App and White Noise App. These are my two favorite baby apps. I use Baby Connect (which costs $5) to track nursing and sleep. Totally optional, but also very helpful to cross check with baby’s cues and know when to look out for them. I used it with Mazen and still have his weight and height tracked, so it’s nice to be able to put that data in too. And the White Noise App is a lifesaver when we’re on the go or otherwise away from our Hatch machine. It calms B instantly, and there is something about the pitch of this white noise that is more magical than other kinds I’ve tried.
And last but not least, don’t forget to buy a couple of big bottles of hand sanitizer for visitors and siblings. And lots and lots of diapers. More than you think you’ll need!
I have a REAL FOOD blog post coming for you tomorrow that I’m super excited about. Hint: it involves mermaids + Quaker oats!
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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
Not a mother myself, but I’m not surprised with all the essentials you’ll need when you become one! Hope you’re doing alright, Kath. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post. 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
We used receiving blankets as a greener version of the diaper changing liners. We just put one on top of the changing table and tossed it in the laundry once or twice a day as it got dirty. We got a ton at our shower and never had any other use for them. Plus they aren’t too expensive to get rid of if they get really stained!
Good suggestion! Did the leak through bedside they aren’t waterproof?
We only ever used the changing pad at home for diaper changes which was waterproof in itself so it just needed a quick wipe with a diaper wipe before swapping out the receiving blanket. Love the receiving blankets for changing in public too. They are the perfect green option to take in your diaper bag to use on those nasty public changing tables and then just take home and wash after!
You can also buy reusable liners with terry fronts and waterproof backs. I layer them over my change pad cover and wash as needed. They’re also nice and small to tuck into the diaper bag.
A couple of things…
First, Birch is adorable and giving me major baby fever! Second, we had the exact same problem with the Halo Basinet. I ended up with a hand-me-down RNP and he LOVED it. The Halo has been in the basement, but I keep holding onto it in the hopes that baby #2 (if it happens) will like it. Looking back, I don’t really get the Halo Hype. Lastly, have you tried the Frida Windi? I’m dying to know if it works!
At least I hope maybe I could resell the halo for pretty good price. And I have not tried the windi!
We used the Windi quite a few times in the earlier months with our daughter (formula-fed) and it worked great! I used coconut oil on the tip and she always had a BM immediately after so have a diaper ready! 🙂
I am a long time reader but have never commented… I just wanted to mention that you should skip the Earth Mama nipple cream while you’re battling yeast (and throw it out and buy a new one for after it clears up). Why daughter and I had yeast and had a terrible time getting rid of it, and I think the cream made it worse. A month or so after I had it I opened the bottle and yeast was growing in it! It had acted as a culture!
Oh yikes! I hate to toss it because it was expensive but I definitely don’t want to re-introduce the yeast
It’s funny what different parents have on their ‘must have’ lists as my list would not be the same. I loved my Boppy pillow and never had issues with it not being supportive enough. But what works for you is all that matters! Have you tried the reuseable bamboo breast pads? I got a set of 6 of them and loved them and never had issues with leaking (but understand we aren’t all the same!). I totally agree on the nursing tanks from Target – so comfortable and I think I wore one every day until I was done breastfeeding.
Hi Kath! Are you planning on cloth diapering Birch like you did Mazen?
I hope to! Just like with M I’m waiting until the diaper count per day gets a bit more reasonable. Probably at the 2 month ish mark?
Renae L. says
I bought a whole bunch of care items for my postpartum recovery like the sitz stuff, pain spray, peribottle etc etc about a month or two in advance of my pregnancy and then ended up having an unexpected c-section! It was too late to return things and let’s be real, I wasn’t about to spend my precious time postpartum trying to return items. I ended up having to donate them, oh well!
That’s a good point – I guess you never really know what you’ll need. Was there anything extra/unexpected you needed for a c-section recovery to mention?
Renae L. says
Not really, no! I ended up using all the pads I bought and the gigantic ones the hospital gives out. Maybe a stomach binder, but my hospital gave me one. I wore it for weeks just to be able to do movements like getting it of bed when you need to use your abs.
Yes to the changing pad liners!!! Have you heard of a Hakkaa? It catches your letdown on the side baby isn’t nursing on so you can save the milk instead of it being absorbed by a pad. There is an art to putting it on but you can find a few youtube videos to learn how.
I have a Haaka (technically a sister brand) and did not like!! I felt like it was going to fall off and stronger suction hurt. And it was in the way!! I much prefer a catcher that fits in the bra. Got some little round ones that do!
I haven’t nursed a baby in 21+ years. But I do remember not being able to use the washable nursing pads until week 4-6. Milk let down was just too much.
Definitely pinning this! I’m 34 week snow and starting to think about what I need to be prepared for the postpartum period. Thanks!
Do you have a Haakaa? Great for catching letdown while you’re nursing on the other side. Will help you soak through less pads, and you can build your freezer stash! https://www.amazon.com/Haakaa-Breast-Manual-Silicone-Breastfeeding/dp/B07CWK4S5W/ref=sr_1_3_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1542294615&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=silicone%2Bbreast%2Bpump&th=1
I didn’t nurse after the first month or so for various reason with both girls but I do agree the boppy isn’t best for that. However we used it all the time with both learning how to sit. So it does have a purpose 🙂
Chiming in on the “everyone is different!” I breastfed both of my girls for over a year and used the Boppy for the first 6-9 months. Also liked it for the learning to sit stage.
As your ped said, I’d be careful not to get too reliant on the rock and play. I know of 4 babies who used that for sleep for first three months and all ended up wearing helmuts. I tread tingly, our ped said babies shouldn’t be in car seats other than for actual driving (so not for stroller walks and naps) because the shape of the seats also isn’t great for flat head.
Better to be in stroller and best of all to wear the baby in wrap/sling /ergo.
I also loved my solly wrap. Baby gets so cozy . Congrats on Birch! He’s adorable
Question on the nursing pillow.
The two most popular I see are the hippy and my breast friend. What made you decide on this one?
It straps around you and sits higher up so they are closer to your breast and it’s a bit more supportive
Kelli @ Hungry Hobby says
And you just motivated me to order the Brest friend the nippy sucks!
Remember….hand washing with soap and water is better than hand sanitizer, especially for stomach bugs (sanitizer does not kill them). Use hand sanitizer when you are out and about 🙂 Just a friendly nurse reminder!
I’m trying to do both for good measure 🙂