This list outlines all of the postpartum essentials you’ll need when you get home from the hospital.
When you are finally discharged from the hospital, reality sets in. You have a beautiful new baby, but you also have a body that is completely different from when you arrived at the hospital.
Gone are the nurses who so lovingly provided you with endless maxi pads and mesh undies, replaced by a sleep-deprived husband to help care for your broken vag and sore boobs.
This post is to help you prepare for when you first get home from the hospital, so that you have everything you need right away.
There are a lot of posts online about what to buy when you have a baby, like a peri bottle and topical numbing spray. I thought I needed to go out and buy all of that stuff before my daughter was born, but found that the hospital provided most necessary medical items.
Be sure to check with the hospital where you plan to deliver and see what they provide. Mine provided numbing spray, witch hazel, perineal ice packs, pads, mesh undies, and a peri bottle.
This list is the postpartum essentials I wish people told me to buy ahead of time; I have used these items religiously after both of my babies were born.
Waterproof Mattress Protector
This postpartum essential is one I would actually recommend you buy a month before you have your baby. If your water breaks in the middle of the night, you’ll be very grateful you invested in a mattress protector ahead of time.
The mattress protector is just as important after you come home from the hospital. Night sweats are a very common postpartum symptom as your hormones regulate, and your boobs will probably leak (or definitely leak, like, a lot, if you’re like me). A waterproof mattress protector is a small investment that will protect your expensive mattress.
If you use this link, you’ll get $20 off your $200 purchase at Purple, and be entered to win a $1000 gift card. We have a purple mattress and purple mattress protector, and LOVE them!
A super comfortable nursing bra
A good nursing bra makes all the difference when you come home from the hospital with sore boobs and an exhausted baby. More importantly, wearing the right nursing bra is crucial for avoiding plugged milk ducts and mastitis.
My favorite nursing bra of all time (and I have tried many) is the Kindred Bravely French Terry. I own three, and I live in these bras because they are so comfortable. It’s the only thing I’ve worn since delivering my second baby seven months ago. If you use this link, you get 20% off your first purchase.
If you are nervous about taking the plunge on these bras, don’t be; they are extremely dedicated to customer service. I actually bought 3 before my second baby was born and found them to be super comfortable. But after my milk came in, the bras suddenly became too small. I emailed Kindred Bravely, and they replaced all three bras for free, and I got to keep the old ones.
It was after this great experience that I contacted them to join their affiliate program. Even if you don’t plan on nursing, they have an extremely comfortable line of motherhood-friendly bras, pajamas, and cami’s.
Good quality nipple cream
Stay away from the lanolin nipple cream made by Lansinoh – it’s far too thick and can actually lead to plugged milk ducts because it can trap in harmful bacteria. Lansinoh pays hospitals to give their products to moms, which is why that little purple tube will be handed to you right after you deliver (not because it’s what’s best for you).
Instead, I recommend an all-natural nipple cream like this one by MotherLove, or even coconut oil. I cannot recommend this stuff enough – it is essential that you use a nipple cream that still allows your nipples to breathe after it is applied.
Reusable nursing pads
Nursing pads are essential for catching any unexpected let-downs in the early days and saving you from changing your shirt 50 times a day.
However, while disposable nursing pads are absorbent, they aren’t breathable at all. This traps moisture, hot air, sweat, and bacteria against your nipples, ultimately putting you at risk for mastitis.
Go for reusable nursing pads; they’re breathable, just as absorbent, machine washable, and better for the environment.
A Nice Water Bottle
Nursing makes you thirsty. Hormones make you thirsty. That lasagna your aunt brought over will make you thirsty. I remember as soon as I delivered my daughter, I could never get enough water.
Gift yourself a high-quality, dishwasher-safe, BPA free water bottle. I personally love the Yeti brand, because it keeps my water ice-cold even through the middle of the night nursing sessions. Also, using a straw is proven to help increase your water consumption!
Did you know that after having a baby, many women experience very strong body odor? Your body (not just the armpits) may give off a strong onion smell after giving birth. This smell has a reason – it helps your baby find her mother!
While I do want my baby to find me, I luckily am not a cavewoman and my baby and I will find each other just fine without the strong smell, thank you very much. I like to use an aluminum-free deodorant to combat the smell.
Specifically, I prefer this crystal deodorant stick because it doesn’t leave any type of residue. This means I can put it on any part of my body that needs some odor assistance.
Cabbage leaves are sort of an old wives’ tale, but many women swear that they help with engorgement. You’re likely going to experience some engorgement when your milk comes in the day or the day after you come home from the hospital.
Get a friend to buy a head of cabbage for you when you’re in the hospital and put it in the fridge for when you need it. If cabbage weirds you out, these gel pads also do wonders for sore nipples when placed in the fridge. The only downside is that you’ll need to wash your breast off before feeding as the residue isn’t safe for the baby.
Now that we’ve addressed the upstairs, let’s address the, erhm, downstairs.
If you deliver vaginally, it’s likely you’ll experience tearing. There are different degrees of tears, ranging from mild to severe. If you have a tear in the mild to moderate range, as I have, don’t worry – you will heal and feel just fine.
Epsom salt is my secret to feeling like myself after giving birth. After each baby, I haven’t been able to feel my stitches at all by the 3rd day. This is thanks to doing epsom salt soaks.
Buy it in bulk, since you’ll use a lot each bath. Fill your tub about 3 inches high with warm water, then dump in about a cup of epsom salt and let it dissolve. You can also add some essential oils such as lavender for relaxation to the salt.
Make your husband handle the baby for about 20 minutes while you sit in the water and let the salt work its healing magic. Epsom salt baths are a glorious 20 minutes of postpartum me-time!
Do I need to explain this one? I don’t think so. But, then again, when I asked my mom to go buy me some postpartum underwear, she came back with a pack of all white undies. True story. So, get the black ones! Preferably in a large size since you will leave the hospital looking 6 months pregnant 🙂
Earth Mama Perineal Spray
I didn’t know this existed with my first, and my sister gifted it to me for my second. This perineal spray is cooling, refreshing, and healing all in one.
Honestly, I love it for it’s pleasant scent and that it’s made out of non-toxic, healthy ingredients. This isn’t sponsored, I just really like it!
Washable menstrual pads
Personally, I think wearing a pad feels like wearing a diaper. They’re hot, make me sweat, and I hate it when the adhesive sticks to my leg.
Washable menstrual pads (these are my favorite) are a total game changer. They do not hold odor thanks to the charcoal insert, and they are incredibly soft. It feels just like wearing regular underwear, which is the first step in feeling human again after giving birth!
To clean them, you simply wash them on a normal cycle in the washing machine. As an added bonus, these are great for the environment.
I’d recommend getting a variety of sizes for when your bleeding lightens up after a couple of weeks. One set of pads will last you for the birth of all of your children!
What did I miss?
Did I miss any postpartum essentials on your list? If you’re expecting, which of these did you not realize you needed?