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After you’ve packed your bag for the hospital, it’s time to prep for life at home with a new baby!
Postpartum is simultaneously the most beautiful and challenging time – you’ve just created life and you’re adjusting to a new way of life with a new human who is totally and completely helpless while you recover physically. If anyone is up to the challenge, it’s women 💪.
My 4th baby (Auggie) just turned a month old, so I’ve lived through this postpartum period for the 4th time and I’ve picked up some tips and tricks along the way, along with a big list of postpartum essentials that will make your life at home after delivery just a tad bit easier and more comfortable.
Breastfeeding & Pumping Must-Haves
Kindred Bravely Nursing Bras
If you’re nursing, you’ll likely be wearing a bra 24/7 for the foreseeable future – I have to sleep in bras when I’m nursing to prevent leaking everywhere, so I literally wear a bra for an entire year straight, sometimes more. Needless to say, you want it to be a GOOD bra.
Kindred Bravely (get 20% off here or use code VAL20 @ checkout) are the absolute best of the best – female-founded and female-operated, they know how to make bras and apparel for moms at all stages of motherhood – pregnancy, postpartum and nursing, and beyond. If you’re nursing and pumping, whether with a double electric pump or a milk catcher/pump like the HaaKaa, the Sublime Hands Free Nursing & Pumping Bra is AMAZING. Five stars on 1,000+ reviews, it’s super comfy, works like a charm, comes in nude or black, comes with a bra extender, and is just great quality. I’ve been LIVING in mine.
I’ve also tried and loved the Simply Sublime Nursing Bra, which is the same as the Nursing/Pumping Bra I mentioned above, minus the ability to pump in but still super comfy. Also worth a look are the Sleep Bra, the Lace Nursing Bralette (seriously this one is SO pretty!), and the Stella Leggings – comfy and smooth with just the right amount of subtle compression.
Comfy Nursing PJs
Again, Kindred Bravely has some amazing options for pregnant and new nursing moms – I love the Everyday Nursing & Maternity Tee – comfy enough to sleep in, drapes nicely enough to wear anywhere. Also LOVE the Emmaline Robe – super soft, has 2 pockets (clutch when you have a newborn), and lightweight enough for night sweats.
Disposable Nursing Pads
APNO – All Purpose Nipple Ointment
APNO is a prescription nursing ointment (all-purpose nipple ointment) that can only be made in a compounding pharmacy (most hospitals have them). I ask for it immediately postpartum because it takes away 99% of any pain or nipple sensitivity in the early days of nursing. It’s a mix of antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory. I have seen DIY recipes on Pinterest but even without insurance covering it, my prescription was under $20. You won’t need this longer than a few weeks but keep it for a few months down the line when your baby is teething and still nursing ;).
Soothies Gel Pads
Hot/Cold Breast Packs
Postpartum Care for Mom
FridaMom Peri Bottle
I was skeptical about the FridaMom perineal bottle – how much different could it really be than the regular hospital bottles?! The answer is… very. This is 100% worth the money (it’s pretty inexpensive) – if this is your first baby, you use this for the first few days postpartum to rinse after you pee after giving birth, especially if you have stitches. // shop it here
FridaMom Kit – Nice to Have 🙂
The FridaMom Postpartum Kit (which does not include the perineal bottle above, which is a MUST) is REALLY nice to have – they took all the standard hospital stuff and actually designed it for new moms… which is the whole point ;). If you don’t feel like splurging on the entire kit, the highlight for me is linked right below this.
- 4 pair disposable mesh underwear – they’re much more substantial and stretchier than the hospital-grade mesh underwear, which stretch out and don’t hold anything close to the body. These are NICE to have but not 100% essential, especially if you’re going the Depends route after you get home (see below)
- 4 padsicles – you can totally DIY padsicles if you want to make your own. But if you don’t have time or desire to make your own, these are an awesome option, especially if you’re VERY swollen or stitched after birth. I typically only use ice pads in the hospital but these are great for when you get home.
- 24 perineal pad liners – I loved these the most and think they’re the most unique part of the entire kit – linked below 🙂
- perineal healing foam – honestly, I didn’t even use it – the pad liners were enough and I loved them!
Cooling Pad Liners
These are a step up above Tucks pads – both have witch hazel, which is soothing, relieves swelling, and speeds up healing. You put these over your pad or Depends so that these touch the skin directly :). The FridaMom are nice because they’re LONG and cover a lot more area than Tucks. // shop them here
Ok, this was another thing I was really skeptical about… wearing Depends versus wearing regular underwear with pads for postpartum bleeding (which you have regardless of a vaginal or cesarean delivery). But I’m a believer. No leaking, no pads shifting, just easier and surprisingly comfortable. Get the smallest package of these – they’re only needed for the early days of heavy bleeding and then you will switch to an underwear/pad situation and then a ‘period underwear’ situation – keep reading ;). // shop them here
You’ll want to have some pads ready for when you’re bleeding a little less than Depends and a little more than period underwear – if you don’t usually use pads, the reason you have to postpartum is that nothing – even a tampon or a menstrual cup – can go in the vaginal for 6 weeks postpartum // shop them here
I had never tried period underwear before but they are PERFECT for the postpartum period where you’re still bleeding a little bit but don’t want to wear a pad and/or you want something seamless.
Lilova sent me a thong (holds 1/2 a tampon) and a brief (holds 2 tampons) to try and they work amazingly well – no damp feeling or leaking – and wash easily – you can get 20% off through this link or use code VAL for 20% off. // shop them here
I swear by these waterproof pads for SO many things – waterproof pads for my kids’ mattresses, putting down on the couch when one of my kids are sick, and to put down anywhere you’re sitting postpartum – great for the couch, or a glider where you’re nursing, or even in bed while you sleep – postpartum night sweats can be CRAZY and it’s nice to be able to ditch a layer versus changing the sheets in the middle of the night. This pad is waterproof but fabric covered so it’s not crunchy or plastic-y. // shop it here
Postpartum Meds & Supplements
Swelling of alllll kinds is very common postpartum – so is pain. Always good to have ibuprofen on-hand for the first days at home // shop it here
One thing you might not think about is to continue to take your prenatal vitamins postpartum, especially if you’re nursing! I am really bad with swallowing pills so I opt for gummy when I can – I took these my entire pregnancy and love them // shop them here
Stool softener seems scary (it’s NOT the same as a laxative) but it’s important to take postpartum so you don’t get backed up. Unlesssss you have postpartum diarrhea, in which case, avoid. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… // shop it here
Convenience & Comfort Must-Haves
Honestly, I love grocery delivery for any time but especially postpartum when you either can’t drive and/or don’t want to take a newborn to the store. I have a subscription to both Shipt and Instacart and they’re basically the same (check your location to see what stores are on each app) – for us, Target delivery is only via Shipt which justifies the subscription price alone!
A Great Pillow
An Extra Blanket
A Leakproof Water Bottle
For all the postpartum THIRST! You’ll want to have a leakproof water bottle with you AT ALL TIMES, trust. I was recently introduced to this on by my sister and it’s amazing. // shop it here