17 Postpartum Essentials
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Besides myself it seems like there are a ton of mamas-to-be right now, all due near my due date or a little bit after and it’s a lot of fun! It’s nice to have fellow new mamas to commiserate chat with and share advice and tips. Lots of mamas have been posting for advice and ideas as to what they will need in the hospital and what they’ll need once they’re home. I’ve already made a list of hospital bag essentials so now it’s time for those postpartum essentials.
Thinking back to two years ago when I was in the throes of postpartum life with my first son it’s all a bit of a blur. It’s a lot of eating (both he and I), not sleeping, and working to simply survive. The first three or four weeks are probably the roughest but by week six you will probably have a bit of a routine in place and feel like you know kind of what you’re doing...for the most part. I do remember which items were the most helpful, which I ended up not needing, and what I wish I had on hand.
One of the things I remember most about the first week or two after having my first son is how ravenous I was all the time while my milk was coming in and regulating itself. I always tell moms not to worry about trying to lose the baby weight for at least the first six weeks. Your body is still healing and if you’re breastfeeding it takes a little while for your milk to come in and the supply to even itself out. So you will be hungry. All the time. Especially when baby is nursing. You’ll want plenty of snacks on hand, especially near wherever you nurse in the middle of the night. Keep a mix of salty and sweet, healthy and unhealthy. Some snacks I recommend include [affiliate links] Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix, Monster Mix Cookie Bites, Nature Valley Peanut, Almond, & Dark Chocolate Chewy Protein Bars, Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberry Flavors, Nature Valley Soft Baked Granola Bites.
2. A Stocked Freezer
I recently wrote a post sharing my pre-baby freezer stocking list where I shared tips for stocking your freezer and the links to all of the recipes I’m putting in my own freezer. I didn’t stock my freezer before baby #1 and I totally regretted it, especially because I ended up having an unplanned c-section. Take some stress off of your future self by stocking up your freezer. You can make it easy on yourself and just double up your meals and freezer half of it or freeze any leftovers. My favorite items in my freezer are definitely the baked goods (go figure >.<).
3. Baby Swing
There were times when the only time William would sleep was in his little swing. Make sure you have one that swings on its own and preferably is battery powered so it can be easily moved around the house. You may even want one that plays lullaby music to soothe a fussy baby. [affiliate link] This is the swing that we have and love.
4. Pack ‘n Play with Newborn Bassinet
Most of the new pack ‘n plays out there come with a newborn bassinet attachment as well as a changing pad attachment ([affiliate link] like this one). Genius! William slept in our room for a few months, until he started going for longer stretches between feedings, and we’re going to do the same thing with Baby Daniel. You don’t really want to set up a legit crib in your room only to have to disassemble and reassemble in the nursery. And if you have a c-section you’ll need everything within reach and it’s nice to have it all on the pack ‘n play. If you’re in my situation and will be recovering from a c-section but you don’t have a bathroom on the same floor of your room so you have to camp out in the living room for at least a week, you’ll want all of baby’s things to be easily moveable. I’ll have more about my recovery set-up once it’s all set up.
5. Plenty of Burp Cloths and Washcloths
We had a few incidents of projectile vomiting with William until we figured out that he was allergic to dairy and soy (don’t worry, if your newborn has food allergies they will most likely outgrow the allergies by the time they’re one, William did). And then we still had lots of spit ups because I had a hard time cutting dairy out 100%...oops. But all babies spit up so be sure to have plenty of burp cloths and washcloths on hand. Bibs work too! [affiliate links] This set of bibs and burp cloths is adorable and so are these panda washcloths.
6. Dry Shampoo
This one is for you, mama. Showers most likely won’t happen every day. And even though you won’t be leaving your house a ton, it’s still nice to feel clean and somewhat put together. Use that dry shampoo for the in between shower days to get rid of that greasy hair (even if you don’t normally have greasy hair, you probably will postpartum because of those crazy hormones). Lush has a great dry shampoo but it does get a bit messy so you may also want to try [affiliate link] Batiste Dry Shampoo.
7. Stock of Cleaning Supplies and Other Essentials
Stock up on [affiliate links] laundry detergent, disinfecting wipes, hand soaps, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic/paper plates and silverware, and all the other essentials you don’t want to run out of in the middle of the night.
8. Giant Granny Panties
See number nine. If you have a c-section, make sure you have underwear that has a higher waistline, [affiliate link] like these.
9. XXL Pads
Even if you have a c-section you will bleed for at least a few weeks. After having William I bled for more than six weeks, probably because my body had been through so much trauma after pushing for so long and then ending in a c-section. At the very least you will be bleeding a disgusting amount the first two weeks. And it’s not like when you have your period. This is an insane amount of blood and it’s a lot at once so you’ll need to change pads often. Some women say Depends worked well for them but I just felt weird wearing them. Maybe because my kid was already in diapers so it felt weird to be in them as well. And this time around I’ll have two kids in diapers, I’m definitely not adding myself to the list. Also be sure to keep a stock of pads in every bathroom, if you have more than one. And keep extra underwear with them as well (trust me). I preferred [affiliate link] these Always Overnight Extra Heavy Flow Pads.
10. A Newborn Tracking Chart or App
I’m super OCD and have a terrible memory so it was necessary for me to keep track of feedings and diaperings. I actually made a newborn tracking chart after I had William that you can print out if you’re like me and prefer handwriting things. Or you can use an app, I’ve heard good things about MammaBaby, Baby Tracker, and Sprout Baby Tracker. Regardless of the method you choose to use, you’ll want to keep track of feedings (if you’re breastfeeding, when they ate and which side they ate from and for how long and if you’re bottle feeding, when they ate and how many ounces they ate) and you’ll want to keep truck of when you pump and how much you pump. And while baby has weekly doctor’s appointments you’ll want to keep track of baby’s poops and pees too. If you think you’ll remember for when the doctor asks, that’s great, but I could barely remember my own name let alone of my kid was pooping regularly.
11. Stock of Diapers and Wipes
See number seven. I also suggest having diapering stations around the house. You won’t feel like going to just one place to change baby’s diaper every single time. Keep some in the living room, nursery, your room, and any other rooms where you spend a significant amount of time. If you want to get "fancy" diapers, I recommend [affiliate links] Babyganics diapers but we typically buy the Up&Up brand diapers which are much cheaper and for awhile they were the only ones that didn't get William a diaper rash.
12. Thank You Cards
I am notoriously bad at writing thank you cards. I’ve actually written out all the thank you cards from an event only to forget to send them and hand them out until it was too late to send them (I’m talking over a year). I’m trying to get better so my goal this time is to just keep [affiliate link] simple thank you cards on hand and writing them right away.
13. Breast Pump
If you’re breastfeeding, and especially if you’re exclusively pumping, you’ll want your [affiliate links] breast pump on hand along with freezer storage bags and some bottles. Even if you are breastfeeding you’ll need to pump anytime you feel engorged and baby isn’t hungry. Trust me, it happens. And it’s painful. Pumping provides so much relief. I had more milk than William could eat, and he was a good eater) so I had to pump at least once a day for a long time. You’ll also want to keep a supply in the freezer so that none of that precious milk goes to waste and so you can leave the house on your own every once in awhile. While we were in the hospital still with William, we needed to supplement his feedings with formula because his sugar levels were low, so he had to use a bottle to drink just a tiny bit of formula a few times a day. This ended up being a blessing in disguise, I think. He got used to taking a bottle so he more easily took one when I was out. That relieved so much stress because I knew he would eat and I could go out on my own or hubby and I could go on a short date.
14. Heating Pad and Ice Pack
15. Nursing-Friendly Tops
Nursing [affiliate link] camis are my go-to during the first few months, the straps unclip easily for nursing and you can get away without a bra when around the house. You’ll also want tops that are either loose so you can get baby to your boob or that have straps that unclip or slide down. And nursing-friendly dresses too! Because you don’t really want to undress just to nurse baby when you are wearing a dress.
16. Loose Clothing
See number 15. Also, if you have a c-section you’ll want clothing that does not sit right on or tightly on your incision. So get loose fitting sweatpants/yoga pants that you can wear up higher or stick with loose, comfy, nursing-friendly dresses.
You’ll actually want a few different types of [affiliate link] pacifiers on hand if baby is picky and won’t take a certain type, you’ll want some other types to try out. Luckily William took any type of pacifier, I think this is also thanks to the fact that he had to take a bottle in addition to nursing so early on.