Postpartum Essentials – 10 Things You’ll Want to Have After Birth
There are more or less 10 weeks left (probably more if he’s anything like his brother) until we meet baby Elliott! I’m crossing things off my to-do list early this time and I’m getting ready to stock up on my postpartum essentials. Let me start by saying that nothing was more shocking to me with my last pregnancy than the postpartum phase. I had spent so much time preparing for the baby that I hadn’t given a second thought to what was going to happen to me and my body postpartum. I didn’t even have a pack of maxi pads in the house. Just let that sink in for a minute. This time, I’m doing things the right way and stocking up on everything I’ll need, for me, after the baby arrives.
If you feel like you’re not quite ready for the 4th trimester, check out The Postpartum Handbook. It walks you through everything you need to expect with those postpartum symptoms. It shares tips and tricks to manage pain and speed up recovery. It talks about all the things that no one else talks about like the first postpartum poo, postpartum sex, postpartum hair loss, postpartum weight loss tips, and more.
10 Postpartum Essentials
The hospital will outfit you with those sexy mesh panties we all love, but I’m going to be investing in some additional postpartum underwear this time. I recommend asking for a few extra pairs of the mesh underwear to take home, but after things slow down a bit, you’re going to want another option when it comes to under garments. Don’t forget, postpartum bleeding can last up to six weeks. You’ll want to have a plentiful stash of undies to get you through this unpleasant stage. I’m going to get these ultra soft postpartum panties. I like that they’re high-waisted, cotton, and black. They’re inexpensive and can be tossed once the messy part is over.
I don’t recommend going out and spending a fortune on clothes that you can wear postpartum. Your body is going to continue to quickly change after your baby is born, so wearing your maternity clothes is probably your best bet. Did you know that you’ll leave the hospital looking about six months pregnant? Get your money’s worth on those expensive maternity clothes and wear them for as long as they’re comfortable (you know… 6 months… 6 years… whatever works). However, I do recommend investing in some comfortable, nursing friendly pajamas and a few nursing friendly shirts. If you decide to breastfeed, you’ll find that what you wear every day is largely dependent on how accessible your boobs are in each outfit. I would also make sure you have some extra-long shirts to wear with your maternity leggings. Maternity leggings with bulky panties and a supersized maxi pad is not a good look.
One service I like to remind new moms about is Prime Wardrobe. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can select 3 – 8 items, have them shipped to your house, try them on in the comfort of your own home, and only keep the items you like. They make it easy to return the items you didn’t like with a resealable box and prepaid label. I personally love this service no matter what, but it’s especially helpful when you have a newborn baby and don’t want to leave the house.
Again, if you think you want to give breastfeeding a try, you will absolutely want to get some nursing bras. The bras are designed so that the cup is just a giant flap that you can fold down when it’s time to feed your baby (at least most of them are designed this way). They unsnap easily, typically with one hand, so that you can quickly and discreetly nurse your baby. I have comfortable nursing bras for everyday wear, fancier nursing bras for outfits that need a little more support and structure, and nursing bras that are perfect for wearing to bed. I also have a hands-free pumping bra that I highly recommend to any mom that is going to be using a breast pump. It makes pumping so much easier and gives you the ability to use your hands for something else. I remember seeing it the store when I was pregnant and laughing, thinking it was ridiculous. After a year of pumping up to four times a day, it’s one of the products I recommend most to nursing moms.
Nursing pads were yet another thing I didn’t have after I delivered Weston. Luckily the hospital sent me home with some and a girlfriend gave me a big box of them after she quit nursing. I knew that there was a possibility my breasts could leak, but I had no idea that I’d soak through nursing pads every few hours. I had a crazy oversupply and had to wear nursing pads 24 hours a day. I really like the Medela disposable nursing pads and plan on stocking up on those! They also have reusable nursing pads if that’s more your thing! Even if you don’t intend to breastfeed, you might want to get some nursing pads for when your milk comes in.
*You can get 5 free packs of reusable nursing pads from breastpads.com using the code COFFEEANDCOOS1 at checkout! The code will give you $35 off your order!
The early days of breastfeeding can be tough on your nipples. Nipple cream is like chapstick… but for your boobies. It’s extra soothing and doesn’t bother your baby if they ingest a little bit while nursing. I love Earth Mama Nipple Butter! One jar will likely be all that you need.
Breast Therapy Packs
I actually haven’t tried these, but I’ve heard wonderful things about them since having Weston. Breast Therapy Packs can be used hot or cold to decrease engorgement, encourage let downs, and increase milk supply. I think they’ll be wonderful to have when my milk comes in (it can be pretty painful) as well as when I get clogged ducts.
I honestly couldn’t tell you what I was thinking when I didn’t stock up on pads the last time around. Perhaps I was banking on the hospital to send me home with a grocery bag full of maxi pads, but that didn’t happen. They were happy to give me plenty of pads to get through the first few days, but after that, I didn’t want the hospital grade, extra-large, diaper sized pads anyway. There I was, less than a week postpartum, standing in the middle of the pharmacy picking out maxi-pads. I was quite annoyed with myself. My best advice is to stock up on all different sized pads ahead of time!
Here’s a fun fact that I hadn’t thought about before having my first baby… you can’t wipe your lady bits after going to the bathroom. The hospital will give you a squirt bottle to use to spray things off “down there”, and you’re welcome to take it home with you. However, I’m going to give the Fridet Mom Washer a try this time. It’s angled perfectly and gives a gentle spray. It even comes with a waterproof travel bag for when you’re on the go.
Witch Hazel Pads
Witch hazel pads were a game changer after my last delivery. Witch hazel is a natural astringent known for soothing skin. The pads look like little makeup removers, but all you have to do is place a few of them on your maxi pad where you’re sore and swollen. It’s instant relief for painful stitches or stretched spots.
The postpartum poo… yup, I’m going there. Many moms had made me fear this event almost as much as I had feared childbirth. I even had a friend tell me it was worse than delivering her baby! Get yourself some stool softeners for at home and be sure to ask for them when you’re in the hospital. The last thing you want to do is strain yourself down there. A little stool softener can go a long way in those first few days postpartum.
After birth pains are no fun. Your uterus continues to contract after your baby is born to begin shrinking back to its original size. These cramps can be especially painful when you’re breastfeeding. The stimulated nipple is a signal to your uterus that they baby is out and it’s time to start shrinking back to its original size (our bodies are amazing). One way to deal with after pains is a heating pad. I really liked these disposable hot packs that can be used directly on your abdomen.
No pregnancy or postpartum phase is the same, and I’m sure there will be things that surprise me after I deliver baby number two, but, I feel so much more confident now that I have an idea of what to expect. I plan on being as prepared as possible to take care myself and my baby this time. The postpartum phase is difficult for many reasons. You have a brand new baby to care for, your hormones are running wild, and your body is changing on a daily basis. Preparing for this difficult (but wonderful) time in advance will make it so much easier.