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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.
**UPDATED ON 1/4/18**
I am now getting ready to welcome our third baby, our first girl (!!!!), in a few months so I'm going back and updating a few pregnancy- and postpartum-related blog posts since I have a little bit more experience. When baby girl arrives in May my plan is to have all of the items on this postpartum essentials checklist ready and waiting, it helps that I'm having another scheduled c-section so I know exactly when she's coming. If you are not having a scheduled delivery, try to have your postpartum essentials ready by week 38.
Our first was a terrible sleeper and sometimes the swing was the only place he'd sleep. It's also a great option that can be moved from room to room so baby can stay near you if they fall asleep for a little catnap.
Swing featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
Pack 'n play (with newborn bassinet)
All of our kids (I'm including baby girl in this because it's what we plan on doing with her as well) have slept in our room for the first few weeks in the pack 'n play in the newborn bassinet. I love this option because it has a built-in changing table and storage so everything can be kept in one place.
Pack 'n play featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
burp cloths + wash cloths
You are going to want a large stockpile of burp cloths and wash cloths because babies are kind of gross. But seriously...
Burp cloths featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
diapers + wipes
This is obvious but I thought I'd add it anyway just so you don't forget to stock up. We have had good success with Target's Up & Up brand diapers and wipes and they are budget-friendly, as well. If you are looking for organic diapers or diapers with adorable prints, you will love [affiliate links] Honest Diapers (featured in image), Parasol Co., and Babyganics.
Yep, another obvious but oh so important item. The only pacifiers my second baby would take and the only ones he will still take are the [affiliate link] Philips Avent Soothie Pacifiers, they are also the pacifiers that our hospital uses.
Aside from swaddling baby, swaddle blankets also make decent nursing covers. And it's basically essential to have swaddles that have adorable prints on them, right?? 😉
Swaddle blankets featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
Even if baby is born in the summer (like all of mine), you will need some newborn hats to help keep baby warm. [affiliate link] These organic ones look so adorable and come in a ton of colors.
diaper rash cream or coconut oil
I personally like to use coconut oil as a diaper rash cream because it is all-natural and for-sure safe for baby. However, sometimes a diaper rash can get really raw and painful and something thicker is needed. [affiliate link] Featured in the image is Burt's Bees 100% Natural Multipurpose Ointment and is a great alternative to Vaseline.
Mama's Essentials - Health + Beauty
Typically, I just use cornstarch as dry shampoo but it is pretty messy. Since baby is already making messes, I like to use a spray-on dry shampoo to keep things simpler.
Batiste Dry Shampoo featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
large overnight pads
Make sure you choose pads that are marked "extra heavy flow" because...just trust me. My favorite ones to use postpartum are [affiliate link] these Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy Flow with Wings.
ice pack + heating pad
You are bound to have some pains and discomfort after giving birth so be prepared by having ice packs and a heating pad on hand.
I use Young Living Essential Oils and this is the first time that I will have them for postpartum and I'm really excited! I think they will really help to heal my c-section scar faster and better and they will definitely help me balance all of my hormones and emotions. I highly recommend that you get the book [affiliate link] Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern, it is a great resource for how to safely use essentials while pregnant, postpartum, and with babies/kids.
Mama's Essentials - Clothing
large, full-coverage underwear
Most mamas refer to these as "granny panties." Basically, just grab comfortable and CHEAP underwear that covers your whole front and bottom so you can more comfortably wear those humungous overnight pads 24/7 for a few weeks.
nursing tops + loose clothing
You are not going to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away or anytime soon so make sure you have some loose clothing that is comfortable for hanging out at home with baby while you recover. Most loose tops are easy to nurse in but you may also want to invest in some nicer nursing tops, as well.
Nursing cami featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
While your milk is coming in and regulating, you'll want to get the most comfortable nursing bras you can find -- that means no underwires and only stretchy material. You will also sleep in either a nursing bra and/or nursing cami at night because you'll need to wear nursing pads.
leggings and sweatpants
You won't want to wear jeans for quite awhile...trust me. One of the nice things about having summer babies is I can wear dresses once the bleeding stops, it's so much more comfortable for me because it's hard to find pants and leggings that don't sit right on my c-section scar.
postpartum belly wrap
I wore one a little bit after my second baby and it really did help! I wore it mostly to help with my c-section recovery, the wrap helps put some pressure on the incision which makes it a little bit easier for you to sit up and walk around. This time I plan on investing in [affiliate link] Belly Bandit's C-Section + Recovery Undies which is a pair of underwear with an attached wrap that you zip up to close.
Wrap featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
Make sure you are all stocked up on your basic household supplies like cleaners and toilet paper. You'll want to look for a laundry detergent that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic [affiliate link] like the fragrance-free detergent from Babyganics.
Essentials to stock up on
Hand soap and sanitizer
Plastic/paper plates + silverware
Your medical insurance is required to cover the cost of a breast pump, just call the number on the back of your insurance card and they will tell you which pump they cover and how you go about getting it. Some plans only cover the manual pump so you may still need to purchase your own.
Breast pump featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
freezer storage bags
I always suggest to moms-to-be to start building a stock of milk in the freezer right away. You'll probably feel quite engorged at the beginning and pumping will help alleviate the pain and help prevent infection. Take advantage of pumped milk by having your hubby give the baby a bottle sometime in the first week or two; I found that the earlier a bottle was introduced, the better the baby took it in the future, even if we didn't give them a bottle often. [affiliate link] The Lansinoh storage bags are great but I typically use the Target brand ones because they tend to be a little bit more affordable.
Even if you are planning to breastfeed, you will need a few bottles so you have the option of leaving the baby for a few hours once they're older. I recommend getting maybe two different brands to try in-case baby doesn't like one brand. [affiliate link] Dr. Brown's bottles are generally great.
Trust me, you'll need a good stock of these. I tried the washable ones with my first baby and they did not work for me because I tend to have more than enough milk so I leak often and the washable pads don't have a plastic liner to stop the leaked milk from leaking through my bra and shirt. My most favorite disposable pads are Target's Up & Up brand, they are comfortable and affordable. My second-favorite brand is [affiliate link] Lansinoh, they have a good shape to them.
Stock your freezer with some crockpot meals and desserts so you (or your husband) don't have to worry about cooking while sleep-deprived. Also have a friend or your church set up a meal train for you for the first 6-weeks or so.
When baby is eating 'round the clock, you are going to be starving so have lots of snacks on hand, especially for middle of the night feedings. I always tell moms not to worry about controlling your diet to lose weight until after 6-weeks postpartum because . in those first few weeks your milk is still regulating, baby is figuring out its feeding schedule, you are sleep-deprived, and recovering from childbirth.
Newborn tracking chart/app
Your baby's pediatrician will ask you how often they eat, how often they have dirty diapers, when they sleep, etc. and because of the lack of sleep, I don't recommend trying to rely on your memory. My favorite app is the Sprout Baby+ app, it's worth paying for. If you prefer tracking things on paper, I have a free one for you!
thank you cards
I am notoriously bad at writing thank you cards. I've also been known to write them but then never mail them. Have thank you notes on hand so you can write them as you receive gifts and meals.
Thank you notes featured in image [affiliate link] can be found here.
If this isn't your first baby, what other items would you recommend having on hand when you get home from the hospital? Don't forget to grab your printable postpartum essentials checklist from the FREE resource library. If you're already signed up for the library, the password to access it is at the bottom of every email I send you. If you don't have access to the library, sign up using the form below and once your email is confirmed, you will receive instructions for accessing the library. You will find the postpartum essentials checklist under the "motherhood" section of the library and be sure to check out the dozens of other free printables the library has to offer.