Everyone seems to prepare for a new baby by gathering up things for a hospital bag and collecting baby toys and clothes. But rarely do we stop to think about the post-baby and after birth must haves.
Maybe it’s because no one really talks about what it’s really like after the baby comes. Maybe because we’re consumed in the moment of having our baby that we forget about ourselves. But in effort to change this, we’ve created a whole series on postpartum care for new moms.
Or maybe because it’s a really unglamorous postpartum list. Really, it’s not pretty, but it is so essential!
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Why every mom needs a Postpartum Care Kit
I was woefully unprepared to take care of myself and allow myself to heal when my daughter was born. It was just not something I really thought of in the scramble to prepare myself for being a mother.
Everyone says you should rest, but it’s not until you are sitting there after birth usually when someone mentions “Hey, do you have any stool softener at home? That first bowel movement is a killer.”
Oh, ok… that’s where we went. Really?
I would have liked to have known that before baby came. So here is a comprehensive list of your after birth must haves and what should at least be available at mom’s bedside as she is recovering postpartum.
Put together the perfect afterbirth recovery basket and care kit for yourself or for a friend by including must haves for new moms right after they have given birth. It’s not a glamorous time, but feeling a little more comfortable and cared for can go a long way.
I know that I am that woman that likes to make gifts for the mom at baby showers because she is just as important as the baby! And these are some of the things I consider even if they’re not altogether beautiful or something we really love talking about.
What to include in your postpartum care kit
Get an Afterbirth Sitz Bath
I personally have one from Wishgarden and then also from Motherlove. Soaking yourself in the tub with beneficial herbs can help reduce cramping, increase circulation, and just overall give youa time of ease and relaxation after all your hard work laboring to bring your baby into the world.
If you don’t have time or someone helping you where you can get a bath in, Motherlove’s spray can be a quick and easy alternative. It can be prayed directly on the skin or on a pad. Ultimately though, you can still get some of the relief you’re looking for even if a bath is not an option in the moment.
Underpads are awesomely not glamorous!
Whether you gave birth at home or in a hospital these are great because you are going to bleed and you want to keep your bed clean and cared for.
They are kind of like the human equivalent to puppy pads, but they are so handy.
If you are in the hospital, you can take pretty much everything in your room including these and they’re worth having on hand even for a child’s bed or for when they’re sick.
We have more than one peri bottle on hand because they have come to be very useful in a lot of situations. However, after birth is probably the most important time I have ever needed one. They are so cheap that it’s worth getting a few for all of the bathrooms and even one in your purse if you go somewhere. You can fill it with water (preferably warm) to use instead of toilet paper especially in those first few days.
Sore nipples are part of having a baby and nursing makes it worse. Whether you use a plant-based lanolin alternative or pure lanolin, it’s a must have because even clothes can sometimes be uncomfortable against nipples after you have given birth.
And really they will be all day pads for at least a few days. But you will definitely want to have some on hand.
Pregnancy and childbirth can sometimes bring on the worst for moms and that include hemorrhoids. Whether you get a squirt bottle of witch-hazel or Tucks witch-hazel pads, it doesn’t matter, but it will be a soothing solution to a very uncomfortable issue.
This is one a lot of moms don’t know about. It’s something that even in the hospital, they typically don’t tell their patients they are giving them if they do. That first postpartum poo can be a killer. It can be like giving birth in a whole new way all over again. So prepare yourself to have some on hand. Just make sure it does not have a laxative included with the softener.
You will need ice to reduce swelling (in any area of your body and heat to increase circulation and just because it feels good. I have some awesome packs from CVS Pharmacy called “peas” that are my favorite cold packs ever. They were great for my incision and even were very helpful throughout this second pregnancy. I also have a set of Nature’s Creation hot/cold packs that are wonderful and I especially like them while heated. They have velcro on them to keep them in place wherever you might need them.
More Post-Baby Must-Haves
Stretchy “In between” Pants, big shirt/robe
You won’t bounce back to your pre-pregnancy weight by giving birth… even to a 13lb baby. So be honest with yourself and pack or prepare something that is comfortable. It might still be maternity pants, but a great comfy pair of sweats that’s a size bigger or so from pre-pregnancy is perfect. And it’s likely you will live in them for a bit.
Sometimes your circulation is a little wonky right after birth. I know my feet were cold (and my feet are never cold). So just having something to wear and feel really cozy was great to have.
Giant Granny Panties
The hospital gauze panties are a great size, but totally not comfortable. Getting some great panties that don’t have an uncomfortable band can really make your postpartum recovery process much easier and more comfortable.
Nursing and/or Sports Bras
Even if you’re not nursing, your breasts will probably feel uncomfortable and enlarged. I personally liked feeling a little more put together, but still comfortable when going out even on a walk around the neighborhood.
Keep a stock of hair accessories next to where you’ll hang out. You never know when you’ll get uncomfortable, sticky, hot, etc. and want to pull your hair back or get your hair out of your face.
I am not even a chapstick wearer, but I needed it after birth. It was like all the water was sucked right out of my body and my face and lips were so chapped.
Final touches to the After Birth, Postpartum Essentials list
A Great Water Bottle
If you give birth in a hospital, bring home the water bottle with the flex straw. You will want something easy to use and it’s good to know how much water you’re drinking to make sure you are staying adequately hydrated.
Get a clip fan for your bed side or for where you will be hanging out. Even if it’s winter, having a baby means your hormones are all over the place and then you have the added heat of baby. And no one else will be hot but you will. Getting a clip fan also can be a great small investment because you can use it with an adapter in the car during hot months, in a child’s area, etc..
Snacks and Gum
Especially for breastfeeding moms, you will always be hungry. Seriously, insatiable hunger can strike a breastfeeding mom at any moment. Having nuts, seeds, dried fruit, crackers, etc. can be great to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need. Also, having some honey sticks on hand can help get your blood sugar and energy up pretty quickly in a pinch. Gum is also nice to have because maybe you don’t get to brush your teeth or maybe you just need something to chew on.
High Protein Meals
Freeze meals ahead of time and ask friends and family to bring by healthy meals packed with protein. Your body needs calories and nutrients to both heal and provide for baby. Even if friends and family bring meals over for you, it would be a great idea to have your favorite meal in the freezer or fridge so you know it will sound at least remotely tasty.
This is a given. Get up and walk around for circulation, but don’t over do it. FOr two weeks, take your time, enjoy your baby, and just slow down.
More about postpartum life might also love:
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!