Fair warning, we’re going to get into the unpleasant, nitty-gritty here (I’m sorry to the people who know me personally). Regardless of your birthing experience, post birth is going to be like nothing you’ve dealt with before. Life is rough for the first few weeks, so postpartum care is something you don’t want to skimp on. You’re going to be learning how to keep a tiny human alive while feeling like you might be dying (whether from pain or just the sheer amount of blood you’re losing). Everything hurts and you just want to feel semi-normal for 5 seconds. There is truly no limit on the amount of money you’ll be willing to spend when you’ve just giving birth to a watermelon. There are so many postpartum care essentials lists out there but everyone has a different birth and post birth experience so everyone’s needs are different. I’m breaking down what I needed and what I didn’t need for my postpartum care and why.
Postpartum care essentials to take from the hospital:
First off, save yourself some money (hah, like you didn’t already pay for alllllll this shi…. stuff) and take what you can from the hospital. They usually have to throw away anything that’s been opened or used so when in doubt, take it. I went home with extra pads in all shapes and sizes (I asked for extra options while I was there and they gave me a wide variety), disposable underwear because they come in a multi-pack that was already open, ice pack pads because there were more in the room and I NEEDED them, Tucks wipes and plain flushable wipes because they were already open and they can’t give them to someone else, and the perineal irrigation bottle (peri bottle) because they don’t reuse those (gross).
Postpartum must-haves checklist:
Disposable Postpartum Underwear – As I mentioned, I took these from the hospital. I looked into purchasing them online because a lot of people recommended them. I choose to go the cheap underwear route instead. This really just comes down to your preference. I would say disposable are not necessary after the first several days.
Cheap Postpartum Underwear – I highly recommend getting some, just to be safe. I would hate to bleed in my nice VS undies. The type of postpartum underwear you get is really dependent on what you’re use to. I was a size small underwear before and during my pregnancy. I bought a pack of Hanes bikini underwear in a small and then after reading more blogs, went back and purchased a size medium in Hanes briefs. They say you might want those if you have a c-section, which I did not. I absolutely hated the briefs. They were too big and went up WAY too high. If you’re use to a smaller cut I would recommend you stick with that unless you know you’ll have a c-section. You also don’t need to size up to accommodate anything.
Maxi Pads – Again, use what you get from the hospital but you’ll need more. A lot more. Get the biggest overnights with wings possible, plus regulars, and liners. You’ll eventually need all of them, they’re postpartum care essentials.
Puppy Pads – Yeah, weird, I know. You’ll likely use them at the hospital too. In the medical world, they’re called Underpads but puppy pads are what I know them as. They’re basically thin absorbent pads you put under your bum to catch any leaks you might have. They save your expensive bed sheets in the event of a blood leak. I bought them but never had any issues with leaking onto our sheets. We now use them on our baby changing pad in case he pees while being changed. They have saved us from washing our changing pad cover numerous times!
Nursing Breast Pads – Once your milk comes in you’ll probably be leaking. As you even out your feedings and get in a routine it will happen less but you might still want to wear them to be safe or for at night when hopefully you’re feeding less often. I’ve tried a variety and these are the best.
Postpartum Ice Packs (padsicles)
Disposable perineal ice pack pads – The hospital had popable instant ice pack perineal pads that I thought were amazing. I took a few home with me and didn’t end up using them because I discovered the reusable option worked so much better. The disposable are nice because you can throw them out but they don’t stay cold for long, they’re really large and awkward, and they don’t absorb anything.
Reusable perineal cold pack – This get’s VERY cold and stays cold for a long time. It’s smaller than the disposable pads but this is not absorbent in any way. It’s just an ice pack. It works wonders and is really worth the cost when you’re in pain and nothing else works. I definitely suggest adding this to your postpartum care essentials list!
Postpartum Spray, Wipes, Cream, and More.
Peri bottle – Hospital gave me one. If you have more than one bathroom, get more. You’re not supposed to use toilet paper for a while after giving birth so the peri bottle has to be on your postpartum care essentials list. Just remember to always, always fill it with WARM water.
Bum Wipes – Again, the hospital gave me a really small pack of these. I always have some on hand at home. After birth, you really just need flushable wipes. Everything downstairs hurts.
Witch Hazel Pads – The hospital provided a tub of these and I also bought an extra tub of Tucks. No difference that I noticed in the 2 brands. They were both great, postpartum care essentials. I highly recommend which hazel wipes, especially if you had an episiotomy or tear.
Hemorrhoid cream – You might need hemorrhoid cream, you might not. If you did a lot of pushing you probably will. If you were unfortunate enough to get hemorrhoids during pregnancy you will probably still have them after birth. I needed it for a little while and I’m so glad I used it. It really did make a huge difference in the bathroom trips.
Dermoplast after birth spray BLUE CAN – Everyone, and I mean everyone, recommends this stuff. I bought a two pack on Amazon because no stores carried it locally and they only had a two pack online. Well, I anticipate having both cans for the next 10 years. I didn’t care for this spray, for this purpose, at all. It didn’t do much for me and the oily feeling is weird. Some people swear by it so if you want to cover your bases, buy a can just to try out. You can also use it for what it’s intended, cuts and scrapes when your little one gets older.
Colace – Sweet Lord, get Colace. Postpartum care essential! Without it, you’ll feel like you’re giving birth all over again. Don’t be terrified to go number two. If you’re taking Colace and drinking loads of water, it will be okay. It’s more important to go right away than hold it because you’re nervous about the pain. It will only get worse the longer you wait.
Breastfeeding Care Essentials
Nipple Cream – If this is your first child and you’re planning to breastfeed, this is a postpartum essential. I tried a few different brands and Lansinoh was by far the best for me. If you plan to pump and nurse get 2 tubes, one for your pumping bag and one for your breastfeeding kit (more on that coming soon!).
Nipple gel pads – Store them in the fridge and they will be your best friend. I tried Lansinoh and Medela and the Lansinoh Soothies were far and away the better options. Some people say you can cut them into smaller pads to extend the life. I didn’t think any of them were large enough to do a good job in a smaller size. Bite the bullet and get a few sets. SO WORTH IT.
Nipple Shield – This is really controversial but when you’re learning how to breastfeed, your baby doesn’t yet know how to latch, you’re nipples are raw (possibly bleeding), and you need your baby to gain weight, you do what you have to do. I personally love the Medela Nipple Shield and still use one for to several reasons (flat nipples, fast letdown, and initially for cracked nipples). A Lactation Consultant can help you make that call.
Postpartum Belly Band
Belly Band – Some women love these, I bought one and didn’t wear it much. I didn’t gain a lot of weight with my pregnancy and lost most of it pretty quickly so I didn’t end up needing this for “sucking it in.” Some women need the back support or support for a c-section. The one I got is very versatile and pretty inexpensive compared to others so it might be a nice extra to have. I wouldn’t call it an essential, though.
Do you really need all this stuff for postpartum care?
When I was planning my postpartum care essentials this list seemed like overkill. I thought there was no way it could be necessary to buy THIS much stuff. Literally the day after giving birth I was on Amazon Prime ordering as many postpartum care items I could find. Like I said, there is no amount of money you won’t spend for comfort after birth. Some of these items can even be purchased using your HSA. It’s really worth it in the end so it’s better to have it and be prepared for the inevitable!
What are your postpartum care essentials?
Share your postpartum must-haves in the comments below!
Congratulations and best of luck, Momma!