I just about three weeks postpartum and I wanted to share some of my MUST HAVE items for those first postpartum weeks with you. You spend a lot of time caring for your newborn, but I’ve found it’s just as important to prepare to care for yourself. I wasn’t as prepared with my first. There are some things I definitely spent more time preparing for the second time around that has made recovery and postpartum life easier.
For a little background, I delivered both my babies vaginally, so some of the items are more specific to that. But there’s also just a handful of stuff for surviving postpartum life with a little newborn to love as well.
To Care For Down There
These are the items I stock up to take care of your area down there. Again, these are more specific to vaginal deliveries as that what I had both times.
There’s some good bleeding happening postpartum, so pads are very needed. I know a lot of women say they just opt for the diapers, but I actually found I preferred pads with disposal underwear as I found pads easier to change. I didn’t have to fully undress on the bottom every time I needed to “get dry” down there. Then I would switch out of the disposable underwear as needed. For me, I find that two packs of the heavy pads and then 1-2 packs of low/medium pads do the trick.
I also got these Honey Pot postpartum pads. They are herbal infused pads (lavender, mint, aloe, etc.) to help heal and soothe. They sort of have a strange cooling sensation, which I imagine some people might find weird, but I actually found it REALLY nice and soothing. I would use them after showers or before bed and really liked them.
They will have those amazing mesh ones for you at the hospital and I took a handful home with me. But, I found I ran out of my “stash” within about 4 days of getting home and had wished I had them for a little longer. So this time around I bought myself some extras so I’ll have my hospital stash and some extras, too. I actually don’t recommend this brand I bought because I found they ripped at the seam really easily. I found this brand that is closer to the hospital ones and suggest them instead.
Tuck’s Pads are pads with witch hazel, designed specifically for hemorrhoids (ah, such glamorous stuff we’re talking about.) It’s estimated about 40-50% of women experience hemorrhoids postpartum. I was lucky enough to avoid them both times around, but I still went through these pads LIKE CRAZY for just general comfort in the first 2 weeks postpartum. I would layer 1-2 on top of my pad. The witch hazel is both cooling and helps soothe irritated areas. It’s also not a bad idea to use them as a preventative for hemorrhoids since those can pop up postpartum, too. (So lucky me, I still have a chance! WHOOHOO lol)
Essentially you just fill it with warm water (and a little witch hazel if you want) to clean down there. You can’t exactly wipe a lot right away, particularly with you have stitches which I did both times. It’s kind of like a handheld bidet. It seems like such a simple concept but trust me it’s a MUST HAVE the first 1-2 weeks postpartum. Not only does it help keep the area clean, but I fill mine with warm water each time and it’s almost like doing a mini sitz bath each time around. I find it helped me heal and stay, overall, much more comfortable.
This is another thing they’ll likely send you home from the hospital with, but this one by Frida Mom is a little easier to use as it’s inverted. I also liked having a spare so I could have one in both my upstairs and downstairs bathroom. This way I always had one available no matter where I was. I definitely suggest one for each bathroom you may use. (BONUS: also great to use in the shower for your first few postpartum showers to get clean.)
Around the House
Comfortable spot to nurse/feed
It’s nice to have a sort of designated spot for feedings (aside from your bed.) This way you can sort of set it up to have the things you need and make it comfortable. If you’re using a sofa, especially something that sits deep, you might want to consider a backrest pillow with arms, like this. I also LOVED this clip-on table for the sofa armrest with my first. It allows you to create a super close, easy to grab table where you feed, as opposed to a coffee table which is often out of reach when you’re nursing.
You’ll want a nice water tumbler or bottle, especially if nursing, that you can just keep full of water all the time. I suggest more than one, so you always have one around and have one when another is in the wash.
Definitely a small collection of some easy to grab healthy snacks like high-quality granola bars, nuts, etc. I used Thrive to stock up on most of my healthy snacks. I actually now gift everyone I know a big box of Luna or Larabars along with whatever else I send them postpartum. Yes, it’s super nice to bring new parents a meal when you visit, but sometimes the quick/easy snacks are even more beneficial.
I have spent a lot more time preparing my wardrobe for postpartum this time around. I was SO unprepared for dressing my postpartum body with my first. I’ve shared an entire post with my postpartum clothing must-haves, but I’ll highlight the tops here.
This is something I did NOT have with my first that I regretted. I had a “cute” robe, but what you really want is something super comfy and not too short. You’re going to spend a lot of time walking around in just a bra and spit up on your shirt, it’s nice to have something you can just grab and throw over your outfit or PJs.
Most nights I sleep in just joggers and a nursing bra, so it’s great to grab in the morning to throw over the top as well. I have this the Teddy Bear Robe from Pottery Barn which is legit the softest, coziest robe you’ll ever wear. Great if you have a winter baby! I also have the Kindred Bravely Robe which is a really nice lightweight option, but not too short.
Stylish PJs/Nightshirts (that are nursing-friendly)
You will THANK YOURSELF a million times over if you get yourself a few pairs of comfy but cute PJs for postpartum. You’re gonna wear them DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY. And, likely many guests, family members, and the postman will see you in them. So, you want them to be comfortable but also it doesn’t hurt if they look cute so you can feel a little more “put together”.
Shop a few of my favorites
At any other point in my life I actually DON’T like high-waisted jeans. I’ve never found them to be my style or comfortable. But postpartum they are the bee’s knees. They just give you the support you want in the belly.
I love these jeggings for the first month postpartum because they have an all elastic waistband so they are super comfy. Consider getting one pair a size up from your normal size for the first few weeks and then one pair in your normal size. Then this is my go-to postpartum jeans for weeks 6-20 postpartum. They are called “jean leggings” but they are more like a jean (with a button and zipper) but they just have amazing stretch. The quality is SO good, you’ll wear them for years.
High-Waisted Postpartum Leggings
If I could only choose ONE postpartum item, it would be comfy AF, well-fitting, postpartum leggings. They don’t even have to be postpartum specific (just something high-waisted). Although it’s nice to get a postpartum legging because they often offer added tummy support which is very comfortable in the first 3-4 weeks PP.
I’m very deliberate to type that as “nursing-friendly bras” and not just “nursing bras” because I learned that many bras (particularly bralettes) can be nursing friendly even if not designed for that.
I do like to keep some nursing bras in my stash, I own this one in every color which is super comfy for sleeping or daily wear. I also got this one which is an awesome padded option but still wire-free and very comfortable for everyday wear. I even find it comfortable enough to sleep in.
However, I find for every day (once your past the initial cluster feeding, newborn days) most deep v bralettes work really well too and are often way comfier. I own this one, this one, and this one, all of which have very easy boob access.
Also, on that note, some reusable nursing pads are great.
Just For Yourself
I think one of the hardest parts of postpartum is just not feeling 100% like yourself. You’re not going to have time for a lot of your usual self-care or normal things you typically do around the house. For me, one of the things I found that really helped me was once a day (or even every other day) taking 30 minutes for self-care. This looks different for everyone. For me, just having time to take a proper shower, put on a little mascara, do my hair…these things made me feel myself. For other people it might be exercise, putting on real outfits every day, reading, cooking, meditation.
Think about what it is for you and try to get yourself 2-3 things to help with that. If it’s reading, get yourself a few new books. If it’s getting dressed in real clothing get 2-3 extra postpartum clothing items like a pair of sized up jeggings or cute nursing sweater.
Like I said, for me it’s about having 30 minutes of self-care time. With my first, I got myself the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer which was legit a hair product game changer for me. This time around I got myself a new face mask to use, a silk pillowcase (a serious GAME CHANGER for bed head), as well was a new exfoliating mitt for some spa-like showers.
You might also like my “1 Year Postpartum…what no one tells you.”