When I was preparing for my first baby, I was too cool to buy any of the typical postpartum essentials.
I was just going to save the money and tough it out.
I made my own crummy padsicles, thought I could get by with the little sample of nipple cream from the hospital, and my recovery was much less fun than it could have been.
With Baby #2, I wised up a bit. While I didn’t buy a ton of new stuff, I didn’t necessarily want to repeat my first experience.
And so, as a second time mom, here are the things I really believe are worth having to make your postpartum recovery that much easier.
8 Postpartum Essentials I Wish I’d Had the First Time Around
While most of these items are in no particular order, reusable hot/cold packs are definitely one of the top items I wish I’d gotten for my first postpartum recovery.
If you’ve never given birth before, you might think chilling the land down under with an ice pack sounds anything from mildly unpleasant to utterly intolerable. And pre-baby me felt the same way. Like WHY would you want an ice pack in your underwear?? It sounded horrible.
But after the hospital had me use their disposable cold packs, I understood. It was glorious.
When I got home from the hospital, I tried making padsicles, and they were nice… for about the first 17 seconds. And then they were just slimy, room temperature pads.
So this second time around, I didn’t even fool with silly padsicles. I ordered reusable ice packs— ones that can also be warmed up!
My nurses from hospital stay #2 recommended using the cold packs to reduce swelling, and then once the swelling subsides, using warm packs to encourage healing.
THESE are the hot/cold packs I used and I loved them. I highly recommend having them in your postpartum stash before coming home from the hospital!!
Angled peri bottle
Okay, so this isn’t something you HAVE to have… After all, the hospital will send you home with a little peri bottle after birth.
But the peri bottle from the hospital has its shortcomings.
You have to get the whole bottle and your hand down in the toilet and try to shoot the stream of water upwards to reach the intended target.
You can make your life so much easier with a peri bottle.
It comes with nice, long spouts rather than a stumpy little nozzle– one of the interchangeable spouts is straight, but the other is angled! Both the bottle and your hand then have the luxury of remaining outside of the toilet bowl!
A particular bottle also holds a much greater volume than the little dinky one from the hospital.
And after your recover, you can keep the bottle in commission by using it to help with Baby’s bath times!
Chlorine and fragrance-free pads
Do you have any idea how much toxic crud is in your feminine care products!?
Neither did I until pretty recently. It’s deplorable. And it’s also not great for you. Not great for you at all! Even under normal circumstances, the chemicals can wreak havoc on your hormones, and just think about the condition your lady bits will be in after birth.
This time around, I knew I wanted something safer and non-toxic for the battle-worn Queen Mother. After all, she definitely earned it.
I tried chlorine-free pads from a couple of brands– Seventh Generation and L. pads (from Target). If your budget allows you can also look for pads that are made from organic cotton, but then your price per unit starts getting pretty steep. I couldn’t quite fork out that much, so chlorine and fragrance-free was a good enough place to start for me.
I found both brands pretty comparable, but I did slightly prefer the pads from Seventh Generation.
The first few days, I used the hospital’s picnic blanket sized pads, but once the blood volume reduced from genocide to shark attack, I switched over to the cleaner pads.
I’d recommend starting out with a couple packs of long pads, but also having some lighter liners on hand for when your flow starts to dwindle– toward the end, the larger pads are major overkill.
If you’re breastfeeding, nipple cream is a life-saver.
The first time, I didn’t think I needed it. The hospital gave me a tiny sample size tube, and I figured that was all I’d need. I didn’t even like the stuff because it was so thick and greasy.
But then I discovered I had a marathon nurser, and thanks to her poor latch and upper lip tie, I ended up with cracked, bleeding, blistered nipples. Not fun, unless you consider Dante’s seventh circle of hell enjoyable.
I ended up giving in and ordering a nipple cream from Medela, and it was SOOO much better than the stuff from the hospital. It wasn’t greasy or thick, and it actually helped a lot.
(And ever since, I’ve found lots of non-nipple related uses for it, too!)
Hot/cold cup leak proof
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, you’re going to spend lots of time (I hope) in bed recovering with your sweet new baby, and you need plenty of fluids.
That calls for a spill proof drink receptacle!
Sure, you could use a water bottle, but opening it will require two hands, of which you may not always have the luxury.
I actually found that using a thermos like THIS ONE works really well because it’s spill/leak proof, you can open it with one hand, and it keeps your ice water icy or your hot drink steamy for most of the day.
If you’re breastfeeding, ya gotta get yourself some decent nursing apparel.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding clothes, especially nursing bras, can cost a fortune.
I got a couple from Motherhood Maternity my first time and they…well, they sucked.
I didn’t want to get new ones this time because I felt like if I didn’t like them, I’d just be throwing my money away on underperforming undergarments, but I heard good things about the Auden brand at Target, so I pulled the trigger.
I’m so glad I did, because I love them! They’re pretty much the most comfortable bras I’ve ever had ever.
I also got several of the nursing tanks, and they’re the bomb diggity because then you don’t have to bare your stretched-out squishy midriff to the world when you pull up your shirt to nurse.
The best part is they’re SUPER affordable, especially if you catch them on a sale.
Even though I have a hospital-grade electric pump, I actually like my hand pump a lot more.
(If you didn’t know, your insurance company will probably provide you with a free electric pump!! Make sure you ask!)
The electric pump is just so cumbersome and pesky… My little hand pump is easier to clean, easier to assemble, easier to store, easier to use while nap-trapped under a sleeping baby…
I don’t work outside of the home, so I don’t need a huge milk stash. It’s nice just to have a few little bags of milk on hand in case I want to leave Baby while I go out for a short time.
So if you want a convenient little hand pump, I am really liking THIS ONE.
Now you might not think of a baby wrap as a typical postpartum essential, but for me, it’s vital!
Newborns do not really like to be set down. Some babies will tolerate slightly longer stretches than others, but you probably won’t be able to get away with more than a couple of minutes at a time in the beginning.
My first baby was very high-need, and I could not set her down at all, ever.
Being able to just pop your baby into the wrap so that you can have your hands free makes all the difference in the world.
It was especially critical for me once my husband went back to work and I had to get back into normal life (now caring for the house, a toddler, and a baby).
You will save yourself SO MUCH stress just by having the ability to wear your baby.
I got a wrap with my first baby and am using it again with my second.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
How are you feeling about the postpartum period? Are there any things you’re nervous or excited about?