First Time Mom Postpartum Must-Haves: at Home & at the Hospital
I prepped for every possibility when stocking up on postpartum supplies at home and for the hospital. I looked at tons of lists of “must haves” and did my own research to find what might be the most useful.
Keep in mind I’m a bit of a minimalist and hate clutter and waste, so I was pretty strategic with what I bought and packed. Even with that mentality, I still feel I had a lot that I didn’t end up needing or using. And I even had a few things I wished I had but didn’t!
We’re ALL different and our journeys vary, so I’ll tell you everything I found most useful and why, PLUS why I think the “not useful” things could have been useful if my experience was different.
What I got for home & how important each was, in order of most to least:
1. Always Boutique adult underwear
I bought 2x packages and I can’t emphasize this enough… GET THESE. Honestly, one of my favorite purchases. These were sooo much more comfortable and secure than the mesh underwear. I wore these under my Lululemon Aligns and didn’t feel insecure about them showing majorly when people visited us which was nice. In addition to easily containing the bleeding, let’s be real: those first few days postpartum also mean peeing your pants a little, haha. And these also gave me peace of mind for that reason too. They were discreet and super practical so I have to put these as my #1 recommendation.
2. Peri bottle/travel bidet
A close second to #1, I also would NOT have wanted to live without one of these! For real, add this to your cart NOW. I’m 3 weeks postpartum and I’m still using it, actually. One of the most valuable feelings postpartum is cleanliness. You’ll feel SO much better when you’re feeling fresh and clean, and this little tool goes a long way in helping you feel that way. Plus, toilet paper can feel really abrasive for a while, so this is great for cleaning, soothing, and making you feel nice and fresh 🙂
3. Always overnight pads/Naty natural heavy pads
I accidentally bought 4 packages of huge overnight Always pads and thought I’d never need that many. Truth is, I’m glad I did! I went through 2 packages relatively quickly and I’m going to save the rest for the first postpartum period later on. I also about 4 boxes of a natural brand of heavy pads which are much lighter than the Always but still substantial enough to handle what they need to! Use whatever brand you’re comfortable with, but for these, get a bit more than you think you’ll need because your bleeding will probably continue for longer than you’d expect even as it tapers off.
I bought one container of these which was plenty. I didn’t get any hemorrhoids (thank GOD) but these were fantastic just for soothing sensitive bits in that first week and a half. They’re cool to the touch and feel SO nice when you’re sore. For your reference, I had two small superficial tears that required a couple stitches each. I felt super sensitive for a solid 10 days postpartum and I really appreciated having these on hand to help ease that discomfort.
Okay, maybe a bit obvious, but I didn’t even think to include this until I took some at the hospital. Even though my tearing was minimal, the discomfort was nagging and persistent though definitely NOT that bad. I just couldn’t ignore it, you know? But I took ibuprofin a couple times a day for about a week and THAT saved me! Seriously. Even if you’re typically a totally natural mama/woman, don’t shy away from this anti-inflammatory miracle worker, haha.
6. Earth Mama Perinieal Spray
I bought one bottle which I hardly used. Honestly, the Tucks worked better for me. This didn’t do much, in my opinion… I was hoping for more, but I didn’t notice any difference when I used it and when I didn’t. This may be just a personal preference though.
7. Huge maternity pads
I bought one pack of 14. This is one of those items that could absolutely be useful depending on the person. I didn’t have massively heavy bleeding for more than 2-3 days, so I only used a few of these. They were super comfortable though, so I don’t have anything negative to say about them at all! I’m just glad I didn’t buy more than one pack because I didn’t even use half of them and I don’t think they’ll be as useful as the regular heavy pads for those first postpartum periods.
8. Mesh undies
I only bought one pack of 5 of these and I’m so glad because I hated them! They’re not comfortable at all, in my opinion. They don’t hold the pads in place so they slip all over and you’re constantly adjusting them. I never felt secure in these because I was constantly feeling like the pad was sliding and lopsided. Lots of women swore by these but I hated them! I think this comes down to personal preference, but the Always undies were 1,000x more comfortable and practical.
What I brought to the hospital is here & I figured instead of recap, I’ll share what I forgot but wished I had (so Adrien went to get them after!):
1. Boppy/Breastfeeding pillow
This was an absolute lifesaver! It didn’t make my initial list, but I asked Adrien to get it from home because I needed it. I wasn’t sure how useful I’d find this thing when I bought it, but I use it almost non-stop during the day because breastfeeding is SO much more comfortable with it. Not only did I use it for that in the hospital, I also sat on it when it was more comfortable because there’s a hole in the center. Very friendly for the discomfort of sitting if you tear at all!
2. Silicone nipple shields
OH MY GOD, I cannot say enough good things about these! These were an afterthought recommended by one of the midwives at the hospital and I’m so glad we discovered them. Breastfeeding didn’t come naturally right away because despite NOT having any kind of tongue tie, my little dude had some issues latching. Not only were these shields the miracle cure for his latch, but they also saved my nipples from being raw and painful. They’re incredibly thin and delicate too with cutouts on the sides so baby’s nose is still against your skin rather than the shield.
3. A softer light/comforts of home
The lights in the hospital room are BRIGHT and definitely not cozy. We ended up being there for 5 days, so Adrien brought a small, soft light to plug in at the hospital for a more cozy feeling. Especially when you wake up throughout the night, turning on the overhead hospital lighting can be jarring. A smaller, less harsh light was really nice to have.
4. Washable bamboo breast pads
Since it took a few days for my milk to fully come in, I had no idea how badly I’d need these! I preferred these to the disposable ones because they’re way thinner than the others. I found the disposable ones super thick and they make your boobs look kind of lumpy. These are much sleeker yet still protective and reusable which is a nice bonus.
5. Super gentle body wash for showering afterwards
I made a point to shower every day and I got a super gentle/mild wash that was safe to use around my stitches and everything even the day after I gave birth. I didn’t get anything fancy or special, I actually ended up getting some milky body wash for infants that have sensitive skin, haha. So it’s unscented, soap-free, chemical-free and generally very mild.
6. Belly Bandit!
I bought this one and wasn’t sure how much I’d want to use it, to be honest. I thought it might be suuuuper uncomfortable and restrict breathing or something. But actually it was really nice to wear and I love it. It’s supportive without feeling restrictive. It didn’t restrict my breath at ALL and felt great to have my core feel drawn in. I also think it’s what helped facilitate such quick healing and my relatively fast return to my pre-baby size.
I couldn’t find this anywhere in Europe but I sooo wish I bought some from the US. It’s numbing which would have been exactly what I wanted in those first few days postpartum. If you have it where you live, get some!
And lastly, I can’t emphasize enough how useful these things were! (in no particular order…)
1. Undies, socks, toothbrush, sandals, travel size toiletries you can leave behind/use/toss.
I threw away a few pairs of underwear and socks, my flip flops, and I left behind all my travel toiletries and toothbrush. The less I had to bring home, the better, and I was so grateful to have fewer little things to think about when heading home.
I don’t wear a robe at home EVER so I doubted I’d wear one at the hospital. How wrong I was! It was so comfortable to have an extra layer for modesty when people came to visit. Plus it was super practical for nursing.
Yep, I brought my basic makeup and skincare routine because it helped soooo much with feeling normal. We took some pictures in the hospital too and I was grateful to have some creature comforts that made me feel more like myself.
4. Nursing tanks from H&M
I brought 4 of these in addition to other tops, but ended up ONLY wearing these. They’re super practical and look like normal clothes, so I ended up being most comfortable in these. Plus, I got them on clearance so I only paid about $14 for all 4!
5. Lululemon Aligns
YES YES YES YES YES. The polls were mostly in favor of bringing these and you were not wrong! I’ve been living in these every day since the day I gave birth. They fit like a dream and are just as comfy postpartum as they are any other day of your life. Can’t recommend them enough!
Phew! That was quite a roundup! Hopefully this helps inform some of your decisions about what to bring and what was essential. Like I said, I think everyone’s experience is different, but it can be useful to read about others’ too. Did you have anything on your own list that was absolutely necessary? Anything you thought you’d need but didn’t? Feel free to share in the comments!