The following article contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission if you purchase something at no additional cost to you. All opinions remain my own. For more information, see my full disclosure policy.
Towards the end of both of my pregnancies, I found myself beginning to nest; cleaning, organizing, getting things ready. All in anticipation of having the perfect house for when my baby got here. One thing I neglected with my first pregnancy was anticipating my own needs. Although I took a natural childbirthing class, I was under the impression that I would recover quickly from birth. I might be a little tired the first few days, but after that I’d be back to my normal self (albeit a little sleep deprived).
Nope. I had difficulty walking for weeks due to a first degree and clitoral tear from the birthing process, breastfeeding was exhausting, the postpartum blues hit me like a ton of rocks, and I just generally felt exhausted and out of it for weeks. Walking across my bedroom was difficult, let alone walking down the stairs.
This time, however, I’ve prepared much better for my postpartum journey by creating a basket of essential items and keeping them in my upstairs bathroom. Of course, I’ve stocked our downstairs bathroom as well, but upstairs is where I’ll spend most of my time recovering.
Here is what I’ve included in my basket:
Disposable Underwear / Adult Diapers
I found the disposable underwear to be much more comfortable than giant pads during the healing period, and much more effective at catching all the postpartum bleeding (learn more about lochia here: All You Need to Know About Postpartum Bleeding AKA Lochia). I also keep a few chuck pads around to place underneath me while I sleep to extra protect our mattress. Not pictured: Frozen Postpartum undies. I have a great recipe for soothing postpartum relief pad that I’ve made and stored in my freezer. These are great for those first few days of perineal soreness.
As the lochia starts to diminish in intensity and I start to feel better, I plan to switch to cloth pads to catch the bleeding. If you wanted to, you could use cloth pads from the beginning, but I found I was too exhausted to keep up with laundry, so having the adult diapers in the beginning was helpful. Cloth pads are available at most health food stores, on Amazon (affiliate), or purchase handmade on Etsy (affiliate).
Some mamas may have no problem breastfeeding and not need this, but often times new moms have some degree of discomfort or pain (which isn’t normal. Seek a lactation consultant if you haven’t already). Having some nipple ointment or cream is great to take away from some of the pain. Pictured here is Udder, but Earth Mama Angel baby also makes a great ointment too; both are baby safe. Alternatively, if you have coconut oil, you can also use that. Earth Mama Angel Baby is available at most baby and health stores, and can also be purchased on Amazon (Affiliate) or on Earth Mama‘s website.
Uplifting Postpartum Room Spray
A handmade spray composed of hydrosols (similiar to essential oils) specially picked for their uplifting properties. For when I need a quick mood pick me up during my day (or nights). Learn how to make it on my recipe page for Uplifting Postpartum Room Spray. Baby safe!
So these won’t actually arrive until after the birth of baby, but they are such a great investment I wanted to include them on my list. Many women swear that consuming their placenta helped with milk production and ward off postpartum depression. Many doulas offer this as part of their services, and there are many stand alone practitioners. Of course, you can always DIY your own placenta pills, or freeze it and consume it that way as well. For more of the benefits of placentaphaghy, see The Pros and Cons of Eating Your Placenta, or read about my personal experience consuming my placenta. Or, learn about different ways to honor the placenta without consuming it.
A must have to help any vaginal and perineal soreness you encounter while urinating (especially if you end up tearing). You’ll most likely receive one of these in the hospital that you’ll get to take home. I actually purchased this one from Frida Baby to use as a mini bidet while using family cloth and love the ease of use. It’s specifically designed to be used upside down, and the pull out narrow spout makes it a lot easier to really target where you’re trying to. You can purchase the Fridababy Fridet on Amazon (affiliate link).
New Mama Bottom Spray
If you deliver in a hospital, you will most likely be given a numbing spray that you can use before you go to the bathroom. If you gave birth in a birth center or at home, or are just looking for a natural alternative, Earth Mama Angel Baby makes a great bottom spray. Great for use before or after using the restroom. I also have one of these packed in my hospital bag! New Mama Bottom Spray is available at most health or baby stores, or online at Amazon (affiliate) or Earth Mama’s website (affiliate).
Mama Bottom Balm
Great for hemorrhoids and itching during pregnancy, it can also be used during the postpartum period on sore and painful areas. It can be used in place of the new mama bottom spray, however I found myself too afraid to touch myself since I had stitches from tearing during labor. Mama Bottom Balm is available at most health or baby stores, or online at Amazon (affiliate) or Earth Mama’s website.
I included a few of Clif’s builder’s bars in my basket for when I need a quick snack.They have 20 grams of proteins and are chock full of vitamins and minerals that a postpartum body needs. Although my husband will be home with me for the first couple weeks, it’s still nice to have a quick snack that I can access easily without needing assistance (especially because our bedroom is upstairs). Granola bars, dried fruit, nuts or jerky are also a great option to place in your basket – just make sure they are non perishable. For more ideas, see The Great Big List of Snack Ideas for Labor, many are nonperishable.
Silicon Breast Pump
I’ve heard so many great things about silicon manual breastpumps in some of my breastfeeding facebook groups, that I decided to give it a try this time. With my first pregnancy, I used a Milkies Milk Saver (available on amazon, affiliate) to collect leaking milk from the opposite breast while nursing my little one. I usually got about an ounce a feeding that I could then save or feed back to him. I’m excited this time to use a pump to see if I can draw out more milk and increase my supply. I purchased the pump by Blue Moon Innovations, available on Amazon (Affiliate), but there are a wide variety of other brands. Looking for an electric pump? I love my Spectra. Read all about it in my Spectra S1 breastpump review.
Although I didn’t leak often with nursing, it was still nice having these around. Simply place in your nursing bra between feedings to prevent unwanted wetness on your clothes. I like the ones by Bamboobies, available at most baby stores or on at Amazon (affiliate), but you can also purchase handmade ones on Etsy (affiliate), or find DIY patterns on pinterest.
A great alternative to pain medication, this pain reliever is a great option for mothers looking for something more natural. As always, please consult your doctor before taking any homeopathic remedies. Available at most health food stores and on Amazon (affiliate).
Afterpains are contractions after giving birth (learn more here: Afterpains and How to Manage Them) and can be quite painful. After Ease is a homeopathic tonic designed to help ease the pain. This is currently packed up in my labor bag, but will make it’s way to my postpartum basket after coming home if I’m still having pains. Purchase it on Amazon.com (affiliate).
Coming home after giving birth is challenging, but make it a little easier on yourself (or spouse or friend!) by making a postpartum basket full of items to make their transition home a little easier.
Did I miss anything important? What would you add?