When you are going to have a baby, it’s easy to focus on what you need for your baby and forget that there are things that you will need. Here’s my list of the postpartum must haves that I think every new parent needs to get before baby arrives!
The Fourth Trimester
Beyond the pregnancy, beyond the birth, and beyond the hospital bag lies the postpartum period – the Fourth Trimester. The time that our babies are new and squishy and our bodies feel foreign to us. The time that our bodies are healing from the incredible journey that is pregnancy and birth. It’s a time that can be surprising and challenging and the changes that a birthing person experiences are often overlooked by so many people. It’s a time for rest and healing, and there are some things that make that task so much easier.
When my first baby was born, I spent hours putting together his nursery, less time putting together my hospital bags, and even less preparing my home for my own needs. Over time, I learned what I needed for myself to make the postpartum period easier and ensured that I had those things in place before my babies were born. The First Forty Days by Heng Ou talks about preparing your pantry and home for the immediate postpartum time during pregnancy. I definitely recommend reading this book in pregnancy, and then giving it to anyone who will be supporting you postpartum to also read! Having our home prepared before baby arrives allows us to focus on the incredible transformation and healing that we need to do and not all that other stuff.
Top 15 Postpartum Must Haves
There are some definite postpartum must haves – and no, I’m not talking about anything to do with your actual baby. As a person who has just birthed a baby, no matter how that baby was born, there are some things that you need to have for you! You’ve just done an incredible thing. You’ve grown and birthed a tiny human! Your needs matter too. Don’t just focus on your baby’s needs – ensure that you have these postpartum must haves before your baby arrives!
- Those first few days post birth can be messy. Depends (or other adult diapers) can help.
- Get the thick, long ones. Avoid anything with dry weave! If you end up needing stitches, they can get stuck in the dry weave which is painful!
3. High waisted panties
- If you are birthing in hospital, you will get some great mesh underwear that are GREAT for this time. You can buy these online if you’d like more pairs. But also make sure to pick up some comfy granny panties that don’t matter if they get stained.
4. Peri Bottle
- If birthing in hospital, you should get one of these, but if not, you can just use any smaller squeeze bottle. For the first week, using the peri bottle when going to the bathroom will help to make that experience less scary (especially if you have stitches). You can even add some essential oils and calendula oil for some extra healing help.
5. Perineal spray
- You can make your own or purchase a premade version. There are also creams you can buy, but I prefer a spray. I found it easier to use, and less chance of pulling a stitch when I had stitches. It was also cooling which felt really nice on my sore bits.
- These will feel really nice on your sore bottom. Make enough for the first week!
7. Witch hazel pads
- Often, people develop hemorrhoids after pregnancy. Witch hazel pads cans really help with that discomfort, as well as general perineum discomfort.
8. Water Bottle with a Straw!
- Hydration is important, especially if you are planning on breastfeeding. But open cups and other types of water bottles can be difficult to drink from when holding a newborn. Straws make it much easier to stay hydrated!
9. Constipation Busters
- You can utilize over the counter stool softeners (NOT laxatives), but there are some natural options out there too. If you ensure that you stay ahead of this, bowel movements will be a less scary experience.
10. Belly wrap
- Once your baby is born, your uterus will feel empty. Many birthing people find that a supportive garment (not too tight!) can help hold things in place for those first few days postpartum. You can use wraps purchased specifically for this, or you can use a snug tank top. Just be careful, as wearing something too tight can contribute to pelvic floor prolapse.
11. Stocked household items
- Make sure to stock up on often used household items so that you don’t have to worry about them. You most definitely do not want to be worried you will run out of toilet paper in the first weeks postpartum!
12. Comfortable clothes
- Real talk. You likely won’t be back in your pre-pregnancy clothes soon after birth. Comfy and warm clothes will help your body heal as you get to know your new baby! Most likely, your maternity clothes will still fit and be the most comfortable for you.
13. Food or Meal Service
- Ask your friends to set up a meal train. Stock your pantry and freezer. Sign up for a meal service. The last thing you want to worry about is what is for supper. Make sure to stock up on easy snacks too – my favourite go to snacks are nuts and seeds, dried fruit, muffins, cut up fruits/vegetables, and protein bars (either home made or store bought).
14. Set up a Feeding Station. (Click here to get your free checklist to make it easier!)
- If there’s one thing that is a given with a newborn, it’s that you will spend a lot of time feeding them. Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding or some other combination, that baby will need to eat! Setting up a dedicated space for feeding that has everything that you may need within reach can make those hours spent feeding much easier.
15. Postpartum Doula
- Early postpartum can be so hard. It’s just such a big transition! But you don’t have to feel so alone. A postpartum doula can help you thrive. Support postpartum is so important, and a postpartum doula can help fill the gaps that your friends and family can’t.
The early postpartum period flies by. I know it won’t seem like it at the time, but it truly does. Be sure to be prepared for it by having all of the postpartum must haves arranged before baby comes. Be prepared so that you can just focus on getting to know the new, little life that you have brought into this world.
Love Sarah XOXO