Post partum essentials

These are the things I used (or didn’t) once I had my baby, and if I felt they were necessary in that first year.

Must have 

Water bottle: had to drink lots of water while breastfeeding

Caddy: I bought a caddy that I filled with diapers, baby essentials, the changing pad, snacks, my water bottle, the remote, my phone, and everything else I needed right next to me at all times. That way, everything I needed wasn’t getting lost in the couch all the time. It really helped a lot, especially when I couldn’t move. I know some people use a cart, but having the caddy right next to me on the couch was the best option.

Donut pillow: there have been very versatile. When I was healing from birth, I used it to sit in. I also used it to prop behind my lower back when breastfeeding. They may seem small, but they are extremely handy.

Pads/diapers: these are definitely a must. No matter what, you will bleed. The choice here is whether to go reusable or disposable. I used both, but it was much more convenient in the first 3–4 days to use disposable. Overall, I used maybe 10 of the depends diapers I got which worked really well. After that, reusables worked just fine.

Witch hazel: i’m not sure this would be for everyone, but for me it was a must. Some people use Tuck’s pads, but buying witch hazel on it’s own and spraying it in whatever pad or diaper you’re using is a much easier and more affordable option. In my experience, the witch hazel definitely soothed and helped relieve pain while allowing healing. I did start using it less frequently as time went on because it felt like it was drying me out, but those first few days postpartum it really helped a lot.

Changing pad: I know a lot of people get stationary hard plastic changing tables, but having a portable waterproof pad is going to be necessary anyway for when you leave the house. One way we made this work really well was by putting it on a soft cot. That made our baby very comfortable once she got used to it.

A good support person: my husband was present from the start of my contractions all the way through one month postpartum. He took on all of the household chores in the first week and a half after birth, which was not only invaluable but necessary. There was no way I could’ve done any of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, or any of the other things that really had to get done. Having someone there for you 24/7 at least for the first 7-10 days where you’re still doing a lot of healing is a must. I don’t know how there’s a way around that.

Muslin blankets: in my experience, it was so nice to have a couple muslin blankets to put over the baby if we need to. Sometimes she just needed a little bit of covering but not too much heat, and these came in very handy.

Diapers, wipes: whether using cloth or disposable, you will need diapers and wipes of some kind. Even as someone planning to do cloth diapering, having a box of disposables and disposable wipes really came in handy the first week, especially since it was our first baby and we were figuring it all out. After that, having a good plan and decent starter stash for cloth diapering was important moving forward.

Nail file: I had a first aid kit that came with baby nail clippers, but at the newborn stage they were way too big to be useful. Using a regular nail file was by far the best option. It allowed to get close to her skin without thinking you’re going to cut her finger off. I’m sure the fancy ones with the tips that don’t cut are also nice, but a regular soft nail file works just fine. 

Burp cloths/towels: once my mature milk came in, I would always have to wipe my baby’s mouth once she was finished nursing. It was also nice to just have some thing around to wipe myself off if I was leaking a little bit.

Nursing bras: not only are these comfortable and supportive  but they provide easy access for nursing. There are a few different types out there but I would say the overlap stretchy ones are the best. 

Baby hair comb: helpful for getting crust out of hair and will be iseful in the first several months.

Bassinet: really nice to have. The one I had had wheels so it could be moved around easily. Really great for the first few months.

Baby carrier: I used my Moby wrap a ton and it was the only way I could get things done sometimes.


Milk catcher: I use the Elvie brand version, but I heard good things about the Haaka too. My milk didn’t leak much so this was not a necessary one. The few times I used it though it did work well.

Dermoplast: this one is a maybe because I don’t know if it would work for everyone. I got my derma Plast three days postpartum, which maybe I missed the most important days to use it. Also, with all the bleeding, I’m not sure how effective it would be but when I did use it it seemed to help a little bit. I just don’t think it’s necessary a must have.

Diaper warmer: my husband would probably say this is a must. Once he started using it to change our baby’s diaper, he felt she responded better. However, she responded better in general over time. Therefore, I’m not entirely sure if it’s necessary, but it is really nice to have, even in the summer.

Towel under boobs to cool off: this may have also been a summer thing, but it was extremely necessary for me. It really helped me cool down my core temperature so I wasn’t transferring so much heat to the baby.

Nursing pillow: during the first week, the nursing pill I had was way too small to fit around me, so I had to learn how to nurse without it. I’m sure I could be useful, but using other pillows to prop yourself up is just as useful.

Nursing cover: A muslin blanket might also work but a proper nursing cover is probably going to be more convenient and more comfortable to use.

Cot: i put this inside the bassinet before my daughter could roll over. She seemed comfortable in there but I dont think it was absolutely necessary.

Suction bulb: I used this a couple of times although my daughter mainly liked it as a toy.

Not needed

Lots of cute newborn outfits: since my baby was born in the summer, it was usually on the warmer side in our apartment. Therefore, she was usually just in a diaper. A lot of people bought us newborn clothes but we didn’t leave the house for that first week besides to go to the doctor, so they were definitely not that useful. A few functional onesies are really all you need for that size.

Gripe water: I was curious about this when I first heard it so I asked my midwife. She said that gripe water isn’t a solution to anything, it’s just a remedy for some thing that’s going on. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend getting it, especially not before the baby comes. It probably won’t be used and if it needs to be used you could get it when you need it.

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