This is the fifth post in my Baby Checklist Series: Free Printable Postpartum Checklist
Well, throughout this series we’ve talked about all kinds of things Baby will need after he’s born…now it’s time to talk a little bit about what Mama will need!
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again because it bears repeating – everyone’s birthing experience is so very different, there is no one definitive checklist of things you definitely will or won’t need. I had a fairly straightforward (though LONG) labor and deliver with a normal recovery. If you end up having a C-section or complications during birth, obviously your postpartum needs will be different than mine were. But I am hoping that, as you are trying to prepare as much as possible for the birth of your little one, this printable postpartum checklist will be helpful to you!
So, here is a list of things it will probably be helpful to have on-hand after you come home! WARNING: this is all the stuff that people generally don’t like to talk about, because it’s awkward or just plain gross…so consider yourself warned!
(Items with an asterisk are things that you should have if you are planning to breastfeed. Items with a ^ are things you may be able to take home with you from the hospital.)
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- Breast Pump.* Now, I know LOTS of people that swear by their electric pumps. I had registered for one but didn’t receive it, and since they aren’t cheap, I decided to just buy a Medela Harmony manual pump – only about $30, whereas a decent electric pump is anywhere from $100-300 and up! I ended up never purchasing an electric pump, as I only used it in the beginning to relieve engorgement and then later on for the very occasional bottle. I am SO glad I had that pump on hand in the beginning, though – you will definitely need one to help you with engorgement at first. If you are planning to go back to work at some point after your baby is born, though, it’s a good idea to invest in a good electric pump. If you’re not sure what kind you want or how long you’ll need it for, check with your hospital or local lactation consultants about renting a pump – you’ll rent their motor and just need to purchase your own tubing and bottles.
- Milk Storage Bags.* The best way to store milk in the freezer. I use these.
- Lanolin.* You’ll probably get some samples of this at the hospital, but make sure you have some on hand at home. One of these tubes was more than enough!
- Nursing Pads.* You have the option of either disposable or reusable/washable pads to keep in your bra. I am still using them daily (my daughter is almost 10 months old), but some women only end up needing them for the first month or so. I absolutely love these disposable pads from Lansinoh – they aren’t bulky and don’t show through my shirt so you can’t tell I’m wearing them, the adhesive stays sticky, and they’re very inexpensive if you buy them in a pack of 4 boxes from Amazon.
- Nursing Bra.* It’s hard to purchase this ahead of time as you have no idea what size you’ll end up after your milk comes in. Your best bet is to buy the ones that come in S/M/L (estimate on the larger side) and wait to buy any with specific cup sizes until after you can get out and try them on. I bought a two sleep nursing bras and another elastic band (non-underwire) bra to start.
- Nursing Tanks.* I LIVED in yoga pants and nursing tanks for the first few weeks. They were comfortable, easy to nurse in, I could pull on a zip-up sweatshirt if I got cold, and I didn’t have to pull up my shirt and see my still-very-flabby belly every time I went to nurse. I’d wear them underneath other tops too.
- Bags of frozen peas and/or cabbage. Seriously. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, a cabbage leaf in your bra helps sooth sore, engorged breasts like nothing else. I didn’t even mind that I smelled like coleslaw. Bags of frozen peas felt really good too.
- Super absorbent pads.^ I took a bunch of the huge grandma pads home with me from the hospital, but once I didn’t need those any more after a few days, I switched to Infinity pads – they’re really thin, but very absorbent. And trust me, you’ll need them for several weeks.
- Stool softener. They’ll give you this while you’re in the hospital, but it’s good to have more at home in case you feel like you need it.
- Motrin or ibuprofen. You’ll be very sore. (Ok to take while breastfeeding)
- Ice packs. ^ You know, for down there. I was able to take a bunch home from the hospital – they had these spiffy ones with adhesive on the bottom that didn’t get cold until you bent them in half. But you can also take one of your baby’s diapers and put it in the freezer and then put it in your undies.
- Disposable undies. ^ If you can take these home from the hospital, take a bunch! They are incredible! It couldn’t hurt to buy a pack of cheap grandma panties to have at home that you can just throw away, too. You don’t want to be wearing your cute and expensive Victoria’s Secret undies 3 days postpartum. Trust me.
- Sitz Bath. ^ You will most likely get one of these at the hospital to take home with you – it’s basically a little insert for the toilet that you fill with warm water and it’s a little bath for your tushy. You’re supposed to use it 2-3x/day for the first few weeks, and it’s important that you do it. It’s a nice excuse to go in the bathroom with a book, shut the door, and get a few minutes of quiet to yourself.
- Tucks pads. ^ These are little witch hazel soaked pads that are actually hemorrhoid treatments, but they’ll probably give them to you at the hospital to put in your underwear on top of your pad. If you can, bring some home with you.
- Squirt bottle. ^ You’ll also probably get one of these from the hospital to take home…it’s basically a little bottle with a squirt top you use in place of toilet paper.
The most important thing you can do for yourself after having a baby is to accept help. The offers will come – you just have to say yes! Let somebody else bring you meals, run to the grocery store, come do some laundry for you, and whatever else you need. I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true – sleep when the baby sleeps. Even if you have visitors – they’ll understand. That was my biggest mistake in the first few days after coming home…I felt like I needed to be a hostess when people were over to see the baby and didn’t rest as much as I should have, so I didn’t heal as quickly as I probably could have.
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the postpartum checklist.
Check out the rest of the posts in my Baby Checklist Series – each post includes a printable checklist!
- 10 Baby Must Haves – the 10 baby items I found most useful that you might not have thought of or even heard about.
- Nursery Tour & Checklist – a tour of our nursery along with items that are really helpful to have in the baby’s room.
- Hospital Bag Checklist – a list of necessities and helpful items to have in your hospital bag. Don’t forget a bag for daddy and baby!
- Diaper Bag Essentials Checklist – what exactly do you need in a diaper bag, besides diapers?
- Postpartum Checklist – you’re here!
Still trying to decide if you want to find out the gender of your baby before birth? We didn’t find out with any of our kids and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are 5 Reasons NOT to find out the gender of your baby.
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