Postpartum survival kit for new moms
You spend your pregnancy planning everything you’ll need for your baby. But don’t forget to prepare for your own postpartum recovery!
Whether you call it a postpartum recovery kit or new mom survival kit these postpartum essentials will help prepare you to take care of your own postpartum recovery!
Birth is hard and a new mom, especially a first time mom, will need both physical and mental care in the first few weeks postpartum.
You will have a dinner plate sized wound internally from the placenta plus an incision from a c-section or swelling and possible tearing from a vaginal birth. As amazing as it is to have your new baby in your arms your body will be recovering from a major trauma.
These are items that I used for my own postpartum care after giving birth to my two daughters or heard about from other moms as things you need after giving birth.
I’m going to break down why you need each item and how to use it below but if you want to skip that you can jump straight to the item list.
What to stock in your Postpartum Care box
Your hospital may provide some of these items to you. You may want to ask other moms that delivered there what items they were sent home with before you stock up yourself.
The hospital I delivered my first daughter at sent me home fully stocked with many of these items. I went home with much fewer items when I delivered my second daughter so I’m glad I had stocked up ahead of time.
Get yourself a couple of boxes or cute baskets to keep everything easy to find as things will be busy when you get home with your newborn!
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Down there care
When you get home your vaginal area is likely to be a little worse for wear if you’ve had a vaginal birth. You may even have stitches from tearing as according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
“53-79% of women will have a tear during birth.“American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
P.S. Many women are terrified of tearing during birth. It’s really not that big of a deal. I’ve had a 2nd degree tear with both of my pregnancies. You don’t really feel the tearing. (I did have an epidural which helps).
The stitching up was actually way worse and everything healed up just fine within a few weeks of giving birth.
Stock up on these items to help keep you more comfortable while you heal.
Frida baby wash bottle
Your hospital will likely provide you with one of these perineal wash bottles (peri bottles for short).
Take it up a notch with the Frida baby mama wash bottle. The curved handle makes it much easier to use. I’m so glad I got one to use after my second birth. It’s a game changer!
Witch Hazel pads
Witch Hazel pads, often known by the main brand name Tucks pads are actually made to treat hemorrhoids.
You can certainly use them for that purpose but they are also great for swollen/irritated lady bits both before and after birth. I fought chronic yeast infections and irritation my second pregnancy and the tucks pads were super soothing.
For postpartum recovery you can line the maxi pads you’ll be wearing with a few tucks pads to provide soothing relief for swelling, and to soothe itching stitches as they heal.
They are cold due to the witch hazel the pads are soaked in so they will be cold. Be sure you don’t get any with alcohol whether store-bought or homemade as that will burn!
An alternative that some postpartum moms prefer is dermoplast spray. The spray contains menthol which can be soothing. It’s a very cold spray though. I preferred the tucks pads myself but you can try both and see which works best for you.
Soft place to sit
If you are suffering from hemorrhoids or just some soreness down below from stitches you may want a donut to sit on, or at least a really soft couch or chair. You will be sitting a lot in the first few weeks of nursing or at least holding a tiny newborn.
They will likely offer you Colace or another stool softener when you’re in the hospital. They may or may not send you home with some. If not, you’ll definitely want to stock up. Your first bowel movement post birth can be a little scary, but the Colace will help.
You don’t want to put any extra pressure from trying to push on sore or torn muscles. There’s a reason they tell you to push like you’re pooping to get a baby out. Take Colace until things are more healed up to avoid any extra pain and irritation.
Motrin or Tylenol
Your doctor will likely prescribe you one or both for when you go home. Don’t try to be a hero. Take pain medication until things start to feel better.
Pregnancy is a major ordeal on the body. You want to be able to rest and recover and it’s hard to do that if you’re in pain. Just make sure you take it according to your doctor’s orders!
The doctors will prescribe things that are breastfeeding safe. If you decide to breastfeed be sure to check out my breastfeeding survival guide for those first few weeks.
Mesh or cotton underwear
I love, love, love the mesh underwear for post birth. No elastic waistbands squeezing too tight or rubbing in uncomfortable places. I always ask them for extra to take home and wear them for the first few days home.
They also breathe easily to help prevent extra moisture and rashes. Then I switch to granny panty cotton underwear. Comfort and breathability are key.
Many women also swear by using adult diapers instead of mesh underwear with pads for the first few days. That’s too much bulk for me but to each their own.
You will need to use pads for probably the first few weeks following a vaginal delivery. You will also bleed if you have a C-section but I can’t speak to how long you will bleed afterward.
Postpartum bleeding may stop and start several times over those weeks.
Definitely take some extra maxi pads from the hospital if you can. You’ll also to have some additional thick pads and thin pads at the ready as you don’t know how long you’ll need each type.
After my second pregnancy the hospital gave me these pads which are extra wide in the back, they were perfect for preventing any accidents.
Pads can cause what is essentially a diaper rash with long term use. Using all cotton pads can help reduce this some as well as frequent changes to keep things dry down there.
You can also make what are called padsicles. They are essentially large pads that you add aloe and witch hazel to and then freeze. I made them with my first but only used one. I found them to be too cold and wet for my taste.
You can also use a simply plain ice pack for that postpartum swelling.
Get a full breakdown in my post all about the best pads for postpartum bleeding!
Self Care postpartum essentials
If you’re a first-time mom you’ll soon learn that hot drinks and food are hard to come by for a new mom. An Ember mug is a must have for moms of newborns!
I use mine for coffee but it would work great for tea as well! The mug is rechargeable and will keep your drink hot for about an hour.
You can even set the temperature using an app on your phone so that your drink stays at just the right heat level. A warm cup of coffee in the morning can really help fight the sleep deprivation!
This also makes a great gift for new moms!
If you’re nursing your baby you will find yourself incredibly thirsty, and trapped on your couch. Get yourself a big water jug, ideally one that will keep your water cold.
Staying hydrated is important to both your own care and healing but will help your milk supply as well for breastfeeding moms.
Check out these other essentials for breastfeeding moms!
Along with the thirst comes hunger. Keep some snacks nearby. Ideally, they’ll be easy to open and easy to eat one handed. Nuts or trail mix are great as they won’t burn off too quickly.
Don’t be worried if you accidentally drop a few crumbs on your baby. Most of us nursing moms have done it more than once!
One of the best gifts you can get as a new mom is a meal train. This is where family and friends bring you food, usually dinner, for the first few weeks at home with a new baby. You can set it up through mealtrain.com which makes it super easy.
You specify the days you want to receive meals, you’ll usually have plenty of leftovers so I’d only do it every other day or so. Give a time window you’d ideally like the food delivered, and specify any dietary restrictions or dislikes.
Send the link out to family and friends and they can sign up so you know who is bringing food each day and what they plan to bring. They can even send you gift cards to Uber Eats or Door Dash if they’re no the cooking type.
We were blessed to have our family and church friends do this with both of our children and it was a life saver not having to worry about making dinner every night or spending money on fast food.
Put all these things in a comfy spot! Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding babies need lots of snuggles in the first few weeks! Set up a space with your supplies. Have a blanket, burp cloths, extra pillows, and a nursing pillow if you are breastfeeding.
Extras for your postpartum kit
I’ve never used a belly binder or postpartum girdle myself but some women use them post birth to help tighten things up.
Even if your baby has a good latch and breastfeeding is going well you will likely have sore nipples in the beginning. Some nipple cream can really help to ease the pain.
You’ll want to use something that’s safe for your baby to ingest. You will not want to try to clean your nipples off all the time before baby wants to eat. If you leak quite a bit breastmilk is great to rub on sore nipples.
If you don’t leak enough to have breastmilk to rub on there coconut oil or medela nipple cream are great alternatives. Coconut oil is great for lubing up the flanges on a breast pump as well to prevent chafing.
I’m 100% in favor of having a
There you have it! Stock up on these postpartum items and you’ll be ready for your post baby recovery.
Things you need after giving birth