Inside: It’s easy to focus on all the baby stuff you’ll need once your bundle of joy arrives, but don’t forget to put together an after birth care kit for YOU, mama. Here are the absolute essentials new moms need postpartum.
Right now, as a new mom, you probably can’t imagine not being pregnant. That baby being OUT of you feels so very far away.
But that day is coming, and it’s coming faster than you think. One day you’re counting down the weeks, and then all of a sudden, your due date is next week!
By that time, you probably have everything you need for baby, but what about you after birth? Do you have everything you need to take of you?
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start thinking about creating your postpartum care kit.
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Why (& When) You Need to Create an After Birth Care Kit
Because after that crazy difficult final push, your baby is born, and you are officially headed towards postpartum. It’s going to feel SO good not to be pregnant anymore.
And that feeling of accomplishment? I mean, you just pushed a baby out of you!
There isn’t any feeling quite like it.
Then, the adrenaline wears off, and the side effects of your “accomplishment” hit you full force. The pain down there, the pain of breastfeeding for the first time, the exhaustion?
If you delivered at a hospital, they’ve got you covered while you’re there. Except for the nursing tanks and your comfiest pjs, they have pretty much everything you need.
If you’re lucky, you will be able to take a lot of supplies you’ll need after birth home with you.
That being said, even if your hospital is one of the generous ones, you can still run out of the essentials fairly quickly once you get home.
That’s why creating an after birth care kit BEFORE you give birth is essential.
Because really? Who wants to send their husband to CVS for pads?
Yep, no one.
And your husband will be forever grateful that he doesn’t have to gather all your postpartum essentials for you. Standing in the feminine care aisle, trying to figure out whether you want pads with or without wings, is an experience he can definitely live without.
14 Must Haves for Your After Birth Care Kit
As a minimalist, I’m all for not buying crap you won’t actually use, so I kept this after birth care kit strictly to what I consider to be postpartum essentials for new moms (and there’s still a lot on it).
Also, keep in mind that everything on this list is for new moms experiencing postpartum for the first time.
So, if you happen to come across this post looking for a refresher on what you might need after birth for babies number two, three or four, you may not need some of these items. But I most definitely wanted and needed them after having my second baby – my 10 pounder and first VBAC.
Yep, that numbing spray would have been a godsend.
Here’s my top recommendations for products you should include in your after birth care kit:
1. Breast Pads
I tried cloth breast pads at one point to try to save money, but they just didn’t work for me. Some moms don’t mind them. Personally, they just didn’t seem very absorbent to me.
I also tried various store brand nursing pads, like Up & Up’s from Target. Again, they just couldn’t compare to these breast pads. They’re a postpartum kit ESSENTIAL.
In fact, I just added them to my monthly Amazon subscribe & save list. You really don’t want to run out and have to use paper towels until you can get to the store.
2. Nipple Cream
When you breastfeed for the very first time, you realize that no one talks about how much breastfeeding hurts. Even if you can get your baby to latch correctly from the very beginning (this doesn’t come naturally), your boobs have never done this before. And they are going to let you know it.
Even five kids later, I still experience some soreness the day after I start nursing. So, after delivering my fifth child, I asked the nurse for some lanolin.
And do you know what they brought me? Olive oil.
Um, not the same. At all.
Maybe the all natural thing works for some people, but I just wanted the good stuff.
You’re going to want to have a tube on hand because apparently because the nation has gone wacky and decided not to offer this to new moms postpartum anymore.
If you’re really wanting something Lanolin-free, this looks like a great organic option. I can’t vouch for it personally, but it gets great reviews.
3. Sitz Bath
You know where else there will be pain, don’t you? Yep, down there.
Hopefully, your postpartum nurses will show you how to take a sitz bath. You may or may not be able to take the supplies you need home with you.
When I thought about taking a sitz bath at home with my second baby (my first and worst vaginal delivery), I figured I could just use the bath tub. But with a toddler and a new baby, who really wants to fill up the bath tub every single time you want to take a sitz bath?
The same would have been true postpartum with my first if I hadn’t have an unexpected c-section.
And trust me, you’re going to want to take them as often as you can, especially if you tear during delivery. This over the toilet sitz bath it so much easier to take them regularly.
Don’t forget to get some Epsom salts, too, which can speed up the healing process.
4. Peri Bottle
This one is essential for preventing infection and not reliving pushing your baby out of you every time you need to pee. Use it every time you use the restroom for the first week, and longer, if needed.
From someone who forgot this simple tip with baby number five, make sure to fill it with warm water to get the full benefits.
Cold water isn’t fun.
This three-pack would be great for having one in each bathroom.
5. Water Jug
I forgot how thirsty you can be after birth! Breastfeeding moms especially need as much water as possible.
If you don’t already have a favorite water bottle, make sure to get one now.
I preferred ice water with lemon, and having a huge jug of it constantly at my side helped me to stay hydrated. A huge water jug with a lid and straw will help you not need to get refills as often.
You’ll seriously be amazed at how fast you can empty a regular-sized cup of ice water, so again, make sure you get a decent-sized water tumbler like this 32 oz one.
This numbing spray wasn’t around when I had my first two kids – at least, I don’t remember it being around. Only after delivering my fifth last month did I see it at the hospital, right there in the bathroom next to the tucks.
Except I didn’t need it this time!
But oh man, would it have been amazing for my second. I have friends who claim it works wonders.
Could you live without it? I suppose you could, but if it had been around, it would have been a postpartum essential for me.
Also worth mentioning are making homemade ice packs to use in conjunction with the numbing spray. But you can use gallon-sized ziploc bags with ice cubes – you don’t need anything fancy.
In fact, I didn’t use ice packs at home, only in the hospital. If you have a bad tear though, ice definitely helps.
I forgot how long you bleed after birth. It seems like flippin’ forever.
The pads with wings generally work the best to keep your underwear clean (I used these ones), but I’ve heard of other moms going straight for the Depends. It’s a personal preference, really.
You will need the heaviest ones for at least 2-3 weeks. Then you can step it down to panty liners for the last three weeks.
8. Heating Pad
If you don’t already have one of these, you will absolutely need one in your postpartum kit. I’ve used it in the past for after birth pains, but with this most recent delivery, pain in my IV arm.
You can also use it to warm up the crib sheets for baby before putting her down to sleep. The more sleep tricks you have up your sleeve, the better!
9. Pain Killers
Besides the pain from labor and delivery, all sorts of new aches and pains are going to make themselves known a few days postpartum.
If you don’t already know about them, after birth pains are such a treat (um, not!). They happen while breastfeeding and help the uterus shrink back to its normal size.
They also hurt – a lot. With each baby, they hurt even more (I know, something to look forward to!).
Personally, I also experienced a ton of IV-related pain this time around. I actually found the labor/delivery pain a walk in the park compared to the pain in my arm from my IV and the after-birth pains.
Take these as often as your doctor recommends, and take them on a schedule for the first couple weeks.
With a newborn to care for, you don’t want to forget and wake up in the middle of the night in massive amounts of pain. Because pain plus exhaustion plus screaming baby is a really bad combination.
Take it from someone who knows.
10. Hemorrhoid Pads
No one prepared me for having hemorrhoids after birth. Even with my c-section, I still had problems.
Just trying to get that first poop out postpartum is enough to bring on those nasty things. These pads are the easiest way to get relief fast.
Speaking of pooping, you’re going to need a little help to actually achieve that first postpartum poop.
With my first baby, I took stool softener for the first couple weeks after birth. I highly recommend doing the same if you want to avoid hemorrhoid problems, not only immediately after delivery, but also long-term.
At the risk of over-sharing, just trust me: take your stool softener.
12. Nursing Tanks
Everyone talks about getting nursing bras, and those are great for later on during the day.
But nursing tanks are SO much better for immediately after birth, and they are essential in my book for easy nighttime nursing.
They open far more easily than nursing bras, plus trying to breastfeed with bunched up shirts and/or sweatshirts makes things much harder than they need to be. Especially as you’re first learning how to breastfeed, multiple nursing tanks are a must-have.
I have three and need to order more.
These ones get almost all five star reviews and are extremely affordable!
13) Boppy Pillow
When you first start breastfeeding, getting a proper latch is extremely important. It doesn’t come naturally.
Even after nursing five kids, I still didn’t fully recognize when my fifth baby wasn’t latching properly (turns out she had both a tongue tie and a lip tie).
The boppy pillow gives you a break and helps you keep your baby in the right position after you finally get her in the right position. It dropped off my postpartum essentials list a few kids ago, but I am kind of wishing I had one lately as my wrists and arms are aching from holding baby all the time.
I definitely needed it for babies number one and two and highly recommend it.
Make sure to get an extra cover, too, because baby spit-up plus breastmilk combine to make some pretty nasty odors. You’re going to want to wash the cover every so often, and having a back-up is helpful.
If you’ve never needed this before, you’ll definitely want it after you get back at it with your husband. This does need to wait until after your 6-week postpartum check-up.
But this stuff? It just became your new best friend.
After my second baby, where I had nearly a fourth degree tear, sex was so painful that I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me (the things moms don’t tell you).
Ibuprofen plus KY was a life-saver for a very long time.
Creating an After Birth Care Kit: The Bottom Line
Once again, your hospital may provide a lot of these things, or at least enough to tide you over until you get home. As a minimalist, I was tempted to only buy the least amount possible.
Trust me: this one time when you want to make SURE you have enough of everything in your postpartum care kit.
What you don’t end up using, you can pass along to another pregnant mom friend to add to her own after birth care kit.
Get started gathering everything you need postpartum! Then you can rest easy, knowing that you are truly ready for this baby to arrive.
Have you already made it through those first few weeks after birth? What would you add to this after birth care kit/postpartum kit? Share in the comments!
June could talk to you all day about homeschooling, parenting, and minimalism. When she’s not homeschooling, decluttering, or blogging, she loves to enjoy perfect silence while sipping a hot cup of coffee and thinking uninterrupted thoughts—which, of course, with five kids ten and under doesn’t happen very often.