NOTE: This list is just for the mamas and doesn’t include any baby items. For baby essentials, check out my post Newborn Checklist (The First Two Weeks).
So here I am, exactly one month after having our baby boy, and a LOT has changed. Some things were expected like sleepless nights, baby gear strewn around the house, and living in sweatpants. But some things I didn’t expect (no matter how many people tried to warn me) like how my body literally ached for about two weeks, how standing up and sitting down was very painful for a bit, and how much I appreciated diapers - for me, not the baby…Yea, as I said, there are a LOT of changes.
As I am emerging out of that first month postpartum and finally feeling back to normal (well, almost), I thought I would share all of the things I used every day after giving birth. Some of these things are just plain necessary, but others made my life sooo much easier. If you are expecting a baby or have a friend that is, I’d highly suggest ordering some, if not all, of these things now. That way, there is no rushing around to get these things once the baby is here.
First of all, let me just say, the top of my sink looked like a full blown pharmacy. I kept everything I needed within reach, since some of these items I was using / taking multiple times a day. I suggest clearing a space in your bathroom where you can easily access everything you need. In a few weeks, you can start eliminating some things and your bathroom can get back to normal. But trust me, easier is best!
Breastfeeding requires a lot of patience and is so different for every mom and every baby. I decided I needed to increase my supply for a few reasons, but one being I needed enough milk to freeze for bottles when I anticipate being away from baby for an afternoon or even a night (down the line). I started taking these vitamins from Target. I am also paying attention to the types of foods I am eating and sometimes supplementing with lactation cookies. I am happy with my daily supply right now.
As I mentioned before, everything hurts for a few weeks. The doctors advised that I take 600 mg of Motrin every 6+ hours. Which I was doing for about the first week and then I was able to decrease to 400 mg every 12 hours or so. I am one month out and there are still some days that I need to take Motrin for the pain. It has subsided for the most part, but just remember that it can take some time to heal and get back to 100%. And that is OK.
Just when you thought you were done with these! My doc told me to keep taking prenatal vitamins until I am done breastfeeding. So I got a few more packs of these.
HAIR & NAIL GROWTH VITAMINS
Lots of women experience hair loss after giving birth. All of your hormones are way out of wack and things are changing. I routinely take hair & nail growth vitamins, but I made sure to be diligent about it after giving birth. You can find a bunch of different options at Target, just look for Biotin.
This stuff is golden if you are breastfeeding. I used it multiple times a day and definitely felt the relief. It’s all organic, so it’s safe for the baby to ingest. Trust me, this is a life saver for those first few days of breastfeeding.
Ok, I realize this is not glamorous. But the reality is that you will probably need to use this! Between the drugs you are given at the hospital and the whole act of giving birth, it all takes a toll on your system. The Healthy Mama brand is stimulant and dye free. I took one every day until I felt like things were working normally again. I still have to take one here and there.
I know, I know. Another item on the list that is a little embarrassing. But just do yourself a favor and have some of these wipes on hand in your bathroom. You won’t regret it.
HEAVY DUTY PADS
I NEVER thought I would use these. My friends swore up and down that I would need them and gave me some at my baby shower. Thank goodness they did! I lived in these for the first few weeks after birth. They are necessary. You basically need to wear a diaper for the first couple of days, but these heavy duty pads will work fine.
Once you start to notice things going back to normal you probably won’t need the maxi pads anymore. But you’ll still need some sort of protection. I bought these liners (for the first time since I was a teenager) and they have worked great. I picked them up at Target.
Oh yea, and at some point, you’ll need to start implementing birth control again :) Another thing to add to your list! As I said, it will start to look like a pharmacy in your bathroom…
FULL COVERAGE UNDERWEAR (SIZE UP)
Sort of like the maxi pads, I was told I needed some full coverage underwear for postpartum. The people were right! Get yourself some good ole Fruit of the Loom underwear.
NURSING FRIENDLY TOPS
I am breastfeeding and honestly underestimated having “nursing friendly” tops. I was under the impression I could just yank my shirt down and be done with it. Which I can. But depending on the neckline, I have to lift the shirt up from the bottom, exposing my entire mid-section. And depending on the material, the shirt is scrunched up in the baby’s face. Honestly, button downs or v-neck tops work the best. I am living in them.
Just like the vitamins, I started adding a few things into my diet that would guarantee more milk production. I tried to stick with more natural foods like sweet potatoes and oatmeal. But I ultimately like having these cookies on hand, in case I notice my supply dropping. I picked these up from Target and they come in a few different flavors.
Last but not least, you will drink so much water. Crazy amounts of water. Especially if you are breastfeeding. I felt dehydrated all of the time. I found it best to keep a water bottle next to my bed for midnight feedings. I also kept another water bottle in the stroller for our daily walks. Plus I had cups of water all around the house. Basically my house looks like that scene in the movie Signs.