21 Postpartum Items for Mama & Baby

Overwhelmed by not knowing what to have on hand after your baby is born? This isn’t your typical list of baby gear (you can find a baby gear list here: http://www.momstobeandmore.com/checklist.aspx)

There may be a few things you’ve never thought of:

  1. Nursing herbs. If you plan on breastfeeding, buy herbal supplements that help with milk production such as fenugreek and blessed thistle beforehand. You’ll need to rest as much as possible after the baby is born, and you or your hubby/partner won’t want to run any unnecessary errands. Also consider buying a nursing tea with Goat’s Rue.
  2. Oatmeal. We don’t really know why, but eating oatmeal can help with milk production.
  3. Sanitary pads. You will have a heavy period-like blood flow post-birth called lochia, and tampons are a no-no. Stock up on highly absorbant, extra long pads that aren’t as big as footballs. Soak some pads in water and throw them into the freezer. You’ll be glad you did so you can ice your tender regions post-birth.
  4. Epsom salts for sitz baths. Sitz baths twice a day will help your recovery.
  5. Big, comfortable, unsexy underwear. The kind your grandma would wear. Some hospitals limit the number of mesh underwear they’ll give you, so pack some in your hospital bag as well.
  6. Frozen diapers. Buy some disposable baby diapers, soak them in water and throw them into the freezer. When your breasts swell like balloons in those first few days while your milk is coming in, you can ice your breasts to help take down the swelling. Frozen compresses work well too.
  7. Stock your freezer with meals, either home-cooked or store bought and ready-made. You’ll have to make space amongst the pads and the diapers, but you’ll find room. Stock your pantry with granola bars and breakfast bars. You’ll want to have food that you can eat easily with one hand.
  8. A breastfeeding book and a list of excellent breastfeeding resources. I recommend the book Breastfeeding Made Simple – 7 Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. Doing some research to find a breastfeeding clinic and lactation consultant, as well as breastfeeding support groups in your area will save you from having to locate help post-birth if and when you find yourself in the middle of a breastfeeding meltdown.
  9. An infant car seat. You can’t take your baby home from the hospital without one, so be sure to buy one, know how it works and have it properly installed well before your due date.
  10. Sleepers and onesies. When your baby isn’t naked, she will live in them. Buy sleepers with zippers instead of snaps so they are easy to take off when you need to do a diaper change or get your baby naked for some skin-to-skin. Newborn onesies and gowns with snaps down the front can be helpful so you don’t have to pull anything over baby’s head right away.
  11. Baby wipes. Many, many baby wipes. And diapers. Lots and lots of diapers.
  12. Baby washcloths. You can never have enough washcloths!
  13. Diaper creams. I recommend having 2 creams on hand – one that is zinc-based and will create a moisture barrier on baby’s skin to treat redness and diaper rash, and another cream that is purely moisturizing. Good old olive oil can work well as a moisturizer too.
  14. A baby carrier. Babies love to be carried, and your arms and wrists will thank you. Choose a carrier that is hip-healthy for your baby to prevent hip dysplasia (read more about hip dysplasia and carriers here: http://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/)
  15.  Pacifiers. Some breastfeeding experts recommend holding off on pacifier use until after the first 40 days post-birth while you and baby are figuring things out and baby is setting your milk production. After that, a pacifier can be a helpful way of soothing a fussy baby.
  16. A high quality electric breast pump
  17. Swaddling/receiving blankets, including light muslin blankets. There is a lot of debate out there about whether or not to swaddle, but it can be incredibly helpful for calming a fussy baby. Even if you don’t swaddle, you can use your receiving blankets for other baby-related things.
  18.  A hair dryer. Yup, you read that right. The sound of a hair dryer can have a magical calming effect on a crying or screaming baby.
  19. A nasal aspirator and saline drops. Because your baby can’t blow her nose, you can give her some relief when she’s stuffed up with a cold by clearing her nasal passages with an aspirator.
  20. An ear thermometer. As a worried new mom, I was constantly asking everyone who would listen “Is she too hot?” and “Does she have a fever?” With a thermometer you can be sure so you won’t drive yourself and everyone else crazy.
  21. Bottles. Definitely a must if you are bottle feeding, but it won’t hurt to have a few of these on hand even if you aim to breastfeed in case you run into challenges.

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