Postpartum Essentials for New Moms (Great Ideas for Gift Baskets!)
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As a first-time mom, it’s hard to know exactly what you need postpartum, especially for those first few days and weeks after baby is born. For me, I was lucky to have a sister who had gone through the postpartum experience twice by the time I had my first child and let me tell you: She was a lifesaver!
My sister had the best tricks and items for postpartum and knew exactly which items were the holy grail of postpartum or were total duds. After going through the postpartum period myself, I was able to find my favorite items that helped me the most after we arrived home from the hospital.
Between the two of us, we’ve nailed down exactly what new moms need to get through the first two weeks postpartum.
Enjoy my favorite tips below for what you need for those days, weeks and months after baby is born!
Top New Mom Essential: The Diaper Caddy
I’m not kidding when I say this diaper caddy was the most-used item after my son was born… And I didn’t even keep diapers in it!
Our son slept in his room once we were home from the hospital and all of our bedrooms are upstairs, so we did a lot of “traveling” from floor to floor and room to room during the day! This caddy made it easy to bring all of my most used supplies around the house those first few weeks.
Personally, I used this diaper caddy. It’s sturdy enough I could put a large Tervis cup of water in, along with all of my other essentials. I breastfed for a year and I used this caddy every single day while I did!
What I kept in my diaper caddy on a daily basis:
- Reusable water bottle
- A few small snacks
- Nursing pads
- Cooling/heating nursing pads
- Soothing gel pads (be sure to wash gel off after)
- Lanolin or nipple cream
- Phone charger
- Burp cloth
- Hand sanitizer
- Nasal aspirator or Nose Frida
- Small book or Kindle for reading during feeding sessions
- I lived on Kindle Unlimited those first few months! Get your first month’s free on me by clicking here
- Baby nail clippers
- Donut cushion (for vaginal deliveries)
A Postnatal Bathroom Kit
This is the list your friends or family members may not tell you about. But hey, we’re friends, and I want to do you a favor so you are totally prepared.
Trust me when I say, you NEED to have this prepped well before your due date. I’m talking at least a month prior, because if you go into labor early, you will not want to be assembling these boxes when you get home from the hospital at 10 p.m. I know by experience!
I kept one of these bathroom kits in our master bathroom and one in our downstairs bathroom. Why? No matter what type of labor you had, you will not be wanting to go up and down stairs several times a day just to access your bathroom kit! And you’ll likely need this kit for at least a week postpartum.
And note, that even if you have a c-section, you will bleed after birth. So keep plenty on hand!
Also, if you have your child in a hospital, don’t be shy about asking for extra underwear or pads. They’re honestly the most comfortable and they’re usually more than happy to give you a few extra to take home with you!
What to keep in your postnatal bathroom kit:
- Frida Mom bottle (the best!) or regular Peri bottle
- Witch hazel and cotton rounds or witch hazel pads
- Pads of all sizes
- Incontinence or postpartum underwear
- They’re great to wear to the hospital if your water breaks and are as comfortable as the hospital underwear for after delivery!
- Sitz bath
- Dermoplast or natural pain relief spray
- Nursing pads (I would often switch these out during bathroom breaks!)
Ice it down
Postpartum essentials to keep in the freezer
Again, there are some things your friends or family may not share… This is another one of those categories.
Like everything else on this list, I highly recommend you have these ready before you have your child! Like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
You have a few options for what us moms call “padsicles.” Personally, I didn’t use these since I had a c-section, but all the moms I know say these are a lifesaver! You can make them yourself or they now have them premade from Amazon. Pop them in the freezer for a few hours and you are ready to go.
Nursing ice packs
I also highly recommend nursing ice packs. These can be heated (great for clogged ducts) or popped in the freezer for an hour or two to help with the breast pain from the first week or two, whether you’re breastfeeding or not. These were a HUGE lifesaver for me and used them all the time.
As a bonus, after you’re finished using them for nursing, they make great little moldable ice packs for your toddler’s booboos! Way better than the stiff ice packs, especially for heads, elbows and knees.
One last thing I recommend keeping in the freezer: Premade meals! I’ll be detailing my favorite meals we prepped in advance to keep in the freezer, but some quick suggestions are:
- Soups and chilis
- Precooked and seasoned meat (tacos, shredded or grilled chicken, etc.)
- Egg bites
We even pre-made dozens of quesadillas on corn tortillas and they were one of the easiest snacks or meals: We simply popped them from the freezer into the microwave for a minute or two.
It was one of the things I was most grateful we prepared for before our baby was born, because when you have a newborn and running on little sleep, cooking is the absolute last thing on your mind.
Best nursing bras and clothing
In the first week or so after you have your child, you will be so sensitive up top, whether you’re nursing or not. You’ll want the softest, most comfortable nursing bra around.
If you’re able, buy several bras, too. It’s not a matter of if you leak, but when.
Also, be sure to avoid underwire bras while you’re nursing as much as you can. They can cause clogged ducts!
Personally, I lived in this sleeping nursing bra when we were just hanging out around the house. After a week or two, I would only wear that one at night and would wear one of these bras:
Most comfortable postpartum clothes
Everyone is different, but I lived in a combination of leggings and nursing tops or dresses; however, after my c-section, it was incredibly uncomfortable to have anything on my stomach for several weeks, namely any kind of pants, even high-waisted ones.
In fact, when we took our son to his first pediatrician appointment, it was freezing – temperatures in the 30s! – and I wore a dress with bare legs to his appointment, because tights and leggings were so incredibly painful those first few days!
After about a week, I felt like I was ready to wear leggings and anything with a waistband – the way they pull you in was a comfort and eased some of the pain once my incision had healed.
In the case of clothing, like most women, I wore my pregnancy clothes the first few weeks (okay, let’s be real… months).
- Set of three nursing tees
- Ruffle sleeve nursing top
- Nursing camisole
- Set of two sleeping nursing top (8 color options!)
- Set of three sleeping nursing tops/tunics
- Nursing nightgown
- Postpartum leggings
- Cozy nursing house dress
- Cute mixed pattern nursing dress
- Comfortable pajama pants
It will be a while before your stomach shrinks down (it’s science!), so don’t jump into those pre-baby pants for a while. I say this with love and care. Your body kept another human in there, so be gentle on yourself and simply wear what’s comfortable.
Miscellaneous Postpartum Essentials
Here are a few more essentials that don’t quite fit into any other category, such as recommended medications (always, always check with your doctor and pediatrician first, as this is not medical advice!), clothing and more.
- Stool softener
- Approved pain reliever from your doctor
- Belly binder or compression underwear for c-sections
- Compression socks
- Prenatal vitamins (yep, you’ll still need ’em!)
- Sitz bath soak for vaginal deliveries
- Scar or stretch mark oil or cream
- Boppy or pillow for nursing
- “Granny” panties – one of THE best postpartum buys to keep you comfy!
- Whole grain and high protein snacks
- Nursing/diaper tracking app for phone
Check back soon for an interactive, printable checklist of the best postpartum essentials!
What were your favorite essentials after baby was born? Have any questions about items on this list? Leave a comment below!