The 4th trimester aka postpartum is once your baby actually arrives. Having the right postpartum essentials can make a BIG difference in your recovery.
Are you a first-time mom?
Having a vaginal birth or C-section?
Is this a plus size pregnancy (I too am a plus size mom . . . hey girl hey!)?
Do you plan on breastfeeding?
Because every mom and pregnancy is so different, postpartum essentials will vary but that’s why I’ve put the ultimate postpartum care checklist together for every situation. . . You’re very welcome!
At the time this is published, I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child (due in Jan 2021). I had a so-so postpartum experience the first time around. The things that I struggled with the most during the 4th trimester was breastfeeding and postpartum depression. My personal advice would be to take things one day at a time and try not to stress over the things you have no control over.
Just by having this list, you’ll be that more prepared for what’s yet to come.
Congrats and try to enjoy the rest of your pregnancy journey!
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Postpartum Essentials: Every Brith Needs
A professional to talk to – should you experience postpartum depression, you will want to talk to a professional ASAP! Don’t push it off (like I did)! Take it seriously because it could make things much easier for you to cope and adjust to having the new baby home.
Heating Pad – something some moms can’t live without! Great to help with discomfort throughout your pregnancy & during the recovery period.
Snacks – There’s so much going on after the baby gets here that you may forget to eat sometimes. Having your favorite snacks on hand is good to have!
Water Cup (to stay hydrated) – I’m not sure about you but I keep my water cup with me . . . Around the house, the doctor’s office & running errands, etc.
Postpartum Care Kit Checklist: Vaginal Births
So, these are the most used options that will help you heal after having a vaginal birth. Because there are so many options, it really depends on your preference so take a look at the list and see what will work best for you.
The hospital will give you most of the disposable items listed below so you usually won’t need to buy those ahead of time however you will want to call the Labor & Delivery unit at your hospital to verify what they offer.
Sitz Bath – it’s basically epsom salt with essential oils. There are a couple of options, a tub that is made to be used on the toilet or you can make it in the tub. Either way is fine but if you’re not looking to buy the actual sitz bath, just use your bath tub. . . Also great for hemorrhoids!
Big Sanitary Pads (disposable or reusable) and/or Mesh Underwear – depending on preference will determine which option you decide to go with. I like both! I’ve not tried the reusable cloth pads yet but these are popular with a lot of moms! If you go with the disposable ones, no need to spend a lot – just get the big cheap ones, ha! The mesh underwear is really a big hit, they are even available for plus size moms!
Peri bottles and/or Handheld Bidet – these are a MUST!! I actually use these even when I’m not pregnant. It’s a great way to clean really well down below. The hospital will usually give you 1 or 2 peri bottles. Make sure you take them home and put one in each bathroom!
If you have a larger size belly and the one the hospital provides you with doesn’t work well this one will work better (since it has a long nozzle). It’s highly recommended by many other plus-size moms! I also invested in this years ago and it has been a game-changer for me (for cleaning myself and my little one’s cloth diapers)! Watch the review here.
Perineal Spray – can be used to make your own padsicles or used by itself.
Ice Pads – are pad that are cooled prior to use and then placed down below to soothe you. I’ve personally never tried ice pads however they’re very popular with moms!
Dermoplast Spray – is a pain-relieving spray. Highly recommended by other moms!
Loose-fitting panties – you’ll have a lot going on down below the first couple of weeks so you don’t want to wear your cute undies. . . Only wear the ones you don’t care about messing up!
Postpartum Essentials: Moms That Will Be Nursing
Breastfeeding can be tough! If you do decide to breastfeed your baby, this postpartum care checklist will help you get through this transition with less discomfort as possible.
If this is your first time breastfeeding, I highly recommend taking a breastfeeding course and/or seeing a lactation specialist!
Side note: Even though you plan on nursing, be sure to research baby formula options. Sometimes things come up that prevent you from breastfeeding and you want to be prepared with alternatives.
Nursing Breast Pads (disposable or reusable) – If you have invested in a nursing bra, it possible there are already breast pads in the bra. Depending on your preference, you may like to have a few others on hand. I have and used both! These disposable pads are popular, made well & inexpensive. I used these disposables because I like how they feel and I love the heart shape.
Nipple Shields – these are great to use in the first couple weeks of breastfeeding. The pain and discomfort that you can experience from breastfeeding is real and these will help with that! And don’t worry about them confusing the baby because they won’t! Be sure to talk to a lactation consultant to be sure there aren’t any issues with the baby latching.
Nipple Soothing Cups – these are said to really help with relieving some of the pain and discomfort that comes with breastfeeding. I’ve been on the fence about buying these because these are a lil on the pricey side and there are so many mixed reviews. Some moms absolutely LOVE them and then others . . . not so much!
Nursing Cover – these are great to have if you will be breastfeeding and don’t want to just pop the boob out while around friends, family and/or in public. I personally didn’t use an actual cover with my firstborn and I don’t think I’m gonna use one this time either. Breastfeeding in private or use an oversized swaddle blanket thrown over my shoulder is more my style. . . . It really just depends on you and what you feel comfortable with. This one and this one are both plus-size friendly.
Breast Pump (electrical and/or manual) – You might be one of the ones that plan on exclusively breastfeeding however if you want to eventually be able to leave the baby (ex. with family, friends, daycare, etc.) you will definitely need to pump. Having a really good electrical breast pump is a postpartum essential you don’t want to forget! The manual breast pump is usually good for catching the let down from one boob (while you’re nursing baby on the other boob).
Check with your insurance company to see what options are available and check out this comparison list.
Postpartum Care Kit Checklist: C-Section Births
Having a c-section doesn’t have to be as bad you think it is! Opt for a faster recovery with these postpartum essentials:
Stool softeners – doing #2 is important after having a C-section & these will help tremendously!
Postpartum Essentials: Postpartum Tips & Tricks
After Having a C-Section
- Stay hydrated!
- While at the hospital, let the nurses & your support person help out as much as possible.
- Make sure that you have a comfortable place to relax and feed the baby at home. Does your bed sit high, consider a stepping stool.
- Rest up the first day or so but be sure to move around. Try to start taking short walks after 1-2 weeks.
- Have a pillow to hold against stomach when you need to sneeze, cough, and/or laugh because it hurts like hell after!
- Roll on your side at the edge of the bed, put your legs down, and then push your body up to get up – this makes it much easier to get out of bed.
- Pain meds should be kept handy because you’re gonna be sore!
- Be sure to take stool softeners – the sooner the better! So if you’re schedule to deliver via C-Section, start taking them a few days before.
- Chewing gum throughout during the recovery phase is said to help tremendously.
- Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby.
- Use a belly binder (which you can buy or the hospital may provide you with one).
- Use a hairdryer to dry the incision area after baths and then put a sanitary napkin over it.
- If you are considered about having a scar. After the incision has healed, start putting an anti-scarring on it.
- Keep that area cool!
Things You May Not Know When Having a C-Section
- You may shake from the anesthesia.
- You may feel pressure, tugging and/or pulling during procedure – no pain though!
- You may throw up during the procedure.
- While you will not feel pain during the actual procedure, you will definitely feel discomfort in the following weeks.
- Due to the health of your baby and yourself, a C-section may be a last-minute decision that’s made! . . . Try to keep that in the back of mind!
Plus Size Pregnancy: Postpartum Tips & Tricks
- After having a C-section the feeling in your apron may or may not come back right away. During the healing process, keep that area dry and cool as much as possible!
- Be sure to also follow & implement the tips listed above as well!
After Having a Vaginal Birth
- Stay hydrated!
- Let the nurses & your support person help out as much as possible.
While at the Hospital
- After baby arrives, the sooner you get up and start walking the better!
- If nursing, change into your own nursing sleepwear because it’ll be more comfortable
- Every hospital is different . . . Don’t pack your bag too full. Leave some room for the things the hospital will send you home with -OR- pack a foldable bag/reusable shopping bag. Some of these things may include: blankets, diapers, formula samples, mesh undies, oversized sanitary pads, nipple cream samples and/or discharge paperwork
Once You’re Back Home
- Make sure you eat!
- Have a comfortable place to relax and feed baby at home. Does your bed sit high, consider a stepping stool.
- Have a 1-2 week of pre-planned frozen meals stashed in the freezer (that you hopefully prepared prior to baby’s arrival).
- Someone to help with the other children, cook, clean, and help with baby
- Have delivery services to deliver what you need (ex. InstaCart, Amazon Prime, Meal Delivery)
- Support and understanding from the ones around you go a long way!
- Keep a lactation consultant on hand!
The Ultimate Postpartum Care Kit Checklist: Postpartum Essentials That Moms Can’t Live Without in 2020: The Takeaway
So, remember . . .
- Don’t wait until the last minute to get all your postpartum essentials. Get everything you need prior to baby arriving so that you’re comfortable and don’t have to worry so much.
- Since every situation and pregnancy is different you will need to decide which options will work best for you and your little one.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out leaving a comment below and let me know your thoughts!
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