Find out what you need to care for yourself after giving birth. Here is our big list of postpartum essentials to help you recover and get back to feeling like yourself again after having a baby.

postpartum essentials for a new mom

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Having a baby is such a strange thing. On one hand, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world and on the other hand, your body is like WTF just happened?

I’m so grateful to Western medicine and innovative products that are designed for postpartum moms and our recovery period. Really, what would we do without some of these products?

As you’re checking items off your pregnancy checklist, make sure you tackle postpartum preparation too. We tend to put a lot of time into preparing the nursery and reading up on baby care, but it’s really important to prepare for your postpartum recovery as well.

Here is my big list of postpartum essentials so you can fully recover and get back to feeling like yourself again. I included all of the items you might need to help your body heal and recover, as well as items to help you feel like yourself again, mentally and emotionally. Pack up your postpartum kit as you prepare your hospital bag or get a kit ready to give to a new mom!

Postpartum Essentials Checklist

Whether you’re having a vaginal birth, or a C-section, here are the postpartum must haves to help your body recover. These products are useful, no matter what kind of birth you had.

postpartum essentials after having newborn

Complete postpartum essentials checklist:

  • Maxi Pads: Stock up! You really won’t want to (and shouldn’t) use tampons during this time. These purple pads are so absorbent but thin so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a giant diaper.
  • Loose underwear: You’ll probably bleed for anywhere from a few days to six weeks, so have some cheap, loose underwear that you won’t mind tossing out. The hospital will give you mesh underwear too, which I personally loved!
  • Adult diapers: Super sexy, right? Some women may want to forgo the maxi pad / underwear combo for an adult diaper. Grab a pack of adult postpartum underwear if that’s the case!
  • Peri bottle: This little squirt bottle is like a portable bidet and will help you clean up down there. If you had stitches or tearing, wiping might be painful, so this will be a lifesaver! The Mom washer is an even better design, but a little pricier.
  • Ibuprofen: Will help with any pain you have from tearing to C-section pain.
  • Stool softener: That first postpartum poo is not your friend. Take these in the hopes that everything will come out a little easier.
  • Heating Pad: Uterine cramping is common after childbirth. The cramping is from your uterus contracting and returning to its normal size. Use a heating pad to alleviate cramp pains as well as sore muscles from childbirth.
  • Wine: You had a baby. It is stressful and wonderful all at the same time. You may need a glass of wine every now and then.
  • Dry shampoo: Showers might be a hot commodity those first few weeks. Have some dry shampoo stashed to keep your hair from getting too greasy.
  • Chapstick: Lips get really dry in the hospital and beyond.
  • Snacks: You’ll spend so much time caring for your new little one and you might not have time to sit down and eat. Have some snacks on hand so you can grab them throughout the day.
wine is a postpartum essential

Postpartum Essentials If you had a C-Section

Recovery from a C-section is different than a vaginal delivery recovery. Here are some specific items you will need to help you recover from your Cesarean (in addition to the items above).

  • High-waisted underwear: You won’t want anything rubbing up against your incision, even in the slightest, so these high-waisted underwear are perfect. They have a built-in silicone panel that helps protect the incision area while minimizing scarring.
  • Pads: I was surprised that I still bled down there after my C-section but I guess it’s normal (here’s why). Make sure you have some good maxi pads, no matter how you’re delivering your baby.
  • Abdominal binder: After a caesarean birth, you might feel like your insides are going to fall out. It’s so strange! Using an abdominal binder (or the really tight underwear above) can help keep things tight and in place.

Postpartum Essentials If you had a Vaginal Birth

Use these products to alleviate pain in your most sensitive area and to heal quickly.

  • Witch hazel pads: Cooling medicated pads that provide relief from pain, itching, burning, and other discomfort.
  • Padsicles: Make a batch of these in advance and keep them in the freezer when you need that cooling relief below.
  • Numbing spray: Quick pain relief for hard-to-reach areas. There are also more natural versions if that’s your style.
  • Sitz bath: This can help relax the muscles, sooth soreness, relieve itching, and more for your perineum.

Which Pads are Best for Postpartum?

There are so many different postpartum pads. You probably have a pad preference from your normal cycle (wings, long, etc.) See reviews of different postpartum pads here to see which ones moms like the best.

postpartum clothing essentials - mom with new baby wearing robe

Postpartum Clothing Essentials

You probably won’t feel like wearing (or fitting) into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe right after giving birth. (And that’s totally okay!) Keep these items in the closet so you can get dressed and be comfortable pos baby.

  • Robe: I lived in a robe the first few days postpartum. Between breastfeeding around the clock and constantly changing out my pad, there was no point in getting dressed!
  • Maxi skirt/dress: At some point I did have to get dressed. (I guess it’s not socially acceptable to wear your robe to the grocery store to buy more wine.) When I wasn’t in my robe, I wore the same maxi skirt day after day. It didn’t bother my incision area and was perfect for going to newborn doctor appointments and other public places.
  • Leggings: If you had a C-section you won’t want anything rubbing up against your incision. And even with a vaginal delivery, you probably won’t feel like putting on jeans or other tight fitting pants. Have some comfortable, stretchy leggings that you can pair with a flowy top for a few weeks.
  • Nursing bras: Grab a couple of these or make your own to make nursing in public a lot easier!
  • Nursing tanks: Perfect to pair with your maxi skirt and a light cardigan so you can nurse in public.

Once you feel like wearing clothes again, Amazon Prime Wardrobe is a great service. You can have clothes shipped to, try them on in the comfort of your home, and then send back what you don’t want for free. You’ll only be charged for the items that you keep. This is a great way to get some new postpartum clothes without having to venture to the store!

Postpartum Essentials the Hospital Should Provide

So many of my friends told me to take as many supplies home from the hospital as possible. If a pack of diapers has been opened, they can’t use it anyway (or so I heard). Before we left, we asked for even more diapers, mesh underwear, nipple cream, and extra swaddles. We came home with so much loot!

Every hospital will be different, but see if you can snag these postpartum essentials from your hospital before heading home and save yourself a little bit of money. The nurses will most likely be happy to round up some extras for you:

  • Maxi Pads
  • Mesh underwear
  • Numbing spray
  • Sitz bath
  • Witch hazel pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Ibuprofen (or prescription)
  • Stool softener (or prescription)
  • Nasal aspirator for baby
  • Diapers and wipes for baby

How to Take Care of Yourself After Birth

A lot of postpartum essentials lists will tell you all the products you need to care for your body and your baby. But what about caring for yourself, emotionally? Postpartum is HARD, and not just physically.

So here are some postpartum essentials that you can’t buy at the store. These are equally as important as the maxi pads and big undies!

Meal Train: Have a friend set up a meal train so friends and family members can bring you a hot meal those first few weeks after having a baby. Not having to cook is a postpartum essential! It’s so nice to just focus on learning how to be a mom and not having to worry about what to make for dinner.

Lactation consultant: Reach out to them as often as you need. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. I saw three different lactation consultants because I was struggling with my milk supply. Getting a good latch and help with breastfeeding early on can help your breastfeeding journey and your postpartum mental state so much!

Emotional support: I loved the way this article discusses those first 100 days as a new mom. I send this to all my new mom friends now to remind them that the first 100 days are the hardest. And that it will get better!

Wine: Yah, I know I have this twice. I needed it postpartum. You might too. It’s worth repeating.

A good laugh: This video made me feel so known as a new mom. I watched it over and over those first few weeks for a good laugh and it was so good for my soul.

What are some of the postpartum essentials that helped you after giving birth? I’m telling you, I lived off the mesh undies, wine, and this video! I’d love to hear what helped you survive postpartum in the comments.

Amy Motroni

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