I gave birth to my first child in June 2020, and I never really grew up around babies or pregnant women, so I was pretty clueless what items I would need. This post is all about pregnancy and postpartum items I wish I knew about very far in advance! Note that I linked everything below with an Amazon Affiliates account, so if you click a photo and purchase something, I may receive a small percentage.
During pregnancy, as the months go by, your waistline gets bigger (as expected!), and you’ll want comfortable pajamas that are not too tight. I didn’t want to buy a bunch of clothes in a larger size that I would never wear again, so I resolved this by buying really soft nightgowns that could be worn during pregnancy and after. I found the modal material to be softest.
Again, you want to be comfortable during your days with your growing belly, so I highly recommend getting a great pair of comfortable leggings. Since my third trimester was during COVID, I had a few pair of these leggings, and I wore them every day.
It’s important to take prenatal vitamins that have folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D to help support the baby’s development and growth. I took a prenatal vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 the entire pregnancy and never had any pregnancy issues.
Stretch Mark Oil and Lotion
A lot of women fear getting stretch marks during pregnancy, myself included. I used the Burts Bees Mama Butter lotion every morning and an oil every night after showering, and I did not get any stretch marks. Stretch marks also have to do with your genetics, so just because something worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for you, but I really hope it does!
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, the weight of my belly on my hips and legs was starting to really hurt, so I bought a pregnancy support belt to help lighten the load. It really helped me, especially during my daily walks.
Everyone talks so much about pregnancy and labor, but I don’t think people talk enough about postpartum recovery. I was shocked how much my body went through and how hard it was to recover. I didn’t know some of the postpartum recovery items even existed, so I wanted to make a list for my friends that have never been pregnant to help their postpartum recovery go as smoothly as possible!
Perinatal Spray Bottle
The hospital should give you one of these, and these bottles are absolutely important to use when you use the restroom; it really helps ease the pain and keep everything clean. Make sure to take this home from the hospital, and you should ask for a second one if you have multiple bathrooms in your house. You can also buy one with an angle sprayer to help reach different areas.
Mesh Underwear / Disposable Underwear
After labor, you will not want anything tight around your waist. Mesh underwear that are disposable are perfect for this. The hospital should give you some, and you’ll definitely want more for at home. I had some additional mesh underwear for home where you can add a pad or ice pack, and I also bought some Depends Underwear that have a pad built in for convenience. Both were very useful!
Disposable Ice Packs
The first few days after labor, you will be really swollen. Disposable ice packs are great to help with swelling, and then you can throw them away and not worry about them getting dirty. The hospital should give you these as well, but you’ll probably want some for when you’re home too.
Most people would expect you need these for postpartum bleeding. Make sure you buy ones that are thick enough, and make sure you buy enough to change every few hours.
I had never heard of a Sitz Bath until I was in the recovery room in the hospital, but I think this helped my recovery the most. You fill a Sitz Bath with warm water and place it over a toilet and sit in it for 15 – 20 minutes, and it helps cleanse and heal the perineum if you have a tear from labor. The water helps provide relief from pain and itching in the genital area by bringing additional blood flow to the area. The doctors recommended doing these 3 or 4 times per day, and I didn’t at first; I only did once per day, but once I started upping the number of times I did it, I started feeling much better!
Witch Hazel: Tucks Pads
The hospital provided me some Tucks Pads with Witch Hazel on them to provide cooling relief from the burning and itching caused from a perinium tear or hemorrhoids from labor. The witch hazel soothe and protects the infected areas. I took the Tucks Pads home with me and ordered more when I ran out. People also buy Witch Hazel and make Postpartum Ice Packs with Witch Hazel on them.
Burn / Itch Spray: Dermoplast
I received Dermoplast from the hospital as well, and was very happy to have this numbing spray. Dermoplast relieves pain and itching around cuts and skin irritation, which is especially helpful if you tear.
Postpartum Seat Cushion
You will be sore after labor, and it will hurt to sit on any surface for a little while (for me it was about 10-14 days!). A postpartum sear cushion is critical to have if you need to go in the car (to Pediatrician appointments), sit at the table for dinner, etc.
Tylenol / Motrin
Due to the pain from birth, you’ll want some type of pain reliever. I took a combination of Tylenol and Motrin because I did not want narcotics. I continued taking for about a week after I got home from the hospital as well.
Items to Make Life More Comfortable
Comfortable Pajamas with Buttons
If you are breastfeeding, you’ll definitely want comfortable pajamas with buttons. Buttons make it really easy to feed the baby on demand whenever he or she wants to rather than having to lift up or take off your shirt. I basically lived in pajamas for the first 2 months.
Robe / Zip Sweatshirt
I had a challenging time regulating my body temperature for a few weeks postpartum, and I always felt cold. I wore my robe and thick socks all the time to help keep me warm. I ordered the robe for the hospital orginally, but the robe was easy to throw on and open up whenever I needed to feed the baby. You could also wear a zip sweatshirt, but I was a little nervous about the zipper scratching the baby.
Again, I’m all about comfort, and since basically my whole body felt sore for days after labor, if felt nice to be walking around the house on really soft and squishy slippers.
If you want to breastfeed your newborn, you should get some type of breast pump.
Hakka: This manual pump is great because you can put it on one side while the baby is eating on the other; you will capture some of your letdown, and you can accumulate and save this for later. I would definitely get the Hakka with a lid because no one likes spilled milk! It is like gold!
Spectra: This electric pump is very popular on blog websites. I got this pump from my insurance, and I use this one first. While I liked the different settings it has and how simple it is to clean, the flanges were not very comfortable.
Madela Sonata: I received this electric pump from my work, and I ended up liking this pump the most. It is a little bit more complicated to put together and clean, but the flanges have bendable silicone around the edges to make it fit better, so it feels really nice to use. I also like that it is portable; I used it in the car before.
Nursing / Pumping Bra
If you are breast-feeding, you will want a really soft and comfortable bra that is easy to use. I ended up getting a few different types. I like the sports bra type for every day all day use. I use the one with straps when I pump with a bravado pump attachment, but I know some people use this for every day use. Again since I am all about comfort, I found a sports bra to be more comfortable.
You’ll also want nursing breast pads if you’re breastfeeding. I started out with disposable ones, but I didn’t like how wasteful they were. One of my coworkers gifted me the Bamboobies pads, which were very soft! I also purchased some more bamboo pads because I didn’t feel like I had enough! They came with a laundry bag too, which I thought was helpful!
Breast Heat/Ice Packs
I really liked this pack because you can heat it up or freeze it to make it cold. Sometimes you may have engorgement from breastfeeding, so it is really helpful to have both.
The hospital Lactation Consultant gave me breast shields because she said you should let yourself air out frequently if you can to help prevent infection. I liked using these after I used the nipple cream to protect my clothes from the oil.
Nipple Cream with Olive Oil
The Lactation Consultant also recommended using a nipple cream that has olive oil rather than lanolin because she said who eats sheep’s oil? No one. But people do eat olive oil, so it’s better for baby if there is some left over when the baby wants to eat. I really liked the one she recommended!
It’s important to also take vitamins during your postpartum phase, especially if you are breastfeeding. I took ones from the same brand as my prenatal vitamins.
Also when you are breastfeeding, it’s important to stay hydrated to keep your supply up. I carried my water bottle around with me everywhere (didn’t go many places because of COVID), and I made sure to always drink water when he was eating too. I thought of it as water in, milk out. I liked these because you don’t have to clean a straw, and you can see how much water is left as a reminder to drink more.
You also burn a lot of calories when breastfeeding, so it’s important to have a lot of healthy snacks too! I tried to eat at least 500 extra calories per day.
You’ll be so exhausted from taking care of your precious newborn and yourself that you won’t want to do dishes or laundry. You can save yourself from some of the hassle by having some paper plates handy.
Baby Tracker: This app is used to track feedings (breast, expressed, formula, etc.), number of diapers (wet, dirty, mixed, dry), sleep, pumping, and other milestones. I found it very useful for the first few weeks to track everything to make sure he was growing. Eventually I only tracked feedings and pumping.
Wonder Weeks: This app is really useful to help you know when your baby is going through a developmental leaps (i.e. changing senses, recognizing patterns, smooth transitions, events, relationships, etc.). It will tell you when you can expect your baby to be a little more fussy than normal, so then you know to love your baby a little extra. The app is $3.99, but totally worth it in my opinion. I also bought the Wonder Weeks book to learn additional information.