Prepare Before You Give Birth
Your little one is about to make their arrival into the world, and you will want to make sure you have all that you need to recover and heal. Buying postpartum essentials now means that when you come home from the hospital you will be prepared. Keep in mind that the average time it takes for women to recover from childbirth is six to eight weeks, and during that time you will be caring for a newborn. Stocking up on what you need now will make it easier after your baby is born.
11 Postpartum Essentials
You know you need to stock up on Tylenol and Advil for soreness, and a nursing bra and pads if you plan to nurse. In this list, we don't include obvious items like those but what you don't know you need. So, here are the 11 postpartum essentials you need to have before you make the trip to the hospital:
Post-birth Body Essentials
1. Peri bottle
After you give birth, if you had a vaginal delivery, you will be too sore to use toilet paper to wipe yourself, and that’s where a peri bottle filled with warm water will come in handy. It will make going to the bathroom more pleasant. Put a peri bottle in every bathroom in your house, and don’t forget to put one in the diaper bag.
2. Reusable water bottle
Staying hydrated is always important. When you are caring for a newborn, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Keep a good quality reusable water bottle next to you to remind yourself to drink water. A stainless steel water bottle that keeps your water cold is a good choice as it will last you a long time and is better for the environment.
3. Epsom salt
There’s nothing more soothing than soaking in a tub filled with warm water. After giving birth, a warm bath can help with any soreness. Women’s Care, an obstetrics and gynecology center in Oregon, recommends sitting in a warm bath for 15 minutes two to three times daily. Adding Epsom salts will make a warm bath even more soothing, and will “reduce swelling, discourage infection, and encourage healing,” according to the Midwives Collective of Toronto.
Fill your bathtub with about two to three inches of warm water, and add about a cup of Epsom salt. Let the salt dissolve before you get in the tub. You will be using a lot of Epsom salt, so buy it in bulk before you give birth to make sure you always have it on hand.
4. Reusable menstrual pads
Vaginal bleeding after giving birth is normal. Bleeding usually lasts for about six weeks after delivery. The reason is that your uterus will be going through changes to return it to the state it was in before pregnancy. You will need menstrual pads while you experience bleeding, so why not use reusable ones to lessen your impact on the environment. Get various sizes as the bleeding will lighten up after a few weeks.
5. Stool softeners
Constipation usually occurs after giving birth because your hormone levels will take time to return to normal. Bowel movements will typically occur within the first few days after your baby is born, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Keep stool softeners at hand. They will not only help with constipation but will make it easier when you do have a bowel movement. Let’s face it that going to the bathroom is painful after childbirth.
Learning to care for a newborn can be overwhelming coupled with the exhaustion you feel after giving birth. It will be difficult at first to find time to eat, and that’s why you need to have snacks available. Here’s what you need to stock up on before you give birth to your baby:
- Nuts are filled with protein, plus some fiber and fat. Abbey Sharp, a registered dietician, regularly refers to protein, fiber, and fat as a hunger-crushing combination. Buy some small containers and fill them with nuts so you can put them near you after you bring your baby home from the hospital.
- Apples are fruits with a longer shelf life. They have fiber and are chock full of vitamins and minerals. Pair them with a nut butter and you have a satisfying snack.
- Protein bars are a great way to get energy. Buy as many as you can so you have them available when hunger strikes and you need a quick snack.
- Whole-grain crackers will give you some fiber and if you pair them with a nut butter, you get some protein and fat.
- Dried fruits are great when you want something sweet. Branch out beyond raisins and buy other dried fruit such as apricots and figs so you get different vitamins and minerals.
- Your favorite guilty pleasure would be a great thing to stock up on.
Comfortable Postpartum Essentials
7. Waterproof mattress protector
Urinary incontinence after giving birth is not uncommon, as is night sweats due to hormones. Be prepared and buy a waterproof mattress protector so your mattress is guarded against any postpartum leaks. Putting the waterproof mattress protector on before you give birth will come in handy if your water breaks in the middle of the night.
8. Postpartum underwear
Postpartum underwear is another great item to buy before childbirth to cope with postpartum leaks and bleeding. As with menstrual pads, buy reusable postpartum underwear to lessen your environmental impact, and make sure you buy enough for about a week in a size larger than you wore before pregnancy.
9. Comfortable clothes
You will want to have comfortable clothes that you love wearing. Clothing like robes, cute but comfortable pajamas, leggings, and longer t-shirts are the type of clothes you will want to live in while you adjust to caring for your baby. Extra soft leggings in basic colors like black and gray will be great for when you need to leave the house.
10. Insulated coffee mug
If you are an avid coffee or tea drinker, you will want an insulated coffee mug. You may not be able to drink your coffee or tea before it gets cold because your newborn will need you. A well-insulated coffee mug with a lid will keep your beverage warm as you cope with being a first-time parent.
11. Dry shampoo
There is nothing more uncomfortable than dirty hair and an itchy scalp, but when you are adjusting to life with a newborn, washing your hair may have to wait. However, you can make your hair smell better with dry shampoo. Spray it on and if you have straight hair, just brush through. If you have curly hair, rub and scrunch it in with your hands.
Get Ready to Bring Baby Home
Before you know it, you will have given birth, and you and your baby will be home from the hospital. Preparing for coming home by stocking up on what you need will make your life easier postpartum.