My Postpartum Basket - Supplies I Stock For The Fourth Trimester
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
So today I went to my 6 week follow up appointment - crazy how fast the time with a newborn goes! How can she be 6 weeks?! I feel like her birthday was just yesterday. It’s funny how the memories of your birth get so much softer as time passes. In the hours after I had her, I found myself really not wanting to relive those labor pains again. Now, weeks later, I wish I could go back in time and do it all over again because it was really that magical. There is nothing like birth and babies. I feel like it’s my life’s honor to get to carry, birth, and raise these babies. Now onto the raising of the babies part... that‘s a whole other challenge.
Anyway, I am putting away some of my postpartum essentials today and wanted to share what I prepare in my bathroom/bedside basket. I hope this helps a mama out. Second pregnancy and postpartum period have been different for me in a lot of ways, and I used some of my experience from the first time to prepare even more than I did with my son. Here is what’s inside my basket!
MY POSTPARTUM BATHROOM BASKET
Witch Hazel - This is a natural astringent and cleanser. This is the active ingredient in those wonderful “Tucks Pads” that you get from the hospital. After I run out of the tucks pads, I use witch hazel after going to the bathroom to cleanse any raw/sore areas, areas with stitches, or any lovely postpartum/pregnancy hemorrhoids.
Pads - Allllll the pads. Buy all the sizes, including panty liners. You don’t want to run out of pads postpartum, and you shouldn‘t use tampons for at least 6 weeks.
Postpartum Underwear - Ok for real, just go buy some very cheap cotton underwear for those first few days/weeks. You will want them to be comfortable and cotton to help with your healing.
Peri Bottle - You don’t really have to have this ahead of time, typically you will get this from the hospital or your midwife. But you will want to keep this in the bathroom for every time you use the restroom in those first few days/weeks to ease the pain and cleanse without toilet paper (especially if you have stitches).
Peri Cleanse - It’s helpful to have a natural peri cleanse to go in your peri bottle to help cleanse and nourish your perineum after using the restroom. Witch hazel also works great for this so if you don’t have it, warm water in your peri bottle is fine too!
This is the brand I have:
Nourishing Oils For Your Perineum - I use these two brands to help ease pain, nourish, and speed up healing of tears and sore spots after birth.
Quick/Convenient Toiletries - I keep face wipes, body wipes, and lip balm handy in my bathroom basket. Let’s face it, you will want to do the bare minimum some days/nights when you have a newborn to care for. You may not get a shower for days. And there is something about the hormonal shift that happens during the postpartum period to make mamas smell... bad! I always feel like my BO postpartum and while I’m nursing is so terrible, and it’s probably nature’s way of keeping others away and keeping us safe and unbothered while we’re caring for our babes! At least that’s what I tell myself. So those body cloths are a must for me!
“Padsicles” (Kept In Freezer) - I make these using light pads or panty liners - and they are so nice to have, especially if you have stitches! I thankfully just had a mild tear with my first baby, and didn’t tear at all with my second baby girl (thank you natural birth!). But with both babies I used these and they feel amazing and help you to heal. Here is my recipe:
Light Pad or Panty Liner
Lavender Essential Oil
Apply a small/moderate amount of witch hazel and 3-5 drops of lavender oil on your pad. Roll your pad back up, make a bunch, stack them, place in a ziplock bag, and freeze them. Take them out and put one inside a clean large pad anytime you’re in pain or feeling sore!
MY POSTPARTUM BEDSIDE BASKET
Nipple Cream - I keep a basket by my bed or wherever I spend my time healing and resting with my baby all day during those first few days/weeks. So breastfeeding/pumping/bottlefeeding essentials are a must. I keep nipple cream on hand - you will need it mostly during those first few weeks, and then it really does get better and you won’t need it forever mamas! I usually stop using it after about a week or two, and then I use coconut oil!
AfterEase Tincture - This is a product that I discovered with my second baby, as it was given to me by my midwife. But it is amazing and SO helpful for those horrible after birth pains that happen when you’re breastfeeding or pumping during those first few days. The pains get worse with each baby that you have, and they hit me SO hard with my second baby. I didn’t notice them as much with my first, but I have always heard that the pain is so much worse with each baby that you have. Take this tincture under your tongue right before you nurse every single time... it helps so much! You can take it as often as every 15 mins, and it is all natural. And I’m not going to lie I took the ibuprofen as well. Those pains are intense! But the good news is they don’t last long at all. After a few days they will be gone and you will forget all about them!
Coconut Oil - I use this for so much so I definitely keep it in my bedside basket. It is the perfect nipple cream/cleanser/healer when you don’t really have sore nipples but just need to use something after nursing is established. The antibacterial and antifungal properties in coconut oil help prevent thrush in your nipples and your babe’s mouth. It prevents sore spots and blisters, and is totally safe for baby to ingest so you don’t need to wipe it off before breastfeeding. I also use it as a light moisturizer for my baby’s skin. It especially helps that pesky newborn rash that looks like baby acne. My babies both had newborn rash pretty good during those first few days/weeks and the only thing that really helps is bathing baby less often and coconut oil or breastmilk. The natural oils in babies’ skin heal It the quickest. Coconut oil can also be used as a diaper cream, or to help wipe the sticky meconium poops (the tarry, sticky poops that babies have during the first few days of life) off of their bottoms. I also use it at night all over my face as a moisturizer. So coconut oil is like my miracle cream!
Haaka Silicone Breastpump - So this is not actually a breast pump. But it is like magic and I highly recommend getting it if you plan to breastfeed! It not only helps you build up a great breastmilk supply in your fridge or freezer, but it also helps soften your breasts during those first few weeks when you’re really full. My babies really struggled in the beginning with my fast and intense let-down, and especially during those first few weeks when I am so full and my supply hasn’t regulated to my babies needs. So instead of letting your other breast just leak into a breast pad or all over your shirt while you’re nursing your baby, place the Haaka on the other side while you are nursing and let it fill up with milk and soften your breast! It’s amazing and I wish I had it with my first!
Burp Cloths - This is pretty self explanatory but you will want a lot of these and want to have them handy, no matter how you feed your baby.
Extra Large Water Bottle - Breastfeeding especially makes you SO thirsty, and for good reason! You need so much extra fluid to make up for the fluid lost through breastfeeding your babe. It helps me to have a huge bottle that I don’t have to refill constantly.
Snacks - Protein balls, lactation cookies, chocolate, nuts, fruit, protein bars, whatever snacks you prefer. But you will be hungry. And you won’t want to prepare much once your baby is with you 24/7. So stock up the snacks and keep them close by!
Quick and Convenient Toiletries - Whatever things would make you feel better during that first week especially when you are supposed to be off your feet. Lip balm, face/body wipes, etc. It’s just nice to prepare ahead of time and have everything out and ready to make your life easier so you can truly rest and heal.
Newborn Care Book (Or any book!) - Especially with my first baby, I found that during the initial healing period and in between feedings when I wasn’t napping, reading was what I wanted to do. I loved reading a newborn care book with my first baby during that initial postpartum period. Even as a NICU nurse, I really found it helpful. There is so much to learn about newborn care, and parenting in general. My favorite book about newborn care is Baby 411. It is written by pediatricians and is a great overview of pretty much anything you need to know or may be concerned about during baby’s first year. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a book of devotionals or magazines handy. Whatever you envision wanting to do while you snuggle your newborn. If you’re a first time mama - cherish that time. Snuggle your baby as much as you want. Or put them down if you need. Know that it goes too fast. And know that you will remember
this time forever.
Newborn Care Supplies - This seems pretty obvious. Of course you know you need diapers and wipes and diaper cream and burp cloths handy. But I also keep some safety tools in my bedside basket. A bulb syringe or nasal aspirator of some kind is really important. You can use it as a safety tool if your babe is spitting up and choking on their spit up, or if it’s coming out their nose. I keep these everywhere (bedside, by the crib, in the diaper bag, etc). Also a little nail file or infant nail clippers, and thermometer (rectal/axillary thermometer is always best during the newborn period).
This may seem like a lot, but I think it’s helpful to share. I learned about the importance of each of these things from other mamas, experience, and working as a NICU nurse in a birth center. I found that every little thing we do to prepare for postpartum helps so much during that postpartum period. I might not have said this just a few days after having my baby girl, but I almost want to go back in time and relive her first few weeks again. There is something so special about getting to know your baby, and being in awe of what our bodies are capable of. It’s messy. It’s painful. It’s stressful. It’s exhausting. It’s confusing. It’s overwhelming. But it does get better. Slowly but surely. It all gets better. And you won’t remember as much the messy or the painful. You will remember the sweet. The small sleepy baby. The crazy intense love you feel. The pride you feel as a mama for birthing and caring for your baby. So if you’re in the weeds of postpartum mamas... just get through the weeds. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light may come and go, but know that you’re not alone in your postpartum journey. So many other mamas are going through it too.
Love to all of you mamas!