Abigail is a wife, mama, Oregonian, coffee lover, chronic illness warrior, and entrepreneur.
Whether you've already given birth or are preparing your postpartum essentials early, congratulations! Few things in life are as exciting as having a baby. As miraculous and wonderful as newborns are, caring for them in those first few weeks can be a lot to handle emotionally as well as physically.
When my son was born last year it was a lot of trial and error figuring out which things we really needed. Add in the pandemic and shopping for postpartum necessities became even more complicated. My husband and I were so thankful for the convenience of Amazon Prime. It really saved us a lot of money and a lot of trips to the store.
When my son was born last year it was a lot of trial and error figuring out which things we really needed. Add in the pandemic and shopping for postpartum necessities became even more complicated.
Everybody has their opinions on new baby and postpartum must have items. Some things that other people loved, I didn't find to be helpful at all. I also purchased a few things that I returned almost immediately because they just didn't work for me. There is a lot of trial and error in figuring out what works for you and your family. These are the things I found I really needed and used a lot.
Don't forget that Amazon has a baby registry feature. You'll also get a significant discount on the items that remain on your list after people have purchased their gifts. They'll also send you a free gift box (with a $35 value!) when you make your registry. We loved and used every single item they sent.
1.) Skin Toning Oil
Without a doubt, this skin oil recommended by my obstetrician saved me from so many stretch marks on my belly and thighs. It's important to continue to use moisturizer as the skin heals too, so don't stop just because your bump has transformed to a precious baby! If you've had a C section, be sure to consult your obstetrician before using any creams or oils on your belly.
If you prefer all natural skin products, this one is perfect because it only has four ingredients: almond oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which can help protect your skin from damage as well as keep it looking youthful. Antioxidants also slow down the process of aging. This one from Amazon is affordable and lasts a long time.
Two more tips for avoiding stretch marks include staying well hydrated and eating a nutrient rich diet. Both these things are essential to a healthy pregnancy anyway. Don't fret if a few stretch marks pop through anyway. You've earned every one of them! I've found that using an all natural self tanner works well to temporarily camouflage them during swim suit season.
2.) Postpartum Belly Support Band
You may have worn a belly support band while you were pregnant to ease the pain in your lower back from that growing bump. After delivery, a belly band can help you recover by supporting your lower back and abdominal muscles as the heal. Be sure to ask your doctor if one is right for you. I found a lot of relief wearing this in the days after my son was born. I also found that it helped my posture a lot as my center of gravity shifted back to its normal location.
This one is extremely affordable and comes with three pieces. As you recover, you progressively remove each piece till you're down to just one. It comes with easy to follow instructions and I noticed a big difference in how much better my back felt and how much faster my waist shrunk. For maximum results be sure to follow the instructions and wear the band for the recommended period of time.
As always, be sure to check with your doctor and do your research to be sure that a postpartum belly support band is the right choice for you. Here are a couple resources to get you started. This article offers opinions from various physicians. This article explains the differences between various types of belly support bands.
3.) Comfy Bras
I was not a fan of nursing bras at all. I purchased a couple and then immediately returned them after trying them on, mostly because I didn't care for the weird, pointy shape they gave me. Because nursing in a standard underwire bra would be very difficult, I need to find a simple solution that would be comfortable for lounging around the house in, yet easy enough to nurse in while out and about.
In the first few days postpartum, your breasts might be a different size or shape than you're used to. While nursing bras might work for some people right away, I found it helpful to have a sort of "one size fits all" solution while my milk supply stabilized. These cozy pullover bras are easy to nurse in, come in a variety of sizes and colors and are perfect for the early days of nursing. For extra support while out and about, you can even layer them. They're also comfy enough to sleep in!
*If you find yourself in pain or extreme discomfort after a few days of nursing like I did, be sure to reach out to a lactation consultant. La Leche League International is also an excellent resources for new mamas. Your local hospital also likely has lactation consultants available to help you.
And try not to get discouraged. It can take a while for you and your baby to get the hang of breast feeding. The first month was really difficult for me, but after a while it got much better and I really began to enjoy nursing my son. And if breastfeeding doesn't work for you, don't worry. Fed is best.
4.) Wide Waistband Shorts
Shorts that won't irritate shrinking skin or a C section scar are so important. I found my lower abdomen itching as my skin began to shrink. These super soft shorts helped me feel comfortable right away. Be sure to size up since your belly likely isn't the size it once was right away. I still get lots of wear out of the two pairs I bought and I use them as pajama shorts all the time. They've held up great for the past year, even with very consistent wear. These also fit comfortably with the postpartum belly support band. Because there is no elastic in the waist they don't rub your skin and they also have inserts so they won't ride up. I found this really important because I could slip them over the top of the belly band rather than wearing them underneath. This made it easy to use the restroom without having to remove the belly band.
5.) Ring Sling Baby Carrier
While I love my Ergo baby carrier, I found these ring sling baby carriers perfect for doing things around the house. They are easy to put on and easy to slip baby into. They come with easy to follow safety instructions too. My son loved to be close to me all the time as most babies do. These ring sling carriers made it easy to do housework, do my hair or take a walk with him close to me. They also have a huge variety of colors and patterns to choose from.
I found it helpful to have one for the house and one for the car so that I could easily slip my son out of his carseat and into the ring sling for hands free carrying. Using a ring sling or similar baby carrier is much better for your back as you begin to heal from giving birth. Carrying a carseat puts an unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders and can slow your healing down. Keeping your baby close also makes them less fussy and can be helpful for bonding with your baby.
If you have trouble mastering the ring sling and don't find the instructions helpful, this YouTube video is really easy to follow and explains how to baby wear safely with a ring sling.
Did You Know?
Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against keeping babies in the carseat outside of the car? This is because their little necks bend forward and this can hinder proper breathing. Using a ring sling or a similar baby carrier is an easy way to keep your baby safe and close to you for a quick trip into the grocery store or doctor's office.
6.) Nursing Cover
Of all my postpartum essentials, this is the one I probably used the most. I personally didn't care for leaving the room every time my son got hungry and people were over. I also was too shy to just whip it out, if you know what I mean. I found this nursing cover very easy to use. With just a little practice, I was able to nurse my son in it anywhere, including the middle of church services, without even leaving my seat. My favorite feature of this nursing cover is the plastic neck band so you can easily look down and see your baby, or adjust their position without flashing everyone. Another advantage to this nursing cover is it's machine washable.
When our son was born I made a commitment to myself to get outside in the sunshine every day for the sake of my mental health. Even just a short walk around the block helped me feel much better. Light exercise such as walking is also wonderful as your recover from giving birth.
This jogger is the perfect splurge if you love being outdoors as much as I do. The inflatable tires are perfect because you can take this jogger off-road if necessary. If you have the Chicco brand carseat, it can click right into the top of this jogger. I've logged literally hundreds of miles on this thing at it's very durable. It also folds up so it can be easily put in the car. The double cupholders and lower compartment make it easy to carry extra items around too.
In many cultures the mother is allowed a month of rest after her child is born. Feel no shame grabbing your iced coffee, propping your feet up and turning on some Netflix while you cuddle your little one.
If You Are Struggling With Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a serious but fairly common result of the hormone fluctuations associated with giving birth. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is characterized by excessive crying, difficulty bonding with your baby, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, panic attacks and more. If this is you, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Postpartum depression is not your fault and does not make you a bad mother. In fact, postpartum depression effects up to 1 in 7 women!
Here are some free resources that can help you if you're struggling with postpartum depression:
Don't forget to be patient with yourself. A new baby can turn your entire world upside down. Adding a new member to your family is bound to bring complicated feelings to the surface. If you're struggling with postpartum depression or baby blues, here are a few things you can do right away that might help.
- Eat a healthy diet. It's ok to indulge in comfort foods brought by kind family and friends, but do your best to fill in nutrition gaps with fruits, veggies, whole grains and lots of protein. And make sure you're eating enough. Hunger can make you feel even worse when you're struggling with PPD.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated can help you heal from giving birth and is extremely important if you're breastfeeding because you are literally drinking for two.
- Talk to your doctor about medication. Many women find that prescription medication can help during this period. It shouldn't be something to feel embarrassed about. In fact, the right medication can help you enjoy these days with your newborn by easing the weight of PPD.
- Ask for help. Telling family and friends exactly what you need can be extremely helpful. People love to help new mamas out! If a friend asks what they can do for you, tell them! Whether that's dropping a meal by or picking up a few things from the store.
- Rest when you can. These early days with your newborn are for snuggles and rest, not taking on new projects. In many cultures the mother is allowed a month of rest after her child is born. Feel no shame grabbing your iced coffee, propping your feet up and turning on some Netflix while you cuddle your little one.
8.) Reusable Nursing Pads
Once your milk supply has stabilized, you'll be ready for some nursing pads. I tried several kinds, including disposable nursing pads, before settling on these as my favorite. I found that these stayed put really well and were absorbent enough to last the whole day. Another benefit to nursing pads is that they can keep the lanolin or whatever nipple cream you choose from absorbing into and staining your bra.
These come with a mesh bag for convenient washing and are colored in sets of two so you'll always know if you're missing one. These are also a lot more eco friendly than disposables and less irritating to your skin. I've had mine for over a year now and they've held up perfectly!
Some mamas find that nursing pads aren't necessary for them. I found that they were a non-negotiable as even a sneeze would cause my milk to let down. If nothing else, they can help absorb the leakage from the breast that your child isn't nursing from.
Hopefully this list of postpartum essentials from Amazon helps you in those early days of motherhood. If you have a baby registry, these items are perfect for it! We also found that after our son was born people would ask us what specific things we needed even though the baby shower was over. This list might give you something to work with when a generous family member or friend asks what you need.
Don't forget: you can't spoil a newborn. Soak up all those precious snuggles with that precious baby. And be gentle with yourself too. Giving birth is a big deal! Whether this is your first child or or your fifth, you just did something absolutely amazing by bringing life into the world. Let your body rest and recover and ask for help if you need it. You absolutely deserve it!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.