I wrote out this checklist for a Postpartum care kit after my FIRST baby, knowing I’d want to be better prepared the 2nd time around – to make sure I had all the postpartum essentials on hand
And yet, the 2nd time around I still showed up at the hospital with a half-packed labor bag, and a mostly ignored postpartum recovery checklist. (Preparing for postpartum recovery is no joke. Get on it early!)
I really had great intentions the 2nd time – I KNEW it was no fun to have to stop at the drug store and limp around collecting giant maxi pads and Epsom salts for my postpartum kit (because I did that after my first baby), but somehow history tends to repeat itself.
I did at least try to collect the postpartum recovery essentials this time… and I ordered the essentials on Amazon the night before I went into labor. (I just didn’t plan on baby coming as early as she did. The stuff was supposed to arrive a full two weeks before she was due. Oops.)
So, Amazon delivered everything for my postpartum kit to my door two days later than I needed it, and it sure would have been nice to have all the stuff waiting for me at home.
Learn from my mistakes, and cross everything off your postpartum recovery checklist somewhere around the beginning of your last pregnant month.
(Now all this is not to encourage you to run out and buy EVERYTHING you’ve ever heard might be helpful. I know plenty of women who have spent a fortune on things they were told were postpartum necessities, that they truly didn’t need – and if they had needed them, they could have sent their husband to the store. So don’t over-purchase! This postpartum shopping list is comprised of the stuff I really did use, and think you will find beneficial also!)
If I ever have a third baby, I will have my postpartum care kit – these things in particular – READY and WAITING before the baby is born. Really.
You can also use this list to create a new mommy care package for a friend!
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
The Complete Postpartum Recovery Checklist for Mom’s Postpartum Care Kit –
Postpartum recovery shopping is a big industry, but you won’t use most of what you’re being sold.
What do new moms REALLY need in their postpartum recovery kit? Here’s a no fluff checklist of what you’ll actually use after giving birth:
Big Cheap Pads and Big Cheap Undies
I want to be able to change out my pad as often as I want without worrying about the cost (because… yuck) so I get the cheapest most absorbent things I can find. This was what the hospital had the first time I delivered and they were the best.
It’s so hard to say how many you’ll need – I needed giant pads for a full two weeks after my first delivery, and only for about 5-6 days after baby #2.
Two or three packages should be enough and if you’re short you can always get more. (Then I like to downgrade to the more standard smaller things. This was a bit of an adventure, since I don’t personally use pads in my day to day life, and hadn’t purchased any in 10 years. I HATED a lot of the ones I tired! These were the ones I found to be the most comfortable.)
I grabbed 5 pairs of giant “granny panties” on sale this time before baby was born and I was so glad to have them! (I do really love the mesh panties from the hospital for the first week though.)
“Padscicles” (at least enough for the first few days postpartum)
After my first was born, the nurse came into the room with a pad soaked in water and frozen – basically an icepack for your downstairs region – I honestly did NOT want to use it.
I thought it sounded like a NIGHTMARE, but she convinced me to try and it was honestly AMAZING. I used one every 2-3 hours the first couple days!
Here’s an easy tutorial for making your own at home (it’s not hard), and if you do this prior to going into labor, they’ll be there waiting for you when you get home!
Painkillers and Stool softeners
Have both Tylenol AND Motrin/Advil in your postpartum care kit, because you can rotate them (just like they do at the hospital).
Ask your doctor before leaving the hospital for advice on how to do that! (You will use these things eventually, in general day to day life, so it’s not like you’re “over-buying” here.)
Stool softeners are a good idea even if you feel ok “downstairs”. (You want to avoid having to “push” – enough pushing has been done. Resting is good now.)
You may really only need a few days worth of stool softener – although after my first, I did use them for a full week and a half – but things were messier that time than the second.
Peri-bottle – you absolutely NEED to have this on your postpartum essentials list
You’ll probably get one of these from the hospital, but if you have more than one bathroom in your house grab another for your postpartum recovery kit.
It’s a huge pain to be stuck in one bathroom waiting on your husband to track down and deliver your peri-bottle. (Ask me how I know…) Just have one for each bathroom, and one for the diaper bag to make life easy. A pack of three is super cheap.
(Post-peri-bottle era of my life, I have found so many uses for these things… everything from squirt guns in the bathtub to spot-stain treatment applicator. lol)
These things are endlessly useful to have after you’re recovered also. I find they’re great for spot treating stains with bleach, keeping dishsoap / cleaning supplies on hand in our camper, and as squirt guns in the bath tub for my kiddos. lol.
Epsom salts + lavender oil for a sitz bath
Sitz baths are one of my favorite postpartum recovery tips. (Instructions for taking a postpartum sitz bath here.) You don’t have to invest in an on-the-toilet sitz bath, unless you don’t have a bathtub in your house. I just use my bath tub for a sitz bath. Cheaper.
Epsom salts are cheap and great for reducing swelling/easing itching, and lavender oil is very soothing and healing. These are the only things I put in my sitz bath. They are a must for the postpartum recovery kit as far as I’m concerned!
You should always ok it with your doctor before you get in the bath tub after giving birth!
Related: 12 Tips to Help You Heal Faster After Vaginal Birth
Pain Relieving Spray is key in your postpartum recovery kit
Many women swear by this stuff, which I think probably DOES have a little more “oomph” when it comes to pain relief, but I went with a more natural option and really liked it.
Sometimes, peeing after giving birth is pretty uncomfortable, and a pain relieving spray can make it a lot easier. You don’t want to feel like you should avoid peeing, because you want to make sure you’re taking in enough water to heal and produce breast milk!
(Many women also swear by Tucks cooling pads for hemorrhoids. I bought them to have on hand, but didn’t really need them. I used this cream instead, because I liked that I could put it all over “downstairs” to speed healing – and found it worked great!)
Comfy pajama pants and a robe (or two!)
I didn’t put on real clothes for two weeks this time postpartum, and it was MY FAVORITE THING lol.
A robe is the best thing ever because it keeps your boobs “easy access” for constant nursing, and it’s great for skin to skin with baby, but it’s also so easy to cover up if someone comes to the door. I even slept in mine. I ordered this one and I was SO glad I did! I regretted not having two, because when I had to wash mine I was without it. (Sigh.)
These are a must on your postpartum checklist, and you want them from day one. I originally bought just 2, and the day my daughter threw up on me twice I ordered 2 more. (Four does seem to be enough.)
I like this kind because honestly, cheap is ok when it’s a bra you’re only going to wear for a year or so. You especially REALLY REALLY want this kind for night time! (Seriously – so much more comfortable for sleeping… and you do need a bra for holding breast pads at night so you don’t soak the bed!
I used to think a breast pad was just a breast pad and they were all created equal. Not so. These ones are great – they have some sort of magic gel stuff in them that keeps you feeling dry, but even more importantly (in my opinion) you can’t SEE THEM through your bra.
nipple shield + nipple cream
I wish I could tell you that nursing will be a breeze, but the fact of the matter is even if it goes WELL you’re likely to have some pain for the first few weeks.
A nipple shield will do WONDERS for you in the first week or two. Don’t hesitate to use it. It’s not going to wreck nursing… what could wreck nursing is being in so much pain that you quit!
Nipple cream is a good idea too… I personally like to use plain coconut oil instead of nipple cream, because it is a food and I am 100% comfortable not washing it off before baby eats.
If this is your first time nursing you might want to check out a simple and affordable breastfeeding course so you know what you’re doing.
Aside from the postpartum kit supplies to make mom feel better and heal faster, you’ll also want to consider having these other postpartum essentials on hand:
You’ll want to make sure the first few weeks of life with your new baby involves as much rest a possible – so I highly suggest making at least three weeks worth of freezer meals.
Even if you’re the head chef in your home, you can guiltless-ly hand dinner duty off to someone else when it’s as easy as turning on the crockpot or the oven.
Having a mountain of dishes pile up around you is stressful and unnecessary. I’m sure daddy is willing to wash up, but there’s other things he can be doing too – like watching the baby so you can get half an hour of sleep.
Paper plates are a GOOD idea. No postpartum kit is complete without them!
No one (or at least not not I) will shame you for also getting plastic forks and cups.
Netflix or Disney + (or at least have your favorite DVDs ready to go)
Even if you don’t currently have a TV watching addiction… I’m a workaholic. I LOVE what I do, I don’t make time to watch TV very often. (This is what I do, from home, so I can stay with my kids!) ItBut even I, during those first few weeks postpartum, love to sit on the couch and binge watch my favorite series or some funny movies wile cuddling + feeding my baby. I watched multiple movies after baby #2 was born, and I haven’t watched a whole movie in over a year!
(AFTER having a baby I really enjoyed What to Expect When Your Expecting and Knocked Up. They’re just funnier when labor isn’t imminent.)
Related: 10 Things I Hate About My Postpartum Body
Take it, easy momma, these postpartum supplies have got you covered!
Having a baby is hard work – and you deserve time to rest and snuggle with your baby while you recover from labor and adjust to new mom life! If you make sure to have your postpartum recovery checklist all “checked off” and everything waiting for you, you won’t have to think about anything but baby.
Related: Bringing Baby Home – The Secret to Enjoying the First Week With a Newborn
Related: The Best Postpartum Advice for New Moms
What have I missed on my postpartum recovery checklist? Did you make a postpartum recovery kit before birth?
16 thoughts on “Postpartum Care Kit Checklist (all the postpartum essentials)”
I am a lactation consultant. Nipple shields are NOT recommended for nipple pain. Nipple pain is not normal and is usually an indication of an incorrect latch or possibly an infection such as thrush. These conditions need to be treated rather than just putting a “bandaid” on it.
I totally agree- but nipple shields can help in the interim. The lactation consultant couldn’t “solve” our problems instantly and I didn’t want to quit bfing – a shield helped me get through it until the problems could be solved. Without one, I would have quit.
I agree with you, Carly. I’m a former labor & delivery/postpartum RN, and our lactation consultants used nipple shields for pain until we could correct the problem. Sometimes it took a little while to correct a poor latch or treat an infection, and if using the shield keeps a mom from quitting breastfeeding, then it is worth a try. If a mom is having pain with breastfeeding, she should be sure to let the nurses and lactation consultants know. I love this post! Your checklist is very thorough!
Carly, your decision to use a nipple shield is totally justified in my book. Good work mama!
Actually if you ahve every been to WIC you would know that they say use it all the time when breastfeeding because if you do have leaks from the breast it soaks it up and they also say it is normal for it to hurt for a couple days even a week or two
First, YES I second all products listed here AND having your kit ready!
Juana – I’m so glad you agree! I found all of these things helpful!
This is such a great list! Including ideas about things like freezer meals and supplies to make those first weeks easy is fantastic.
And I love that someone else loves the hospital panties 😀
Thank you so much for your checklist! Just reading about your experience really helps me make the decisions about what I will need for after my first baby. I’m glad I found this as I’m at 33 weeks and it never even occurred to me to get a postpartum kit ready. I was only looking at what I might need for my hospital bag. You’re a lifesaver for sure!
SO glad you found this helpful! The postpartum recovery period really threw me for a loop the first time!
all the postpartum care kits are full of crap. Your advice is spot-on! you’d be lucky to find all the items in one place at near-cost price, without the useless stuff and needless branded things that jack up the price even more! Guess what? I found one and felt all the more better because it includes the items you recommend.
What a great list! Epsom salts is also good for newly engorged breasts at risk of mastitis. Our midwife recommended boobs in warm to hot water sink and epsom salts to draw out excess milk. Works a treat!
Doing this in a haakaa pump works great and you don’t have to lean over a sink
Your list is fantastic. I’d add peri balm, it was the best thing ever with my stitches; and making padsicles ahead of time was great too. Lavender witch hazel+Honey Pot Postpartum pads and stash them in the freezer. They were magic.
Thank you for sharing this list! I’m helping my daughter prepare for post baby care and this list was VERY helpful. I’m putting together a basket of the items you listed and she will be thrilled. Thank you-