What are the critical things to have at home postpartum?

A client asked me today what I recommended to ease her recovery and adjust to life with a new baby.  I came up with this list and thought I would share it here, too:

  1. Padsicles (recipe here)
  2. Postpartum herbal remedies (check with your caregiver)
  3. Peri bottle (they will give you one at the hospital, or you can use a toilet sprayer/bidet)
  4. Hydrogel Breast pads . There are a lot of brands out there, but I recommend these BY FAR above the others.  If you want to save money, I wonder if these might be the same thing (if nipples are severely injured, you will also need breast shells, but don’t buy these in advance).
  5. All-Purpose Nipple Ointment (prescription or homemade). Get doc to write prescription before you leave hospital.  You can fill it later if needed. It is expensive, so an alternative is the DIY version above.
  6. Washable Wool nursing pads .You can spend a lot or a little on these.  These are the cheapest.  Wool inhibits yeast and bacterial growth, keeps you dry, and doesn’t need to be washed often.
  7. Prenatal vitamins
  8. White Noise machine (or earbuds and music so you can sleep, even through baby’s grunts)
  9. Family/friends to bring you hot meals, load and unload your dishwasher, do your laundry and run the vacuum.  All while you LAY and LACTATE.
  10. Diaper ointment (infused plantain oil, or  Burt’s Bees)
  11. My Breast Friend nursing pillow
  12. Baby wrap carrier (Moby or homemade). You can use wraps for skin to skin.  Or a sling (there are tons out there).
  13. Gift certificate from someone for a pedicure or massage, so you can get a break within the first couple of weeks for YOU time.
  14. Soothing music and essential oil diffuser with oils to keep you calm and relaxed during breastfeeding.  Be aware that the following may decrease milk supply: peppermint, chaste tree.  And these may boost it: fennel, basil, clary sage, and geranium. You might also want to have any number of herbal tinctures or baths for relaxing, or just plain old espsom salts to boost your magnesium.
  15. Cloth Diapers.  I’m a fan of economy, so among the bazillion options out there, I recommend Econobum or used Fuzzibuns or used Thirsties with Indian, unbleached prefolds.  Buy 36 prefolds and 4-5 covers in order to limit washing to every three days.  Use un-edged washcloths folded into a wipes warmer with a water solution, or a water/witch hazel mix for wipes.  Wash them with the dipes.


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