Before Lyla made her big debut, I had a lot of time on my hands. I planned for my maternity leave to begin one week before my due date, and then I was 10 DAYS LATE! I cleaned, did laundry and planned and planned until there was nothing left I could possibly plan for. That meant doing an obscene amount of research on everything I would need after she arrived.
But despite my best efforts to plan for EVERYTHING I might need postpartum, there were some items I didn’t use and some I desperately needed as soon as I made it home. So now that I’ve officially been a mom for almost four months (!!), I’m here to share my must-haves with you.
- Comfy, high-waisted undies – Easily no. 1 on my list. Whether you have a C-section or vaginal birth, you’re going to need something breathable and flexible for your southern region. And if you have a C-section, you won’t want a band anywhere near that incision. I bought a few packs, but these were my fave. (Don’t buy anything expensive in case you ruin it!)
- Nipple Balm – Pack this in your hospital bag, ladies! Yes, they tell you breastfeeding hurts. But you won’t understand how much it really hurts until you do it. There may be blisters and blood, and you may want to quit. (Don’t! It gets better in just a couple weeks.) This Honest Co. Nipple Balm was my lifesaver. It’s safe for infant ingestion so you don’t feel bad about smothering it all over yourself every two seconds. Plus, it’s also a great lip balm for your post-natal chapped lips!
- Postnatal Vitamins – Laura gave me these vitamins and I’m so glad she did. As a nursing mom, I’m always worried about Lyla getting the right nutrition. These vitamins put me at ease, and have lots of good stuff for me, too. The postpartum period is a physical and mental healing process — every little bit helps!
- Nursing Tanks – If you choose to breastfeed, nursing will consume your life for the next few months. When it’s time for your little one to eat, it’s sooo much easier to just unlatch your tank and latch ’em on. I’m obsessed with this one from The Gap, but Target also has cheap ones, too.
- Milk Snob – Nothing gives me more anxiety than breastfeeding in public. The first cover I bought was like a scarf, so I was always so paranoid that it would fall down while I was trying to get her latched (which for a first time mama, was not easy.) Then my sister-in-law bought me a Milk Snob and it changed my life! Not only is it an awesome cover for you, it can also cover your little one while in the carseat.
- Belly Cream – Yep, still obsessed with this Tummy Rub Butter from Mama Mio. Your belly takes awhile to go back to normal — give it some help with this stuff. It feels good and smells amazing. (Just avoid putting it on/near a C-Section incision until it heals, of course.)
- Boppy – I love this thang. I don’t necessarily use my boppy every time I nurse, but my husband uses it to bottle-feed her and do use it when cutting her nails. (I literally have to cut her nails while nursing her because it’s the only time she’ll lay still!) Definitely a must-have — you never know when you’ll need it.
- Compression Leggings – I don’t know about other moms, but my mid-section took awhile to go back down. In fact, it’s still going down. I was so insecure during the first few weeks, it was hard for me to leave the house. (No joke – on two separate occasions, a stranger asked me what I was having while running errands during Lyla’s first month of life.) Compression leggings like these will help suck you in while your ab muscles are still weak. I’ve also heard good things about Blanqi, which are a bit less expensive than the ones I got.
- Pumping Bra – A game-changer! One of the first things you’ll learn to do to help your milk come in is pump, pump, pump. And when you’re simultaneously trying to get the hang of feeding your newborn (who has to eat what feels like non-stop), pumping will quickly become some of your only downtime. Don’t spend it holding those little funnels on your boobs — get this pumping bra and multi-task! (I’m literally pumping as I write this post.)
- Nice Body Wash – Postpartum showers can be a little scary at first — especially if you’ve had a c-section. I traded in my floral scented wash for fragrance-free stuff — like this one from Aveeno. It would be nice to have this in advance before coming home!
- Great Water Cup – If you think you need to drink a lot of water when you’re pregnant, just wait ’til you start nursing. Not only does staying hydrated help your milk supply, it makes you feel better, too. I can’t believe how quickly I’ll feel tired and achey if I’m not guzzling water all day. An awesome water cup or bottle helps. I use one like this because I like drinking out of a straw, but a Swell bottle would do the trick, too.
- Maxi Dress – The first week home, I lived in a maxi dress. Nothing else fit, and it was the only outfit suitable for visitors, my beat up body and breastfeeding. I love the ones from Pink Blush.
- Fenugreek – While in the hospital, a lactation consultant I saw encouraged me to start taking Fenugreek to pump up my milk supply. I felt super anxious about not making enough milk, so was happy to take a supplement to help. I definitely saw a difference in how much I was producing once I regularly started taking this. Plus, it eased my mental nerves about it, too!
- Variety of Pads – Your body takes a beating, no matter how you deliver. Stock up on a variety of pads — heavy duty, regulars and liners — before your due date to save your husband a traumatic Walgreens run.
- Comfy Sandals – I seriously lived in these Sanuk Yoga Mat Sandals for three weeks before and after giving birth. They are sooo insanely comfortable and perfect for walking around the house on swollen feet.
These were my go-tos, but every mama’s experience is different. If you’re a new or veteran mom, what were yours?