We all know how much emphasis goes into preparing for birth and your new baby. There’s everything from childbirth books and classes to registries and baby showers. While all of those are wonderful things to focus on, and we’re not suggesting you don’t, we want to make sure you’re aware of the nine items you’ll likely need to have before your baby arrives.
Of course, anyone can pick up these things after your baby’s birth. But do you really want your partner to leave for an hour or two to go hunt for them? Do you really want your mother-in-law asking what size underwear you wear because she’s standing in the Target aisle now? No – ain’t nobody got time for that. You’ll likely be trying to calm a fussy baby, figure out feeding, and/or finally be catching a 15-minute nap in your own bed.
Avoid the hassle and make sure you’ve stocked yourself with the following by roughly your 36th week:
Big, Black Underwear
Trust us when we say you’ll really thank us for this one! Discharge called lochia after birth is totally normal regardless of whether you had a vaginal or Cesarean birth. (Check out this great table with explanations of the different phases of lochia.) Postpartum bleeding can be messy, to say the least. You’ll probably toss your postpartum drawers anyway when you’re done because of the size and sometimes the association. The dark underwear helps you not feel so bad about a little “oops” when your pad slides or you don’t make it to the bathroom in time to change. There will be plenty of other things to fuss over than trying to rush loads of laundry to get stains out.
Cut and size is critical. You can imagine the nervousness and discomfort you’d feel wearing a heavy flow with wings pad with a pair of narrowly-cut cheeky underwear. This one is a no-brainer. Full coverage is fully needed. Also, make sure they’re not too tight. If you’re recovering from a C-section, you won’t want your waistband anywhere near your incision site.
Ahhh, beloved Colace. Many a woman could probably write a love letter to stool softeners, either during pregnancy and/or after birth. There is no sense in making an already likely issue worse by not taking your stool softener after birth. Keeping up your water intake, increasing your high-fiber food intake (think bran, apples with the skin on, whole wheat spaghetti, lentils, black beans, and/or peas), and a little pep talking if you’re nervous also go a long way.
The hospital may send you home with a tub of these, but there’s certainly no harm in making sure the other bathrooms in your home have a stash, too. These pads are a fantastic help for burning or itching bottoms suffering from hemorrhoids. (We didn’t say these would be glamorous.)
Also providing cooling relief to bottoms is no-touch numbing spray. Grab a can or two of our favorite, Dermoplast, at your local drugstore or on Amazon. This is another good one to keep in each bathroom you might be using those first few days home from the hospital.
Cool Gel Nipple Pads
If you plan on breastfeeding, you might consider purchasing some gel nipple pads to relieve soreness. Even if feeding is going well, soreness is a pretty normal part of the experience as your body adjusts to the new demands. Gel pads provide an instant cooling sensation that will help you get more comfortable quickly. We love Medela’s Tender Care HydroGel pads and Lansinoh’s Soothies for putting out nipple fires.
The jumbo-overnight-with-wings pads are awesome in those first few days after having a baby. But as your lochia flow changes, you’ll be happy to switch to something a little less heavy duty. You won’t want to hunt under the sink and only find pantiliners or super ultras. Keep a small assortment on hand for when you’re ready to downgrade and you’ll save yourself from having to send someone on your behalf who likely won’t know exactly what you need. It’s totally possible you won’t either. While we’re talking pads, a New Mom favorite is the Always Infinity, which claims to absorb 10x its weight and give you eight hours of protection. It’s a great balance between safety and discreet.
Night sweats are the pits. Don’t be surprised if you wake up with the sweats as your hormones try to adjust to your new normal. A bedside fan helps by providing a nice, direct stream to you without freezing out everyone else in your home, including your new little one.
While we’re on the topic of night sweats … your body is working to flush out the extra fluids that it accumulated during pregnancy. Sweat, though, is just one of the fluids you may get on your bed sheets. Overflowing lochia, leaky breasts, and newborn spit up are all normalities in the early postpartum days and weeks. Having at least one extra set of sheets (and a waterproof sheet or pad while you’re at it) can be super helpful for a quick fix, especially in the middle of the night.
Last, but not least, is detergent. It may seem simple – and it is – but this oft-overlooked, mundane commodity will be in high demand when you come home. From soiled sheets to yoga pants, baby gowns to burp clothes, your machine will get a workout and you’ll want to keep that well-oiled machine running with plenty of fragrance-free, dye-free suds.