Postpartum Checklist for Arriving Home
I am a firm believer that having a postpartum plan and checklist is just as important as your hospital bag checklist and birth plan. The first few weeks home with your new bundle of joy are also the most difficult, and this is why I tell my clients that it is so important to have a plan. For example: have a list of family and friends that you can reach out to and rely on if you need anything, have meals planned ahead of time or meal prep before your due date and freeze them, communicate with your husband or partner about how they plan on helping you during the postpartum and recovery period.
Having some type of outline is a great idea, and that is why I have put together a list of postpartum items for both a vaginal and C-Section delivery that will come in handy once you arrive home. Every individual and living situation is different, but this list covers the general idea of what may help you in your postpartum recovery - making your life a bit more organized and overall easier!
Postpartum checklist for Mom:
· Overnight pads (have enough to last you 2-3 weeks of moderate to heavy bleeding).
· Mesh underwear (hospital will provide this).
· Soft and comfortable full coverage/mid-high waist underwear that will go above incision should you have a C-Section (AKA “granny panties”). Whether delivering vaginally or C-Section, this underwear works the best.
· Witch Hazel pads (hospital may provide this for you but have extra in case. Can be purchased at CVS or Amazon).
· Ice packs (hospital may or may not provide you with extra disposable packs).
· Peri/squirt bottle (hospital will provide this. Used to squirt warm water on your vagina while urinating (reduces any pain or stinging).
· Lavender essential oil (add a few drops to peri bottle to sooth tissue/stitches).
· Sitz bath (you may want to wait on this).
· Chux pads/waterproof pad to put over bed sheet for postpartum bleeding overnight.
· Stool softener/gentle laxative.
· Prenatal vitamins (should continue to take if nursing/pumping).
· A donut pillow (for hemorrhoids and tearing/episiotomy – wait to buy this).
· Nursing bras & tank tops.
· Baggy/loose pants that will not rub incision should you have a C-Section.
· Washable breast pads to put in your bra. (Amazon has some nice bamboo pads I found extremely nice).
· Pumping bra (a bra that you wear while pumping - holds the breast pump shields in place so you are hands-free).
· Breast pump (covered through insurance plan). If nursing/pumping is going well and feel like it is something you will stick with, I may suggest getting a manual pump. The Haakaa Breast Pump is great and rather inexpensive ($20-$26 online). This pump collects your letdown (dripping of milk) on your opposite breast while nursing. It is also great for clogged ducts.
· Extra pump parts (this is not covered through insurance, but worth the purchase. You want enough shields, valves & membranes parts to get you through an entire day. It gets to be a real inconvenience when you are constantly washing parts. Have your husband/partner wash everything by hand with mild soap and hot water (all at once and at the end of the day) for you.
· Breast milk storage bags (freezing tip: store breast milk in 2oz or 4oz increments for the first month until you get an idea of how much the baby drinks during each feeding. Once breast milk is thawed, it needs to be used within 24 hours. This is an effective method, so milk is not wasted). Feeding tip: when the fat milk separates in the bottle or storage bag, do not shake the milk, but instead swirl it. Milk is made up of living cells and when shaken, those cells are damaged/dentures the molecules in the milk. Once at an acceptable temp for baby, the fat and protein will easily mix back together with a swirl.
· Nipple cream.
· A boppy pillow to put around stomach for nursing (helps protect incision too).
· Pain Medication (Tylenol/Motrin).
· Healthy foods/snacks.
· Large water bottle (want to always be drinking and staying hydrated, especially if you are nursing).
Postpartum checklist for babies:
· Changing station on each floor of your home, If you live on one floor, have a station in your bedroom (or at one end of the house) and another in the common room (or other end of the house).
· For the first 4-8 weeks, I suggest having sleeping arrangements (for the baby) on each floor to avoid going up and down the stairs every time you need to put them down for a nap. If you have a C-Section, climbing stairs can be difficult/painful for some. It is also much more convenient during the first few months.
· Even if you plan on nursing, have a container of formula and room temp distilled water in the house (distilled water is good for mixing with formula, but not required).
· Extra Vaseline and gauze pads (if baby is a boy and planning a circumcision, you will need this to care for the wound. Hospital will usually provide you with single packets, but both Vaseline and gauze pads need to be changed every time the diaper is changed, so you go thru a lot! Care for the circumcision usually lasts 7-10 days after procedure takes place, but hospital physician/nurse will explain all of this to you).
Items to include in your baby station basket:
o Change of clothes for baby
o Diaper cream
o Vaseline & gauze pads (for circumcision)
o Breast pads
o Burb cloths
o Swaddle blanket
o Bottle of water (for you)
o Easy-to-open nonperishable snacks
o iPhone charger
· Saline drops (helps break up congestion)
· Fridababy Nose Frida (an instrument used to suck mucus out of the baby’s nose)
· Fridababy Windi (used to help relieve constipation)
· Gripe water (helps with gas)
· Humidifier for room babies will be sleeping in