If your due date is right around the corner, you’ve probably packed, triple-checked, and re-packed your hospital bag. But… have you thought about what you’ll need once you bring baby home?
If you haven’t, no worries–you can throw your after-hospital bag together in no time. We’ve compiled a list of some of our essentials for those first few days (and weeks!) after birth, so you’ll be (a little be more) prepared after your little one arrives.
And just like in our hospital bag post, we’ve created a downloadable checklist that you can use to keep track of everything you need — because #mombrain is real. Most importantly, knowing your prepared will help you relax, and that’s so important as you prepare for the big day.
Here are our top 10 after-hospital bag must-haves (with input from Baby2Body moms, of course!)
1. Only the comfiest clothes
So this is a no-brainer – but have a few snuggly outfits freshly washed and set out so you don’t have to worry about what to wear your first few days home with baby. And this includes underwear! Slip into some breathable cottony softness – comfort is key right now. Ambassador Keeli‘s top after-hospital bag items were comfy clothes, and she packed leggings, a big T-shirt, and a fuzzy robe to wear home after giving birth to her son (and a cute onesie for him, of course!).
2. Pads, pads and more pads
Invest in some maxi pads, disposable bed pads, and nipple pads – trust us, you’ll be glad you did. Over the next few weeks, you will pass excess blood and mucus and being prepared will save your clothes, sheets, mattress, and even better – your time and energy. Oh, and one more thing – you will likely experience a fair amount of leaking breast-milk, even if it’s not feeding time. Yet again, pads to the rescue!
3. Ice, Ice baby
We wish we could tell you it won’t hurt down there, but pain is definitely part of the process. Help any soreness by applying an icepack to your perineum, though not directly to the skin. Here’s a quick trick for an easy ice pack: take some of your maxi pads (following that last tip, your supply should be ample), soak them in cold water and place in the freezer. Once sufficiently frozen, you have your own DIY peri-icepack!
Well, not the kind for your sweet tooth, the one to sit on! A donut pillow will come in handy when simply sitting proves painful. Your perineal area has been through a lot – and if you’ve had an episiotomy or experienced tearing you’ll want to take this pillow everywhere with you. (p.s. there’s nothing wrong with having a sweet treat donut as well).
5. Cabbage cure
You may only have to go as far as your fridge for this after-hospital need: two large green cabbage leaves. Engorged breasts are common, and surprisingly uncomfortable, after giving birth – but you can reduce excess tissue swelling by regularly feeding and/or expressing and placing chilled cabbage leaves directly on the skin of your breasts. Reduction of this swelling can help your milk flow more easily and minimize your discomfort as well.
6. Love for your legs
You still have plenty of hormones whizzing around your body and if you’re not as active as you normally would be (because you’re recovering from a serious thing!) you may find edema (swelling in the legs) starts to set in, even if it didn’t during your pregnancy. This can be uncomfortable and increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis but there are ways to help alleviate the symptoms. Invest in some compression stockings (flight socks) to wear during the day, drink plenty of water and keep your feet elevated when you can. Once you’re up and about you’ll find the swelling should subside naturally.
7. A gentle wash
‘The simpler, the better’ should be your mantra when it comes to body washes these first few weeks. You’ll want to avoid products that contain fragrances or dyes, as it could further irritate your sensitive skin. Try to keep all lotions and potions away from ‘down below’ as they are likely to irritate any cuts or tears that are trying to heal. The most important thing to remember is to keep the area as dry and well ventilated as possible so after showering pat dry with a clean towel to prevent infection and help the skin to heal more quickly.
8. Bathroom breaks
Using the toilet may prove more painful than expected – but there are ways to help. Take a bowl of warm water to the toilet with you and pour over your perineum whilst you pee to take the edge off, don’t forget to dry well after. Constipation and trapped gas can also be the bane of many new mothers, and though you should consult with your doctor first, stool softeners and peppermint water can be very helpful at this time.
9. Warmth for baby
Most of this list is all about you–but we want to mention some essentials for baby, too! If you’re due in winter, you’ll want to have some warm, snuggly items prepared at home to keep your baby warm. Ambassador Alyssa gave birth to her son in February, so snuggly PJs, velcro swaddles, and warm beanies and mittens were must-haves for her little one once he came home. She also used a space heater and a wipe warmer to keep baby comfortable–so keep those in mind if you’ll be giving birth in the colder months!
Your body’s been through a lot, so having comfortable and supportive shoes is a must for when you start moving around again. Ambassador Amanda says that her sneakers and stroller were her best friends post-birth, and because she had both of her boys via C-section, she wasn’t able to carry much, so a stroller for walks was a must-have. “It felt really empowering after feeling so helpless post-surgery to throw on my sneakers and be able to take my babies out in the stroller, get fresh air, and start truly recovering and connecting with this new little person in my life!”
For step-by-step guidance on staying healthy before and after baby, check out our free iOS app!