As an expecting parent, you might put hours into planning, researching, purchasing and organizing supplies or gear for the care of your newborn. Yet the number one “item” for your baby’s thriving is you! Years of research, some of it now infamous, have shown that baby mammals develop more optimally with live, regular social connection and touch. But in order to provide children with the tender, loving care we all aim for, a person in postpartum recovery must have their own needs met. You can get started in doing just that by reading on and downloading our early postpartum supplies checklist.
Taking care of your family starts with taking care of yourself, and below are some of the tools and postpartum essentials that help to achieve this first step in success. You might take a moment to close your eyes and imagine what a perfectly slow-moving, relaxed, satisfying day with your newborn would look, sound, smell and feel like. Use this vision as inspiration for the postpartum vibes you can evoke with a little planning and some personal touches along the way, such as favorite colors, meals or soundtracks.
Healing and recovery items for the birthing person, such as:
- Ice packs or “padsicles” (water-soaked frozen pads) for early inflammation
- Heating pads/hot water bottles for ongoing supportive warmth
- Witch hazel for hemorrhoids and tender bottoms
- Sitz bath, premade or DIY; Herbal infusion packs, for topical application with heat
- Peri bottle or gatorade bottle for spraying water instead of wiping after toilet use
- Disposable or otherwise temporary undergarments
- Clothing that allows easy access to elimination, healing areas and nipples if chestfeeding; loose, non-restrictive garments near any scars or sensitive areas; compression stockings as advised
- Comfortable pillows that allow rest and deep sleep with ergonomic and recovery-supporting angles/textures.
For whole family functioning, it may be helpful to have:
- Signage outside or around the house describing rules, supplies and/or preferences for visitors and household members
- A quiet area or room as separated as possible from other busy areas
- A duties/chores list or whiteboard with important tasks, errands and schedules
- Digital and printed copies of contact lists for physicians, pediatricians, poison control, lactation professionals, local facilities, emergency services, etc.
- The names of some experienced parents, your doula, trusted relatives or otherwise family confidantes who you or your partner(s) can lean on in a late night or vulnerable postpartum snafu
- A saved list or printout of must-haves, favorite brands and preferred retailers for anyone running errands of doing a grocery run in your stead
- A prenatal review of important deadlines, bills and other calendar-worthy notes
- A printed folder (usually provided by your prenatal health care provider) with tips, info on symptoms, hotlines and other resources or referrals you might lean on
For Infant Feeding & Care
- Aside from your sleeping location, a comfortable seated area to recline partially or fully, and rest in a way that supports your joints and posture while feeding your baby, breastfeeding or otherwise - this could also include an ottoman-like foot support!
- Easy to access hydration with a straw and a large thermos, cup or mug; warm and cold beverages, including teas, broths and plenty of plain or sparkling water
- A side table or adjustable flat surface for your essentials (phone, drink, snack)
- Easy, quick to heat or eat meals and snacks, like pre-portioned microwaveables, nutritious plant or legume dips, whole meal leftovers, or nutritious finger foods like nuts, fruit and cheese
- If you are planning or expecting to pump, you may need to try one or two brands, nipple sizes, flange shapes, etc. at that point in your journey, so see what insurance covers ahead of time and expect adjustments - we don’t recommend stocking up before testing!
- Gentle sanitary wipes, cotton, washcloths or similar for cleaning or treating sensitive nipples
- You may find pillows, props or other supplies to be helpful. Just remember that many household items, such as a rolled up towel, can serve as temporary supports for your baby’s nourishment and bonding times, and that whatever helps you to mutually engage, sustain and enjoy a feeding relationship is probably a great choice.
- A convenient place to store, change and dispose of dirty diapers
- A flat, non-fluffy surface such as a clean quilt on the floor, where a baby can practice tummy time, or lying on their back as they start to take in the world in your presence
- A flat, safe sleeping surface on which your baby can sleep in the first six months of life, during which they should always be sleeping in a room with sober, care-capable adults; whether or not you practice safe bedsharing, a baby’s sleeping surface must be safe.
- Plenty of reusable, laundry-safe wipes/blankets/burpees/cloths for infant clean up.
Anything else that you think might be important to your unique postpartum journey? Add it to the list! Every person - and every family - are different in what helps them to feel safe, secure and satisfied - which is why we believe in personalized, convenient education and support from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about how Seven Starling can support your postpartum success and our other offerings for our pregnant and parenting community!