Pregnant women and new moms are targeted by millions of ads telling them what they simply must have when they return home from the hospital with their little ones. The problem is not all of these items are essential, and some are extremely costly while basically being worthless. How does mom know what to buy?
Luckily, other moms have been here before and know what mom will want when it's time to come home from the hospital or birthing center. There are items that make life much easier post-birth, and they aren't always the things new moms expect.
Basically, mom wants to be comfortable, heal properly, and feel a bit pampered, so she needs to set up her post-pregnancy buy list to support these goals. She will have to spend money on some of these items, but others can be found for free if mom knows where to look or who to contact.
Not every item on the list is glamorous. Who knew we'd ever be so thankful for stool softeners? Still, these are the practical items moms can't live without in their post-pregnancy lives.
20 Perineal Squirt Bottle
Toilet paper does not feel great on mom's lower parts after a child has made an exit. That's why perineal squirt bottles are all the rage. Mom can go to the restroom and simply spray some water down there to clean off. This is also great to use due to all the bleeding that takes place after birth.
Feeling clean down there is important after giving birth, and a peri bottle makes it much easier. Celebrity Chrissy Teigen swears by her bottle and isn't ashamed to advertise all the ways it is awesome. Again, the hospital may offer mom one, but she should have one or more at home anyway.
19 Cream For The Girls
Breastfeeding is hard work, and babies are not always gentle. That's why having a safe nipple cream for dry, cracked breasts is essential. Find the one that works the best and invest.
Depending on how long mom plans to breastfeed, she may need several tubes of nipple cream to make sure she isn't left high and literally dry during a bad time. Though breastfeeding is natural and encouraged, it can wreak havoc on the breasts, and it's important for mom to care for herself as soon as she sees a problem so nursing won't become too painful for her to continue.
18 Plenty Of Pads
Mom will bleed after birth, a lot. This is true whether mom gives birth vaginally or via C-section. Have pads ready because they will be used for weeks following birth.
Mom will arrive home in the equivalent of a mesh adult diaper, and she can also purchase those if she wants. They are comfortable and don't squeeze mom's stomach or cause any pain. However, many moms simply opt for very large, absorbent pads to be worn and changed often in those early days. She can move to pantyliners or thinner pads as the bleeding lets up, but most women are surprised how much they bleed right after birth. Be prepared.
17 Ice Packs
Icing the lady bits is common after labor because of the bruising and swelling that can occur when a child exits the womb. Some of the pain associated with these injuries can be relieved with the application of cold, so invest in ice packs that are soft and bendable to fold in between the legs.
In fact, invest in more than one so mom can immediately switch out when the one she is using becomes tepid instead of cold. Though mom may not feel the need to do this more than just a few days, the ice packs are worth it during that time and can be used on sore breasts when that time comes.
16 Stretchy Pants
Forget the prebaby jeans. Those will be there whenever mom wants to try to get into them again, or she can just buy more jeans. For the time after birth, have some comfortable stretchy pants available to lounge in. These won't hurt mom's stomach or grab around her body where she is already sore and bruised.
Luckily, yoga and stretch pants are so in fashion that mom doesn't even have to be recovering from labor to wear them anywhere. Just throw on a pair that you love and enjoy the flexibility they offer.
15 Stool Softener
Mom may not have stool softener on the top of her list for her postpartum needs, but she should. Constipation is common both during pregnancy and after giving birth, and most women need a little extra help to get things moving again.
A mild stool softener that the doctor has approved can really help mom out in those early days. It will help her go to the restroom with less pain, and this makes all the difference when mom is already sore down south due to recovering from birth. Most doctors will offer mom stool softener before she leaves the hospital, but have some at home just in case.
14 Comfy Socks
Mom will likely find herself around the house a lot in those early days, so she should have some comfy socks that keep the toes warm. She can bring them to the hospital for the stay after the baby is born and have plenty waiting at home when she arrives.
Warm, comfortable socks are a way for mom to keep her feet warm and feel pampered. They are easy to find and reasonably priced, but they can feel like a luxury on those days mom barely gets a shower or out of her pajamas. Grab some with pads along the bottom for tile floors so mom won't worry about falling.
13 Nursing Undergarments
Don't try to breastfeed in a normal bra. The underwire can easily cause blocked ducts and mastitis, and regular bras are not comfortable on growing leaking breasts.
Invest in quality nursing bras up front and enjoy the comfort and accessibility they offer. Most come with front snaps that allow mom to pull down the front and nurse while leaving the bra straps in place. Nursing bras now come in a variety of colors and designs, so they can still be cute and flirty while also being practical. Many stores will measure mom to make sure she gets just the right fit since she'll be in them constantly in those early months.
12 Comfortable Undies
We mentioned the bleeding, right? A great idea is to invest in some unsexy, in between panties that will carry mom from the post birthdays until she is ready for pretty underwear again.
These undies should be comfortable and ones that mom doesn't worry about staining. Sometimes pads contain the bleeding mess, and sometimes they don't. These panties don't have to be flattering, and it's good to buy them largely because pregnancy weight does not melt off in a week. These transitions panties will be comfortable for mom and serve as companions during the healing process, which takes a while.
11 Lip Balm
Lip balm is a no brainer anyway, but mom will be surprised by how much she needs it after the baby is born. Buy a good quality lip balm, several tubes, and place them everywhere around the house. Have a few packed in the hospital bag for after the baby is born as well.
Staying hydrated while nursing is difficult, and no matter how hard mom tries she will likely notice her lips cracking and feeling uncomfortable at some point. When this happens, having a hydrating lip balm around to swipe across the lips to help alleviate the discomfort feels absolutely luxurious, and mom will be grateful she isn't without it.
10 Hydrating Lotion
Since hydration is often an issue for women after birth and while they are nursing, having a great, soothing lotion on hand is essential. Again, buy several bottles so lotion will be anywhere mom needs it, and keep the body slathered so dry skin doesn't become scaly and painful.
Mom will likely notice herself paying more attention to the ingredients in the products she buys after having a baby since the baby spends so much time up against mom's skin. Look for natural lotions without heavy fragrances or tons of chemical included. This is better for mom and for her little one should he come into contact with mom's lotion-covered skin.
9 Water Bottle
Buy a nice, large water bottle because once mom sits down to nurse or hold the baby, she won't want to get up every five minutes to refill a water glass. It's essential to stay hydrated because it aids in recovery and helps ensure mom's milk supply stays solid.
Mom can also drink other liquids, but water is the best choice for her and the baby. Water does not contain caffeine or sugar, and simply squeezing lemon or lime juice into the water can give it some flavor. Many women choose insulated, stainless steel containers so the water stays cool even if it has to sit for hours while mom tends to a cranky baby.
8 Prenatal Vitamins
Mom doesn't ditch the prenatal vitamins right after the baby arrives. Women who are going to breastfeed are often told to stay on their prenatal vitamins throughout the nursing relationship because they offer nutrients and support mom's body needs while someone else is feeding off of her.
Invest in high quality vitamins that are easily absorbed by the body and full of the right nutrients. These will help mom through the sleep deprivation, the body changes, and the hormone shifts that take place during recovery. They also help mom get at least some sustenance even if her meals are not as balanced as she wants in the beginning.
Don't destroy the bras or go around feeling soggy all day long. Grab breast pads early and use them daily while breastfeeding. This saves bras, shirts, and gives mom much more confidence than she would have without them.
Women can choose from disposal breast pads or cloth ones. Either way, buy plenty and change them often. It's hard to imagine how much milk can leak from the girls until mom is in public with rings around her shirt from all the milk. Breast pads are worth every penny due to all of the clothes they will save mom in the long run.
6 Pain Medication
Labor hurts, and recovery comes with its own aches and pains. That's why filling prescriptions for pain medication is highly recommended. Mom does not want to be caught in the middle of the night hurting without any form of relief.
Check with the doctor before taking anything over-the-counter if nursing, but anything a doctor prescribes should be okay for breastfeeding moms. Many women think they can save money by simply not picking up the prescriptions that are called in for them, but this is a bad way to save money. Even if mom only takes a few pills to take the edge off in those early days, it's worth it.
5 Freebies: Pain Relief Spray
The thought of spraying something between the legs after birth may not sound appealing, but many hospitals provide pain relief spray to mom in the hospital. Between the spray, ice packs, and pain medication, mom will be able to sit, stand, and move again after having a child exit her body.
Luckily, since hospitals usually provide these sprays, mom won't be out any money purchasing them. They are generally for short term use, so mom will likely not need any more after the first container she receives is gone. By then she will likely be in less pain and able to cope.
4 Freebies: Milk Pump
A good breast pump is essential for any mom who is planning on nursing. A breast pump will allow mom to store milk for her little one when she's not around, and this allows mom to exclusively breastfeed longer if she doesn't want to offer formula.
Breast pumps are expensive, but many women are finding out that their insurance companies will provide them for no cost. This is a wonderful way for women to be supported in their breastfeeding journeys, and it may give access to women who wouldn't otherwise be able to own a pump.
Breast pumps can also be rented, with mom only needing to replace the bottles and cups that are used for pumping.
3 Freebies: Entertainment
How will mom stay entertained during those endless days of breastfeeding and taking care of a tiny baby? There are a ton of free ways, and napping may be the one she chooses the most often.
For sleepless nights up with the baby, use the local library to rent DVDs to enjoy while nursing or soothing the little one. Many women also find their smartphones to be priceless tools that keep them entertained and connected during those early, lonely days of new motherhood. Mom doesn't have to break the bank to find ways to be entertained while sitting with a little person who can't yet speak.
2 Freebies: Freezer Meals
It's true that cooking is not high on mom's priority list when she's at home with a new infant. However, everyone does have to eat, and grabbing take out constantly is expensive and unhealthy.
That's why mom should plan a big freezer meal cooking day before she goes in to have the baby. She can lower her grocery costs by preparing beforehand. She can also ask friends and family members to bring a meal to the house when they come to visit the baby, essentially earning her free food and someone else to prepare it. It's a win-win deal if there ever was one.
1 Freebies: Older Sibling Fun
What do older siblings do while mom is home with the baby? As opposed to spending money on activities or other things for older siblings, simply drag out toys they haven't played with in a while and present them as new. Kids often forget and are delighted to see old favorites back in rotation for play.
More than anything, older siblings want to feel included in the new baby bliss, so let them serve as helpers and try to carve out time each day to spend with them. It's hard, but just a few minutes while dad holds the baby can ensure the older siblings feel wanted. Sit in the floor and play with toys with them, and all it will cost is time.
Resources: Fitpregnancy.com, Unoriginalmom.com, Mamanatural.com