What to have on hand for your labor and postpartum

Around 36-37 weeks I often get a lot questions about what I bring and what to pack for postpartum. Here are a few things to have on hand at home, at the hospital, and waiting for you at home postpartum.

For labor, things to have on hand at home:
-Birth ball
-Rice sack (can be the one in your hospital bag)
-Massage oil or lotion
-Music or a playlist of music that is familiar and makes you feel happy and calm
-Easy to eat snacks: Things like fresh fruit, smoothies, crackers, yogurt, cereal bars, and light meals
-Electrolyte drinks / red raspberry leaf tea

Things to pack in your hospital bag/to bring with you to the hospital:
-Rice sack -Bluetooth speaker for music
-Portable easy to eat snacks like nut butters, individual cracker or snack packages (something like goldfish crackers), honey sticks.
-Something more substantial for partners to eat to eat
-Water bottle with a straw (nothing you need to tip to drink)
-Chapstick
-Favorite pillow – you will use this in the car on your way to the hospital and it’s nice to have on hand
-Robe, slippers

-Soft nursing bra


Things for your stay postpartum
-Comfortable nursing gown or top
-Checkbook for baby’s birth certificate
-Chargers, and headphones
-Shower items if you want to take a shower while you’re there
-going home outfit for baby that allows baby to be strapped into the car seat
-Bottom balm for baby that is olive or coconut oil based. I like Earth Mama’s Diaper balm – the oil base makes it easier to wipe down baby’s bottom when he poops. Meconium can be pretty thick and tar like so this makes diaper changes faster. Just plain coconut oil also works great.
-If you have a nursing pillow you would like to use you can bring it along for postpartum to get used to it.

Hospitals will provide pads, diapers, wipes soft mesh underwear to wear postpartum, as well as lanolin. Take it all home with you, the diapers, the peri-bottle, the wipes… all of it. They throw everything in that room away when you leave so it might as well come home with you since your insurance is paying for it.

Things to have on hand at home for postpartum
-Heavy pads or overnight pads… some people even like Depends because you can expect a heavy flow of lochia postpartum which will ease up over the course of a couple weeks… also get a pack of medium and lighter day pads for later. I like Honey Pot available at Target which has a cooling sensation but any unscented pad is fine.
-Double up on the underwear you wore during your period. Something super comfortable.
-3 nursing bras (one on your body, one spare, and one in the wash)
-Nursing pads for when your milk comes in (I honestly just like the disposable NUK pads the best because they are the least itchy and you can glob on the nipple cream without worrying about damaging them). As time goes on and you are using less nipple cream bamboobies are great and when you go back to work I highly recommend Lilypadz silicone nursing pads.
-Nipple cream: I like Earth Mama brand for this as well, Motherlove is also a great brand, both are available at Target
-Bottom spray- once again, Earth Mama makes this the perineal spray and the herbal sitz bath. The herbal sitz bath is great right in your peri bottle, or you can spritz the herbal bath or the spray onto a few pads and pop them in the freezer for a cooling pad when you get home from the hospital.
-LOTS of food! Nursing parents are usually hungry. Lots of snacks on hand and easy to put together meals. A glass of water and a small snack is nice to have on hand when you are nursing too.
-Mattress protector- Your mattress might take a beating. Postpartum can sometimes feel like you’re leaking all over the place (milk, lochia, even night sweats)
-Cold pack for perineum
-Your rice sack to warm up for breast pain, working out a blocked duct, or increasing milk flow
-White noise machine (this is both for baby and for you so you can sleep while baby sleeps)
-Black out curtains (if you need darkness to sleep) 
-Breast pump
-Wide mouth bottles with preemie flow nipples – Avent Natural is one of my favorites, you’ll have to special order size 0 nipples “first flow” the size 1 is still too fast.
-Swaddle- my favorite is Swaddle me which is easy to find at Target, I’ve seen a lot of fancy ones but honestly this one is the easiest
-Nightlight for late night feeds and diaper changes- your phone flashlight is too bright.
-Ibuprofen or Tylenol
-Stool softener
-Iron supplement or high iron foods and either chlorophyll, Mega Food Blood Builder or placenta pills. Evidence suggests the iron in the placenta could be the primary factor in why people find it helpful.
-Some people like having a light support postpartum when things feel a little odd and out of place due to baby not being there anymore… a light compression can be helpful. I like a light support band like this one, or a nursing tank with some compression. I’m not a big fan of tight binders, but if you find your need more support they are definitely out there.

As always, if you have any questions or need any product recommendations please don’t hesitate to ask!

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