What potentially embarrassing postpartum things will I need?

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Do you really need a PERI BOTTLE?
Do you really need a PERI BOTTLE?

I'm expecting my first child and keep coming across registry suggestion lists for cute onesies and baby stuff. But what I really need help with is knowing what possibly embarrassing stuff I am going to need after the baby is here.

I'm obviously not going to stick huge maxi pads and granny knickers on my registry so this is more a shopping list for me.

What "embarrassing" postpartum things am I going to need to buy?! — Mich

    • Can I just embarrassingly second the stool softeners? I had a c-section, but I know they are useful for vaginal births as well. That first poop…let's just say it was traumatic and I made my husband promptly run out and buy stool softeners, which made things a lot better.

      • I poo-pooed the stool softener (because I take 2000mg of metformin daily and have fibromyalgia, so pretty much things move really fast for me normally.) I did not count on the effects of the epidural turned spinal and all the narcotics I took during recovery from my emergency C-section. I did not poo-poo for over a week. When I finally was able to poop, I told my husband I wanted him to take me back to the hospital for an epidural before I pooped. And I was going to need a forceps assisted delivery of this turd baby. He laughed. I almost divorced him.

        • oh my, i almost forgot about the pooing. first question in the mornings (by the nurse..): "hello! did you digest already?"
          the second time around, i took (crushed!) flaxseed with me to the hospital, stirred them in a joghurt at breakfast, and ate it in the afternoon (they need to soak) … helps a lot!
          one spoon seeds is "softening", two spoons really get things going…

          anyone else thinking about scrubs?!

      • Yeah, this is definitely the most important thing on the list. I had a major tear and every bathroom time was super anxiety ridden for weeks afterward.

        Ice packs for your boobs. I couldn't believe how much it hurt when the milk first came in. I wasn't expecting it at all.

        Comfortable clothes. Just make yourself as comfortable as possible until you're all healed up.

    • I forgot about this! Right after my daughter was born (like I hadn't even been wheeled to my room yet) the nurse said to me "Can I get you anything?" And I said, "yes, a Percocet and a Colace." That first trip to the bathroom was terrifying.

    • My doc put in an order for stool softeners automatically, so I got them with my prenatal from the nurse while I was in the hospital. But I had not thought to buy them before we went to the hospital, so I sent my husband out for that and more Tucks pads as soon as my son and I were discharged.

      I should note, I had a drug-free vaginal delivery with a very minor tear. Stool softeners , tucks pads, and ice packs all the way.

  1. Preparation H. Tucks pads. If you can find them, disposable, flexible ice packs (if not, ask your hospital for extras – those things saved my life). Lansinoh (which I think I misspelled) if you're planning on breastfeeding. Really comfy sweatpants that you don't mind ruining (either by excessive lack-of-washing, blood, spit-up, or a combination).

    Good luck!

    • I heartily second Lansinoh. That stuff is amazing and can be used for so many things.

      Also, I went through nursing pads- the pads that go in your bra to soak up leaking breast milk- like crazy because cold wet nursing pads are like the recipe for chapped nipples. And chapped nipples are HORRIBLE. Washable ones for sleeping are wonderful.

  2. i bought reusable postpartum pads from lunapads. there were awesome!

    i also bought a lunablanket for me to use (to save the sheets) and to use when breastfeeding while laying down (those early days when my milk came in caused the baby to gag and turn away, leaving a huge milky mess on the sheets, it happened again when i started pumping before going back to work). This may not be everyone's experience but i was all damn! now i need to change the sheets AGAIN!

    also, breastpads! i made my own because i thought buying them was too expensive and i needed more than a pack of 6. i made around 30ish. here is a pattern:


    Everyone is different when it comes to clothes but i bought a lot of non maternity clothes for pregnancy and postpartum. especially long tank tops. that way i was covered (breasts and belly), but could easily just pull down the neck of the tank top to breastfeed.

    also, for me, after being pregnant, pregnancy clothes did not feel as useful and clothes made for breastfeeding were way too expensive. i bought a lot of $5-8 tank tops from target that were in three different sizes (as i grew bigger in pregnancy and then lost the weight and was breastfeeding). they were also awesome for layering.

    i loved my sleep bra for breastfeeding

    • I loved my sleep bra too and ended up wearing it all the time for the first few weeks because I couldn't find a nursing bra or tank that felt comfortable. Also, since I found that no nursing bra is all that supportive, I just wore the sleep ones.

      • I am a super big fan of "sleep bras…" and never really transitioned back to normal bras, lol. Bras without underwire are a must, and I love cheap sports bras for nursing, the ones without a ton of support. I even found some in the kids section that I bought in XL that have worked well for me.

        • Yes, this bra is the absolute best. I haven't been able to go back to underwires after these and I can't find anything like them in non-nursing bras.
          As for after pregnancy stuff, I found that I didn't need much of anything. I think I still have the trial size prep-H and lasinoh they sent me home with. I did take extra disposable underwear and pads from the hospital, which were quite helpful the first few days. Having lots of food prepped seemed more important than anything. Having cloth diaper service was nice, too, since we used cloth diapers to soak up all the milk and whatnot.

    • I got all my awesome cloth breast pads on Etsy, after I learned to hate the ones my mom picked up at the maternity store. (The thick ones aren't flexible, and the flexible ones leaked.)

      Something else a friend turned me onto: I have vasospasms in my nipples, which can be painful, and cashmere breastpads (again, Etsy, yay!) help a lot.

  3. I needed granny panties because I ended up having a c-section (and my regular underwear hit right at the incision). Big old maxi pads. Crappy t-shirts that you don't mind leaking milk on/having Lanisoh or the like smeared on. I found tank tops with shelf bras more comfortable than wearing actual bras for a while. If you are going to be doing any nursing during cooler weather, I recommend a really comfy cardigan that you can wear open to keep warm and nurse or pump at the same time. Comfy pajamas with a button up top work well too.

  4. Those blue incontinence sheets (or puppy training piddle pads, if you will) came in really helpful. We would use them during home visits from my midwife, but also so I could have a place to sit without my giant granny panties and give my vulva a chance to "breathe".

    Also helpful: adding water to maxi pads and freezing them for when things were sore and tender. Old washcloths were put to use whenever I needed to go to the bathroom, as holding one around my genitals seemed to help me cope with bathroom-related anxiety.

    Mild pain meds (though not an embarassing purchase) were an important part of my post-partum recovery. No one told me about afterpains, so I wish I had been more prepared for the cramping, especially since my midwife discouraged the use of hot packs.

    One last through: get the number of a compunding pharmacy. I needed a special salve for my nipples, as lanolin just wasn't doing the trick, but my usual chain drug store couln't get me what I needed.

    • Just wondering why the midwife would discourage the use of hotpacks? I've never been pregnant but I do have really bad periods and sometimes the heating pad seemed like the only reason I survived. It seems like a really weird thing to ban.

      • Cool compresses or frozen pads (as my midwife calls them) are better for reducing postpartum perineal swelling and slowing bleeding, not heat. Heat can bring more blood flow to the area which is not always the ideal situation right after pushing a baby out.

      • The biggest issue is that hot packs relax the uterine muscles and can increase bleeding. A relaxed uterus is awesome if you are menstruating, but in the postpartum you really need the uterus to be clamping down to slow bleeding and heal at the placenta site.

    • For the puddle pads, you can also get that stuff by the yard at most fabric stores. I bought some in white & in black… to put across my mattress to protect it from milk spillage, to put across the baby's sleep spaces (bassinet & crib), and the changing area. I also used it to make extra changing pads for the diaper bag. It's fairly inexpensive & doesn't need to be hemmed if you don't like sewing. I like it because it's got a nice soft side & doesn't make any crinkly noise when you lay down on it.

    • Chux are cheaper than the doggy piddle pads. You can find them in the "Depends" section at most stores. (All though I might just buy some depends this time to save some hassle with buying granny panties).

      I seriously wish I had known about this before I bled all over the couch in front of my husbands family. An old washable blanket with a chux underneath would have saved a ton of embarrassment. And a plus side is that you can line your bed and the seat of your car with them in case your water breaks.

  5. I second the ice packs! I got a whole bunch of them from the hospital (never found them in stores) and I lived off of them for the first few weeks. Also used a spray-on coolant frequently….the entire area burned during the beginning of recovery, so these things helped a ton. The coolant spray I got from the hospital too, but I also did find in pharmacies in with the sunburn/itch products. Comfy, loose clothes….nursing pads to absorb any leaks…..that's all I can think of right now that I really needed. Good luck!

  6. If you have a vaginal delivery, it's nice to soak in an herbal postpartum sitz bath, which helps with soreness and healing. If you have a tear, strips of seaweed in your underwear really helps with healing, too! Weird holistic tip from my midwife. Mesh panties are great, too… They allow for circulation/air flow, which also promotes healing, plus they are disposable if they get really stained, but can also be washed by hand and re-used. You can also order drops to add to your peri bottle… It's a blend of herbs and essential oils that help keep the area soothed and disinfected. Just put a few drops in warm water and squirt it while pee!

    • I second the mesh panties, but they were provided to me by my hospital. They were nice because the let things breathe, but also held the GIANT maxi pad that I had to wear for all the bleeding.

      I got shelf tanks from Costco instead of nursing bras to wear around the house. I could just pop the boob out, but also felt sort of supported walking around.

      Nursing pads…only johnson & johnson disposable worked for my copious letdown issues.

      That numbing spray for the vajayjay was a lifesaver.

      stool softener…because…yeah…terrifying.

      • I LOVE the Costco shelf bra camis!!! They are nice, comfy, and long … so easy for nursing. I have a lot of them and have been wearing them almost everyday after having our April Fool's day baby.

    • The peri bottle is just about the best thing ever. The nurse handed me one when I headed off to the bathroom for the first time after my son's vag. birth. I though…squirt water WHERE?!? when I pee? Are you kidding? Stinging and burning persuaded me otherwise. It will be your super best friend. The nurses at my second child's birth laughed at me when I asked them if they had a peri bottle for me when I was still in labor.

    • I straight up stole a box of the mesh panties from the hospital after my second C-section. I make no apologies.

  7. green cabbage to have on the fridge; putting leaves on your breasts helps soothe the initial engorgement (though it looks hilarious stuffed into your shirt or bra). a hands free pumping bra for whenever/if you will need to pump. i second the tucks pads and stool softener.

    • If you don't want to invest in a hands free pumping bra, buy sports bras and cut holes in them. Be sure to get the ones that are stretchy as opposed to just cotton. I just got a pack at Walmart. I didn't buy a hands free bra until the week before I went to work because I wasn't sure how pumping was going to go and didn't want to spend the money if I wasn't going to sue it. I wore my "holey" sports bras all day at home — just put a breast pad on and it covers the hole. You wouldn't want to be seen in public that way, but it's fine for the house.

      • This is exactly what I did. And passed them on to a friend when she was pregnant with instructions to "never show this ever to anyone other than your significant other".

  8. A peri bottle, which is a little squeezy bottle for rinsing your undercarriage. Even if you don't have any tearing it's handy for keeping things clean while your body makes up for 9 months of missed periods. We were given one at the hospital, but we have multiple bathrooms and I really needed one in each.

    • Oh my gosh, yes. The peri bottle was magical, as I was terrified of actually touching/wiping my reassembled lady-parts until the stitches fully dissolved. I can also second the stool softener, and suggest some Preparation H cream, just in case. No one told me that hemhorroids are a totally normal result of labor, and THAT was an unpleasant few days of panicking before I figured out that those were the cause of some extra discomfort.

      We pretty much took everything that wasn't bolted down in our hospital room, and that was a really excellent move. It was dubiously ethical, but I was SO glad we snagged a few of the big, soft waterproof pads that are often put underneath your hindsection post-labor. They are softer than puppy piddle-pads, don't crinkle, wash easily, and saved both sheets and mattress pads alike in the long run. Plus, these were awesome for lining our baby's crib. Friends who were less inclined to petty theft used crib liners for themselves, and had good results.

      I also can't recommend enough having a really, really good thermometer on hand. I thought I was spiking a fever a few days post-baby, and realized then that I not only didn't have a working thermometer, but that most 24-hour gas stations don't stock them. I was fine, but it took until the next morning to properly diagnose my random hot flash. This is a great baby item, too, but I didn't think about needing one for myself. $15 can get you a really excellent digital one.

      Oh, and regarding monster panties and pads; I also found the mesh things uncomfortable, so I dropped $10 on a huge pack of cheap cotton ones, and was very happy for doing so. A lot of overnight pads – full coverage, heavy-flow varieties – are actually bigger than the hospital pads, so I had a pack of those on hand as well as a slightly smaller size for when the flow slowed down. These are nice things to pick out for yourself in advance, I think.

      • We also took everything from our hospital room, altho our nurse told us to!! She gave us a big bag and packed some of the pads & mesh undies and then told me not to forget to grab anything left out that I didn't use during the stay — including any extra diapers we didn't go thru for our little guy. Our nurses were rad.

        • Ours were, too! If you ask – subtly, or even bluntly – many nurses will bring extras of EVERYTHING, even the things you might typically only be given one of (can we say breast pump parts, insulated water mugs, peri bottles, those pink bins that are useful for everything?). It really helped being a first-time mom and not needing to play helpless! They knew what I would need, and made sure I walked out the door with it.

        • our nurses said the same thing – diapers, too. basically anything that wasn't bolted down. they even brought me extra things: tucks pads, giant maxi pads, peri bottle, spare breast pump parts and small bottles, nipples, mesh undies, etc.

    • So much agreement. I put a couple drops of tea tree essential oil in with warm water in bottle and spritzed away. I only had a tiny tear but I still really didn't want to wipe, so spritzing and patting was the way to go.

    • I'm not pregnant and don't have any children, so all of these recommendations are fascinating and I keep clicking on all the product links everyone is posting. Amazon is going to give me the strangest "We Recommend These Items" suggestions from now on…

  9. If you have a hospital birth, they should give you a lot of the good embarrassing things, like: stool softener, giant mesh underpants (Sooo non-restricting and required after a C-section) GIANT maxi pads that aren't even sold in normal stores (but Poise pads come close), Perineal Irrigation Bottle (such heavy bleeding, use this after urinating and you will feel so much cleaner/fresher) .

    Feel free to take everything in your hospital room that is not nailed down. Why? Because they charge you for it anyway, whether you take it or not. I took diapers, a manual breast pump, nipple shields, oral syringes, large square bed pads, and everything I listed above. Take it all, and ask for more, the nurses will bring you anything, and it's OK.

    • Indeed. Take everything you can if you're giving birth in a hospital. I loved those giant mesh underpants and used the bed pads on the changing table for a while since my son loved to pee the second his diaper was removed.

      • Agreed. The nurses actually gave us a hint, "Oh, it's such a shame we'll have to throw away everything that is opened." We were there for two days and made sure that everytime my mom and sister brought in edible food they left with all the open packs of diapers, wipes, mesh panties, disposable ice packs, lanolin, tucks pads and preparation H.

    • In fact, anytime they ask you if you need anything else say yeas and start a stock pile. Their mesh disposable undies are comfy and can be hand washed once before they begin to unravel, they may offer a topical pain spray and tucks pads. Take them! You also are usually welcome to take anything they allocated for your baby under his/her glass boxes so snag that too.

      I'd like to add that you probably don't need to stockpile pads so much as have a variety on hand. The first few days you'll definitely use the hospital grade diaper pad, then a home you can use the heavy flow maxi pad with wings. Hopefully another week of two you will transition to a medium pad with wings and finally using a thinner mini pad with a higher absorbency. Pregnant Chicken has some great and humorous posts on postpartum and packing a hospital bag. http://www.pregnantchicken.com/pregnant-chicken-blog/2010/9/23/happily-after-giving-birth-10-things-they-dont-tell-you.html

  10. Make yourself some padsicles, or condom cubes. Padsicles are the big maxi pads soaked in water and witch-hazel, then frozen. Leave them in the freezer until you need a little soothing downstairs. Ahhhh. Condom cubes are where you take a condom (non lubricated!!!) and fill it with water. Tie off like a water balloon so it's long and cylindrical. Then slip one down there when you need some ice, it's the right size and shape so you don't have a giant ice pack down there, and completely disposable!

    • We basically did the same thing as the condoms, except with rubber gloves swiped from the hospital. Or just putting a handful of ice down there (the storebought bags I like 'cuz the ice seems to be smaller) and then its a cold, movable icepack. Line that sucker with some Tucks pads and your set.

      We also just kept asking the nurse for more mesh panties and stuffing them away… after the first few days-week we didn't really need them anymore, so try to stock up for at least the first couple days home from the hospital.

  11. Instead of mesh panties (that I really did not find comfortable at all) I bought 100% coton panties (5 for 1$ or something). I washed them, when the staining did not go away dumped them. I felt more at ease that way.
    Yay for the hands free pumping bra (but you don't need it immediately), the stool softener (life saver!) , a water atomizer (Evian is everywhere in France) useful during delivery (my husband sprayed me again and again) and after birth: to help to clean after urinating, to freshen up (always too hot in the maternity ward), to cool the baby (idem), to help clean the first stools of the baby (stuck meconium anyone?)… You cannot live without a water atomizer in my book…
    And it is not embarrassing per se but do not forget food!!!! the tray at the hospital (at least in France) are not full enough for someone who just gave birth and begins with breastfeeding. And even if it is enough, it is not always at your taste so treat yourself with your favorite comfort food!

  12. Oh, another thing – I don't know what you normally sleep in, but I was so glad that I had a really light, really lose nightgown. I had terrible night sweats and was sooooo hot the first couple of nights, and it was so nice just to be able to tug down the top to nurse. Not really an "embarrassing" thing, but I don't know how you feel about having other people get you sleepwear.

    • I lived in dresses and nighties for the first week because I had abdominal separation and pants were horrendously uncomfortable at first (yes, even maternity pants).

      Also, your feet might be super swollen so some nice loose slip on shoes (even flip-flops) are a good idea.

  13. Slightly less embarrassing and/or biological suggestions:

    I would stock up on your regular household supplies: soaps, shampoo, toilet paper, laundry, pet food, and any long storing food you usually eat. You will probably not want to do much in the way of big outings for a while, and getting used to shopping while caring for a newborn can take a bit of practice.

    In addition, try to bake and freeze a few extra dinners. Do small portions, (for some reason, freezer meals tend to come for the family of 8) and in disposable/recyclable pans(for less dish washing). A friend of ours did for us, and it was great to be able to have nice dinners without all the work. It's also an easy thing to ask of people who want to help you.

    If you usually travel by car, I would suggest putting together an emergency clothes bag for the boot. Pick something comfortable and not-so-wrinkle-prone. Roll your items instead of folding them, and put them in a sealed plastic bag. Sometime, somewhere, your baby will foul up your clothes. Most people remember to have something extra to change the baby tucked away in the diaper bag, but you will feel much better if you can have a shirt without poop on it.

    Also in your car (if possible) make sure to have an updated emergency kit. Include snacks that keep well and possibly some emergency baby formula. Try to remember to check and rotate this regularly. (I do it when I get my oil changed.) Being stranded with an infant is a hundred times scarier than being stranded by yourself!

    Get yourself a heating pad or microwavable rice bag. Maybe some muscle rub (like Bengay.) You will be using your back and arms in new ways as you pick up and carry your little bundle of cuteness. It's quite a workout! Heat helps soothe the aching muscles.

    Personal entertainment. One of the things I found in my first few weeks at home with the baby was that I was stressed, lonely, and bored. If you are used to going out and doing things with other grown-ups, staying home with just an infant (even for a little while) can be trying. Make sure that you have something that you enjoy. I got several books and a few light crafting projects. Maybe get some good music or subscribe to a movie streaming site.

    Best wishes!

    • I watched a lot of bad movies on iTunes. πŸ™‚ If you're an audiobook kind of person those can also be great, when you're in the stage where feeding the baby takes three hands and then you can't move for 45 minutes.

  14. Padcicles sounds genius! Though crushed ice in a hospital glove worked well for me while in the hospital.

    Some sort of nipple cream is a must if you are breastfeeding &/or pumping. I like Motherlove a lot better than lanolin. Plus it is vegan if that important to anyone. Use it often and before you need it.

    Some sort of soothing perineal spray. I bought one but they are easy to make.

    Nursing pads fo sho!

    Even if you don't tear a sitz bath is great after a vaginal delivery. If you deliver at a hospital you can ask for one and take it home.

    I too was scared to poop for a few days. A stool softener definitely took the edge off. My mom told me I would likely have pushing flash backs for awhile when I pooped. So true!

    • Thanks for the tip on the vegan nipple cream! I am still working on getting knocked up but I'm stockpiling all the vegan tips I can find in the meantime.

      PS: If any other vegans are lurking, I've found the Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book to be very accessible and straightforward. I'd love to know if any vegan parents have read/used it and how it worked out in practical terms for them.

  15. I hated the granny panties, and bought some men's boxer briefs in dark colors. Also make sure you have a comfy robe (I also second the comfy / ratty yoga pants!) and a good water bottle or 3. I stashed them around the house, since nursing made me THIRSTY and there's nothing worse than finally getting the bitty latched and settled and having that much-needed drink juuuuuust out of reach! Oh, and snacks. So many snacks. πŸ™‚

    • Our hospital gave me this huge reusable cup with a lid and straw that I took home and kept by my side for weeks postpartum. My husband probably filled it six times a day for me because I was so thirsty from breastfeeding. It was also nice that because it had a lid and straw, I didn't have to worry much about it spilling, but I also didn't have to unscrew the lid like for the water bottle I normally use.

    • YES to the incredible thirst with nursing. I'd sit down to nurse and it was like I had been in a desert for days. I always needed 1-2 glasses of water right away, so having water bottles around was helpful.

  16. Depends underwear. I bought them for postpartum but ended up using them when my water broke almost 12 hours before labor started. Also great for postpartum though.
    I second a one handed water bottle. I throwit on the couch next to me because I can't reach the talbe without squishing her.

    • I have to second the Depends! I was totally embarassed to buy them, but they were SO MUCH BETTER than any other options I've come across for postpartum bleeding. I found the mesh panties uncomfortable and not very good for their purpose. Every time I moved, everything shifted and I feared leaking. The Depends kept everything — blood, Tucks pads, castor oil (recommended by my midwife, to keep the tear area lubricated) — all in the right place. No leaks, much more comfortable.

    • Depends were a lifesaver for me. I think I spent my first week post partum wearing nothing but depends and a nursing tank. and maybe some basketball shorts if we had company.

  17. My lactation consultant said that coconut oil works as well as Lansinoh and it's vegan of course.

    I second the recommendation to find a compounding pharmacy. I had to send my wife out for some kind of magic nipple cream after a couple of days.

    As for breast pads, I loved the LilyPadz. They are reusable silicone pads that stick to your breasts and prevent leaking, not just soak it up. They keep your nipples dry. One pair lasted me about 4-6 weeks so you'll probably need to buy another pair or two until your boobs get with the program and stop leaking. If you go back to work soon then they are totally invisible under your clothes and you don't look like you've got maxi pads on your chest.

  18. My son came unexpectedly early, so I ended up on a pretty rigorous pumping schedule while he was in the NICU. I had a pretty complicated relationship with my pump, and those Soothies gel breast pads were a lifesaver!! Sweet cooling relief! YES for the stool softener and Tucks pads, for reals.

  19. Wow
    Thank you everyone for the responses.
    I'll start a shopping list soon!!!

    How amusing would it be to send my husband shopping with THAT list

    • My poor husband has been sent out on some funny shopping trips: long, thin overnight pads, tucks cream, tucks witch hazel pads… laxatives, prune juice, and fiber rich treats. He said the check out dude gave him a confused look!

      I was not prepared for how many pads I would go thru… truly stock up on your favorite kind. I also was not prepared for the constipation. My midwife gave me a lacative and a stool softener prescription when I left the hospital. I thought once I had a few normal poops I'd be good to stop, but oh was I wrong!! I don't need them twice a day to be sure, but I definitely am not ready to stop taking them altogether like I thought.

      The one thing I needed at the hospital was a larger pair of shoes. My feet didn't swell at all during pregnancy, but since I was induced I was pretty swollen after delivery. When it was time to go home, I realized my clogs did not fit at all… I had to walk to the car in my socks! I should have brought a pair of slippers with me.

  20. At least 3 sets of sheets for your bed. Between blood, shocking amounts of sweat, spit up, breast milk, and god knows what else (tears? baby pee?), I needed to change my sheets pretty much daily for the first few weeks.

  21. Honestly I never used most of the thing people recommend. I only gained 30 lbs, and was back in my normal clothes by the end of the first week. Special clothes for nursing are overrated, but then again I live in a cool climate and usually have a fleece, or blazer, or cardigan of some sort over my shirt. In lieu of expensive nipple cream you can use olive oil, chapstick, or coconut fat. For pads my midwife tells people to buy a pack of depends, they are not too bulky and worked with most of my regular pants. The only thing I think is a must is some bra pads to soak up leaking milk and a comfy bra, one that binds can cause mastitis, but for me the best fit is not a nursing bra but one of those sportish ones (bralet?) made of thin stretchy material with no wire or padding. They work well with the changing cup size issue (I went from a B to a C while pregnant to something way off the chart when my milk came in G or H and now and 6 mos out and still nursing a D)

    Milk and spit up wash out easily enough that I wouldn't worry about new clothes

  22. If you aren't going to breastfeed, stock up on the tightest spots bras you can. They don't have to be pretty, they just have to smoosh. And an elasticized back brace (like an ace bandage, only wider). Wear it over the sports bra as tight as you can stand for the first few days.

    Ice packs for your bra to help with the swelling and engorgement can be made out of shoulder pads (scour the thrift store for any women's clothing from the 1980's). Just soak them in water and freeze them.

    If you know you don't have an adverse reaction to it, stock up (as much as you can with legal restrictions) on pseudoephedrine. It dried me out in no time flat. My OB was kind enough to tip me off to this after apologizing for not being able to prescribe anything to dry up my supply.

    Also consider switching from normal to ultra fluffy and soft TP for a week or so. Yeah, it's a little more costly than the John Wayne variety, but it really helps cushion (pun intended) the blow after all that trauma.

  23. I was obsessed with figuring out what I would need afterward, too. I bought a large package of the biggest maxi pads I could find, but I found that the thinner ones I was most used to worked just fine after those first few days. I wore black boyshort panties and yoga pants, so it didn't matter if I go some blood on them. For breastfeeding, nursing tanks/bras and breast pads. They'll send you home from the hospital with maxi pads, breast pads, and probably even some extremely oversized pads, the same kind that you'll use in the hospital. Still, having a few of your favorite pads and comfortable underwear in dark colors will make life a lot easier.

  24. Reusable pads and a tank under my shirt for nursing were great too. I didn't use a cover but with a tank, most areas remained covered enough. I loved Depends more than any pad after delivery. I also stocked up on piddle/puppy pads. They came in handy all over the bed because I did not like sleeping in a bra and leaking was inevitable from there too. I made my bed, covered it with plastic (shower curtain, whatever) then made it again. It helps with leaks too and not having to do too much to change the sheets.

    After my son's birth, I was so much less embarrassed to mention things especially when they worked well for me. I will tell anyone about Depends!

  25. I was NOT putting my preggo clothes back on after the kid came out but I also didn't want to spend too much money for stuff that was going to get gross (newborns are not picky on where they puke, its like living with a tiny frat boy). I went to Goodwill and bought like 10 pairs of mens pjs. Most didn't survive the month and that was cool because they were only a dollar and if I had spent more I would have worried about "saving" them and trying to get stains and what not out. But for a dollar pair of jammies I just chucked them and moved on.

    And a small foot stool to rest your feet on for the bathroom. Ladies weren't joking it can be a bit difficult at first. Propping your feet up helps.

    Also one of those grabbers on a stick. I didn't plan on having a csection but I did. I didn't even think about it until after a trip to the bathroom when I couldn't bend over to pull my underwear back up by myself. I was 30, high as a kite and I had to call my mom to help me pull my undies up. Get a grabber to help pick stuff up off the floor just in case.

  26. Not embarrassing at all, but stock up on easy snacks. Cheese sticks bags of nuts granola bars etc. Between a screaming baby and the entire painful body adjustment I found it impossible to eat enough unless someone else brought food to my nursing area for me. Drink as much water as you can and get the highest power stool softener allowed. If you are a happy DIYer, I made my own nursing pads out of a few layers of old fleece sheets and they worked great.

  27. while nursing bras and tops aren't always necessary, or for everyone, i highly recommend them. when my daughter would start crying, and i hadn't slept more than 3 hours the previous night, i didn't want to have to deal with taking my top(s) off then putting them back on later, especially since she'd usually fall asleep feeding. and i didn't get to breastfeed a lot because my milk just wouldn't come in. i pumped like crazy trying though, and having a nursing tank (got mine at Target) was fantastic. unhook, drop down, attach and pump. then rehook and continue staring dazed at the wall πŸ™‚

    pads of course for the bleeding but that will end after a few weeks. the weak/leaky bladder, however, will continue to plague you πŸ™‚ i suggest Poise or other continence pads because for some women, liners just don't cut it.

  28. Most of things I'd recommend have already been mentioned, but this stuff: http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/postpartum-recovery/new-mama-bottom-spray.html TOTALLY AWESOME! I got some from my doula and it really helped ease some of the discomfort "down there". It has a cooling sensation and it also smells good too, which I found helped me feel a little less gross (let's face it, weeks of maxi pads is not fun). Plus, it is easy to carry in your diaper bag/purse if you go out. It has other uses too, after you've healed up, if you haven't used it all… I actually use it after I have a bikini wax.

    • oh YES i loved this spray. it smelled like fresh, cool cucumbers. not only was it soothing, like the above person mentioned, it made me feel a little less stank and gross.

  29. Great topic! I'm sure I'm seconding some of the above advice here:

    1. Second vote for Earth Mama/Angel Baby! They have some awesome stuff. That 'bottom spray' is the best' and smells great, too πŸ™‚

    2. Super duper pads are great, but nothing is as awesome as the disposible underwear from the hospital for the first few days.

    3. The cold pad packs from the hospital are the best, too; try to get some extra ones if you can! (You crack them to make them get cold, then wear like a regular pad. BEST. FEELING. IN. THE. WORLD.

    4. You will need a super stool softener for the first time (or couple of times) you go #2 after baby. Bc … you will be putting stress on all the same things that are still quite painful, and … you will feel like ALL your internal organs are going to fall out your bottom (sorry to be graphic … but yes, this is exactly how it feels). I had read a lot about how painful this is, and actually … it wasn't too bad for me (I was on a liquid diet in hospital due to other meds, and they had been giving me a prescription softener … and I was distracted during the process by reading a particularly amusing potion of The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy …), so don't psyche yourself out too much!

    5. Spray bottle that sprays/squirts while upside down; you will want to spray while you pee so the acid in your urine doesn't aggravate the pain/stitches if you end up with any/whatever-else-is-going-on-down-there. Cold water feels great, but that means you need to refill it every time you go. (They give you a bottle at the hospital)

    6. A sitz bath, which they may give you at a hospital. Best feeling.

    I think that's it for my most-embarrassing list πŸ™‚ Basically, if you show up at the hospital, they will provide you with everything. But if you are at home, or want your own, these are some things you will need after a vaginal birth.

    Last piece of advice — not entirely related, but — PLEASE, take showers as often as you want/can! I get so upset when I hear new moms say "I can't shower," esp those first few weeks. It's not about feeling good about how you look, it's a health matter. Getting that area cleanly rinsed is really important (if you have a removable shower head, that is the most amazing relief in the world!), it made a major difference to how I felt from the first few days to two weeks if I could get one (or even two) showers a day (a 5 min one is plenty!). Baby can cry in a little bouncer seat on the floor of the bathroom, or someone else can come hold him! You need to take care of mama πŸ™‚

    • On the shower topic, plan on taking at least one shower in the hospital so you can see how long you can stand up, the nurses are there in case you need to sit down, etc. But bring your own towel. When I rubbed that industrial washed and dried towel over my sore everything I thought I was going to cry. Even gently it was like drying with sandpaper. The towel will probably get bloody, so don't bring your best one, but bring something soft.

  30. About pads: one thing to check is whether they have "dry weave" or whatever each company calls it – I found the ones with this dry weave type surface could catch my stitches, and holy hell, that doesn't feel good.

    I also had to go out and find organic pads without plastic on the back because whatever was in the regular ones along with the lack of breathability from the backing gave me some raging fungal/yeast infections on top of everything else. Needing to wear such heavy pads for so long with so much weird moisture down there just became toxic. So, I also had to have some Lamisil (?) cream on hand, and warm water from the peri bottle several times a day to sort things out. Man, I forgot how much that part sucked!

  31. If you are large breasted and planning to breastfeed you may need what my husband calls a "boob prop". I used a couple of cheapie cloth diapers (the flat kind you can use as burp cloths) and rolled them together then secured them with a diaper pin. Basically you get a soft cylinder shaped pillow to prop your boob on.

    I either had to prop up the boob or hold it with my hand and then figure out a way to make the baby an air pocket for his nose and hold the baby all at once. (I almost always use the cradle hold position) It sounds ridiculous but it was seriously the most helpful thing ever. Once the babys nose and mouth are a little bigger and they have more neck control it gets easier but in the beginning I just felt like I was drowning the baby with my DD sized boobs.

  32. I had my husband run out and get me an extra pair of sweat pants and he says it was the most embarrassed he's ever been at the register. He can't put his finger on it, but for some reason buying girls pants that are clearly too small for him (he's 6'4") was way worse than all the tampons, pregnancy tests, and condoms he's bought over the years.

  33. If you are plus size, keep in mind that those mesh underwear might not fit you. They didn't fit me so I just sent my partner to target to get a size bigger than I normally wear.

  34. Not necessarily embarrassing but I'll add flanges for your breast pump to the list. The first time I used my pump I wanted to cry from the pain (and I gave birth with no pain meds so you know this was bad!) because my nipples were too small for the standard size flanges and my aereola was being sucked in too. I had to suffer through the engorgement phase with no pump until my new flanges came in. I've been assured by fellow moms that your nipples will change in size over time while breastfeeding so no worries about wasting money on flanges that don't immediately fit. I found it much worse to not have the right size available. My poor nipple hurt for days after using the wrong size.
    Cloth diapers to catch dribbles and leaks when baby is nursing. And if you're using a breastfeeding pillow, make sure you have an extra slipcover or two. I leaked all over mine and was glad I'd made more than one.

  35. A few small towels! I had stocked up on granny panties, and taken everything that wasn't tied down from my hospital room, but no one told me about the sweating! I was completely drenched for at least two days after, and ended up carrying a sweat rag around. Also, can I recommend a good lip balm? My lips were crazy dry after giving birth and I begged my sister to go get my fav lip balm from home for me.
    Another tip-get a little basket or box and keep all the little things (extra shirt, pants, those pads to put under you on the bed, lip balm, those amazing instant cold ice packs, meds, baby socks, thermometer, lanolin, etc.) and keep it next to your bed! I was so exhausted when we got home, I just stayed in bed as much as possible that first week, and it was nice having my supplies close at hand.

  36. Okay just going to say I'm pregnant with my secound and reading these responses is terrifying lol I must have had it good with my first if this is what most go threw ! I mean labor was horrible but thats expected I couldn't get an epidural until 5 cm and when they finally checked I was already 7 went in not wanting any drugs I was induced and wanted to go natural still until 12 hrs of active labor I fell asleep on the nurse holding me up with the needle in my back because I was so exhausted I didn't even feel it go in. But after I had my daughter my vag was super sensitive but I had no pain medication and I laid in bed 2 days in the hospital only getting up o use the restroom and shower …. I didn't go number 2 until I got home it was uncomfortable heck yeah but not unbearable it's amazing how quickly I sprang back and was fine I only bled for about two weeks but after one things were fine. Every one is different!

  37. The gel nipple things you get from the LC at the hospital – do NOT forget to take them home with you! Take care of them b/c they may not be easy to replace. I had to buy more from a LC across town when my son was a few days old. I forget what they're called but I remember they were made by Ameda. I will be asking the hospital if I can have/buy extras this time.

  38. Buy the very best toilet paper you can. Screw the budget, buy the best!
    Also, i second the shower frequently post delivery advice. I was also advised to take salt baths – it only needs to be a few inches deep, but it helped with healing my nasty episiotomy.
    My home visiting nurse suggested that I dry my very sore lady parts using my hairdryer on cool, and it was heaven. No patting or rubbing, just nice and dry!

  39. Not many people think of this: hemorroids cream. Even without any and on stool softeners, it really helped the first few weeks.

  40. I second pretty much everything already suggested but also wanted to add the Earth Mama- Mama Bottom Balm. I had 4th degree tears and was in a lot of pain once I got home. I googled for suggestions and found this stuff and ordered it next day shipping I was so desperate for relief. Totally worth it! I felt so instantaneously better that I may have cried a little…haha…and the healing process definitely got better once I started using it. As awkward and embarrassing as it might be I'm totally giving it to any of my friends when they have kids!

    Also I hated the stupid sitz bath. The warm water felt good but sitting on it was so uncomfortable for me so my doctor suggested just sitting in a warm/hot bath a few times a day. Definitely helped too!

  41. Another vote for ice packs/condomsicles but with a note of caution! My local (UK) hospital actually offered the condom filled with water and frozen variety, wrapped in a thick tissue (the type you wipe up spills with, not the thinner toilet tissue sort). I would thoroughly recommend them.

    I would not however recommend falling asleep from sheer exhaustion with said condomsicle laying on your sore undercarriage only to be woken half an hour later by your partner. Have you ever licked an ice lolly and your tongue got stuck? Waiting for the shower to warm up whilst carefully cradling a very heavy condom full of ice so that it doesn't rip the skin away from your already swollen and sore body is nobody's idea of fun. Just sayin.

    Also good – I've never been offered a peri bottle but did make use of a plastic jug that I could fill with warm water to pour over my vulva instead of wiping.

    My midwife recommended Badedas bubble bath for the horse chestnut extract and that was great.

    A dark coloured dressing gown hides stains much better than a light one.

    My ultimate new mum kit would be a travel mug and straws to put your hot/cold drinks in, a spork or spoon (so much easier to eat one-handed with) and a basket or sturdy bag you can put all the stuff you need for the day in (phone, remote, snacks, book, drink whatever) so that you can pick it all up in one go and cart it to wherever you end up sat. Nothing more frustrating that not wanting to move the sleeping baby on your lap but not being able to reach anything you need.

  42. After scanning all the other comments, the one thing I haven't seen is a hemrhoid/donut pillow. I really needed one of these after the big tear and stitches I got. I couldn't sit on anything hard/semi-hard without it. I used it in the car on the way home, at the dinner table (hard wood chairs) and even on the rocking chair at first. Couches didn't seem to be a problem though. Oh and you may not need this, but if you tear and have lots of stitches, have a parent or in-law pick one up for you in the hospital pharmacy. πŸ™‚

  43. I second (third) taking everything from the hospital room that isn't nailed down. The little plastic tub used for cleaning pump parts was vital at home! And the monster-sized water mug the hospital gives you was so gret! I still use it 2 years later. Ask for a couple to take home. I used it to warm up/cool of baby bottles, and it holds sooo much water. There are times you just can't get up for a quick glass of water, and you have to stay super hydrated when breastfeeding.

  44. Get a little basket or small tote bag. Something with a handle that you can easily carry one-handed (or better yet, on the crook of your elbow. Fill it with all the things you'll need to keep by you while nursing/feeding, sleeping, resting.

    You'll figure out pretty quickly what you want in there, but here's what was in mine: water bottle, protein bars, cell phone & charger, lip balm, lotion, lanolin, burp cloth, gum, pacifier, hair ties, hand sanitizer/wet wipes. I used that puppy for two months.

    Even if you live in a small space, you'll find that sometimes you are "trapped" in one spot with the baby, and everything you need is somewhere else. Having a basket or bag within arms reach saves a lot of hollering at your partner "honey, bring me…"

  45. I wouldn't go running out to get a nursing bra. My childbirth class instructor who is also a postpartum doula said the best thing for your breasts is to let them hang out, no bra and no shirt. Yes, you'll make a mess with the all the leaking, but honestly, you won't care or just throw a towel down. My nipples were so destroyed by breastfeeding that having ANYTHING touch them put me into agony. Make sure that you order your free breast pump from your insurance company ASAP. You can only place the order within 30 days of your due date, but with the backlog they had when I delivered, I would get that in as soon as you can. Mine showed up 3 days after I got home from the hospital and I spent those three days crying waiting for it. It was the only thing that relieved my engorged breasts and gave my poor nipples a break. (Make sure you have some bottles!) I would hold off on buying tons of stuff because you don't know what you're going to need and it will make your hubby feel super useful when you send him out with a list of stuff to get. I also got lots of stuff for free from the hospital, I had pads, cooling antiseptic foam, cooling pads, a sitz bath, a peri bottle, witch hazel pads, Lansinoh (I still have this 3 months later and I used it A LOT), and then all the baby's goodies. They'll bring extra if you ask for them. Also: even if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding, take all the formula and bottles. Because things don't always go as planned and you'll be happy for the free can of formula when you are a hot mess of tears and bloody boobs and your breast pump hasn't showed up yet and you can't do it anymore. Anyway, I only ended up needing more pads and had plenty of everything else. (GET MAXI PADS!!! Do not get incontinence pads! There is something different about how blood is absorbed and I ended up with all the blood drying onto my lady bits instead of going into the pads. Poor pubes.) A good supply of ibuprofen is good to have as well, although for me I had trouble taking it because it made me sleepy and it was harder to wake up and feed the baby when I had taken some. Luckily, I'm some kinda mutant and didn't really have much pain (vaginal with no pain meds!) so I just dealt with the cramps instead of being out of it when feeding.

  46. Yes! I second (third, forth etc..) stool softners because while I didn't actually hurt I was terrified to do a poo!

    Also ural (that's what it's called in Australia) which lowers the acidity in your pee so if you have tearing or grazing it takes the sting out of it. I was lucky and didn't need any painkillers for afterbirth pains but I lived on ural 3 times a day for at least a week!

  47. A lot of people are saying comfy clothes but talking about sweatpants and t shirts. I had a c-section and was really grateful for some granny type house dresses my mom suggested. That way there wasn't anything against my incision and it unbuttoned to allow breastfeeding.

  48. One of the best pieces of advice I got before giving birth was the friend who told me to go to Target and just buy allllll the cheap black regular cotton panties in my size. I did. I was not sorry.

  49. I'm expecting my second baby. I never, for the first pregnancy, bought different underwear (and never needed it). I used the mesh underwear from the hospital for the three days I was in hospital, then back to my old cotton low rise/hip hugger underwear.

    The most frustrating thing for me was figuring out how to order nursing bras, when I knew that for the first week or two my breasts would be biggest and then the size would regulate with the milk production. I ended up wearing an old–but not worn out–sports bra in the hospital, which I learned later was a BAD idea, as nursing bras should be loose; tighter bras (like sports bras) can cause blocked milk ducts. After a couple months of nursing bras, I decided to just start using nursing tanks (my faves are Glamourmom, which are more expensive than, say, Target's, but waaaay better quality). I'll have to get a few more of those, too, I think.

    And the one new thing (well, two new things) I decided to invest in this time around were cloth pads and cloth milk pads, because after baby#1, wearing disposable pads was ever so uncomfortable. They chafed against my stitches, and I never thought they were comfortable for regular use anyway, and, frankly, I thought they all smelled funny (though I didn't get scented ones and got a couple different brands). I just ordered a pack of postpartum Lunapads, and I have a couple of heavy flow cloth pads form somewhere else (that velour is sooo much softer than any disposable pad!); I should maybe get another postpartum set, too–if using cloth diapers has taught me anything, it's that it's better to have too many than too few. I think I'll check out Etsy for milk pads. (Baby Too shouldn't be here till Halloweenish, so I have some time yet.)

  50. I've always been terrified of the prospect of pregnancy.. and babies for that matter. Now I am currently 33, 20 weeks pregnant and freaked by these comments. This can all be tightly stored within the "stuff I never thought about" tin.

  51. The best baby shower gift I got (which I smiled politely at at the time but later called the giver with tears of thanks), was a basket filled with depends, pads, witch hazel, preperation h, lanolin, coconut oil (for every bodies sore spots and sex the first time afterwards!), and those puppy pads. Brilliant.

  52. I can only speak about breastfeeding, that's all I have experience with.

    I got lucky with a relatively easy vaginal birth (epidural was fine, tear that required stitches but only second degree), so I was able to use mostly what the hosptial provided for me (and also were willing to give me extra of) – bottles for squirting water over everything, mesh underwear, giant pads. I heal fast and easy, so I never needed the fabric-y ice packs they gave me too, and I dropped down to regular period pads pretty quick.

    Sitting on stitches is super uncomfortable, but I'm not sure what could have made it any better.

    I spent most of the first month or so just topless with the baby, but nursing pads were invaluable during the beginning of breastfeeding. Also, I wish I had gotten nursing bras earlier. I personally was able to just buy my usual size, I haven't had growth so much as fullness. (also I recommend Leading Lady brand of nursing bras. I was able to get a 2-pack of 42D for like $10 on amazon and they are still going strong at 10 months.)

    My personal best suggestion if you are breastfeeding is booking a session with a lactation consultant, or going to a local support group if there's one around, like La Leche League.

    Also, pads (big hospital ones or regular period ones) were a lifesaver while I got my continence back. I had to pee all the time and having a pad to leak into while I got my pants off saved a lot of laundry.
    The first post-birth poop was scary (mine was while I was in the hospital still), but more mentally that physically. I was sure everything would be covered and I would die of poop on my stitches somehow.

    It all seems scary as you come close to birth, but once the baby is born, everything immediately after is just another thing you do and get through because it's life. It goes away. The only remaining weirdness for me that I wasn't expecting is that now that I am back to having cycles, I can't wear tampons – they hurt to put in! I asked my obgyn about it and he said that dryness is a factor, and that sometimes the nerves and things get moved around and can take up to a year to settle back in.

  53. None of mine are super embarrassing but they are all things I had to ask people to buy me afterwards:
    -breasfeeding pillow
    -breast pump and bottles (thought bubba would be with me 24/7 and wouldn't need it. That's not how it works it seems. Bubba was still with me 24/7 and I had to do lots of pumping anyway.)
    -huge night gowns
    -the biggest knickers possible for my unexpected c-section
    -3 months worth of massive maternity pads (I only needed them for six weekend though)
    -lollies! sugar of some kind!

    The other thing I did was that I packed an extra bag. At my hospital in Australia, mums and bubs are supposed to only have an overnight stay, unless there is a c-section. Well, lo and behold I had a c-section, so the extra bag was very well used, but as you can see, I didn't pack things I actually needed. We then had to be readmitted a few days later, and the bag hadn't been unpacked so it helped my usually forgetfulhead husband a lot.

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