Postpartum Essentials: A Nurse’s Perspective

I can’t tell you how many blog posts I read about post-partum essentials before I had my baby. Even though I am a nursery/postpartum RN, I still felt the overwhelming need to “be-prepared”. I think most new mamas get this way! Now after having a baby of my own, plus taking care of countless mothers in the hospital, in my opinion this is really all mama “needs”…

1. Ice pack pads
2. Tucks pads w/ witch hazel
3. Mesh underwear
4. Peri bottle
3. Colace– do not pass, skip or forget!
4. Nursing Pads
5. Lanolin
5. Jumbo maxi pads
6. Belly Band
7. Breast pump


1. If you deliver vaginally ice pack pads will be your best friend. Some hospitals will stock these but not all of them. I’ve had lots of friends say they were just given a glove filled with ice- which does not sound comfortable at all to me!! With an episiotomy or a tear, or even just a non-complicated vaginal delivery, these + tucks pads will be your saving grace in the weeks to come.

2. Tucks Pads: also for vaginal deliveries but just trust me on these, they feel AHHH-mazing. Not every nurse provides them right away in postpartum, so don’t be afraid to ask for them. Try them out in the hospital and if you like them pick up a tub on your way home!

3. Mesh underwear/ granny panties: because a thong just isn’t gonna work right now ladies. Plus you’ll want something that you won’t be sad about ruining with all the extra leaking you’ll have going on down there. You’ll want something extra stretchy-especially if you have a c-section so that it doesn’t irritate your incision. You will also want something stretchy so that your jumbo pad, ice pack, and tucks will all fit nicely.

4. Peri Bottle: you definitely don’t want to be wiping down there after you go to the bathroom; particularly if you had any vaginal tears. A peri bottle feels great and helps freshen you up without irritating the skin.

5. Colace: DO NOT skip your colace. I repeat, DO NOT. Colace will help soften your stool (it won’t make you “go”) so that your first bowel movement doesn’t feel totally awful.

6. Nursing Pads: You’ll definitely have some leaking in those first few weeks while you’re getting nursing figured out; but most women regulate after a couple months. I had to leave to Target to buy myself some nursing essentials and BAWLED because it was the first week I had been home and had to leave my baby with a sitter. It was also monumental because it was how we decided I would be going back part-time instead of full-time as planned. However next time I’ll just have these babies on hand!

7. Lanolin: great for sore nipples! It’s a slave that just goes directly on the nipple and is safe for breastfeeding. If you’re experiencing cracked and bleeding nipples from breastfeeding contact your provider- they can typically prescribe something that is much stronger than lanolin.

8. Jumbo maxi pads: you may not need these for very long, but unfortunately they are kind of necessary. And yes, you will still bleed even if you have a c-section! Expect to have a “period” for about 4-6 weeks after delivery. This is your uterus shedding it’s lining and it will come in stages. Each stage looks a little different. At the beginning it will be bright red, and by the end it will have faded to brownish yellow.

10. Belly Band: feels so good to have a little support, and just holds ya all together.

11. Breast pump: most insurance should cover a pump now! Yay! For sure a necessity if you are going back to work or ever plan to take a break away from your child.

12. Sports bra/cabbage (if you don’t plan on nursing): sounds weird but believe it or not placing cabbage leaves on your girls will stop milk production. Also, avoid letting hot water run over them in the shower, and wear a sports bra! Look for a post later all about breastfeeding!

You’ll notice that I didn’t include a nursing bra. I bought one before delivery and NEVER used it. I preferred just wearing more of a cami/sports bra because I had to use nursing pads up until the day I stopped nursing! I never quite got the handle of the clip on the nursing bra either haha. This just goes to show that everyone will be different on what they prefer. I hope these essentials help you- now YOU tell me- what did I miss??


Products Mentioned in This Post

Ice Pack Pads

Tucks Pads w/ Witch Hazel

Mesh Underwear

Peri Bottle


Nursing Pads


Jumbo Maxi Pads

Belly Band

Breast Pump