Oh, hello there. It’s been a while. . . a long while. Sorry about that.
As you may have guessed, a lot has been going on in my personal life, including welcoming this little guy into our family in September. I mean, is he not the cutest thing ever? I’m very happy to introduce you to my son, Henry:
Believe it or not, that little potato is now a whole month old. A month! It really does go by fast, which is a little bittersweet. It’s a blessing that the hardest part is over quickly, but any parent knows how much you want to savor the days when they’re so little! I want to eventually share his birth story, but it was not all positive and I am still processing my experience. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to write it all down.
Regardless, we have a happy and healthy baby boy and what I am ready to share now that we’re a month in is some of the products that I have used postpartum for both me and Henry– plus a few things I haven’t used as much as I thought I would.
*This post contains some affiliate links, which means that if you choose to purchase an item through that link I get a small compensation (your price does not change). Some of them are not affiliate links, however. All products linked are items I genuinely recommend, affiliate or not!
Postpartum Favorites for Mom
Note: I had a hospital birth, so I am writing from that perspective. These things would also be useful for homebirth mamas, too.
A peri bottle is a definite must (unless perhaps you own a bidet). You will be sore after giving birth, and things will be messy. Using a peri bottle– which is a special squirt bottle you can fill with lukewarm water– is faster, easier, and less abrasive than trying to clean up with toilet paper. You just rinse, pat dry, and you’re done. Some women also like to rinse with the peri bottle while they urinate to prevent stinging, but I personally didn’t find that necessary. The peri bottle I purchased actually came as a set with my prenatal exercise ball.
You will probably be told that the hospital will give you a peri bottle, and this is true. However, I 100% think it’s worth purchasing one for yourself that has a long, angled spout instead of the short version that they give you at the hospital. It makes it a lot easier to aim.
Hey, your baby is wearing diapers so you might as well, too, right? Really though, disposable underwear/adult diapers make life so much easier for those first days (or couple of weeks) after you give birth. I love to be environmentally conscious when I can, so I understand initially balking at disposables, but there is a time and place where it’s appropriate for an item to be single use, and medical supplies fall in that category in my opinion. And, even though you may not think of them that way, disposable underwear is a medical item for a postpartum mom– you are recovering! Your body needs time to heal, and so does your mind. Taking off the burden of extra laundry means you have one less thing on your already very full plate. Then, once you’re on the mend and feeling more like yourself, you can switch to reusable pads if you like (I did). I used both Amazon basic brand which I bought ahead and Always which I bought while Henry was in the NICU, because I hadn’t packed enough for the extra two days in a hotel after I was discharged. (Henry is fine and the NICU stay was only precautionary.) Both worked equally well, though I didn’t love that the Always brand was noticeably scented.
The hospital will give you some disposable underwear and pads as well, but I honestly did not like the hospital underwear at all. It just didn’t fit as well, and it was more of a hassle to put on the mesh undies and attach a pad than it was to just put on the adult diapers. I did keep the pads, though, and used them as a transitional stage when I was ready to move on from diapers but not quite ready to switch to reusable pads.
Nursing Tops, Bras, and Gowns
This one is kind of obvious, but as a plus size woman, I struggled initially to find nursing clothes that fit me. I had to make some returns before I found what worked, so I wanted to share what I found that did work.
Latched Mama is my favorite brand that is plus size friendly. I love the tops I have purchased from them. That said, they are not as affordable as some other brands. That is one of the major downsides of being plus sized and pregnant/postpartum– I was never able to walk into a store and simply buy maternity or nursing clothes that would fit my body. That meant sometimes paying more than if I were able to buy from cheaper sources. I do believe in paying a bit more for better quality when I can, but I am also all too familiar with the costs of inflation and the strain it puts on families. I feel it’s only fair to disclose that as much as I love their clothes, the price point is a little higher.
I did find an affordable pumping/nursing bra on Amazon. Let me just say this real quick: go ahead and buy the hands free pumping bra. I had intended to breast feed exclusively, but because Henry spent two days in the NICU combined with the fact that my supply has been low, I had to start pumping right away. I only bought a nursing bra at first, thinking I was saving money, but boy is it such a pain to have to hold the bottles while pumping! It’s absolutely worth it to just be prepared with a combo bra that can let you pump hands free just in case. Worst case scenario (or best, maybe?) you only ever have to use the nursing function.
Lastly, this very affordable nursing gown was perfect for changing into at the hospital after we moved to postpartum and I changed out of my delivery gown. It’s simple and lightweight, even if it’s not the most fashionable thing in the world.
As a small side note, I’m glad that I splurged on my own labor and delivery gown. It was more comfortable than hospital gowns, and I never had to worry about flashing anyone (until I needed to!). I bought mine on Etsy, but there are many options.
Perineal Healing Spray, Witch Hazel, and Dermaplast
The hospital will supply you with Dermaplast, and it does work well to soothe. It has a somewhat cooling affect in addition to the soothing properties. I did use this, especially the first week postpartum.
I also purchased this herbal perineal healing spray from Thrive Market. I ultimately liked this product better than Dermaplast. It was soothing without the cooling sensation, which I preferred, and I liked that the herbal ingredients (yarrow, uva ursi, lavender) are chosen to not just soothe but aid in healing as well.
Lastly is witch hazel, which can be bought plain or in Tucks Pads. I used plain witch hazel to create frozen “padsicles” for when I got home. (The hospital provides ice packs while you are there and a few for the road.) Ice was the most soothing thing I used, so I highly recommend purchasing ice pads or making them. To make them, simply wet postpartum pads with witch hazel and store in the freezer in a bag. The Tucks pads were convenient for layering inside the diapers to soothe.
Note: Witch Hazel has become popular as a skin care item as well, so be sure to read the label carefully when buying a plain bottle– I’ve seen some brands add fragrance or other additions to it for skin care, which you don’t want.
Things I Did Not Use for Myself
I bought a postpartum belly support band, but I never wore it once. I regret having opened it so that I can’t return it. I know that many women say they found it helpful, even for vaginal birth (I think they are more common for C-section support), but I never felt like I needed it. It’s not that my abs didn’t feel weak, they absolutely did (and still do actually), but they didn’t feel weak enough for long enough to make me drag out the belly band.
I purchased the Haakaa breast pump that is designed to passively collect let down while nursing. Unfortunately my supply has not been large enough to make that useful. I’m keeping it in hopes that next time I’ll produce more, and I don’t think it’s a bad product at all, but I wish I had waited to see if I needed it before buying it.
Lastly, I bought sitz bath herbal salts to soak in but never used them. I think this product might have been more useful if we had a bigger bathtub that would have let me set it up more comfortably, but I knew from spending several nights soaking in a warm bath trying to ease my prodromal labor that our small bathtub was not going to be easy to get in and out of postpartum. By the time I had healed enough to make it feasible to get down into the bathtub without pain, I no longer felt a need for a sitz bath.
Postpartum Favorites for Baby
Baby Wearing Gear
I’m a big fan of baby wearing, and so is my husband. Henry likes it, too! Baby wearing has several perks, but two main bonuses appeal to me the most: 1. It frees up your hands while keeping baby close and held and 2. Baby wearing is perfect for keeping strangers away while out in public. I haven’t personally had any issues with strangers yet, but I’ve heard a lot of stories of people walking up to babies in the store and wanting to touch them or criticizing something about them (“why isn’t he wearing socks in this 90 degree weather?” for example). Strangers can’t touch baby when he’s right next to your body– and if they try, you can more easily block them. It also gives me peace of mind that no one could try to grab him or take him out of my hands when he’s strapped/wrapped in.
My husband and I have even noticed a difference in how many comments and looks we get when baby wearing in general. We took him into a store very quickly in his stroller one day and received a few passing comments about his cuteness (which we don’t mind at all, for the record!). People almost never comment at all when one of us is baby wearing. Maybe they don’t see him as easily or they don’t want to break into our personal space. Either way, I like the distance it creates for both physical safety for Henry and my own mental peace.
That said, my husband and I have different preferences in carriers! He likes our more structured Ergo Baby carrier. It’s a bit faster to put on and not as warm, which is nice since we live in a warm climate. It’s also just very simple and it works a bit better with his build overall. Meanwhile, I’m a fan of the soft wrap style like my Boba wrap. The texture is nicer on my skin and it hugs baby a little closer so it feels more like cuddling. I also worry less about him slipping out, since there are no gaps on the side like with a structured carrier. The only downside is it is a bit warm and took a bit more practice to get the hang of. It’s not difficult at all once you do a few times, though! The Boba wrap is also more affordable– we might not even have the Ergo baby except generous friends purchased it for us off our registry.
Como Tomo Bottles
I’m so glad I had bottles on hand just in case since we ended up needing them right away, and I’m very happy with my choice in the Como Tomo bottles. I know a lot of advice is to buy a few different brands and see what sticks, but I went with only this brand because it checks the boxes I wanted: Silicone instead of plastic, wide base to more closely mimic breast feeding, and a slow flow nipple to aid in paced feeding.
Henry has always been an equal opportunity eater and we never struggled with him latching at the breast or the bottle, so nipple confusion has not been an issue (even after being exposed to higher flow nipples during his brief stay in the NICU). We’re definitely lucky in that regard. But I do feel that these bottles have helped prevent him from forming a strong bottle preference and rejecting the breast, allowing us to continue combo feeding. It gives me peace of mind knowing he is able to still get some breast milk even while formula makes up more of his diet. I know fed is best, and I’ve done everything I can to encourage my supply, but there are undeniable benefits to breastmilk/breastfeeding. I’m glad I’m still able to do both.
Other perks of these bottles are that they are very easy to clean thanks to the wide mouth, they’re dishwasher safe, and they’re very soft. The only downside I’ve encountered thus far is that the base it stands on is narrow which makes it easier to tump over. Luckily the milk doesn’t spill, however, since the nipple is slow-flow and doesn’t just gush out.
Okay, you might be rolling your eyes. I thought this was silly, too, until I had a baby who hates anything cold touching him. He would always get upset at changing time regardless of anything else– he could be just fed and completely happy, then comes the cold wipe. It was especially a problem during the middle of the night changes when we didn’t want him to wake up any more than necessary to change, feed, and put back to bed.
Enter the wipe warmer. I actually love this thing. The wipes aren’t hot, but they are comfortably warm– just enough to take out the shock of the cold. Henry is much happier with changes now, but there are also benefits for me and my husband, too. The wipe warmer dispenses a single wipe at a time without fighting with the wipe package, it’s easy to open, and I also like that I can add a drop of lavender essential oil to water we add when refilling it. Now his wipes are warm, easier to grab, and have a pleasant, calming scent.
I absolutely love this. We practice safe sleep, which means unless one of us is awake to supervise, baby only sleeps alone in a safe sleep structure (his bassinet, the travel bassinet that goes with his stroller that I talk about below, or his Pack N Play) with no blankets, pillows, etc. The bedside bassinet lets him sleep right next to me at night while still being safe. I can reach out easily to comfort him, check on him, give him his pacifier, or pick him up without ever leaving bed. We can see each other, too. It makes me feel closer to him at night and also gives me peace of mind knowing he’s right there within arms reach. It’s also just very convenient to be able to simply roll over to pick him up when he wakes is ready for food or cuddles.
UPPAbaby Vista Stroller and MESA Car Seat
The UPPAbaby became my dream stroller system basically as soon as I learned about it while researching my options. They were listed as a parent favorite repeatedly in the articles I read, and I definitely understand why now that I own one. The brand has a few different options, but I ultimately chose the Vista stroller system and MESA car seat. There are so many things I love about it, so I’ll list just a few.
The MESA car seat is so easy to use. It goes from the base in the car and attaches to the stroller base with just a few clicks. The Vista stroller itself comes with a sleep safe bassinet and a toddler seat as well. It adapts to be able to carry up to three children at one time: two in seats and one on a standing ride-along attachment that can be purchased separately. We hope to grow our family again in the future, so it was important to me as I researched products to prioritize the longevity of them– I want major purchases like this stroller to last for the entire stage of my life in which I need one.
The bassinet has been probably my most favorite thing about this stroller. Babies, especially newborns, are not supposed to spend much time in a car seat and car seats are not sleep safe when not in the car. The bassinet is more comfortable for him and allows him freedom of movement (which is so important for developing babies). What I love most of all, though, is having a portable sleep station for him. I love being able to have him near me when he’s sleeping rather than having to leave him in the bedroom or hold him the entire time.
I will note that the UPPAbaby is more on the high end of pricing and is more expensive than box store brands. That said, I viewed it as an investment because, as I already mentioned, I hope to use it for more than one child. I was also able to find the Vista on clearance and saved a few hundred dollars! You can learn more about UPPAbaby’s products on their website.
Love to Dream Swaddle
I wish I had purchased the Love to Dream swaddle from the very beginning. We started with traditional swaddling, but Henry only lasted about a week or two in blanket swaddles. He was so strong– and so highly motivated to move– that he was breaking out of them no matter how snug we managed to get it. That of course is not safe, because a loose blanket in the crib is a suffocation risk.
We started using velcro swaddles after the blankets no longer worked, and those were okay. Henry could still break his arms out, but even when he did he was still safe because of the design of the swaddle– the velcro is super strong and stayed on his body even with an arm or two free. However, I could tell that Henry just didn’t enjoy having his arms swaddled at all. We simply swaddled him with his arms intentionally out for a while, but the velcro was a hassle to deal with for me. I think this design is probably great for babies that want their arms down, but it wasn’t for us.
Finally I purchased the Love to Dream, and I love it. The design lets him have his arms up and move them around, as well as letting him freely kick his legs, but is still snug on his body to give that swaddled-up feeling. The zipper is so much easier to deal with than the velcro, especially in the middle of the night. And Henry likes this swaddle– I do think it helps improve his sleep and keeps him cozy while not restricting him. This design also gives me the most peace of mind because it feels the most secure. The same brand makes a transition swaddle as well for when it’s time to move him to a simple sleep sack.
Most people buy a Pack N Play, but I had half convinced myself I wouldn’t use it much because our living space is small. My husband wanted one, though, so I put it on the registry. I’m glad I did! Even in our small space, I use it all the time. It’s a secondary changing station, a safe place to lay him down when I need my hands free, and the post-bath lotion and dressing station.
Burp cloths are a necessity, and I wanted to share my favorite kind. I have several different kinds that were gifted or purchased, and so many of them are small and thin. Other than the handmade ones my cousin made for me, this version from Amazon are the best. They’re nice and big, have cute patterns, and are absorbent.
Things I Did Not Use for Baby
My in laws bought us a beautiful crib, and I picked out a couple really cute sheets for it. A member of my husband’s family bought us our crib mattress (and actually got the upgraded version of the brand we had registered for). It actually hasn’t even been fully assembled yet. I feel guilty for not utilizing it, but we just haven’t needed it. He sleeps in the bedside bassinet next to us at night and naps in either his Pack N Play or his UPPAbaby portable bassinet when he’s not contact napping. That said, the crib definitely will be used when Henry is old enough to transition to sleeping in his own room at night, and it also converts to a toddler bed for later on. So it’s just an item that could have waited until later, not a regret. (I have used it as a cute place to stage photos, though! See above. 😉
While I do use baby blankets, we just have too many. I end up doing laundry so often anyway that I just use the same two or three all the time: one for taking with us in his diaper bag, one for active using at home, and a back up for when one of them needs washed. As I mentioned before, blanket swaddling also just didn’t last long for us which impacted the usefulness we got out of them. I’d suggest buying/registering for about four baby blankets and no more.
The baby sink bath seat/cushion we have is absolutely adorable (frogs! with tongues!), but in hindsight I wish we’d just went straight to a baby bathtub more like this one. Our sink is on the smaller side and Henry is a big boy– he already weighs 11 lbs at a month old and he was born 22 inches long! Because of that, the window of sink baths was small. The cushion can be used for a sponge bath in the tub as well, but it’s not really made for it so it’s more of struggle to do that way.
One Last Note
I want to acknowledge that every baby is different, and so is every circumstance! There is never a definitive answer to what is the “best” for babies or parents. I strongly believe that we’re given the babies we’re meant to parent, and no one knows your baby better than you. Intuition is real. I know at least for me personally, I was worried I wouldn’t know what to do with a baby because I was never around them growing up, but as soon as Henry was here, he was my baby. Being his mother has come naturally to me. I know some mothers don’t immediately feel that way, and that’s okay, too– it will come. Your baby is yours and no one knows better than you how to be their parent. That doesn’t mean we don’t learn, of course, just that we have to find the things that work best for us and our children and not simply do exactly what someone else does. So just because something on this list is perfect for me, that doesn’t mean it will be perfect for you. 🙂 You’ll find what works.