Congratulations, mama! You’re home with your beautiful new baby…but you’re also utterly exhausted and probably in a bit of discomfort. And while you’ve likely read dozens of articles on what to expect in your baby’s first week, have you taken much time to consider what you need in these first seven days? Here are 20 must-haves for your first week home with your new baby:
Must-Haves for All New Moms
Your first week home might seem like it should be all about your baby, but you can’t pour from an empty cup — so be sure to fill up yours, too. Here are some ideas:
- Sleep: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” You’ve probably heard this advice a million times by now. but sleeping when the baby sleeps is essential. Trust us, the laundry, dishes, and dinner can wait.
- A simple enjoyment: Craving sushi, a turkey sandwich and some soft cheeses? Indulge in a food or libation that you may not have enjoy while pregnant. Those little treats will keep you going!
- Time with your partner: While you will both be doting over your newborn, it’s important to take time to talk with another and show how much you appreciate one another.
- Help from others: You may feel like “mama knows best” (and you certainly do!) accepting help from others allow time for sleeping, eating, and time with your partner.
- A routine: While baby’s sleep and eating schedule won’t be predictable right away, try to find some elements of routine throughout the day — such as having your cup of coffee, feeding the dog, or going for a short walk around the neighborhood.
- Comfy clothes: Remember that it took you nine months to gain the weight, and it might take just as long to lose it. Don’t try squeezing into your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans just yet (especially if you had a c-section).
Must-Haves for C-Section Mamas
Whether your c-section was planned, or it happened on a moment’s notice, you’re going to need a few items to make your first week home a bit easier.
- A step stool: You don’t realize how much you use your stomach muscles until you’ve had a c-section…and you can’t use them! Keeping a small step stool by your bed will make it easier to get in and out of bed.
- A small pillow: Always keep a small pillow by you, because you’ll want to hold it against your stomach when you sneeze, cough or hiccup to ease the discomfort.
- Nightgowns and dresses: Your doctor will advise to wear loose-fitting clothes and clothes that don’t rub your c-section scar, you’ll likely be living in stretch pants, nightgowns and dresses (this actually sounds amazing as active wear is trendy).
Must-Haves for Vaginal Birth Mamas
Vaginal birth can leave your vagina extremely sore (you did just push out a human the size of a small watermelon!). Grab yourself the following items to soothe down there during that first week.
- “Padsicles”: Pads soaked in witch hazel (and then stored in your refrigerator) can sooth and calm the inflammation, while keeping the area cool.
- Regular pads: Remember that period you didn’t get for 9+ months? Well, the bleeding is going to make a return — and pads will be your only control option for a bit.
- “Sitz baths”: soothing yourself in a warm bath with baking soda will help with discomfort and promote healing.
- Mesh panties: See those stacks of mesh panties at the hospital? Those are about to be your best friend. Because you’ll be spraying, soaking, and soothing your aching vagina, you won’t want to hop back into your favorite pre-pregnancy panties. Mesh panties provide you a comfy option that can actually fit those oversized padsicles you’re loving.
- Spray bottle: After giving birth, especially if you have stitches, you won’t be able to wipe. Grab yourself a spray bottle like this one to keep the area clean after going to the bathroom. Some hospitals do provide them, so be sure to ask beforehand.
Must-Haves for the Breastfeeding Mamas
While someone likely told you breastfeeding is a magical bonding experience between you and you newborn, they may have left out the details about taking care of your nipples. Here’s what you’ll want on hand during that first week when you and baby are perfecting the latch and feeding schedule.
- Nipple balm: Aimed to sooth (and prevent) cracked and chapped nipples, nipple balm is a must-have. We recommend using a product with an oil base, such as Lanolin, Mother Love or Medela.
- Breast pump: If you want to buy yourself some R&R, a breast pump can help do so. By pumping your milk and putting it in bottles, your significant other and loved ones can help with feedings.
- Nursing pads: Leaky nipples? Nursing pads can help with that! There are two kinds: reusable ones that get washed, and disposable ones.
- Nursing bra: A reliable nursing bra (or two or three) will make around-the-clock feedings easier and will provide comfort to your breasts.
- Keep in mind that every mom is different, and you may need more (or less) than what’s on this list. What is most important to remember is that you take care of yourself and your baby!