You’ve finally made it to the fourth trimester – the trimester where everything hurts, everything leaks, and everything wants to make you cry. If we could define it in one image, it would be this one:
Jokes aside, this trimester can be a rude awakening to what you thought parenthood would be like and can certainly be the toughest trimester of the bunch. It is important to look after yourself and it’s okay to reach out for support for when you need it.
So here’s a post for all YOU new mums out there. Your new addition has everything they already need and don’t need another wipes warmer, swaddle, or even a bouquet of socks, thankyouverymuch.
We’ve put together a list of new mum essentials that you will want for the fourth and final chapter of this journey to make it as smooth as possible.
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS AND HAVE BEEN MARKED WITH AN ASTERISK.
Postpartum Essentials for New Mums
1. Well Fitted Nursing Bras
Fortunately, or unfortunately, your breasts will grow to accommodate for your new feeding baby. Your rib cage may temporarily expand in size to accommodate for your new size too. So you will want to make sure you purchase a well-fitted nursing bra (or four) that is comfortable to sleep in, non-wired, and not too tight to prevent infections from occurring. It is advisable to get measured by a professional at any department or maternity store to ensure you choose the right fit.
2. Breast Pads
Leaking of your breasts may occur at the most unfortunate times like when you’re having a chit chat with the in-laws or when you’ve opened the door to the delivery man, and you’ll be wearing a light coloured top on both occasions (yes, this has definitely happened to us way too many times to count!).
You can prevent any spillage by using breast pads that soak up the milk and can be easily disposed of. You can also go for the reusable bamboo pads that you can throw in the wash after they have been worn. Be sure to change any breast pads regularly to prevent an infection occurring.
3. Nursing Pillow
Using a nursing pillow (or even a regular pillow) when feeding can be great to avoid any back/neck/shoulder pain from bending over to feed as you’ll be bringing the baby to the right height and towards you. It can also come in use later when the baby is learning to sit or tummy time.
4. Breast Pump
Investing in a good breast pump can make your life easier in the long run. A supply of expressed milk in the freezer can come in handy in the event that you are unable to breastfeed but still want to provide your child with breastmilk, if you’re having any medical procedures done, or even if you just want a break.
There are many pumps out there on the market – from manual pumps to portable electric ones – so read the reviews and choose one that you think will suit you best. Just don’t forget the milk storage bags!
5. Nipple Cream
If you’re feeding, your nipples will become extremely sore and may start to crack and bleed in the first few weeks. We recommend using nipple cream right off the bat to help prevent any sores and be sure to use it just before and after every feed. Don’t worry, nipple cream is completely safe for the baby to ingest.
Here are a few brands of nipple cream we love:
MMM tip: If your nipples are really sore, try using a nipple shield every few feeds to give your nipples a rest. If you still can’t stand the pain, you can opt to give the baby a bottle of expressed or formula milk every so often so that your breasts have a nice rest.
6. Large Underwear
Yup, we’re talking the large, black granny pants you can buy in a 5-pack from M&S or Walmart. Okay, okay, hear us out. You’ll want to wear the most comfortable underwear as possible that you won’t be upset about if they get ruined so say bye bye to your lacy goods for the time being. You could also opt for the stretchy maternity underwear if you find those to be better suited to you.
7. Maternity Pads
You’ll want to stock up on maternity pads or even incontinence pants (see point 8) for the inevitable postpartum bleeding known as lochia. This can last up for six weeks so you’ll need a good supply of maternity pads at home. Do NOT use tampons during this period of bleeding – ouch.
MMM Tip: You can make padsicles by putting some witch hazel oil on a few pads and placing them in the freezer for a few hours before you use them. These help tremendously with any sores or tears you have down there and you can wear these in your underwear of choice.
8. Incontinence Pants
You may not want to hear it but bladder incontinence can be a thing post birth and you may not even notice when you’ve leaked on yourself. Save yourself adding more items to the laundry basket and instead opt for these disposable pants that are fantastic at preventing any leaks. They are also a great alternative to maternity pads.
9. Peri Bottle
Whilst you may have a lota at home, these peri bottles are great to have at hand too as they can spray in all the right places. Just be sure to fill it up with warm (not hot) water before going to the washroom. Keeping one in each bathroom and your nappy bag will also save you the hassle of running around to find one when you’re desperate to go.
MMM Tip: Squeezing the bottle whilst peeing can also help to alleviate any stinging so be sure to pack one for the hospital too.
Related: The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist
10. Soft Towels
Depending on how bad your tear is, you may want to avoid wiping down there with a tissue after going to the washroom as pieces of tissue may get stuck in your stitches and become infected. Opt for a small stash of soft towels that you can dab gently to dry and throw straight into the wash.
11. Haemorrhoid Pads/Cream/Suppositories
Whilst it may not happen to everyone, haemorrhoids can occur for some mums straight after delivery or even the months following birth. It is better to be prepared from the get go and keep haemorrhoid cream/suppositories/pads in your bathroom cabinet if they do make an unfortunate appearance.
MMM Tip: After birth, you’ll be sore and going to the washroom will seem like a nightmare. It may be handy to have lactulose, prunes, or soft figs in your diet to help keep your stools soft. This can also help prevent any future haemorrhoids from occurring and help with the pain from any tearing.
12. Sitz Bath
A sitz bath is an amazing tool in helping with your postpartum healing process, especially if you’ve had an episiotomy or tearing. Not only does it help reduce inflammation from labour by relaxing the muscles, it also increases blood flow to your perineum area leading to a faster recovery.
You just need to fill it up with warm water, put in some epsom salts (optional) and sit in it for 15-20 minutes a day. If you can’t get your hands on a sitz bath, you can sit in a regular bath tub with warm water.
13. Heating/cooling pads
Heating/cooling pads can work wonders with any aches, sores, and pains you may have and are extremely versatile. You can use them cold after feeding to help with sore nipples or you can warm them up and place them on your stomach if you’re cramping.
14. Luxury Pamper Kit for Mothers
Taking some time out and looking after yourself is key to making this journey easier because a happy mum means a happy baby. Hand over the little one to someone at home and use the time to pamper yourself. You’ll feel fresh, clear-headed, and good about yourself.
This Neals Yard Mother and Baby collection has everything you’ll need for yourself and for little baba, from baby massage oil to mother’s balm for stretch marks, so you can both feel pampered.
15. Comfortable Loungewear, Clothes, and Pyjamas
Out with the tight clothes and in with the comfortable and loose items that are ideal for nursing. Think longline nursing tops, cardigans, button-up pyjamas, stretchy leggings, sweats, and more.
MMM Tip: If you have had a C-section, clothes with an over belly band or ones that do not sit on your belly may be best as they will not aggravate your scar.
A journal can be great to note down your baby’s feeding schedules, when and how much you have expressed, and the number of wet and soiled nappies too, but it can also come in use for mums too.
A gratitude journal is a great way in keeping the baby blues at bay. No idea where to start? Try writing down a few things you’re thankful for before bed and be specific. Whether that is how much milk you managed to express today, how little one looked at you this morning, or even just about something delicious you ate. By reminding yourself about the small things that you’re grateful for, you’ll start to appreciate your life more and become more positive even on the bad days.
Here are a few journals we love:
17. Wireless Headphones
You’ll want to be prepared for the marathon and/or nightly feeding sessions coming your way so keep your favourite wireless earphone or headphones handy and charged. You can pop them on to listen to your favourite duas, soothing music, have a chat with your mum, or even to watch your favourite show with. Just don’t forget to charge your phone!
MMM Tip: Having a smartwatch may not be an essential purchase but can come in use if you have one already as you can make phone calls, check emails, or listen to music when your phone is out of reach.
You may start to feel peckish due to the extra calories that you burn breastfeeding or perhaps you just don’t have the time to sit down for a full meal, which is where snacks come in. They’re easy to put together, quick to grab, and can be eaten whilst balancing a feeding baby in one hand.
Keep snacks healthy and filled with good fats to help nourish you and your milk supply. Think bananas, nuts, fruits, peanut butter, hummus and carrot sticks, dates etc.
These Lactation Cookies* also work wonders as they pack a good balance of carbs, proteins, and fats, plus are easy to grab whilst you’re nursing.
19. Water bottle
Water is essential not only for helping you boost your milk supply but to help heal any wounds you may have and lubricate your digestion system to prevent constipation. You may actually start to feel more thirsty when breastfeeding thanks to the oxytocin hormone being released into the system so make sure you drink up!
A large water bottle with time stamps will motivate you to drink more throughout the day; a straw is an added bonus.
20. Lactation Teas
Sometimes all you really want is a cuppa; lactation teas are a great way to intake some of the required fluids for feeding and can help boost your milk supply. Plus, they taste pretty good too. Here are a few teas we recommend:
And there you have it, a list of 20 new mum essentials that will keep you going strong and help you sail through the fourth trimester. It’s not going to be easy but it’s certainly one heck of a journey that will be over before you know it.
If you feel like you cannot cope, it is completely okay to ask for help from family and friends. If you think you are feeling something more than baby blues, please get in touch with a doctor as soon as you can. There is nothing wrong with seeking help.
What are some of your new mum essentials that helped you survive the fourth trimester? Let us know in the comment section below!