Your complete guide to packing a postpartum survival kit

Are you a new mum, or are you pregnant with your first baby? Perhaps you know someone who is expecting, and you’d like to give them something practical and supportive?

There are so many uncertainties about what motherhood will bring, so knowing what to expect and to prepare for the fourth trimester is key to not only surviving it but thriving in your new role.

There are lots of helpful tools and products available to support postpartum recovery and keep you comfortable. So, pop these in a lovely basket or new bag, and keep it within arm’s reach at all times.

A postpartum survival kit makes a thoughtful gift for any mumma as well, whether it’s their first or their fifth baby.

What to pack in a postpartum survival kit

These items are all for you and for you only, aimed especially at supporting your recovery, comfort, and mental wellbeing.

For breastfeeding

  • Nipple balm to soothe sore nipples. Use one made from natural ingredients, so you don’t need to wipe it off before nursing.
  • Washable nursing pads are useful, particularly while your milk supply becomes established. Yep, you’ll be leaking from various parts of your body!
  • Cool compress to soothe sore and cracked nipples and reduce swelling. You can either buy commercial ones or simply use cold gel or ice packs wrapped in a soft cloth.
  • Nursing bras or tank tops to keep comfortable and provide easy access for feeding bub.

For bottle feeding

  • Pumping bra if you plan on expressing at all. These allow you to pump hands-free, so you can continue caring for your baby and yourself.
  • Nursing pillow to help you position your baby and yourself comfortably while you bottle feed.
  • Bedside bottle-feeding station to make those middle-of-the-night feeds easier and quicker. Check out our 5 hacks for nighttime bottle feeding.

For your post-birth recovery

  • Epsom bath salts to help relieve pain and itching from stitches and haemorrhoids (read more on how to deal with those here), and to relax tired muscles.
  • Maternity pads and panty liners in a variety of sizes. Buy many more than you think you’ll need!
  • ‘Padsicles’, short for pad and popsicle, are sanitary pads that are chilled in the freezer and worn in underwear to provide some soothing relief after a vaginal birth. Pop some in the freezer now and thank yourself later!
  • Adult nappies or period underwear. You might find them easier to deal with than pads during the early weeks, or you might feel the need for both to save ruining your regular underwear.
  • Witch Hazel will be your new best friend. Use it when cleansing your sensitive areas to reduce swelling, fight bacteria, and manage haemorrhoids.
  • Peri bottle to gently cleanse the area after using the toilet rather than the added pressure and irritation from using toilet paper.

For your skin and hair

  • Skin oil to hydrate and alleviate dry and itchy skin. A nourishing oil enriched with natural ingredients will help to improve the smoothness of the skin and overall appearance of new and existing stretch marks.
  • Belly butter made from natural ingredients and with added Vitamin E will help to smooth and protect post-pregnancy skin.
  • Lip balm to nourish those annoying, post-hospital dry lips.
  • Facial wipes because some days you’ll be too sleep-deprived to even think about washing your face, so keep some handy to freshen up anytime you need it.
  • Dry shampoo for those days (or weeks!) between hair washes. Buy it in bulk!
  • Hair ties to pull back your hair when you need to (and you know they always disappear so have a stash of them). They’re also good to keep on your wrist to remind you what side you need to breastfeed on next.
  • Hand sanitiser to ensure good hygiene particularly before feeding your baby, after nappy changes, and for guests who want to hold your baby. You probably have a huge supply of the stuff these days anyway!
  • Hand cream to keep your hands soft after all that nappy changing and extra hand washing and sanitising.

For your mental health

  • Contact details for free professional support. You’re not alone, and help is out there. This is a vital tool to keep in your postpartum survival kit. Keep these phone numbers and website details saved in your phone or printed out: Free professional advice and support for new parents.
  • Journal/gratitude journal to help keep you in check when the days feel overwhelming and all-consuming.

For your appetite

  • Healthy snacks are important to have in abundance. In the early weeks you’ll be spending a lot of time cuddling and feeding your little one, so preparing an actual meal will be challenging. Some good ideas are trail mix, muesli/protein bars, fruit, and bliss balls.

For your hydration needs

  • Water bottle (or three, left in different areas of the house). You’ll find yourself thirstier than ever, particularly if you’re breastfeeding.
  • New tea/coffee cup to feel a bit special when you down your lactation tea or hit of caffeine (even though it will probably be cold!). Get yourself one that has a funny or uplifting quote about motherhood.

For comfort and relaxation

  • Fluffy or silky robe and slippers to make you feel comfy and cosy, especially as you’ll probably find it difficult to get dressed some days.
  • Yoga pants or postpartum support leggings with plenty of stretch to mould to your changing body.
  • Headphones to listen to meditations or relaxing music to keep you calm while you feed and settle your bub to sleep.
  • Silk pillowcases for a luxurious sleep between baby feeds and night wakes.
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