Are you anxiously waiting for the last few weeks of your pregnancy to pass by? This happens to every expecting mom. The last trimester always seems like the longest part of your pregnancy.
But thankfully, soon to be moms can stay busy by preparing for their baby’s arrival. Now we’ve all heard of nesting which is when a pregnant mom starts cleaning and organizing her home for a new baby. This usually includes deep cleaning the home, getting all of the baby furniture built and also washing newborn clothing.
One thing however that is often less talked about is stocking up on all of the essentials that you will need for after you bring home your baby.
Of course, you’ve probably already stockpiled diapers, baby wipes, and any other baby essentials, but what about all of the household and personal care items that you’ll need while you’re at home recovering for the first few weeks after giving birth.
The first 4-6 weeks after your baby is born is often spent at home getting adjusted and healing. And I know that after having both of my babies via c-section, I had no desire to get out of the house to get anything. That’s why stocking up on the essentials that you will need is so important.
Another reason that it’s better to be prepared by stocking up on your household and personal care items is to avoid taking your newborn baby out into the public. This is even more important if your baby is born during cold and flu season(which both of mine were).
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How Much Should I Stock Up On?
Once you’ve given birth, you are not back to your “normal” (or new normal) self for about 4-6 weeks. And most new moms are so exhausted from taking care of a newborn, that they never have the energy to leave the house.
So for this reason, if you can get all the supplies you will need to live for about 4-6 weeks comfortably, you will be completely prepared.
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What Items Do I Really Need?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’ll really need until you’re out of it and then you’re kicking yourself for not putting that item on the list. But here are a few basic things that you will need for both your household, family and most likely yourself as a new mom in the first 6 weeks.
THINGS FOR MOM
After giving birth, your body goes through some really crazy changes and if you’re a first-time mom, you may not know what to expect or prepare for.
Depending on whether you are going to breastfeed or formula feed you may or may not need these items. But here are the things that I am so thankful that I stocked up on before having both of my babies.
1. Overnight Maxi Pads
It happens to every new mom. Once you’ve given birth, you will begin to have lots of vaginal bleeding. Don’t worry. It is completely normal. Most women describe postpartum bleeding as a very heavy period.
New moms can have postpartum bleeding anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks after giving birth. This is one reason that it’s important to have maxi pads on hand.
And I mean a ton of them. I personally looked for the overnight ones with wings to prevent any leaks.
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2. Postpartum Underwear
Whether you’re having a vaginal or c-section birth, your tummy and everything down under is going to feel tender. And because of this, your regular undies are probably not going to feel as comfortable as before.
That’s where postpartum underwear is a lifesaver.
And as a mom who’s had two c-sections, I loved wearing postpartum underwear that came up over my belly. They not only felt comfortable but also kept the pressure off of my incision.
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3. Stool Softener
One of the worst parts of postpartum is going to the bathroom for the first time after giving birth. Unfortunately, you just have to take your time and let it all come out so to speak.
One great thing that did help with going number 2 was a stool softener.
Most obgyns will prescribe or recommend that new moms take a stool softener daily for just this reason.
4. Breast Pump and Accessories
Are you planning on breastfeeding?
If so, you’ll want to have a few items to help you along your breastfeeding journey. The first is a breast pump.
Now, of course, you don’t have to have a breast pump to successfully breastfeed your baby, but I found that after using a breast pump once daily I was able to double my breast milk almost overnight.
Plus did you know that most health insurances cover the cost of a breast pump? Check to see if you qualify for your own free breast pump through your insurance.
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5. Breast Therapy Pads
Breastfeeding is tough on – well your breasts. Learning how to breastfeed takes time for both you and your baby so there will probably be a few hiccups along the way. Plus getting used to breastfeeding takes a bit of time as well.
These breast therapy pads were a huge help when my nipples were feeling very sore. The best thing about them is that you can chill them and heat them up depending on what type of soothing you are looking for.
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6. Nursing Bras and Tops
Easy access is essential when you are breastfeeding several times throughout the day and night.
Nursing bras and camis are made specifically for quick access to feed your baby anytime and place. I made sure to have a few nursing bras and camis before my baby was due so I’d be prepared.
7. Nipple Cream
As I said, when you start breastfeeding, you are going to have some discomfort. Of course, if it’s more than just mild discomfort, you should talk with your hospital’s lactation consultant to make sure that you have a good breastfeeding latch.
But if you are just having a little bit of nipple pain, your best bet is to use some nipple cream. Nipple cream not only helps with soothing soreness but also helps if your nipples become dry and cracked.
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8. Breast Pads
One last thing you absolutely need to stock up on if you are going to breastfeed is breast pads. When you start breastfeeding you will only have a little bit of colostrum (the goldish, yellow milk that is packed full of antibodies, fat, vitamins and more that your newborn needs).
However, once you’ve left the hospital and within a few days of breastfeeding, your breast milk should start to come in. And when that happens new moms often experience leaking. This is why having breast pads in your bra is so essential so you don’t leak through your clothes.
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THINGS FOR HOME
Along with everything you will need for your post-baby body, you will also need things in your home for you and your family to keep going on.
Some of these things may not apply to everyone but here are some of the most common household items to stock up on before your baby arrives.
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9. Toilet Paper
Everyone’s gotta go. So you’ve already stocked up on baby diapers, but have you gotten enough toilet paper for your family during the first 4-6 weeks. The last thing you want to do is be on the toilet and have no toilet paper left.
So don’t go crazy and buy tons of rolls of toilet paper, but try to get enough for about 1-2 months so you are covered.
10. Paper Towels
To be completely honest, I rarely use paper towels anymore since switching to cloth kitchen towels. This has saved me a ton of money.
However, to save me from having so much laundry, I did purchase a few rolls of paper towels to use when I first came home with our newborn.
11. Disposable Plates, Cups, and Utensils
Once again, we almost never have any disposable plates and etc, but to keep me from having to wash dishes in my exhausted state after giving birth, I bought enough disposable dinnerwear to last the first 6 weeks after having our newborn.
It doesn’t seem like much but it really did save me a ton of housework.
12. Hand Soap
Keeping your newborn baby from getting nasty germs is a challenge. One thing you can do is to have everyone wash their hands before they hold your newborn.
This even includes you and your immediate family. Everyone should be washing their hands to minimize any germs being spread to your baby. So make sure to have a few bottles of hand soap available for the kitchen and bathrooms.
13. Hand Sanitizer
And just to be safe, you can also stock up on a few bottles of hand sanitizer for at the front door, next to the changing table, and other places where you may touch your baby.
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14. Dish Soap
Of course, I know I said that getting paper plates is to help keep you from washing dishes all the time, but you will still need dish soap for other dishes such as:
- pots and pans
- cooking utensils
Just try to get a couple of bottles so you know for sure you’ll be set for the first 6 weeks.
15. Dishwasher Detergent
And if you are like me and absolutely depend on the dishwasher, make sure you have at least a month’s worth or more of dishwasher detergent.
16. Laundry Detergent
Even if you don’t have many dishes to wash, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your laundry. With a new baby, you will have tons of dirty clothes that are piling up.
So get a bottle or two of laundry detergent to get you through the first 6 weeks or you can make your own with this recipe here.
Make sure to keep your teeth nice and clean by getting enough toothpaste for your family. Most families don’t need much to survive for 4-6 weeks but you’ll want to ensure that you’re not running low.
18. Shampoo and Conditioner
There is nothing like having a shower to make you feel human after having a baby. So check your shower to see if you have enough shampoo and conditioner for everyone in your home to last for the next month or so.
19. Body Wash or Bar Soap
The same goes for your body wash and soap. If you are starting to get to the bottom of the bottle, grab an extra to keep you through the next 6 weeks. And don’t forget to check your spouse’s as well.
20. Household Cleaners
Although your house will probably not look as tidy as it did before baby, you’ll still want to vacuum, clean up any spills, and disinfect your surfaces. So while you are gathering up all of your supplies at the store make sure you get your favorite household cleaners or you could make your own.
I make my own cleaners with these essential oils. With just a glass spray bottle, a few drops of lemon essential oil, and some distilled white vinegar, I can make an all-in-one cleaner.
21. Trash Bags
Don’t forget that you’ve got to have a place to throw all of the disposables away. So get a box with enough trash bags to last your family 4-6 weeks.
One of the things I always forget is batteries. No matter how hard I try. You don’t really realize how many of your baby items require batteries but a few of them are the:
- baby swing
- baby monitor
- white noise machine
So while you are getting your baby’s room set up, check to see what type of batteries you need and try to get all of the baby items ready to be used.
23. Freezer Meals
Of course, this one takes a little more effort but it’s totally worth it.
When you first come home with your newborn baby, cooking will be the very last thing on your mind. And of course, ordering food can add up really quickly. That’s where freezer meals come in handy.
Try to find at least 3 weeks worth of freezer meals for your family and shop for enough ingredients to double those recipes. That way you will have 6 weeks worth of meals all ready. I personally love slow cooker and sheet pan meals that are made to just dump and go.
24. Pantry Essentials
It drives me absolutely crazy when I am missing something from my pantry – like ketchup. So try to go through your entire pantry to see what you are running low on and what you want to have for those first 6 weeks when you bring home your baby.
Some of my must-have pantry essentials include:
- cooking oils
- peanut butter
- canned goods
Snacks are a must in this house. And they are even more of an essential if you are a breastfeeding mom or have other children. I recommend having lots of healthy snacks on hand to grab really quickly when you need a little hunger fix.
Here are our family’s favorite snacks:
- snack bars
26. Bottled Water or Water Filters
Not everyone is lucky enough to have well water, but if you are I envy you. Unfortunately, we only have tap water and I do not like the taste of it. So if you are like me, and use a water filter make sure you stock up on an extra water filter just in case.
And if you drink bottled water get enough bottled water for about 4 weeks if you can.
Now I will tell you if you plan to breastfeed, you are going to be drinking a lot more water than you did during your pregnancy. This is because you are having to make breast milk for your baby while also hydrating your body.
27. Pet Food
Lastly, if you have a pet at home, grab an extra bag of their food as well to make sure you don’t run out in the first 4-6 weeks. Thankfully, we didn’t have any pets when we had our babies, but I know many families do.