What every new mom needs

Postpartum Essentials: Things New Moms Need for Themselves

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Things New Mothers Need for Themselves

Babies get a ton of new and fun things when they arrive- but what about the new mama? Here’s our list of what MOM needs after having a baby!

There are so many products out there marketed to new moms, and it’s hard to know what to choose! Which things are just cute or unhelpful or clever marketing and which things are what every mom needs after having a baby?

In the month or so after my first child was born, I learned a lot (and my Amazon spending showed it, haha). Some things I knew I’d need but wasn’t sure what kind (like a new bra) and some of it I had one but didn’t know I had the wrong kind for me (like a breastfeeding pillow) and some of it I heard about but didn’t get it early enough to use it with my first baby (and wish I had!).

So let’s get you ahead of the game- here are 10 postpartum essentials to help in baby’s early days!

Note: a lot of these are for breastfeeding mamas. I recognize that not everyone can or wants to breastfeed, and this is not to shame or ignore those that choose differently- this is simply me speaking from my experiences and what was helpful to me– and I did breastfeed. I hope everyone can find something useful, regardless of how you choose to feed your baby!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through my links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

1. What New Moms Need for Themselves: The Nesting Pillow by Blessed Nest.

Y’all, these things aren’t cheap, but hands down it was one of the best purchases I made. I use them so often that I ended up getting two of them (one for the bed and one for the rest of the house) and in the years since I had my daughter I don’t think I’ve gone more than a few days without using them for something.

happy baby
Happy baby on Nesting Pillow!

I had a Boppy  but it was nearly useless to me because I was so wide (yayyyyyy “good birthing hips”) and it wouldn’t go around me and kept sliding out. Which is exactly what I didn’t need as I was trying to figure out breastfeeding and holding a new baby!

By contrast, The Nesting Pillow is like a heavy bean bag for baby to lay on. It stays put and I can adjust it to anywhere on my lap, and even shift the beans a bit to slant baby at the angle that works best for us. It’s seriously my favorite.

Bonus tip: I also love it for behind my back while I’m side-lying nursing (which is a fabulous nursing position for tired mamas). It’s just the right length to support my shoulders down to my hips, and it doesn’t slide around like regular pillows do!

2. What New Moms Needs for Themselves: The Haakaa

This simple piece of silicone is a game-changer. Used most effectively it can help you pump several ounces in just a few minutes. This pump is:

  • Gentle- it uses constant gentle suction instead of a bunch of repeated sucking. As someone who struggles with a regular electric pump, this has allowed me to get milk much more comfortably.
  • Simple- put it on, leave it. No learning how to hook everything, messing with settings, or awkward positions.
breast milk in haakaa; mom needs
  • Easy to clean- a couple quick swishes with a brush and it’s done. It can even go in the dishwasher! This was so helpful to me as I struggled with postpartum anxiety- I couldn’t handle the clean up that the electric pump required each time, but this was totally doable.
  • Used while baby is nursing- the Haakaa is put on the other side while baby nurses. No extra pumping sessions! Because who has time to do anything extra with a newborn??
  • Helpful for getting out clogs using this epsom salt trick.
  • Smart- take my word for it and get the one with the suction cup base and the pour-able lid! Because we all cry over spilled milk.

Pro-tip: try using it first thing in the morning when you’ve likely got the most milk!

3. Things New Moms Need for Themselves: Tend Her Reusable Perineal Pads

With my first child, I was not prepared for the war zone that was “down there” after birth. I knew enough to know there would be bleeding, but I didn’t anticipate the level of pain and soreness that came with it.

With my second, my mom bought me these reusable perineal pads and they were perfect for those days after birth. They can be chilled or heated depending on what you need, and they’re soft and flexible for maximum comfort. And my older one thinks they’re fantastic for her boo-boos, too.

4. After Birth, New Moms Need Depends.

Yep. These stylish panties are a must-have after birth. Yes, if you give birth at a hospital they will likely provide you with the infamous one-size-fits-most mesh panties to take home with you.

But having dealt with those twice, let me just say Depends are infinitely more comfortable and controllable. And then you toss them when your done. And in those days/weeks after birth, anything that reduces mess and increases comfort is worthwhile!

5. After Having a Baby: A Comfy Nursing Bra

Here’s where everyone is going to find their own favorites, but I’ll go ahead and tell you mine! I love these Cake bras; they’re soft, stretchy, and they were the only ones I could handle wearing in those first days of engorgement and sensitivity.

I also have super sensitive skin, so I needed something that could accommodate the size I had grown to but didn’t involve underwire- and these were perfect! Also, I love that the clips are so easy to hook and unhook with one hand- a necessity while nursing!

6. Things a New Mom Needs for Herself: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

I had no idea how many variables there would be to breastfeeding. Each age and stage brought something new and different, and even the second time around I found myself searching through this book again trying to remember the answer to this or that issue.

I especially recommend getting the Kindle version for your phone so you can search it by keyword and read it one-handed while nursing.

Disclaimer on this one: it is a pretty “crunchy” book. Which worked for me because I’m a crunchy person. But if that’s not you- just know to filter it accordingly and/or choose another similar resource!

The most important thing is to have the information on breastfeeding on hand so that you can work through things as you encounter them. Along those lines, Kellymom.com is another great searchable resource!

7. Things New Moms Need for Themselves: Rescue Remedy

This homeopathic remedy has been recommended to me by midwives and doctors as safe during both pregnancy (all trimesters) and breastfeeding, so while you should certainly do your own research, it seems to generally be one of the safer things out there.

Being a mom is stressful– no way around that. And especially in those early days of hormones swinging wildly, it can be hard to hang in there mentally at times- especially if you have any sort of postpartum anxiety/depression. A few drops of Rescue Remedy under my tongue can go a long way in just taking the edge off enough so that I can think a little bit clearer. It’s gentle and easy to take; I have one on my dresser, in my purse, and in the diaper bag!

Pro-tip: They also make a kids’ version that I have given my daughter when she’s having a particularly hard day. Because they have big emotions too!

8. Things New Moms Need for Themselves: Tap Lights

I didn’t have these for the first baby, but they have been one of my favorite purchases for second baby! They have both bright and warm versions, and I’ve found the warm ones to be perfect for nighttime feedings and diaper changes. They’re easy to use and last a really long time on each batch of batteries (even when I’ve forgotten to turn them off all night and day…oops), and I especially like that they “remember” what setting you were on last- so no super bright light coming on when you wanted it dim, etc. They do get bright when you need them to, and they’re easily adjustable (just touch the middle), so they’ve been great to be able to see what we’re doing at night without waking everyone up more than necessary.

Pro-tip: These are also great for having on hand during birth. The low light is enough to see by without being overstimulating.

9. Things New Moms Need for Themselves: Calms Forte

Speaking of nighttime (which all new parents see way too much of), a common complaint among new moms is “I just can’t fall back asleep!” By the time we feed the baby, change a diaper, maybe calm a crying baby, and probably change someone’s pajamas, it’s no wonder we’re fully alert and unable to shut back down quickly.

But every new parent knows that sleep is precious and no one wants to lose a moment of it when the chance is there! Enter Calms Forte. This gentle homeopathic sleep aid is my go-to every night, sometimes multiple times a night.

I love it because it doesn’t make me drowsy (I can still get up and put the 3yo back to bed etc. with no problem) but it does help me to drift off to sleep once I’m ready. I’ve always struggled with going to sleep, so this has been a wonderful tool to get a “good” (relative term at this stage, right?) night’s sleep.

One thing to note: it does take a little while to kick in, so I find it helpful to take it as I’m getting ready for bed- that way by the time I’m laying down to sleep, it’s taking effect.

What Does a New Mom Need? Ideas for Postpartum Moms!

10. What Mom Needs: Water-Friendly Baby Carrier

Baby in a water ring sling; what mom needs

Confession: I may have a baby carrier addiction. I have 10+ baby carriers and I’m a huge fan of baby wearing in most any form.

Eventually I’ll do a post (or series of posts) on the different types of carriers and how to use them, but for now I want to highlight one particular kind: the water-friendly carrier.

Chances are you have a soft-structured carrier or a ring-sling on your registry and you’ve probably been given some sort of stretchy wrap. And those are all great things to have (again, more on those later!). But for the moment I’ll focus on the water-friendly wraps.

Just like with regular carriers, there are several different kinds of water wrap. Among others, there’s the Beachfront Baby Ring Sling one like I have in the above picture (my current favorite), the Beachfront Baby Wrap (see below), or the Baby K-Tan Active (a favorite of some of my friends).

There are 3 main purposes for a water carrier that differ from a regular carrier:

baby in water wrap with mom
Beachfront Baby Wrap
  • The pool. I’m loving my water ring sling this summer, particularly now that I’m chasing a 3 year old. When we went to the pool for the 4th of July my little man even took a nap in the pool in it!
  • The beach. No one wants to get their nice wrap full of salt, sand, and sweat from being at the beach. But most babies still need to be held, even at the beach! The wrap was perfect for this, and when we were done, we could just wash it off and hang it to dry.
  • The shower. Getting Mommy and Baby both clean can be challenging, especially in those first few weeks. Using a water carrier allows some sweet skin-to-skin time while getting you both clean! Plus, being in the water can be soothing for baby- after all they did float around for their first 9 months- and the sound tends to be calming, too. Double win!

BONUS: Every Mom Needs Encouragement

Mama Shark also offers a pack of encouraging Scripture Cards that are great for printing out and hanging up around the house! They also make great Birth Affirmations for labor! In addition, these Random Acts of Encouragement Cards are great for handing out to a mom who needs cheering on.

Also, be sure and join our Smart Motherhood Facebook Group, where Mama Sharks like you share tips and hacks to make daily mom life simpler and easier!

I hope this list of the postpartum essentials that mom needs after having a baby makes things easier for you!

What else did you love postpartum? Anything that you had on your registry that *wasn’t* helpful? For more ideas for what to give Moms, check out my Gift Guide for Moms!

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Are you a pregnant Mama (or know someone who is)? If so, you’ll enjoy these other postpartum-related posts!

Enjoy those babies, Mama, and I hope you have all the things new moms need for themselves!

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43 thoughts on “Postpartum Essentials: Things New Moms Need for Themselves”

  1. Christina Spalding

    This is a fantast list! I wish I had known about some of these things when my baby was a baby! I can’t wait to read all of your articles!

  2. 100% yes on the haakaa, depends, and Peri pads. I have “pumped” at least 8 oz of milk daily in the last month with the haakaa (baby is currently 8 weeks old).
    I had not heard about the wrap for use in the water, that is worth considering for sure.

  3. Hi Stephanie! Love that you’re doing a blog and this is a good list. I would add for us it has been crucial to have some type of fastener style swaddle blanket. While you can certainly swaddle with most any blanket for sleep time, both of mine fought their way out. And when that Moro startle reflex is still strong, a good fastened swaddle to keep baby tight and feeling safe is essential. I have several, but the halo sleep sack is probably my favorite.

    1. Thanks Leigh! Yes, I agree! I almost put a swaddle on there. I think at some point I want to do a whole post on swaddles/sleep sacks. ????????

  4. Don’t forget comfort hydrogels for nursing!!! I had two pairs so that I could rotate in and out of the fridge!

    1. Great tip! I used something similar and they were essential. I hope to do a post for nursing specific must-haves and I’ll make sure those make the list! Thanks!

    1. I so wish I had a Hakka with Alice. It really would have made my EP journey so much easier! I also couldn’t recommend Calms Forte enough! My midwives prescribed sleeping pills for me while
      Alice was in the hospital, but even a quarter pill was so strong I would sleep through all my pumping alarms and still feel exhausted the next day. Calms Forte was perfect to calm my mind and get me a good nights sleep, while still being able to be awake for pumping and get up in the mornings.

  5. This post is coming at the perfect time! I’m about to have my second baby. I definitely need to pick up some of those pads. That sounds great! I can’t wait to breastfeed. All of these products are perfect for new Mama’s.

  6. This is a good list, but I would add one more item – a yoga ball! It was seriously the best thing ever to soothe a fussy baby to sleep and help ease gastric issues!

  7. There are some amazing suggestions in here, I’m particularly fond of the reusable perineal pads and the waterproof baby carrier. Definitely MUST-haves after having a baby. It’s incredible sometimes that baby gets so many new things but mom’s basic needs for hygiene and comfort following birth are neglected!

  8. This is an excellent list of things that mommas definitely need!! I never knew they had water baby carriers, that would have been a life saver!! Thank you for sharing!

  9. This is a great list! I noticed the same thing with my boppy, and just switched to using throw pillows. The Haakaa is my #1 suggested item to new moms! It has literally been a lifesaver! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely refer some of my mom friends to this!

  10. Love this article! Everything is always about baby and often time mommas forget to purchase things for themselves or feel as though they don’t need anything. I love gifting my mom friends not only something for their baby but for them as well, mommas should always be pampered just as much as their baby is!

  11. Ahh the perineal pads are something I’ll have to remember when baby #3 comes this February! I have made pads with aloe and witch hazel in the past but they make a mess as they defrost! These look much cleaner and easier lol

  12. Tap lights are such a good idea! I never thought of that before. I so wish I had had a Haakaa when I was pumping. I absolutely hated using the pump!! Great list!

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