Postpartum and breastfeeding items are a little different than the rest of the things on your registry or shopping list since they are almost all things for YOU as the mother rather than for the baby. For that reason, I think these are the most important items on your list and most of them are under the “must have” category for very good reason!
Breastfeeding Must Haves
Milkies Milk Saver
This is my number one recommended registry item! It’s a total lifesaver of a product that allows you to save breast milk that is leaking out of the non-nursing side while your baby nurses on the other side. In the beginning many moms are making more milk than is needed while your body adjusts to your baby’s needs (hence engorgement). You also shouldn’t use a breast pump in the early days because it stimulates your breasts to make even more milk so the Milk Saver is also a great way to start a freezer stash for future occasions when you want baby to take a bottle. Without ever pumping, I managed to store around 6 ounces of milk each day just using the Milk Saver. The best part about this product was that it allowed me to feed my baby without soaking through numerous breast pads and my clothes in the process. I brought it everywhere with me and was even able to discreetly use it in restaurants.
LANAcare nursing pads
These wool pads are self-cleaning and simply dry each night so you only need two pairs and just alternate one pair while the other is drying. These are amazing if you have oversupply and your milk lets down at the very thought of your newborn. They keep your nipples feeling dry and don’t have the cold and clammy effect that cotton pads offer—very useful in cold climates or well air conditioned buildings. You’ll also need a bottle of lanolin wash which will last forever (I still have mine 5 years later).
There are lots of choices so if possible try them out in the store before ordering or maybe even see if you can borrow a friends until you discover your favorite. With my first baby, I had the Boppy and still love that product for its many uses. I discovered the My Brest Friend pillow with my second and loved that it stays in place and was way more supportive to me than the Boppy. It also has a pocket where I kept chapstick, nipple cream and secret stashes of chocolate (I mean healthy snacks). It’s also a life saver for c section mamas because you can clip it to stay in place above your scar relieving the pressure that other pillows would cause. There’s also a travel friendly pillow made by some mamas in Texas called the Nursie.
This is another department where everyone has their favorite type so don’t give up if the first one you try isn’t working out. I liked thick lanolin for the early days when I’m extra extra raw (put it on before and after every single feeding and before getting in the shower). Then once my nipples have toughened up a bit I switch to a less intense nipple balm.
Water + Snack Station
If you thought you were thirsty all the time when you were pregnant, just wait because you basically transform into a ravenous camel when you are breastfeeding. I suggest having two full reusable water cups WITH straws next to you at all times. I also love the idea of a beautiful filtered water pitcher on your nursing station to remind you (and your helpers) that you need to stay hydrated. Next create a box full of snacks (trail mix, protein bars, nuts) and make sure the rest of the family knows that these are just for you!
At first, simply staring at your baby will be more than enough entertainment but eventually your neck will start to hurt from looking down and you will be stationed in that same nursing chair for so long that you’ll want something to do. Although Netflix can be tempting I recommend limiting TV especially in the middle of the night as it can stimulate you and baby and reduce sleep (we definitely don’t want to do that!). Some other suggestions are books on tape, podcasts (Oh hey I know of a good one!) or using a kindle which you can adjust to be very low light when needed. I love the idea of registering for a Kindle as a great gift from a brother or grandpa who might be nervous shopping for baby items.
Postpartum Needs (aka “down there”)
Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bundle
So many wonderful postpartum recovery essentials in one gift. The bottom balm and spray are life savers for healing your bottom and perineum. I used them so much that I now associate the smell of these products with my postpartum days. They are also really useful for anyone who suffers from hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Unfortunately most women get hemorrhoids (either during pregnancy or after giving birth). You will want Tucks pads for use after every bowel movement (in place of toilet paper) as well as for cooling and healing postpartum (tuck them into your butt crack or lie them out on your maxi pad). Get a large pack and store them in all of your bathrooms and transfer some to a ziploc baggie to bring in your purse as well. Just trust me.
I took an herb bath every single day for a week after both of my babies were born and it was my favorite time of day and is still one of my favorite memories of the postpartum haze. It’s a great way to relax and bond with your baby at end of each day. I would bring baby in with me for the first 15 minutes or so and then hand baby off to my husband so I could relax and enjoy the rest of the bath alone. The herbs in an postpartum herb bath are healing for “down there” and for baby’s umbilical cord. My two favorite herb baths are here and here. You can also make your own if you’re handy like that!
Mesh Boyshort Undies
You will likely receive a couple of these from the hospital, birth center or in your homebirth kit. They are glorious (comfy, fit big pads, disposable)! You will want them for a couple days or weeks after baby is born. So either plan ahead and order some extra to sneak them in your bag at your birth place!
Midwifes and hospitals use these to protect surfaces from fluids and they are extremely useful around the house. I recommend laying on them for the first few nights when your blood flow is unpredictable and using them under baby for diaper changes, naked time, etc. They will save you so much time in doing less laundry in the early days. It’s also a good idea to put a waterproof sheet on your bed—one trick is to double bag your bed so waterproof sheet, fitted sheet, second waterproof sheet, second fitted sheet. That way if there is a big mess in the middle of the night you just strip off the top layer and go back to bed.