During my third trimester of pregnancy I spent a TON of time (probably too much time, to be honest) scouring the internet for all the things I HAD to have in hospital bag, as well as items baby and I would need during our first month home. I found SO many blog posts that were helpful, but also seemed to be filled with fluff, and it left me wondering what I ACTUALLY NEEDED.

So now that I am almost one whole month postpartum I wanted to do a simple post covering the items I used every. single. day. for myself and Coston. No fluff, just the things that helped me ease into this transition without waisting a bunch of money on items I would never use. I’m really hoping this helps any of you future mamas out there!

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1. SITZ BATH + SITZ TEA - I was really fortunate to only push during delivery for 4 minutes before Coston came shooting out (how’s that for a visual?!), but that left me with 2nd degree tears. In the first two weeks at home I was in quite a bit of pain and I was swollen like crazy, so soaking in a sitz bath was one of the only things that gave me relief. I had ordered this Mama SItz tea from Fat & The Moon and loved adding these healing herbs to my bath to help soothe and heal my very irritated nether regions. During the first week I tried to make time for 2 sitz baths a day and then tapered down to 1 per day during the second week.

2. MATERNITY PADS - This is a no brainer. For the first two weeks I bled like I had a heavy period, as well as passed some pretty large blog clots (all very normal), so traditional pads weren’t absorbent or long enough for the situation. I was glad I had these so that I didn’t have to stress about leakage.

3. BOPPY PILLOW - While we’re on the topic of nether regions, sitting down post delivery is NOT fun. My friend told me while I was still recovering in the hospital that I would want a Boppy Pillow to SIT ON when I got home. I had never heard of doing this and didn’t quite understand it until I got home and realized that sitting on the couch or sitting up in bed to breastfeed was a HUGE challenge due to the swelling and stitches. Once I tried sitting on the Boppy it all made sense. It takes the pressure off your bum and any areas of swelling and allows you to relax while sitting up. Once you’re fully healed and can sit down without the Boppy, it has a bunch of other really helpful uses! You can use it to support baby while breastfeeding, you can prop baby up in the center post-breastfeeding so they don’t spit up, and you can have baby lean over it on their tummy to do supported tummy time. I don’t know what I would have done without my Boppy…seriously.

4. NIPPLE SHIELD - I really wanted to be able to breastfeed Coston, but I knew it would be difficult. Coston struggled to figure out a good latch during the first week or so, which resulted in some pretty gnarly blisters, and later scabbing, on my nipples. If it’s not obvious, THAT HURT A LOT. Because of the pain I experienced while breastfeeding I started to get anxiety any time he started to get fussy, knowing he needed to eat and it would be very painful. After consulting with my doula she recommended trying a nipple shield. I kid you not, the first time I used it to breastfeed Coston I broke out into tears of relief because it DIDN’T HURT anymore to feed my baby! I cannot recommend a nipple shield enough if you have any sort of discomfort while nursing, it SAVED ME.

5. TUCKS MEDICATED PADS - I really don’t know how I would have gotten through those first few weeks without these. While I was recovering in the hospital post-birth, the nurses taught me how to layer these cooling pads on my maternity pad and they would provide relief for hours and the witch hazel would prevent against infection. After I left the hospital I continued to use these almost every time I used the bathroom for the first two weeks and still use them at night or when I’m feeling swollen or irritated.

6. NIPPLE SALVE - Also on the subject of breastfeeding, lanolin salve is a lifesaver. My nipples were so uncomfortable (and still are as we continue to figure this out) and the salve helps relieve discomfort and heal any sort of dryness, cracks, blisters or scabs I have from feeding.

7. NURSING & PUMPING BRA - I originally saw this bra on a bloggers Instagram and LOVED that it could be used for breastfeeding or hands-free pumping AND looked like a normal bra! I ordered one to try during the first week and loved it so much I ended up ordered two more. I love that I can wear it while pumping and have my hands free to eat or get ready in the morning. It also has those super easy snaps for breastfeeding, looks SO PRETTY, and is fairly affordable.

8. PERI BOTTLE + PERINEAL SOOTHING MIST - The hospital gives you a peri bottle to use and take home after delivery and it becomes your new best friend. Literally I have no idea how I have gone this long without using one. I was so sore and swollen down there that the idea of wiping after using the bathroom was a total no-go. You just rinse with the peri bottle and dab with toilet paper and you’re good to go. I had also ordered this perineal soothing mist to have on hand and I love it. It is packed with healing herbs and witch hazel and you just spritz it on each time you use the restroom. It helps relieve pain and swelling and encourages faster healing. It’s also really great for hemorrhoids (which unfortunately, are super common after delivery).

9. HIGH-WAISTED FULL COVERAGE UNDERWEAR - This was something I didn’t have in my closet prior to birth, but I read on someone’s blog that they were glad they had these at home, so I ordered a four pack and was so glad I did. Once I graduated out of the mesh undies they give you at the hospital, I still needed some full coverage underwear because of the large pads I was wearing during the first two weeks. These were perfect, and the high waist helped my stomach feel supported as it was shrinking back down after delivery.

10. AFTERBIRTH EASE TEA - Packed with raspberry leaves and other healing herbs, this tea helps shrink your uterus back to it’s original size, as well as ease the pain of post-birth contractions and promote healing and wellbeing throughout the rest of your recovering body. I drank a cup of this at least once a day and HIGHLY recommend it!

11. BREAST PUMP - I wasn’t sure if I would need this, but I applied for one through my insurance during my 3rd trimester anyway, and THANK GOODNESS. During the first few weeks I felt like I wasn’t producing enough milk, so I would pump in between Coston’s feedings to stimulate more production. Anything extra that I pumped I was able to feed him later so that we could get his weight back up to birth weight (which is something he definitely struggled with during the first month). This pump is so intuitive and easy to use, as well as COMPACT, so I can easily tuck it away between uses.