Pregnancy & Postpartum

Postpartum Care Kit: What to Buy and What to Get From the Hospital

Preparing my postpartum care kit was the biggest difference in how I approached nesting with my second baby versus my first baby!

With my first baby I was mostly concerned about making sure the nursery, aka “expensive diaper-changing room,” was set up and I honestly didn’t even know what a postpartum care kit was!

I’ve learned some postpartum recovery truth bombs since then and I know that what new moms need more than anything the first few weeks home with a newborn is a good support system and self care plan, including a postpartum care kit.

postpartum care kit on toilet filled with pads and peri bottles

The good news is, you don’t have to go out and spend a fortune.

You can get many of the items you’ll need for your postpartum care kit right from the hospital. And the other items most experienced moms agree on and recommend are very affordable.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that not all hospital facilities are the same and will not offer the exact same items to women routinely after birth.

If you are going to a hospital that participates in the World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Initiative, for example, they will not offer you any pacifiers to use or formula samples to take home with you as this goes against the initiative’s policy on helping mother’s to establish successful breastfeeding.

I think this is why some mama’s talk about taking home a lot more baby care items than others! It really just depends on the hospital.

Regardless, the following are the items that you can generally count on the hospital providing to you as a postpartum mama during your stay.

Postpartum Care Kit Items to Get From the Hospital

1. Maternity Pads

These are gigantic pads specifically designed to accomodate a woman’s flow after giving birth (when I say gigantic I mean….GIGANTIC.)

They will provide you with these at the hospital, and it is okay to ask for more if you feel like you are going through them quickly. One pack of maternity pads was perfect for me with both of my births but some people need them for the first couple of weeks.

Sidenote: if you don’t own a small bathroom trash can with a lid yet this is a wise item to invest in as you are going to be disposing of these frequently.

2. Mesh Undies

Don’t toss the extra pairs of mesh undies at the hospital! Take them home and put them in your postpartum care kit. They are comfy and stretchy enough to easily accomodate the maternity pads.

I’ve never purchased any special “postpartum” underwear outside of these bad boys, but I did buy these maternity underwear while pregnant and they worked great for me postpartum too.

3. Peri-Bottle

Having a perineal lavette bottle or “peri-bottle” is essentially going to be like having your own personal little bidet to use before you can wipe with TP like a normal person again. They are wonderful, promote healing, AND the hospital will give you one. So be sure to take it home.

They can be re-purposed for a ton of things such as bath time squirt guns, baby shampoo rinsers, homemade cleaning product storage bottles, or massage oil dispensers to name a few. So don’t hesitate to order an extra set for cheap if you have multiple bathrooms you want to make sure are stocked up with one.

(And no I don’t really think you need a full kit for every bathroom in your home, but these are pretty nice to have multiples of.)

4. Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads

If you’ve torn at all or are very swollen your nurses will probably provide you with some Tucks medicated cooling pads. They contain witch hazel which is very soothing.

Requesting and taking home a pack of Tucks from the hospital is a little cheaper and less work than making DIY “padsicles” at home. (Padsicles = freezing aloe vera and witch hazel on pads for postpartum comfort.)

I’m not knocking padsicles. A friend gave me some padsicles after the birth of my first baby and they were awesome!

However, Tucks are essentially the same thing just not frozen and, therefore, even easier to store in your postpartum care kit. It really is so nice to have what you need right there in the bathroom for you! So don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for some at the hospital.

5. Dermoplast

Dermoplast is another pain-relief item that’s made with benzocaine, aloe, lanolin and menthol. It’s wonderful to have following a vaginal birth because of it’s no-touch application and quick working action. You can get this from the hospital and take it home with you!

And those are the five non-negotiable items that I recommend taking home from the hospital for your postpartum care kit following birth!

There are other types of items that you can and might want to take home from the hospital. (And if you want to see the complete list of everything I have taken home from the hospital after the births of my two babies I’ve included it at the bottom of this post!)

But the following items won’t be provided by a hospital and I think they are wonderful items to also have for your recovery! You can buy them ahead of time or even add them to your baby registry.

Postpartum Care Kit Items to Buy

1. Sitz Bath Supplies

For a good post on how and why to set up a sitz bath, I recommend checking out Mama Natural’s post here. But essentially, you will soak in a bath filled with epsom salts or sitz bath herbs to cleanse and help heal your perineum.

With my first baby this was wonderful but after my second I personally managed to accomplish this…once. It was just too unrealistic for me to accomplish the daily recommened bath (or two!) Luckily someone invented this all-natural sitz bath spray just for convenience-loving mamas like me.

2. Pain Meds & Stool Softeners

Pain medications are a great thing to discuss with your doctor before you have your baby! Likely your doctor can prescribe you Tylenol, Ibuprofen (or stronger pain medication) and stool softeners at the hospital.

Some hospitals have their own pharmacies in which case you might get your pain meds and stool softeners delivered right to your room to take home with you before you go.

If this is not the case, your doctor can still write a prescription for these items. But if they are simply over-the-counter pain meds and stool softeners it is up to you to determine if you want to have to make a trip to your pharmacy after checking out from the hospital or just buy your own ahead of time so you’re ready to go.

No right or wrong answer here, just chat with your doctor ahead of time if you have any questions so you know what to expect!

3. Postpartum Recovery Tea

What could I say about Pink Stork’s line of postpartum teas other than how much I freaking love them?!

They are so yummy and balancing AND address nutrient deficiencies in new mothers. They have several varieties, but the strawberry passionfruit recovery tea is my absolute favorite.

If you don’t think you can splurge on them, add them to your registry! You’d be surprised at how important other mamas think YOUR needs are too.

4. Nursing Camis

I have both nursing bras and camis but if I had to choose one or the other I would choose nursing camis all the way! I live in these things. It’s honestly hard for me to stop myself from saying how much I love these.

A) I get bothered by wearing robes. A nursing cami and comfy yoga pants or gym shorts are my initial postpartum uniform for all day every day.

B) When ready to wear regular clothes again a nursing cami makes the two-shirt method of breastfeeding in public THAT much easier by only wearing two layers. It keeps you covered and is so convenient. And did I mention comfortable?

C) I love this multipack of camis because I don’t particularly care too much for pads and these are removable. What’s important to me is that they are stretchy and have adjustable straps. Yay!

5. Book: Natural Healing After Birth

In Natural Healing After Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness, author Jill Aviva calls mothers to respect the postpartum period as a designated time to retreat and prioritize the gentle healing and recovery she desperately needs. 

This book was my companion when I had my second child. I loved it and wish I would have had it with my first! It’s a very reassuring and comforting read to know that what you are going through is normal, plus practical tips for healing. Whether this or The Fourth Trimester, I recommend adding a good postpartum book to your library.

6. A Year of Unlimited Grocery Delivery

Okay, okay. This is not a postpartum necessity. But when I found out it was available where I lived I decided to give it a try after my second baby was born and it was life-changing! You can check out my full Delivery Unlimited review here if you want to know more.

Complete List of What I’ve Taken Home From The Hospital After Birth

And for reference, here is the complete list of items I’ve taken home from the hospital between the births of my two babies!

  • Maternity pads
  • Mesh underwear
  • Peri-bottles
  • Tucks
  • Dermoplast
  • Small tubes of lanolin
  • Lansinoh Soothie Gel Pads
  • Pumping supplies
  • Plastic dishpan and travel dish soap
  • A sitz bath
  • Chapstick
  • Hospital cold beverage tumbler
  • Grippy socks
  • Diapers
  • Baby beanie hat
  • Infant nasal aspirator
  • My pain meds and stool softeners
  • My insurance-covered breastpump

And there you have it! As you can see, the hospital has got pretty much everything you need. Don’t be shy about communicating with your nurse about your needs. They are there to help you!

I hope you enjoyed these tips and have a smooth recovery, mama.

P.S. Don’t forget to pack an empty tote in your hospital bag. You will need it for bringing home extra supplies to create your postpartum care kit!

Up Next: 5 Honest Truths I’ve Learned About Postpartum Recovery

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