Essential Things New Moms Need for Themselves

Essential Things New Moms Need for Themselves

Posted by Hello Postpartum on

woman kissing her newborn baby

Enough with the swaddles and receiving blankets; a registered nurse and new mom shares the top 15 must-have items that new moms need for themselves.

I became a new mom in January 2021. Throughout my pregnancy, I focused on all things baby: preparing and registering for items supporting his new life and reading endlessly about how to ensure his safety and well-being.

And yet, in hindsight, I wish I had taken just as much time to prepare for the “What to Expect When You Become a Mother” and the postpartum phase of recovery.

Had I known some of these things, I would have known there is a list for new moms that is just as important to support our new life, safety, and well-being. 

Things new moms need for themselves

Let’s take a closer look at the 15 things new moms need for themselves after birth. Keep in mind these items aren’t simply “pads and underwear” but are carefully chosen to provide the birthing parent with as much support as they need.

  1. Postpartum recovery kit

  2. Comfortable clothing and bras

  3. Bedside rolling cart

  4. Postnatal vitamins

  5. Relaxation activities

  6. Prepared meals

  7. Helping hands

  8. Healthy boundaries

  9. Household support

  10. Handpicked resources

  11. Postpartum therapist

  12. Lactation consultant

  13. Pelvic floor specialist

  14. Sleep plan

  15. Community support

1. Postpartum recovery kit

 Note: this kit may look different depending on your delivery (vaginal or cesarean).

No matter what your birth looked like, you’ll need the following:

  • Postpartum pads

  • Disposable underwear (hospitals are the best!)

  • Pain relievers as prescribed (including) Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen

  • Stool softeners

If you had a vaginal birth, add a peri bottle, perineal balm, and ice packs.

If you had a c-section birth, add a gentle abdominal binder, high-waisted underwear, and skin salve (scar sheets/balms). You can create your own  c-section recovery kit at home.

If breastfeeding or pumping: nipple balm/nursing cups, nipple shields, and pumping accessories may be beneficial.

postpartum mom using a binder

2. Comfortable clothing and bras

Loose-fitting clothing will be ideal as you physically rest and heal in the first few weeks. Postpartum loungewear will be your best friend right now.

If you choose to breastfeed or pump,  button-down or breastfeeding shirts  are helpful. Supportive, comfortable, and appropriately fitted nursing, pumping, or bras are essential.

When you move out of the “comfy clothes” phase (does that ever happen?), you can create a nursing capsule wardrobe to make getting dressed much more effortless.

*Note: like baby poop, breastmilk can stain, and you will inevitably have it on you at all times. Accepting this fact now and purchasing some non-toxic high-powered stain remover is essential.

3. Bedside rolling cart

It’s the  one-stop shop  for baby’s needs (e.g., bottles, pumping equipment, diapers, burp cloths, extra set of clothes for the middle of the night diaper explosion) and mom’s needs (water bottle, snacks, chargers, and whatever else you need).


Favorites rolling cart ,  water bottle ,  hydrating electrolyte powder , and  straws


Postpartum tip: hydration is critical for regulating our bodies: organ function, joint mobility, temperature, preventing infections, and improving sleep and mood. Set reminders to drink if you need to.

postnatal vitamins in someones hands

4. Postnatal vitamins

Your body changed a lot over the last ten months, and it will continue to change in this new phase of motherhood. Support in the form of proper postnatal supplementation is one thing it needs during this season.

 A favorite Anya


5. Relaxation activities

Whether it’s old TV show episodes, new podcasts, music, or audiobooks (you can try Audible for free), have something mindless on hand if you need it during feeds or pump sessions.

Whether it’s a 10-minute walk outside per day or a non-rushed shower, these are non-negotiables for your physical well-being.

6-8. Village support

Prepared meals

Friends and family meal train, fridge stock services, postpartum meal subscriptions, food delivery gift cards–whatever it may be. This is the gift that will keep giving—one less thing to plan or think about in the early days of motherhood.

Helping hands

Identify what you need those extra helping hands to do: hold the baby so you can shower. Do a load of laundry so you can have the baby? Load the dishwasher so you can close your eyes for 30 minutes?  Ask for the help that helps you. 

Healthy boundaries

Learning to create, set, and hold boundaries in solidarity with your partner  is so helpful in the early days of becoming or expanding your family.

Who, when, and what timeframe do visitors have with you? What are you comfortable with? This can change over time. This is not always easy, but so truly important.

 husband doing dishes 

9. Dividing household tasks

Life becomes overwhelming when trying to care for yourself and another dependent human being (let alone trying to manage an entire home and family).

Identifying your needs and how best to divide household tasks allows for fairness and harmony to be maintained.

10. Hand-picked resources

The world of social media is the most accessible place to dive into wanting answers to the biggest challenge you are presently facing as a new parent: feeding, sleep; you name it.

 Be selective in the content you’re following and engaging with. With so much knowledge at our fingertips, it’s easy to validate or question your decisions, overwhelm and exhaust you.

When in doubt,  leverage resources that provide data  and allow you to make parenting decisions.


 new mom getting postpartum therapy 

11-15. Well-being team

Postpartum therapist

Dedicate time to identifying a therapist you can contact postpartum if needed. It may be worth  conversing with a therapist during pregnancy  if you think this is something you may need postpartum.

Navigating the newness, identity shifts, and things out of your control postpartum (e.g., hormonal changes) and how it will affect you should be prioritized for your physical and emotional well-being. Healthy mom = healthy baby.

Lactation consultant

Lactation consultants specialize in  the clinical management of breastfeeding.  This is so essential if breastfeeding and pumping are something you wish to try. 

I learned so much in my virtual Facetime consultation in an hour with my LC about the importance of latch mechanics, feeding goals, and pumping support (appropriate nipple sizing, comfort accessories, and so on).

A favorite resource
Printable nipple measuring tool  (did you know shield size matters for effective pumping?)

Pelvic floor specialist

Pelvic floor specialists focus on rehabilitating muscles in the pelvic floor after injury or dysfunction. This is so important for adequately healing pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy and delivery that it can have long-term effects if not addressed.

I highly recommend identifying one early in your postpartum experience to optimize your pelvic floor function.

mom with pelvic floor issues

Sleep plan

This may take some time to establish–however, identifying a plan to allow for a solid stretch of sleep for your healing and mental well-being is paramount.

This may look like a partner or  someone taking the “first shift” overnight  to provide a bottle of formula or pumped breastmilk so you can have a minimum 4-hour stretch of sleep. This is restorative and promotes your healing.

Again, a healthy mom = a healthy baby.

Mom Tribe, New Parent Groups, Friends, Family

Call it whatever you want and need it to be. Have your list of a few people you can reach out to who understand where you are, who can hold space for your experience and be there for you at your highest of highs and lowest of lows.

There is a reason “it takes a village” became a saying, and it becomes so true when you’re texting your people at 3 am feeding in the dark hours with you or have been there too.

Final thoughts on things new moms need for themselves

Ensuring you’re cared for and have  some of the things new moms need for themselves during postpartum can help ease your recovery journey. Don’t be shy and add some of these postpartum items to your baby registry, if required.

Wishing you support during this new transition in all the ways you may find you need during this time, where two things can be true: inexplicable love AND perpetual hard (so very hard).

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