What to Buy for After Birth, the Newborn Phase, and Postpartum

Written by: Megan Stander


Time to Read: 16 min

During my pregnancy, I was completely overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of baby products available, and while I knew the basics, I found it challenging to discern what would truly be essential.

Beyond the obvious necessities, I yearned for guidance on the items that would make my journey into motherhood smoother. It was a time of excitement mixed with uncertainty, as I navigated through aisles and online stores, eager to be fully prepared for my baby's arrival.

Since I’ve been on this path with two children now, I decided to make an epic list of what to buy for postpartum containing items that made a significant impact during those precious moments. These are the tried-and-true products that stood the test of time, serving me well through thick and thin.

Some were smart, proactive purchases, while others became urgent necessities I wish I had from the start. I will guide you through a carefully chosen list of essentials in this article, providing cost-effective alternatives for some pricier items.

Buying the Essentials: A Comprehensive Breakdown of Must-Haves for Postpartum and Newborn Care

Focused entirely on you, the first section of this curated list emphasizes items that will be essential during your initial months of motherhood and postpartum care.

  • To Wear: It's important to be comfortable, have easy access to your boobs, and be ready for postpartum physical care. It's also a plus to have stuff that looks cute.
  • To Eat/Drink: Other than grocery items, these finds were essential to me postpartum.
  • Birth Aftercare: Items specifically chosen to aid in your recovery and comfort after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding Basics: If you choose to breastfeed, these are the essentials that will support you in that journey.

The second section transitions to all the must-haves for your newborn, stripped back to just the essentials.

  • Diapers & Changing*: Everything you need for diapering and keeping baby clean, except the diapers
  • Feeding: Whether you're breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a mix of both, these are the feeding essentials.
  • For Sleeping: Products to ensure your baby has a safe and comfortable sleep.
  • Stroller Stuff: Essentials for when you're on the move with your little one.
  • House Stuff: Items that will make your home more baby-ready and safe.
  • Health Care: Essential health care items to keep your baby happy and healthy.
  • Sentimental: A few special items to cherish these precious moments.

*Note on Baby Clothes & Diapers: Baby clothes and diapers have been intentionally left off this list as they are a personal choice and are often given as gifts.

Tired mom on bed with newborn - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

What to Buy For Yourself for After Birth and Postpartum

If you're still pregnant, you're probably thinking mainly about what you need to buy for your baby, but YOU are important, too!  Postpartum, whilst being a magical time of bonding and cuteness, is also VERY uncomfortable. 

Stocking up on these items that were my personal favorites and lasted me through TWO babies (and I'm still keeping them for the next one) will make your life easier. 

These were the items that brought me joy as Marie Kondo would say.

Best Postpartum Clothing and Underwear

What to wear postpartum- What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

After having a baby, the physical, mental, and emotional toll of postpartum makes you really just want to waddle around the house in anything comfortable.

If you're breastfeeding your baby, easy access to your boobs is of utmost importance, so make sure your lounge wear has a way to open at the chest to get those ta-tas out.

I survived those first few months wearing house dresses daily that were cute enough to also roll up at Trader Joe's or if a friend stopped by.

Don't forget a stack of disposable undies to handle all the mess that will be going on “down there”. Having plenty of them is nice to that you can dispose and refresh a few times a day. 

Note: Remember to consider your personal preferences and needs when making your choices!

Best Postpartum Snacks and Nutrition

Postpartum nutrition - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

You've probably heard that you should meal prep, start a meal train, or get some nice frozen goodies so that during postpartum you need to worry less about meals and more about baby (and yourself).

This is true, but these 3 things were a life saver and I discovered them only after I was a couple of months in.

Note: Remember to prioritize your health and consult with healthcare professionals as needed!

Top Aftercare Items for Postpartum Physical Recovery

Postpartum physical recovery is rough any way you cut it. These products saved me and made the recovery process easier. I did try quite a few brands and these were the ones I liked the best.

Tip: Having all the coochie-care in each bathroom will make your life a lot easier so you don't need to go to your bedroom during the day, or to your other bathroom at night.

 Note: These are tailored for a natural birth, but can be used for C-section births as well.

Note: These products are specifically chosen to aid in your postpartum recovery, providing comfort and support during this tender time. Prioritize your well-being and do not hesitate to seek professional advice if needed.

Best Breastfeeding Supplies for Mom for Postpartum

top breastfeeding products - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

If you do not plan on breastfeeding, that is A-OK! Please skip this section and move along.

These babies helped me SO much during those first few days of nipple trauma. When your baby is first born, your nipples still need to be broken in.. and by broken, I mean quite literally.

The nipple butter soothes but if there's leftover on there it's okay for baby to ingest. The gel pads felt like pure heaven and helped me heal faster. And the diaper caddy helped me keep aaallll my milking supplies together and easy to transport around the house.

Note: Remember, every mother's experience is unique, so choose the products that best suit your individual needs. Don't hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant or healthcare provider for additional support.

Most Essential Products for Your Newborn and the First Six Months

Now let's get to the all the amazing stuff that will make your life easier while taking care of your precious little newborn - and beyond!

I went through so many brands of these items as I am quite the Amazon Return expert (my job at the time had a warehouse and every kind of mail pick-up daily).

These are my TOP items that I used many times and kept for TWO babies – and still have!

Top Picks for Diapering and Changing

best diaper change products - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

Diapers might feel like the worst part of having a new bundle of joy, but it's, in fact, the easiest part about having a baby. That being said, having some great diapering products will make the job even easier

Don't forget to buy a stack of diapers from the grocery store or Costco, but don't stock up on too many of the same size because babies GROW FAST!

Each of these products has been selected to ensure that your diaper changing station is well-equipped and functional. Remember to choose items that best fit your lifestyle and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and convenient

experience for both you and your baby.

Best Products for Nursing and Feeding Your Baby

best nursing accessories - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

Nursing actually really doesn't take a lot of supplies. Main ingredients: your boob and your baby. 

That being said, with spit-up and bottle-feeding being potentially around the corner, these are some essentials that worked many, many months in my house.

Best Newborn Sleep Products for Restful Sleep

best newborn sleep products - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

Okay, so maybe not restful sleep, but setting up a good sleep environment for your newborn is crucial to laying a good foundation for later.  These are my top picks for baby sleep. 

Side note: I only started using my crib when I felt like the bassinet was unsafe because it was too shallow.  The noise machine I took with me everywhere and now I can't sleep without one myself. 

And Lord, I STILL don't know how to swaddle so make velcro your friend.

Top Finds for Your Stroller

Strollers are an entirely different ballgame and a very long article can be written about them entirely. There are SO many to choose from and it's a very personal thing. 

BUT, some extra stroller accessories can make your life easier because no stroller has absolutely everything.

  • OXO Handy Stroller Hook for Extra Bags
    • PROS: Perfect for extra shopping bags or items. Easy to attach, holds a good amount of weight, versatile use.
    • CONS: May slide down on some stroller handles if not secured properly.

Essential Household Baby Items to Prep for Arrival

best baby bouncer household products - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

Other than baby toys which you will probably get a plethora of at your baby shower, these were my most-used items postpartum. 

A bouncer is KEY because sometimes you just want to put baby down and you want to do it safely. 

Also, I cannot overemphasize the convenience of plates you can throw away when you'd prefer to binge trash TV on Netflix.

Sentimental Products to Celebrate Birth

Get this while pregnant so you can quickly take those little prints and keep them forever! Babies grow SO fast so don't be like me and only take them at 7 months.

Side Note: I did end up buying one of those baby books where you write out stuff about your baby. Having another thing to DO ended up not being in line with my goals…which was sleep.

Top Health and Medical Products for Your Newborn

top health medical products newborn - What to Buy for Postpartum and Newborns - Raising Mama - Maternal Mental Health Support

These items I ended up buying when my baby got sick, and when you're worried about your baby the last thing you want to do is wait for something you need to make them feel better.

My last words of advice are - make sure to buy your baby items  no more than 1 month ahead of time if you're getting them on Amazon and no more than 90 days if you're getting them from Target.

Read the return policies when you buy things because sometimes your preferences (and baby's preferences) are not what you'd expect and it's a relief being able to get your money back and exchange for something better.

If your item is on a baby registry, the return period may be longer.

Happy preparations mama! And don't forget to prepare for the MENTAL and EMOTIONAL aspects of motherhood as well! 

What essentials should I include in my postpartum care kit to ensure a comfortable recovery?

For a comfortable postpartum recovery, your care kit should include items for personal comfort and health recovery. Essentials include disposable postpartum underwear for convenience and hygiene, a sitz bath soak to aid in perineal recovery, medicated cooling pads for soothing relief, a peri bottle for gentle cleansing, and a heating pad for muscle relaxation. These items address the physical aftermath of birth and promote healing.

What are the must-have breastfeeding supplies for a new mom?

Breastfeeding essentials for new moms include a comfortable and easily accessible nursing bra, organic nipple butter for sore nipple relief, soothing gel pads for nipple trauma, and a portable breastfeeding supply caddy to keep all nursing essentials organized and within reach. These supplies support a more comfortable breastfeeding experience and help manage common challenges.

How can I ensure my newborn's sleep environment is safe and comfortable?

To create a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your newborn, consider using a bedside sleeper with adjustable height for safe co-sleeping, a white noise machine to help soothe and drown out household noise, and swaddle wraps with velcro for secure, easy swaddling. These products promote a restful sleep environment while prioritizing your baby's safety and comfort.

What are some essential diapering and changing supplies for my baby?

Key diapering and changing supplies include a reliable diaper pail with odor control, waterproof changing pad liners for easy clean-up, and a portable diaper changing pad for on-the-go changes. These essentials help manage diaper changes efficiently, keeping the nursery odor-free and making diaper changes more convenient, both at home and while out.

Can you explain the difference between postpartum and postnatal care, and why are both important?

Postpartum and postnatal terms are often used interchangeably but generally refer to the period after childbirth focusing on the mother's recovery (postpartum) and the baby's care and health (postnatal). Both aspects are crucial as they address the comprehensive health and well-being needs of the mother and baby, ensuring a healthy recovery for the mother and a healthy start for the baby. Proper care during this period supports physical recovery, emotional well-being, and the establishment of effective feeding and bonding between mother and child.