Prepping For Your First Postpartum Day Home with Baby: A Top 15 List

Strollers, baby’s layette, a stocked baby changing station, the infant car seat, breast pump, baby bath, swing. Perhaps you’ve noticed, most lists focus on what baby needs (which is important! Essential, even). They’re easy to check off lists and can be fun to buy as we dream about our baby. But are these the most crucial ways to prepare for those early postpartum days?

You’ve probably even talked to your friends with babies, and they’ve pointed you to some parenthood hacks like having a sound machine in baby’s room, as well as blackout curtains; you’ve got a co-sleeper for your bedroom and you know which are the best swaddle blankets and baby sleep sacks. You have a stack of newborn diapers with the umbilical cord cut-out, and your video baby monitor is already set up and pointing at baby’s crib. You even have an extra car seat base for any additional cars baby will ride in. Are THESE the most useful ways to prepare for your early postpartum days?

These things are great. But they’re things. Just things. Some you’ll use, some you won’t, some you’ll hate, some you’ll love.

But what if there were another way to prep for that first day home with baby? What is it that you really need to know, as the healing mother, that nobody is telling you?

As a doula, or a person professionally trained to support parents through pregnancy, labor and postpartum, my perspective takes on a different flavor. My focus is first and foremost on the mother, the person who has just given birth. One of the hardest pieces about becoming a new mother is that lack of consideration for ourselves, by ourselves and others. We want what’s best for our babies, and so does everyone else. We often begin our journey into motherhood paddling upstream against ourselves, convinced that nothing much has changed and that we just need a day or two of rest and we’ll be fine. Really! We say. We’re fine.

As doulas, we know. We see you. We know that all of the uncertainties from the past 9 months have not magically disappeared and that there are just as many uncertainties in the postpartum period. We know that your bottom hurts, or your incision hurts, or sometimes both. We know your nipples hurt. Your back aches. That going to the bathroom is an ordeal that becomes steeped in little rituals just to get through the most primitive of activities. We know you are tired, even if you say you’re getting some sleep. We know that there are tens of things that happen every day after baby arrives that you wonder if anyone else does or has to do?

We want to give you some pre-baby support to help those first few days go a little smoother for YOU, to be a little more comfortable for YOU, to support YOUR healing.

You are an amazing empowered individual, fully capable of your own healing and fully equipped to care for your baby. We give our clients a lot of autonomy around here and yet we know that the earliest postpartum days require a bit of extra TLC for mom. And there are a number of things you can do now, to prepare yourself for those first days with home baby. Here’s a list of our favorite fifteen ways to prepare for your first day home with baby. (Checklist is available below).

Please note, some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support in this way.


  1. 1. Portable basket of essentials. You’re going to be spending a lot of time feeding your baby even when other people have gone on with their day. Make sure you have your essentials in one spot so you can grab them and move to another spot in your house. There’s nothing worse than feeling “stranded” in your own house, hungry, thirsty and with chapped lips while your baby sleeps on you! In your basket you may include breast pads, an extra receiving blanket, nipple cream, chapstick, ponytail holder or headband, small unrefrigerated snacks like chocolate almonds or dried fruit, a small water bottle, extra burp cloth and phone charger. Now you can easily move from your living room to your bedroom, or wherever you’ll be doing most of your feeding.

  2. Goldenseal. This tip was gifted to me by my midwives for my 2nd birth. As baby’s umbilical cord starts to detach, it may be smelly and bleed and you’ll start to freak out. After you clean the cord stump area daily, you can sprinkle some goldenseal powder on it to aid in faster healing as it absorbs excess moisture and has antibacterial properties.

  3. A boppy and an inflatable O-ring AND an extra pillow to sit on. If you’ve just had a vaginal birth chances are you’ve had some tearing to some degree, stitching, or both. Even without a tear, the perineum is usually swollen and generally doesn’t feel pleasant to sit on. Take that boppy that you’re not using and sit on it! It will give yourself some “lift” and keep you off of those sensitive perineal tissues. You can also try an inflatable O-ring (or a kid sized pool inflatable ring) to sit on, or this donut pillow. When all else fails, at least sit on a pillow. Keep a few on hand so you can sit down in more than one spot without too much effort being made.