Postpartum Tips From a Brand-New Mom

Megan Taylor, Amateur Birth Photographer

One of my doula clients put together a list of postpartum suggestions to share with women preparing for a newborn, based on her recent new-mom experince. She’s generously given me permission to share it with all the Birth Takes a Village followers!  I’ve made a few comments throughout the post in italics. Thanks for sharing, Charito! x 


Hi Jessica,

I made this list for a few expecting friends of my favorite things as a new mom.  Just thought I’d share in case you find it interesting.

Note:  I loved the TENS machine at home to help ease early labour before going to hospital.  You can rent them at McDonalds Pharmacy on West Broadway.

*Note: You can also get TENS units from Burrard Pharmasave across from St. Paul’s hospital.  I recommend the Elle TENS machine, a TENS unit designed specifically for childbirth.

For Hospital Room

  •  alarm clock (you need to feed baby every 3 hours)

*There are different theories on breastfeeding and how regimented you “need” to be about feeding. Do a bit of  breastfeeding research while you’re pregnant to find out how plan to feed your newborn. Many moms choose to feed “on demand” instead of sticking to a firm schedule.

  •  newborn clothes, hat and swaddling blanket.  The hospital only provides a flimsy hat and blankets but no clothes and the room we were in was freezing.  Also their stuff is washed in really strong bleachy detergent, not the best for newborns.
  •  ipod or CD player if you want to play your own music during birth

For Home After Birth


  • Lansinoh nipple cream.  A must! I use it after nursing each time and it helps prevent cracked nipples.  Breastfeeding is really rough the first week and I’d highly recommend getting some ready-to-serve formula just in case you don’t make enough milk right away.  I like Dr Brown’s bottles which are supposed to be more ergonomic for newborns and less gas producing.

* Some women and babies have an easy time breastfeeding right from the start, and for others it takes some time. See how it goes, trust you will figure it out, and know there are plenty of breastfeeding resources in Vancouver if you are struggling. I always tell my clients “Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.” It can feel strange and a bit uncomfortable, but if it hurts, try something new or ask for support.

*The best thing for keeping your nipples happy? Colostrum! Massage a bit of your colostrum back into your nipples after each feeding. Coconut oil is also very helpful. Some experts worry that Lansinoh may occasionally actually cause further drying in some women, although many women report huge benefit from it.

*Whether or not you should plan ahead in case you have problems with milk production is also controversial. Some women argue that preparing for difficulty feeding can be a self-fulfilling prophecy…. bottles and formula aren’t that hard to come by if you DO have troubles feeding after birth. Also, many nutritionists recommend either donor milk or making your own formula over purchasing store-bough formula. Women often benefit from a herbal lactation tea to aid with production if they are struggling in the early days of breastfeeding. 

  • small hot/cold packs that are flexible to form to your breast.  This helps with the pain of breastfeeding.  I like the TheraPearl packs that you can get at Shoppers Drug Mart.  I have one for warmth just before feeding and one for cold for after feeding.
  • lots of nursing bras, tank tops and a bra extender to help fit increased breast size
  • iphone app “Total Baby” is helpful for tired parents to track baby’s diaper and feeding routines, medical appts, etc
  • straight back chair with nursing pillow. I like My Breast Friend pillow because its flat and can be strapped on
  • breast pads or Lilly Pad with the Lilly pad cleaner (dont make the mistake of using dish soap like i did and then got an infection)

For you:

  • prune juice or laxative of choice

*This is particularly helpful if you’ve used any type of narcotic during your birth.

  • Tylenol and Advil
  • maxi pads with wings

*It can be helpful and soothing to moisten some of these pads with a perineal healing tea wash

  •  donut pillow to sit on, or make your own donut with a thick towel
  • stock your freezer, fridge and pantry ahead of time!! You will have time to do little else but breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed for a few weeks after baby is born

For baby:

  • Vitamin D Drops.  Vitamin D is the only thing breastmilk doesn’t have in it so it’s often recommended to supplement
  • baby gloves and nail files
  • newborn diapers with cutouts for umbilical stumps
  • lots of soft baby wash cloths. i received an assortment as gifts and use the color ones for diaper changes and white ones for the bath
  • newborn tshirts.  Baby can be in just a tshirt and diapers to help air out her stump until it falls off.  can also use onesies that arent buttoned up.  Make sure onesies are the easy to put on kind! ie have stretchy shoulder area or snaps, not the kind that are just like a tshirt collar with no way to expand the neckhole

—- Charito Gailling is a brand-new mom and past doula client of Birth Takes a Village. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with us!

Do you have preparation tips for brand-new moms? Please leave your comments below!

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  1 comment for “Postpartum Tips From a Brand-New Mom

  1. Charitikins
    September 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Just a correction – its Tylenol and Advil that is taken together for pain. Not aspirin which has anti clotting properties! Also it’s good to have Epsom salts in hand as well for post natal perineum care and sitz baths.

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