Clean Up on Aisle 5

To be prepared is half the victory.

– Miguel de Cervantes

Staggering through Walgreens wearing a homemade adult diaper was not my idea of fun after being discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve, but there I was barely holding my aching body up at the cash register, a pile of postpartum supplies teetering in my hands. These are the moments ne’er a soul tells you about, and Lord, I hope no one I know witnessed my moment in public postpartum haze.

My extremely frustrating time at the local Walgreens on the eve of Christmas inspired this post about assigning a loved one to take care of all your postpartum prescriptions and products as well as preparing as much as you can in advance.

Some things to stock up on before the trip to the hospital:

  • Tucks medicated wipes – these numbing hemorrhoid wipes really help with postpartum pain in the nether regions. Hold onto them longer than you think you need to because hemorrhoids might be a problem even after the first six weeks postpartum
  • Chucks/puppy pads – absorbent rectangular pads can be purchased either in the medical supplies department near the adult diapers or in the pet department. Use them as a bath mat near the shower and toilet as well as in your bed and rocker during postpartum recovery. These can also be used as changing pads for baby as you get used to baby’s careless urination.
  • Dermaplast Pain and Itch Spray – numbs and moisturizes between trips to the bathroom. Spray a little after you use the toilet for a little relief.
  • Huge pads! – you will want at least a 4-6 week supply of maxi pads, and about half of those should be huge. Different people will have different experiences, but I guarantee you will not want to be changing your pad every 20 minutes so the bigger the better. If you don’t use them all for bleeding use them as emergency night time nursing pads.
  • Ibuprofen – the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived…the return of the magical ibuprofen. Have some on hand for those slightly more painful times.
  • Stool softener – look for one with natural ingredients and eat lots of fiber too. It may take a few days postpartum before you have your first bowel movement, so be patient, don’t panic, and use a stool softener daily until you have a bowel movement. Of course, consult with your doctor as well.
  • Iron supplements – these may contribute to constipation, but they may also be needed if you lose a lot of blood. If you know someone that has a bottle of over-the-counter iron ask for a handful to start with in case you end up not needing them. I ended up donating mine to someone who needed them because I didn’t.
  • Spray bottle – as I mentioned in “The Big Day” you will want your own spray bottle to use instead of toilet paper each time you use the toilet. Fill it with warm water if you can for the best experience.
  • Breastfeeding supplies (see my post “Honey, We’re Home”)
  • Sunflower Lecithin – this works great for those that are prone to breast problems while nursing. It keeps me from getting blocked ducts because it lubricates the passages for the milk to flow freely. Since I seem to be especially prone to this, I take it daily and take additional if I feel a blockage starting. If you don’t plan to breastfeed talk to your doctor about using this before you purchase it. It seems like it’s only sold in large quantities for some reason.

Make sure your hospital of choice has your current list of medications and preferred pharmacy on file, so they know where to send any postpartum prescriptions especially if your pharmacy is not in the same building. Check with your hospital to see if they can provide you with these prescriptions before discharge. My hospital did not, and well, my experience would have been much better had I known. Keep in mind that if you are prescribed any narcotic pain medications you will need to be present in-person to pick those up.

Lastly, if at all possible assign a support person to pick up any post-discharge supplies for you. I would suggest appointing someone who will be at the hospital with you at or near your time of discharge.

Hopefully this post makes for a better first day home for you. Please comment with your favorite postpartum products for those first few days. I look forward to hearing your input.

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