This list is focused on breast-feeding mothers with vaginal deliveries - because that has been my only experience to date. Feel free to add c-section and formula feeding suggestions to the comments and I'll update the post.
- Lactation Consultant Number: Your pediatrician and hospital will have suggestions. They probably have drop-in sessions too. Make sure you have the number of one that can do a home visit. And if you delivered downtown, but live in the suburbs, check out your community hospital. They may have resources that are more accessible. For instance, Melrose-Wakefield has two drop-in "Baby Cafes" in which lactation consultants are present.
- Nursing Pads: You'll want a selection of disposable and reusable. You never know what is going to feel most comfortable.
- Nursing Tanks: You'll definitely be Playboy worthy, but you might be Hustler worthy. Since you won't know exactly how big things will get, it's best to buy some nursing tanks which tend to be more generously cut. Get some real bras when engorgement is past.
- Extra Diapers: Stash some for yourself. Fill them with hot water and put them in your tank. The moist heat is a tremendous help for engorgement, clogged ducts, etc.
- Lanolin: It's a classic. You won't need a lot - no need to get more than one tube.
- APNO: All Purpose Nipple Ointment. Now you know why they call it APNO! It needs to be made with a prescription by a compounding pharmacy - and there is probably one near the hospital. It can be used on open "wounds" and will solve literally any breast feeding trauma.
- Hydro-Gel Pads: If you buy them in the baby section, as opposed to the first aid section, they're called Soothies. Put them in the fridge. When you're feeling a little "raw" (I told you this was the glamorous life!), spread on a layer of APNO, and then on put the hydro-gel pad (cut in about the size of a half-dollar). You can reuse throughout the day, just wash with warm water. It will save your breast-feeding career!
- Snacks: Enjoy it, you can eat ANYTHING. Make sure you have some things that you can eat one handed, like granola bars, trail mix, veggies and dip, etc. Sadly, after a while, you won't want cookies, you'll really want a steak.
For Vaginal Deliveries:
- Prescriptions: Fill them at a pharmacy before you leave the hospital - and make your husband go get them.
- Non-Prescription Painkiller: Your doctor may write a prescription for something like Percoset, but you'll also want something a little weaker eventually.
- Colace: I won't expand much here, but you'll want it!
- Sizt Bath: For trauma...down there. You may be given one at the hospital...take it home, they certainly don't reuse them!
- Pads: Embrace your inner 12-year old and take a look at the pads. You'll want ones with wings and good absorbency.
- Big, Black Undies: You want big ones, since you certainly don't want any tightness or "riding up." You want black ones, since you'll likely still be bleeding. This is no time for fashion!
If you've read this far, I applaud you. This was far more alarming than I intended! However, in no time, you'll start to feel like yourself again. And you'll have a beautiful baby in your arms.