First and foremost, I can’t thank you enough for your outpouring of support after I shared Teddy’s birth story on Monday. I am more grateful than ever for this community of smart, compassionate women at such a new and vulnerable time in my life and felt so encouraged reading all your brave delivery and recovery stories. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences so openly and for giving this new mom so much hope.

I wanted to continue the conversation by sharing a few of the things that have been most useful in my postpartum healing thus far. This list will highlight the items in my hospital bag that were useful as well as the postpartum recovery essentials I’ve relied on in the 2.5 weeks that we’ve been home. I know this is far from the most glamorous topic, but I studied a lot of these types of lists in preparation for my own delivery so I sincerely hope this is helpful to some of you! And if you have any questions, I’m more than happy to answer in the comments. 

design darling hospital bag packing list


  • A cozy blanket (one for me and one for Will — the best throw blankets ever and something you will LOVE whether you’re expecting or not!) 
  • A comfy robe (nice to wear something besides the hospital gown that’s still easy access for nurses and doctors)
  • Two pillows from home (one for me and one for Will — I would use both while breastfeeding in bed)
  • A going home outfit for me and Teddy
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing camis (cannot recommend these more highly for hospital and home)
  • Toiletries
  • Protein bars (these are my favorite)
  • Camera with charger
  • Extra long iPhone chargers (one for me and one for Will)
  • Onesies in size newborn and 0-3 months (he’s still in newborn for now but I’d still recommend having both sizes on hand just in case)
  • Several of these newborn swaddles (SO much easier than swaddling with a blanket!)
  • Baby blanket


  • Pajamas (I just lived in my robe vs. changing in and out of a top and pants) 
  • Slippers (I was in socks the whole time but have lived in these since we’ve been home)
  • Grippy socks (the hospital provided these or I would have used them)
  • Rubber flip flops for the shower (I waited to shower until we got home)
  • Breast pump (I wound up not bringing this per many of your suggestions and was glad to have the extra space; my milk didn’t come in until we left the hospital so there would have been nothing to pump anyway and it was very straightforward to set up and start using on our own)
  • Haakaa pump (ditto the above)
  • Nursing pillow (I don’t know if I just picked the wrong one but I prefer using our regular pillows)
  • Hands-free pumping bra (never pumped in the hospital and ordered this in my usual size S not realizing how full my boobs would be once my milk came in — need to reorder a size up!)
  • Nursing pads (not necessary until my milk came in once we were home)
  • Nipple butter (the hospital provided plenty and I’ve just been using breast milk instead of product)
  • Postpartum underwear (the hospital provided plenty but I was very happy to have them once we got home — this brand was my favorite by far)
  • Baby book (still obsessed with ours but didn’t look at it until we got home)

design darling postpartum recovery essentials


  • Comfy robe and pajamas (basically my all day, every day uniform right now)
  • Nursing bra (order a size up)
  • These bras (not technically nursing bras but they’re so comfy I lived in them the final weeks of my pregnancy as well as postpartum (again order a size up)
  • Nursing camis (order a size up)
  • Nursing pads
  • Postpartum underwear
  • Pads (I ordered a few options from Amazon and find these the least bothersome)
  • Witch hazel pad liners (a little pricey and I know some people make their own but I’ve been paying for convenience — I’ve reordered these several times already and plan to give them to expecting girlfriends because they’ve been such a lifesaver)
  • Instant cooling pads (ditto the above — pricey and possible to DIY if you’re feeling up to it)
  • Tuck’s cooling pads (totally TMI but I’ve used them in place of toilet paper when going to the bathroom; they’re also supposed to help with swelling if you had an episiotomy or tore)
  • Spray bottle for going to the bathroom (I ordered and know people rave about this but I’ve actually preferred the one from our hospital, but good to have an extra at home if you don’t like the one they provide)
  • Sitz bath (provided by our hospital but this one is identical)
  • Epsom salt for sitz bath
  • Advil, Tylenol, and stool softener (TMI again, sorry!)
  • My new favorite water bottle (it took me a while to justify the price of this thing but it has been a godsend to have a bottle with a straw that only needs to be filled 2-3 times a day)
  • Breast pump (thankfully I’ve had a good supply and was able to start pumping and have Will take over one of our nighttime feeds — I consider an efficient nighttime pumping session while Will feeds Teddy one of the recovery essentials I’m most grateful for… every extra minute of sleep counts!)

I have one of these large baskets with one of these plastic inserts in our master bathroom to corral pads, pad liners, Tuck’s pads, and the spray bottle so it’s easy to access everything and see when I’m running low and need to reorder. I’ve used the same baskets to organize diapers and wipes in the nursery, hair tools under my sink, extra beauty products, and more — I think we have at least ten in our house and I’m sure I’ll find uses for more!

I hope this isn’t baby overload for those of you in different phases of your lives — this is clearly all-consuming for me at the moment and I sincerely appreciate you sticking with me until decorating and style are back at the forefront! I am planning to share a list of our favorite baby products in a week or two but I’d love to hear any other blog posts you’d like to see (baby or otherwise) in the coming months. Thank you again for all your kindness and support — we feel truly fortunate to share this new chapter with you all! 

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  1. Mackenzie,
    I bookmarked this post back when you wrote it and here I am today 5 days postpartum and coming back to it now! I am in that stage where it feels like the (perineal tear) pain will never go away and desperate for new/different tips and tricks. These posts of yours are a godsend! Thank you again for being so candid!
    xo Marisa

    1. Marisa, thank you so much for this note! I’m so sorry you’re in pain and am sending you lots of healing vibes. I promise it gets so much better soon! Hang in there and soak up all those newborn snuggles. Congratulations!!!

  2. This post is so helpful – my baby was born last week and I also had an episiotomy. I appreciate the practical advice but, perhaps more than that, you sharing your story makes me feel less alone in my recovery. I hope you are feeling better every day!

  3. Thank you for sharing!! I also hated the first nursing pillow I ordered and later borrowed a Breast Friend pillow from a friend- cheesy name, but found it so helpful for nursing as my little guy got bigger. Thanks for sharing and your transparency! Teddy is the cutest!!!

  4. Super similar to what did with our most recent addition! I also love the H&M nursing tanks and used them with my daughter and now with my son. Super comfy and fit well, plus the price point is great (2 for $25)…I think I have about a dozen now since its all I wear under regular shirts instead of a nursing bra.

  5. My 3rd child arrived the evening of my last work day before maternity leave! So much for having 2 weeks prep time! I had not packed my hospital bag and threw a few things together and hurried out the door. After my daughter’s hasty arrival, I discovered that I had not packed much of anything useful but had lots of eye makeup— which I rarely wear😊! My baby is 24 and hopefully, I will have a better packing list for her should she ask my advice when the time comes! I’ll save yours💙

  6. Love this list!! In case you’re still interested I’m obsessed with the My Brest Friend nursing pillow that I’ve used with my 12 week old little guy. It buckles around you and has a pocket and even back support. I have 2 for home as well as the travel version because I love how much easier it makes nursing. So glad to see you’re doing well with your little one!

  7. I’m not an expecting mother, but a few friends and relatives are and I’ve already shared this with a few!! I think how candid you are with what you have been using, how you’re using it, and why you’re using it is something to celebrate–so many blogs tend to shy away from the not-so-glamorous topics, but in reality, they’re the experiences we all share! So thank you again for your honest and thoughtful posts!

    1. Aww this totally made my day! I know some of this stuff is awkward to talk about but like you said it’s pretty universal for new moms and it can be overwhelming to try to piece everything together on your own! Thank you so much for sharing it with your girlfriends.

      1. +1 to Michelle’s comment. Your candour and warmth are an absolute gift and you are contributing something very important to new moms and moms-to-be <3S

  8. I saw this post on Bloglovin’ while browsing and I’m so grateful I found it! I’m due in January and love reading up on what has been helpful to mamas in the hospital and in recovery. Thanks for sharing!

  9. The best advice one of my girlfriend’s gave me before I had my daughter was “make sure you take the stool softener when they offer it!”. I still give people that advice 🙂

  10. I’m due on Valentine’s Day and I’m really thankful for your baby lists! There are tons out there but a lot of them don’t seem particularly personal or curated. Would love to know what baby gear you actually use etc as you continue on this journey 🙂

  11. This list is spot-on! It will be perfect to share with my friends who have postpartum questions. Seeing those purple Always pads triggered so many memories! I used them, too. Same thing with all the baskets corralling supplies. Thank you for sharing a list of products to deal with an episiotomy/tear. It’s a huge part of life after delivery for a lot of women (me included). I hope your recovery goes well!