New Mom Survival Stations

in Pregnancy

Bringing a newborn home is so exciting – and stressful!  It really helps to ease the transition if you set up what I call ‘survival stations’ throughout the house (organize your stations before you go into labor!).  With Henry, I had three types of stations – diaper, breastfeeding, and in-the-bathroom. 

new mom survival stations

I started compiling my survival stations for Little One this weekend. Here’s what I put inside:


Diaper Station – Newborns dirty a lot – a lot – of diapers.  And you’ll be sending a lot of time on the couch.  So instead of relying on the changing table in the nursery (which your baby might not even sleep in yet!), set up a diaper station.  We kept ours in the living room.


Newborn / Size 1 Diapers


Diaper Rash Cream

Onesie change

Pajama change

Burp cloths

Old dish towels (to change baby on – trust me, a towel on the floor works just fine, and you’ll get newborn poop everywhere no matter how hard you try to be tidy)

Plastic grocery bag for dirty diapers (they won’t smell too bad yet!)

Optional: Extra swaddle, pacifier, coconut oil (a great moisturizer for baby’s skin), any medication the baby may be taking (such as gas drops or gripe water)


Breastfeeding Station – Newborns eat.  A lot.  And if you’re breastfeeding, that means you’re pretty much tied to the couch as you and baby get the hang of it.   The breastfeeding station should probably be close to the diaper station!  Hah.


Breast pads (you’ll probably leak, at least at first – I wore them the entire time I was breastfeeding)


Water bottle


Paper and pen or smartphone to track feedings (optional, but you’ll probably want to track a little at first. I never found an app that I loved with Henry, but I’ve heard good things about Baby Connect)

Burp clothes or old towels

Baby wipes

Optional: Nipple shield, nipple cream (again – try coconut oil!), and something to help support baby (try a pillow, the Boppy pillow, or My Breast Friend).


In-The-Bathroom Station – The first few weeks of the post-partum period can be messy and uncomfortable.  Expect the heaviest period of your life! 


Extra underwear or extra pairs of the giant mesh panties they give you at the hospital

Breast pads

Witch hazel (can relieve the pain of stitches or hemorrhoids – you can make awesome witch hazel cold pads by dousing maxi pads with the witch hazel and popping them in the fridge)

Stool softener (talk to your doctor first, of course)

Maxi pads (I liked the overnight ones the most because they provide so much coverage)

PERI BOTTLE (It deserves all caps!  You’ll get one in the hospital –ask for an extra.  Fill it with water and spray it on your vagina as you urinate to prevent burning)

Optional: Doctor-approved painkillers, hemorrhoid wipes/creams (like Tucks), and Gas-X.


I’d love to know what types of “survival stations” you set up and what goodies you recommend new moms include in theirs!  Also – what should moms put in c-section survival stations?



  • sara October 6, 2014, 10:32 am

    Dermoplast or I think it’s called that spray!! You spray it on your pad and it’s numbing and cool. Also those pads from the hospital tthat get cold when you break them. Ask for tons extra they are amazing. And maybe an xl trashcan foe the bathroom since your pads are the size of adult diapers lol

  • Regina October 6, 2014, 10:47 am

    I used my ipad constantly with my second son for nighttime feeding entertainment. I read ebooks on it and used it as a light to not wake hubby. Clif builder bars were my snack of choice during the night. Almonds and lactation cookies during the day (and prunes). I used towels wherever I nursed in the beginning cause I bled a lot! I’d leak even with extra large maxis (I didn’t tear at all but nursing caused horrible contractions the second time around that made me bleed even more). An extra water bottle. There’s never enough water and you usually run out just as hubby and baby fall asleep and you’re held captive. A small bell to get your partners attention without waking baby. I’d call my husband a lot the first week since we have a 2 story house and I’d often nurse separately from where he played with big brother. Chapstick was a big must for me too. But I’m addicted to it. And a sweater since my hormones were batty and I’d have hot and cold flashes.

  • Britt@MyOwnBalance October 6, 2014, 11:13 am

    Oh this is so useful! I was just thinking yesterday that I had no idea what I needed after the baby got here for myself. Even the baby books are not all that frank with you. Thanks Caitlin!

  • Kim October 6, 2014, 11:37 am

    In the first weeks of breastfeeding we had a saying: “Water, Boppy, Phone” – my husband had to make sure I had all three of those things with me at all times. I also learned to stuff the remote controls in between the couch cushions so I didn’t have to reach all the way to the coffee table to switch between Netflix episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and Toddlers & Tiaras LOL and I kept a box of Nutrigrain bars on my nightstand. We also changed diapers on a towel on the floor in our bedroom since the baby slept in her bassinet attached to our bed, it made a lot more sense and no worries about her falling off the changing table. She liked to stare up at the nightlight while we changed her.

  • Mrs SPB October 6, 2014, 11:58 am

    We have a small laundry basket next to our diaper station in the living room for clothes with little messes and when you change baby’s outfit for bedtime – saves multiple trips to the machine – obviously really dirty clothes go in the machine straight away! Also we have emergency toys for the toddler in breastfeeding and diaper station so when I’m on my own I have something exciting to keep him occupied while I change/feed the newborn.

  • Steph October 6, 2014, 12:17 pm

    this is AWESOME! i am totally doing this. and i especially like the bathroom station. i suffered A LOT after the birth of my now 2 1/2 year old. peri bottles,for the win! 🙂

  • Christina October 6, 2014, 12:36 pm

    Question, do you plan to have a station for Henry? Like for when you are nursing or busy with the baby. I’ve heard of ideas like having a breastfeeding bag filled with special toys that the toddler only gets to play with while you are busy with their sibling. I think the thing that scares me most about having another baby is how I will manage my toddler and a newborn.

    • Caitlin October 6, 2014, 12:49 pm

      Me too – I’m terrified! I am definitely going to do this, it’s a great idea 🙂

  • Amy October 6, 2014, 1:02 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS (yes, I’m that excited)!!! Having our first bitty next spring and this post will be a lifesaver, I know it.

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 6, 2014, 1:10 pm

    I don’t have a little one yet, but I still like reading your tips. Although, it will be interesting to see how I will be able to incorporate them to suit my NYC lifestyle when the time comes. I certainly don’t have very much space and I live in a 5th floor walkup. Guess I’ll have to get creative!

  • MomHTP October 6, 2014, 1:22 pm

    Great post and suggestions for the various stations!

  • lauren October 6, 2014, 1:28 pm

    I needed all the same stuff after my csection, but reallllly needed the meds too. I second the peri bottle. Take any all all meds your doc prescribes for as long as you need to (strong pain meds, pain meds, gasx, stool softeners). I tried to get off the hard stuff too soon and was in tears! Trust your docs.
    I kept using tucks for a week after I left the hospital too, just incase…LMAO I was afraid to look and see if I really needed them. I pushed for hours and hours, had 3 vacuum attempts.
    In the hospital, they had me press a folded blanket on my stitches if I needed to cough. The boppy pillow came in really handy for that.
    I’d recommend other csection mommas be gentle on their knees! I was afraid to hurt my stitches and put a ton of pressure on my knees. Ouch!

    • Colleen October 6, 2014, 1:44 pm

      I second the folded blanket/pillow/boppy pressure on the stitches when sneezing or coughing. Also, pantyliners to use on the incision area to help reduce pantyline friction/control seepage from the incision site in the first few weeks. It’s good stuff having 2 pads in your underwear. 🙂

    • Megan October 6, 2014, 2:02 pm

      C-Sections vary by people. I didn’t need anything extra really (and didn’t need witch hazel since I had no tears/hemmoroids). Some people like a garter type abdominal support. My friend got me one and I tried it a few times but found it hot (HELLO June Baby!) and cumbersome and uncomfortable. I had to take it off to nurse and I just didn’t like it. I didn’t really need any meds after I left the hospital- I just took ibuprofen and was fine. Each person is different. Still needed TONS of water and still bled the same amount as a vaginal delivery. The hardest thing for me was getting from a lying position to a sitting position without my husband’s help. 🙂

      Nursing a second child is a little different than the first. I read a TON of books when my first was nursing. I mean, I’d read while he was nursing and then he’d fall asleep and I’d hold him and read until he woke up again and then I’d read while he nursed and you get the picture.

      So not the case after having my second, even though it was several years later. Even if I wanted to sit and read a book while baby nursed it was usually spent as time bonding (reading/playing memory/etc) with my older child while I nursed.

    • Laura October 6, 2015, 9:43 am

      I had a c-section a week ago and I love my Brest Friend pillow (the pocket has my nipple cream, phone, and headphones in it all the time) and my Moby wrap, which is the only way I can do anything when my husband is sleeping. The meds are also important, and I can only reach the floor if I do a deep plie squat, so pregnant ladies, work on those squats!!

  • Brynn October 6, 2014, 2:07 pm

    I am reading this while nursing my one week old, ha! I agree, phone, water and nursing pillow. And stuffing the remote in the cushions is a great idea. I have a portable changing station that has been totally clutch. We can change him anywhere without running upstairs to his nursery for the changing table.

  • Alyssa October 6, 2014, 2:53 pm

    After childbirth class I went to Target and got just about everything you mentioned in the bathroom basket. Well, I ended up with an emergency C-section (after about 28 hours of labor) and now all that stuff is just sitting unused in the closet, and I want my money back lol. Personally if I could do it again I would just get pads, and send my husband or someone out to the store as needed. I’m less than two weeks out but my advice would be set your phone alarm to take your pain meds – it’s not so easy to remember with a newborn and you don’t want the pain reminding you! Also have someone around as much as possible. You don’t realize how much you need your abs to go from sitting to standing till you get them sliced open and trying to do it holding a squirmy baby is a recipe for disaster (or at least incision pain).

  • Ali October 6, 2014, 3:30 pm

    I found that with baby #2 I didn’t use a feeding “app” and didn’t track it at all and I’ve had such a better breastfeeding experience this time around…I didn’t look at the clock, I just stayed did ‘on demand’ feeding and didn’t feel funny excusing myself to feed the baby when guests came to visit. I found that not only did it help my supply, but it kept the baby happier because I let him feed whenever he wanted to (in the first month or so). It was a tiring month, but I felt like it really took the pressure off not constantly wondering how often and for how long on each side.

  • Dana October 6, 2014, 3:46 pm

    c-section Mom (hopeful VBAC for this December baby!) here and didn’t have anything too different from you. I had a changing station on every floor. The snack/breast feeding station is a MUST…and I kept that on my bedside table next to my pain meds. Pain meds were super important to stay on top of so I had an alarm set on my phone.

  • Jo October 6, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Great lists! I am a first time mom to a 2.5 month old and we have definitely have stations set up throughout the house. I ended up using an app called Total Baby to track nursing, diapers, sleep etc. I find the graphics a little old school but it has all the features we need. In addition to a daily log, it has a milestones feature and a feature to record doctor appointments, growth, allergies etc. I think I paid about $3.99 for it, which seemed steep for an app, but I have found it so helpful in keeping things straight in the sleep-deprived first few months.

  • Becky October 6, 2014, 4:13 pm

    C-section survival station: your meds, water, snacks, big giant pads, extra pairs of either low cut underwear, or high cut underwear *think granny panties*, a hair dryer to keep incision dry, a bell 😉 jk but not really so you can ask for help instead of getting up and down 10 times a day.

    pumping survival kit: get at least 2 sets of pumping parts and 3 if you can afford it so you don’t have to do a thorough wash each time, rent a hospital grade pump for at least a month (totally worth it to have that extra suction), nipple cream, snacks, water, and a t.v. show that has 20 minute episodes which is the perfect amount of time for a set up, pump session, snack, and wind up. I watched every episode of house hunters available on amazon prime 😛

  • Louise October 6, 2014, 8:59 pm

    Good ideas for the stations – and I like the ideas from others about having “toddler stations” too. My toddler station was going to be the TV 😉
    Reading all this has just reminded me about night sweats. So my tip is to sleep on top of towels because last time round I’m sure I had night sweats for about 6 weeks after giving birth.

    • Louise October 7, 2014, 6:24 pm

      I meant to add Baby Connect is a great app. Used it last time and plan to use it again.

  • Kathy October 6, 2014, 10:00 pm

    What a great post if you’re expecting..a handy checklist and super practical. That Peri bottle tip sounds like it might require a Cirque du Soleil level of bendiness and balance!

  • Chase October 7, 2014, 8:21 am

    I’m due in Jan and these are all good to know! Bookmarking now 🙂

    {deep breath}

  • Kristin October 7, 2014, 10:38 am

    For the breast feeding station – I also have lip balm for me. My lips are constantly so dry from breast feeding. And for baby, I have the Vitamin D drops so I don’t forget to give him them once a day.

  • Jackie October 7, 2014, 12:28 pm

    I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised (at least I was) at how much easier the newborn stuff is after your first child. Like, night and day. Maybe it’s because you already know what to expect a little (ie, breastfeeding will be difficult at first, your body will be sore for awhile, you aren’t going to sleep very much, etc.)? But seriously, the second baby doesn’t rock your world the way the first one does. The difficult part is handling two…it’s the crazy toddler your should worry about. 🙂

  • Becky October 7, 2014, 5:45 pm

    I LOVE the Survival Stations. I literally just did this 2 days ago. My second one is due to arrive in a couple weeks and this time around we now have a 3 floor house (compared to a mini 1 floor place) so I can see the usefulness of all of these. I definitely don’t have a Breastfeeding Basket yet though, what an awesome idea. My daughter is just about 2 1/2 and I’m thinking of putting together a few Survival Toy kits that can be tucked away with lids and brought at particularly challenging moments (read: Toddler tantrum meets very hungry infant.) I will fill mine with independent activities like stickers, puzzles, coloring and books. And probably snacks as well. The key I think will be to put these little bins away after an hour or so and keep switching the stuff up every week or so.

    Anyways. Great ideas. 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork October 8, 2014, 9:56 am

    What great ideas! Though I must admit, reading through the bathroom station made me wince a bit, especially once I got to the peri bottle. I have often heard that you rarely end up changing diapers on the changing table. Why bring the baby all the way back to their room instead of just setting up camp where you are? Especially those first few weeks…
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Caitlin October 8, 2014, 10:20 am

      I still mostly change Henry wherever I am, haha. Middle of the kitchen, in the hallway…

  • Lauren October 10, 2014, 1:25 am

    I’ve been exclusively pumping and I have been using the Baby Nursing App by American Baby. Our Sprout spent the first 10 1/2 weeks in the hospital and it allowed me to easily keep track of pumpings, baby measurements, and now that she is home dirty diapers and amount fed by mouth etc. I love it and it’s free!

  • Lindsay B October 10, 2014, 1:16 pm

    I love, love, love this! I have had two babies, and I never thought to set any of this up before hand – but I did end up having “stations” that made themselves out of convenience.

  • Leila Dishes October 12, 2014, 11:57 pm

    Oh gosh, going from 1 to 2 is SO much easier than going from 0 to 1. I was so anxious the first time around (so was the hubs!), and stressed about every little thing. There are only 2 tough parts now – sleep deprivation and the terrible twos with my toddler!

    I love my stations, especially since my 2 week old and 2 year old are sharing a room, or at least will be eventually. The two year old takes a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and sleeps 12 hours at night, I don’t want to risk waking her just to change a diaper, clothes, etc.

    My feeding/diaper station include 2 roller balls with essential oils. One has digestzen w/fractionated coconut oil ( I rub on her belly after feeding in lieu of gas drops), and lavender w/fractionated coconut oil to rub on her feet during the night to help her sleep.

    I second the Baby Connect App. I don’t use it as much with #2, but I do like the medical feature for tracking doc appointment/vaccination info, and I use the feeding feature daily. I also like that multiple caregivers can use it, and it can be updated/viewed online too. Totally worth the $5.99 price tag.

  • Marcie April 2, 2015, 10:42 pm

    OH-MY-GOSH! God Bless all you ladies for your advice and suggestions. I’m 34 years old, due in late July and although this is my 3rd baby, I haven’t given birth in almost 10 YEARS! People tell me that it will all come back to me and I’ll remember what I need or what to expect but with an 11 year old, a 9 1/2 year old and pregnancy/mommy brain I don’t remember a single thing! I do think having big kids to help will be a lifesaver and thank goodness we have apps and Netflix nowadays. Maybe they existed in 2004 and 2005 but I was either too young, too poor, or too unaware. Anyway you have listed all the things I had forgotten and even though it should all overwhelm me, I feel at ease remembering and being prepared so well for everything.

  • Victoria May 18, 2015, 5:51 pm

    i love this! i done stations like this in my home with my first and started doing again to prepare for the second. my period though was so heavy, and i usually have a heavy flow, but this was so much worse that the over night extra big pads did nothing for me and i found that Depends worked magic for me so my bathroom kit had them in it. And you are so right that an ordinary dish rag to change a diaper on is so much better! it was so much easier to just have my baby get poop on it and throw it in the wash that it was to have to clean carpet, or changing pad, and her blankets stayed looking like new. Another thing i loved what you said about the PERI BOTTLE (yes all caps appropriate for this magical bottle) it is so amazing, i wish i would have known to spray water while i go, but this time around i will! haha but the peri bottle really helped me to feel like i cleaned my stitches down there ,from tearing, to make sure they were clean. In my breast feeding station i was like you had nursing pads (same brand as your picture actually), 2 water bottles as i would be thirsty while i fed, my boppy pillow of coarse, and i had snacks. i kept a breastfeeding basket in my bedroom and living room, but the one in the bedroom i kept more water in it.

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