Once you learn that you are pregnant, you start to discover a whole new world of mom and baby products, supplies and gear. All with the promise of making things easier as a parent. It can quickly become confusing trying to figure out what things you absolutely must have and what is more of a trend or non-essential. Especially when you have no idea what to expect from your postpartum season yet.
Postpartum comes with lots of unknowns but what you do know is that you will be recovering from pregnancy and birth, learning to care for and feed your baby and adjusting to your new role as a mother. These are postpartum essentials that will make your earliest days as a mother a lot easier. What makes them essential? They are tried and true by the mothers before you.
1. Postpartum pads
No matter how you give birth you will experience lochia or postpartum bleeding and discharge after your baby is born. Postpartum maxi pads will be your go to here. Pads will allow all of that discharge to flow out as you heal and allow you to keep an eye on your lochia which should gradually become lighter as time progresses. If you prefer tampons or cups, sorry! You’ll want to avoid tampons or inserting anything into the vagina as the uterus and vagina heal.
2. Disposable underwear
Disposable underwear are an “all-in-one” alternative to postpartum pads and are perfect for the first week or two when your lochia will be its heaviest.
3. Sitz bath
A sitz bath is a bowl that rests on top of your toilet bowl and allows you to soak the perineum and rectum in warm water or a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a great way to gently soothe any soreness you might be feeling after birth. Use a postpartum herbal blend, epsom salts or simple warm water to soak away…
4. Herbal blend or epsom salt
Epsom salts and postpartum herbal blends are said to provide gentle soothing for postpartum aches and pains. Dissolve a cup of epsom salts in warm water or steep a postpartum herbal blend in warm water and then soak in the sitz bath for 10 - 20 minutes several times a day. You could also put either of these blends in your peri bottle for a soothing rinse.
5. Peri bottle
After giving birth it's normal to be tender down there. A peri bottle is a great way to keep the area clean without rubbing. This is especially helpful if you have stitches. You can steep an herbal blend, dissolve some epsom salts or just use warm water to fill up your peri bottle.
6. Perineum spray
When it comes to postpartum recovery, we typically recommend all of the things that are warming to help the body heal. However, sometimes a cool spray provides just the right type of relief for a sore or swollen perineum. A perineum spray like Dermablast or an herbal spray like Earth Mama provide local relief for pain and itching.
7. Perineal ice pack
A perineal ice pack provides even more cooling therapy for a sore or swollen perineum. If you have stitches, a cooling gel pack is the perfect way to reduce swelling without pressure or discomfort.
8. Postpartum belly wrap
Your body spent 9 months growing your precious baby. It takes about that amount of time recovering from the effects of pregnancy. Incorporating postpartum belly wrapping into your recovery process helps the uterus shrink back down into the pelvis and aids in your physical recovery. Choose a postpartum specific belly wrap or gentle shapewear but stay away from corsets and waist trainers. They are not designed for postpartum recovery and can cause more damage than good.
And to go along with your belly wrap you’ll need a nice postpartum belly oil or lotion to do a belly massage before wrapping. Mommy’s Bliss Blissful Belly Lotion is perfect for moisturizing belly skin.is perfect for moisturizing belly skin and encouraging more blood flow which means more healing for you.
9. Compression socks
Sometimes pregnancy or the birthing process can leave your feet or legs swollen from all of the fluids. Compression socks are a great way to help your body to release those fluids to reduce swelling to promote proper circulation as you heal.
10. Blood pressure cuff
Preeclampsia doesn't end with birth. And being postpartum, means that you are still at risk for pregnancy or birth related complications like postpartum preeclampsia. Keeping a blood pressure cuff on hand allows you to stay in tune with your body to be empowered with the right information when you need to reach out for help.
11. Pain medication
If you had a cesarean birth or tearing your doctor most likely gave you prescription strength pain medication. It’s important to stay on schedule with your medication even if you are feeling good. If you don’t have stitches but are feeling soreness, you might consider ibuprofen (advil) or acetaminophen (tylenol). But always talk to your doctor first.
12. Stool softener
The first poos after birth can cause a bit of anxiety for a brand new mother. Especially if you have stitches from a tear or episiotomy. If you received pain medication during birth or are recovering from a cesarean birth you might experience constipation. A stool softener will soften things to make your first bowel movements after birth easier and less painful.
13. Prenatals and vitamins
After your baby is born your body stops producing colostrum and starts producing breast milk. The breastfeeding process pulls nutrients, minerals and vitamins from what your body stores. You’ll want to continue taking your prenatal vitamins and any other supplements to support your body and functioning at its best while still making the best food for your baby.
Vaginal birth postpartum essentials:
14. Witch hazel pads
If you have a vaginal birth it’s possible to have tearing in the tissues of the vagina and perineum. If you have stitches or even just a first degree tear or small tears on the surface, you’ll want to care for this area extra gently after birth. Witch hazel pads can bring gentle, cooling to the perineum. Just be sure to pat gently and never rub.
15. Donut/nursing pillow
You might have some swelling in the perineum after birth or have a birth tear repair which makes sitting directly on harder surfaces uncomfortable or painful. Using an inflatable donut pillow or even a simple, old-school nursing pillow can help you to sit more comfortably and protect the perineum from pressure while you heal.
Cesarean birth essentials:
16. Postpartum silicone scar pads
Help with healing, soften and reduce scar visibility Reduce itching, swelling, minimize friction, irritation and pressure on incision scar.
17. High waisted undies and bottoms
If you haven’t tapped into high waisted styles yet, post cesarean birth is the perfect time to start. Your incision scar is healing tissue which means it can feel tingly, itchy or irritated during the healing process. You’ll want to avoid any clothing that is going to rub, dig or cut into that area. Wearing high waisted underwear and or bottoms will provide extra support for your incision scar and the lower abdominal area.
18. Postpartum journal or tracker
Once you bring your baby home, you’ll be juggling learning how to care for your newborn baby and how to take care of yourself. That comes with a lot of information and little details like feeding or pumping times, diaper details, and so much more. Stay organized and keep all of your important recovery details in one place with a designated journal or tracker. Then when it’s time for you to check in for your postpartum visits you have that information you need ready to go instead of having to pull those details from memory.
19. Water bottle Hydration is a key factor in your postpartum healing and recovery. When you stay hydrated after birth you give your body what it needs to flush away excess fluids and function at its best, especially if you are breastfeeding or pumping. Keep a large water bottle on hand and be sure to sip and refill throughout the day. If it helps you can set a goal to refill your water bottle 2 times each day.
20. Nursing tops and comfy bottoms
Postpartum fashion can get kind of wild. Especially in the early days when it feels like you are leaking from everywhere. I’ve found many a mama sitting after nursing their baby with just one breast out or leaking breast milk through her shirt. That’s what makes nursing bras and tops so great. Choose comfortable and soft nursing bras or shirts to make feeding and pumping easier and more accessible. Even consider dresses and non- nursing specific clothing that will allow you to feed your baby comfortably even when you're out of the house.
Extras to help you feel even better:
21. Cute and comfy slippers and robe and even hair accessories like scrunchies and clips that you love
All of the physical changes happening from pregnancy through postpartum can leave you feeling like you have a brand new body. It might be easy to just throw on whatever you see first or wear the same thing you wore yesterday. But this strategy won’t leave you feeling your best and ready to be your best for your baby. Choose clothes that make you feel comfortable and cute and take time each day to shower, wash your face, brush your hair and get dressed each day. Taking this time for yourself will leave you feeling so much energy and confidence in yourself as a new mom.
22. Caddy to carry stuff around
Motherhood and learning your new role come with lots of new tools and supplies. An easy to carry basket or caddy is a great way to keep all of the essentials you need with you throughout the day. I’ve seen new moms keep breast pads, nipple balm, a burp cloth, the baby monitor, their phone, hand lotion, their Kindle and journal in their caddy and they carry the caddy with them as they move from room to room during their day.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.