The postpartum period is an intense time. Your body is healing from birth, your hormones are all over the place, and sleep is practically nonexistent. I haven’t found any cures for the sleep deprivation or the random bouts of crying, but I have found tons of things to help with the healing and I freely share them with every pregnant woman I meet. So if you’re one of those moms who doesn’t want to hear all of the gory details about postpartum recovery, skip this post and come back on Friday. But if you’re like me and like to be fully prepared, read on!
1 // Dermoplast — After giving birth vaginally, you will be a bit banged up down there. Even if you don’t have tears and stitches, you’ll likely have some pain. This spray helps to numb the area to keep you comfortable while you’re healing. Most hospitals will provide you with a can in recovery, but I always buy a can for home just in case I run out. Some moms swear by Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray, but I used both after my last birth and definitely felt the Dermoplast worked better. But if you’d like a more natural spray, go for the Earth Mama version.
2 // Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads — These gel pads are a must for breastfeeding moms, especially if you experience cracked and/or bleeding nipples during those first few weeks. I recommend ordering a set and bringing them to the hospital because they don’t give them out as freely as they do other postpartum supplies. Once you get home, or if you’re lucky enough to have one in your hospital room, stick them in the refrigerator for even more pain relief. Just remember to wipe your nipples with a washcloth or WaterWipe before feeding baby.
3 // Perineal Cold Packs — Your hospital should provide you with tons of these, but I just discovered that you can order them on Amazon if you run out. I took home a bag full of these after my second birth and couldn’t have survived without them. I would place an ice pack on top of a pad, squirt a little water from my peri bottle on the ice pack, then layer three Tucks on top of that. And I would top it all off with a spray of Dermoplast. Instant. Relief.
4 // Earth Mama Booby Tubes — It’s no secret that breastfeeding is painful at first. Even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, you’re likely going to have engorgement pain for a week or so. Lactation consultants advise you not to pump during the first couple of weeks because it signals to your body to make more milk than you actually need. So what are you supposed to do when you have two painful cantaloupes attached to your chest and baby can only eat a few ounces of milk at a time? Booby tubes! You can freeze them to help with engorgement and swelling or heat them to help with emptying your breasts and preventing clogged ducts and mastitis. You could also use them as heating pads to help with afterbirth cramps (which, I’m sorry to say, get worse after every baby).
5 // Always Disposable Underwear — After my previous births, I’ve always used pads and the mesh underwear they give you in the hospital for postpartum bleeding. (And if you didn’t already know this, there will be a lot of postpartum bleeding). But recently, my sister-in-law told me about using these disposable underwear and I’m so mad no one told me about this before! These will help keep everything (ice packs and tucks) in place without the annoyance of the ill-fitting mesh underwear or having to worry about ruining your own underwear.
6 // Nipple Balm — Do not leave home without this. And do not wait until you want to cut your own nipples off to use it. Use it after the first feeding and keep using it until you don’t need it anymore. They give you lanolin cream at the hospital, but there are so many good nipple balms on the market now that are better for you and baby and work better. I’ve included the Honest Co. version here, but I also loved the balms from Motherlove, Earth Mama and Bamboobies.
7 // The MomWasher — I could kiss the founder of FridaBaby. First, they created my beloved NoseFrida and now they have given us The MomWasher. Yes, they give you a generic version of this product in the hospital, but it doesn’t compare to this one. The MomWasher’s design is so much better; it’s angled so you spray the water on yourself and not all over your toilet. And it comes in a waterproof carrying bag so you can take it everywhere you go during those first few weeks.
8 // Tucks — If you’re currently pregnant, you may have already heard of Tucks pads. They are little pads soaked in witch hazel and other magical substances to help heal your lady parts. They are especially good if you have an episiotomy or hemorrhoids from pushing (which reminds me of a major essential I forgot to include on this list: Colace or Miralax. Start taking a stool softener as soon as that baby comes out and don’t stop taking it until everything is back to normal. Trust me!) They will give you a small pack of these at the hospital, but I always always have a backup ready to go when I get home.
9 // Insulated Water Bottle — There is a reason why hospitals give new moms a giant water cup as soon as they get into their recovery room. You will be thirsty! Nursing will make you feel like you could chug an entire gallon of water and still feel parched so keep an insulated water bottle on you at all times.
10 // Earth Mama Herbal Sitz Bath — One thing I regret from my previous postpartum periods is that I didn’t take enough sitz baths. A sitz bath is when you sit in a hip-deep bath with herbs or epsom salts or just warm water. These baths are so soothing and can help tremendously in your recovery. Don’t skip them like I did!
These ten things, plus a few other products more specific to breastfeeding, are my postpartum essentials. I’ve ordered most of them already and will have them organized into a bathroom basket and a bedside basket for when I get home from the hospital. Most, if not all, of these items can be found at Target, but they’re also available on Amazon if you’re on bed rest like me or just so pregnant and uncomfortable that you don’t feel like waddling around a store. Let me know how they work for you or if you have any questions about anything. I know I’m not a doctor, but I feel like a professional baby birther at this point!