Blood. Sweat. Tears.
That pretty much sums up postpartum.
Regardless of the birth you have, you’ll be sore, tired and want to be as comfortable as possible.
I don’t want to scare you, because I know you’re at the stage of prepping for birth. And your focus is on what will happen during your labor. Or even making sure everything is ready for your little bundle of joy. But have you given any thought to your recovery after birth?
Let’s face it postpartum care is the forgotten ‘Cinderella’ period of pregnancy. Perhaps because you want to look forward to the positives, like an adorable new baby to squish and smell.
Mmmmmm ::new baby smell:: Sorry where were we?
Oh yeah, It’s all a bit taboo. Like periods. Nobody discusses it do they? I suppose it’s because most new moms are kinda embarrassed to talk about their leaky nips or swollen va-jay-jay.
Well, you’ve hit the jackpot because I’m a total pregnancy geek. And I love talking about postpartum. Actually, I most definitely overshare about postpartum
and your bodily fluids.
I’m not gonna apologize for that. Because I think it’s essential for new moms. I want you to know how you can prepare to make your postpartum easier. Nobody wants a slow postpartum recovery, right?
You need to know these things when you’re pregnant.
Why? Well, you’ll barely have a minute to yourself once your baby arrives. Make it a priority and prepare. Just like your birth plan or packing your hospital bag checklist.
I’ve gathered this list of items I think are pretty amazing for helping you to heal from birth.
Whether you are a first-time mom or a seasoned pro, I’ll prepare you for any postpartum leak, pain or surprises. Trust me you’ll learn something from this list you never knew happened after having your baby.
This guide is pretty awesome for new moms, so share the love and Pin it. That way you can come back to it later.
Let’s get started.
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25 Postpartum Care Essentials
For All Moms
These are essentials all new moms will benefit from. They take care of those postpartum issues you’ll need to deal with regardless of the type of birth you have.
1. Maternity Pads
Regardless of the type of birth you have, you will bleed after birth. It’s caused by the shedding of your womb as it shrinks back to normal size. Maternity pads help you absorb and monitor your blood loss to ensure its normal. They also provide cushioning and protection for tender lady bits and stitches.
Check out my best postpartum pad reviews .
2. Postpartum Underwear
The underwear you choose for after delivery needs to handle your bleeding and protect your tender tummy and vagina. Postpartum underwear offers comfort and support for perineal and C-section wounds. For super convenience try disposable underwear, which doubles as a maternity pad and underwear.
Check out my favorite postpartum underwear reviews.
3. Pregnancy Vitamins
Nothing beats a healthy diet for helping your body to recover from birth. However, new moms are often so tired it’s easy to forget to eat or slip into a routine of ordering takeaway. Supplementing with pregnancy vitamins ensures your body is getting the right nutrients to recover and support breastfeeding.
Check out my top rated prenatal vitamin reviews.
4. Stool Softener
It’s common for a new mom not to have any bowel movement for up to four days after delivery. This temporary constipation is the result of weak tummy muscles, swelling, hemorrhoids or fear. A high-fiber diet and plenty of fluids are your first port of call. However, if that’s not cutting it a stool softener or mild laxative can help get things moving along, and reduce your ‘first poop’ anxiety.
5. Postpartum Girdle
A girdle may seem like a something your grandma wears, but it works. A special postpartum girdle offers physical support for your back and tummy after birth. Other benefits include helping with split tummy muscles, improving posture, reducing swelling and supporting stitches. It can also help smooth out your lumps and bumps to get you back into your regular clothes.
Check out my best postpartum girdle reviews.
6. Bed Pad
Your postpartum recovery will leave you feeling like you leaking from every orifice. Bleeding, leaking nipples, excessive sweating. That’s right. Excessive sweating. Bet no one told you about that treat. Protect your mattress from any nasty stains or smells with a protective bed pad. They are available as disposable or reusable types, which absorb any leaks during the night. Plus it saves you needing to change bed linen every day.
Want to learn more about protecting your bed from postpartum leaks? Check out my fool-proof strategy here.
7. Compression Stockings
Excessive postpartum swelling is another joy you may experience. At worst compression stockings will reduce the discomfort in your legs and feet. At best, they can prevent you developing a deadly blood clot after birth. If you’re less mobile or had a forceps, ventouse or C-section, your doctor may advise you to wear these for up to six weeks after delivery.
8. Kegel Kit
Now let’s get done to the real nitty-gritty, embarrassing side of birth recovery: weak pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles which cause stress incontinence, painful sex, and prolapse in later life. Strengthen these muscles with a weighted Kegel kit. You won’t be able to use it until six weeks after delivery, but we highly recommend this to improve your future gynae health.
Check out my top Kegel exerciser reviews for use after birth.
Don’t underestimate how sore you will be after birth. This may be from your C-section wound, vaginal stitches, perineal pain, muscle strain, after pains or breast pain. Don’t assume your doctor will prescribe pain relief, have some available at home just in case. For mild to moderate pain opt for paracetamol (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). If you require stronger pain relief, you may need a prescription something like Percocet or Vicodin.
10. Water Bottle
Sometimes you need to remember to start with the basic to aid your recovery. This includes making sure you are drinking enough water at all times. Make a large water bottle your best friend and it will pay off. Keeping hydrated will improve your breast milk supply, reduce swelling, prevent headaches and improve your alertness even when tired.
Postpartum Essentials for Vaginal Births
Natural, forceps and ventouse births are all classed as a vaginal delivery. Perineal care is a top priority as this is the most affected area. You may also need to care for stitches due to tears or cuts. These items provide ease perineal discomfort and prevent wound infection.
11. Sitz Bath Soak
A Sitz bath is a shallow tub for the perineum (the piece of skin between your vagina and anus. It offers many benefits, including improved hygiene, faster healing, and relief from pain, itching or irritation caused by stitches. A postpartum sitz bath soak contains ingredients to reduce swelling and discomfort from delivery. A shallow bath is suitable if the discomfort is mild. If the perineum cannot withstand your weight use it with a sitz bathtub on your toilet.
12. Donut Cushion
When your perineum is swollen and uncomfortable, it’s best to keep pressure off it. A donut cushion helps you to sit down with any pressure on the perineum. This is a lifesaver if you have a tear or episiotomy stitches. It also helps with relieving the discomfort of hemorrhoids causes the strain of pushing your baby out.
13. Cooling Spray
You’ll need to be prepared for when your bottom bits are hurting when you are out and about. Taking a sitz bath isn’t always convenient. So try a cooling perineal spray to give your lady bits instant relief. You may prevent a longer lasting cooling balm however, they are best to use once swelling reduces as they can be uncomfortable to apply.
14. Numbing Spray
If a cooling spray just doesn’t cut it, then numbing spray is the way to go. It’s a great option if the birth has left you with perineal stitches or bad hemorrhoids. It helps to numb the area with a cooling sensation and also relieves the itchiness of stitches. It works so well that some hospitals may even give you a can of this to take home with you.
15. Tucks Pads
All that fluid you have gained over nine months has to go somewhere, which means you’ll be peeing like a racehorse at first. The thought of having to wipe on such a tender, swollen and sensitive area may fill you with dread. Witch hazel pads are a perfect alternative to harsh toilet roll. They provide immediate relief from irritation and itching of stitches or hemorrhoids.
If you would rather use water rather than toilet roll or wipes to clean yourself, grab yourself a peribottle. Your hospital may provide you with a small, basic plastic bottle. We recommend using a travel bidet type with a sprayer that can be directed at specific areas. Use them when urinating to prevent your stitches or grazed areas stinging.
17. Perineal Cold Pack
Cold therapy is perfect for treating hot, swollen, tender areas on the body. Perineal cold packs are perfect for putting on top of a maternity pad. They will instantly cool down the area and provide comfort and relief. They are available as single-use pads for short-term use, or reusable packs, which have washable covers.
18. Hemorrhoid Relief
Hemorrhoids usually develop in pregnancy and worsen with delivery. The strain of pushing causes blood vessels to dilate and piles to form. Prepare for the worst with a hemorrhoid treatment. Popular treatments include creams, suppositories, and sprays. If you want a more natural remedy try Butchers Broom. Rub as an ointment on the piles or take 300mg dose tablets twice a day.
Postpartum Essentials for C-Section Births
If you have a planned or emergency C-section, you will need post-surgery essentials. These items focus on wound care after delivery. These items will help heal your scar and prevent infection.
19. Scar Cream
It’s a given that your C-section wound will leave a scar on your tummy. The final appearance of the scar is down to your skin type and the surgeon’s skill. However, a topical scar cream can be used, once the wound heals, to minimize the scar. They work by hydrating the scar skin cells and encouraging new skin growth. This allows the old scar skin cells to shed and fresh skin to appear below.
20. Silicone Tape
The depth of a C-section wound can often cause the scar to become hypertrophic. This gives it a red, thick and raised appearance. Good wound care can prevent this from happening. Studies have shown silicone tape is very effective at reducing the appearance of scars. This type of treatment is particularly good for preventing your scar widening over time.
Postpartum Essentials for Breast Care
Whether you choose to breast or bottle feed, your breasts will fill with milk after delivery. Breast care is essential to prevent any issues with breast discomfort or infections.
21. Nursing Pads
All new moms will leak breast milk a few days after birth. Nursing pads are like maternity pads for your breast, helping to absorb any leaks. If you plan to formula feed, you only need a small supply, and if you breastfeed, you’ll need them until you stop.
Check out my guide to deciding between disposable or washable nursing pads.
22. Nipple Cream
It will take a few days for your nipple to ‘toughen up’ to baby’s constant feeding. A nipple cream helps to create a moisture barrier for your tender nipple. You’ll speed up the healing of sore or cracked nipples caused by poor attachment or positioning.
Check out this guide to choosing the best nipple cream for breastfeeding.
23. Breast Therapy
Engorgement is one of those postpartum ailments all new moms have to deal with. Your breast will fill with milk if you choose to breastfeed or not. Breast therapy pads can give you relief from engorgement. Heat them to encourage milk flow, or cool them to provide pain relief.
Click here for a guide to buying the best breast therapy pads.
24. Sleep Bra
As your breast fills with milk, it can make it uncomfortable to sleep. While you’re leaking, you will need to wear nursing pads overnight to prevent getting milk on your bed. A nursing sleep bra is what you need. They are soft and comfortable with easy access to the breast for your baby if you are breastfeeding.
25. Handheld Massager
Breastfeeding engorgement is a real problem for all postpartum moms. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, you’re gonna have engorged breasts at some point.
The best way to tackle engorgement is regular feeding. However, a good ol’ breast massage is a great way to keep those clogged ducts at bay.
The problem is that massage can hurt your fingers after a few minutes. This means your less likely to massage at the firm pressure your breasts need. That’s where a hand-held massager comes in handy.
A small hand massager , like this one, is fantastic for unclogging those ducts. You can even use it before a feed or pumping to get as much milk as possible for your baby.