If your baby is due any day, you probably have your birth and baby essentials sorted. But have you thought about recovery after baby arrives? Postpartum care is often the forgotten ‘Cinderella’ period of pregnancy. No moms really want to talk about those embarrassing, yet necessary, postpartum care essentials. However, a poor recovery process will affect your health.
You’ll barely have a minute to yourself once baby arrives so it’s best to prepare before baby arrives. We’ve gathered a list of items we think are essential to aid your healing from birth. Whether you are a first-time mom or a seasoned pro, we’ll prepare you for any postpartum ailment. You can even use this list to put together a ‘recovery’ package for a new mom. Let’s get started.
25 Postpartum Care Essentials
For All Moms
These are essentials all new moms will benefit from. They take care of those postpartum issues you will 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 our best postpartum pad reviews and guide to bleeding after birth.
2. Postpartum Underwear
The underwear to 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 our 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 our top rated prenatal vitamin reviews.
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.
5. 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.
6. 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 our best postpartum girdle reviews.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Compression Stockings
Excessive postpartum swelling is another joy you may experience. At worst compression stockings will reduce the discomfort in the legs and feet. At best, they can prevent you developing a deadly blood clot after birth. If you are less mobile or had a forceps, ventouse or C-section your doctor may advise you to wear these for up to six week after delivery.
10. 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. Click here for our top Kegel exerciser reviews for using after birth.
Natural, forceps and ventouse births are all classed as a vaginal delivery. Perineal care is 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 bath tub 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 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 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.
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 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 happening. Studies have shown silicone scar sheets or tape are very effective at reducing the appearance of scars. Silicone tape is particularly good for preventing your scar widening over time.
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 this 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. Thermal 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. Thermal 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 thermal therapy pads.
24. Sleep Bra
As your breast fill with milk, it can make it really uncomfortable to sleep. Whilst you are 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 baby if you are breastfeeding.
25. Shower Hug
Tender postpartum breast can make simple tasks such as showering more difficult. The spray from the water can cause pain in your breast tissue or nipples. A simple product like the shower hug can providing instant relief from the water. For formula feeding moms it can help to bind your breast tightly. This will prevent the water stimulating your breast and prolonging your milk supply.