When expecting a baby, everyone focuses on what the baby needs. We analyze and research every detail from gadgets to baby’s room to welcome them into the world in the most comfortable way possible. We often fuss over the hospital bag and diaper bag, the onesies, the car seat, diapers, diaper rash cream, and other stuff. But, are we not forgetting something important? What about mom’s needs after giving birth?
Pregnancy ends with childbirth, but that is when postpartum begins, and you need to be ready for it. Postpartum is a very complex period. Combining the joy of bringing a new baby into the world and your life, the anxiety of new motherhood (even if you have done it before, it is always a challenge), and recovering from giving birth. So, the best way to face and survive the postpartum period is by being prepared with postpartum essentials for mom in advance so when the time comes, you do not have to be running around searching for what you need to bring and ways to cope with it, especially in the middle of the night.
1. Maternity pads and underwear
Whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section, you will have vaginal bleeding called ‘lochia’. This normal discharge of blood and mucus from the uterus begins right after delivery and can last six weeks. You will have a heavy blood flow for the first 10 to 14 days (some women have shorter periods of heavy flow), and then it will slowly diminish until it completely disappears. During this time, tampons are a big no-no, so you will need to rely on the biggest maxi pads you can find, and as the bleeding decreases, you can use lighter ones and panty liners at the end.
Upon discharge from the hospital, they will provide you with many essentials, but you will need to stock up at home since the bleeding will be present for a few weeks. Also, since the bleeding will be heavier than normal, we suggest you get a few pairs of period panties, disposable underwear, or granny panties to be extra comfy, so you do not have to worry about ruining your nice underwear.
It sounds very anti-climatic, but the truth is that you will want to be as comfortable as you can during those first few weeks because you will have so much going on that having pretty underwear will probably not be on your list. The hospital also provides mesh underwear once you deliver your baby as a postpartum essential, and you can even purchase more online to use at home. However, they do not provide the best support for your pad and other things we will discuss further ahead, so super soft granny panties are your best option.
2. Peri bottle
Keeping your perineal area clean is essential after childbirth, especially if you have had vaginal tears or an episiotomy. Doctors and midwives recommend using a squirt bottle to rinse your perineum with warm water after urination and every time you change your pad.
You will get an upside-down peri bottle from the hospital as part of the postpartum recovery kit, but try the Frida Mom peri bottle if you want a more ergonomic and convenient one. It comes with an angled neck, so you do not have to figure out a way to get water to spray the right way in hard-to-reach areas, and it holds up to 10 ounces of water.
If you had a c-section, this would also be handy because you also need to keep the area as clean as possible and will not be able to bend over easily. So you, too, get yourself one.
3. Padsicles and witch hazel pads
This is something you can make ahead of time and keep in your freezer until you need them. After having a vaginal birth, you will experience perineal pain. One way to reduce swelling and pain is by using cold pressurized ice packs.
Padsicles are pads you load up with aloe vera, witch hazel, and lavender oil (coconut and tea tree oils are optional), then you fold them again and put them in a storage bag in your freezer. There are also cooling pads in the market that you can buy and do not require to be frozen. These pads also help absorb postpartum bleeding and soothe soreness from hemorrhoids.
4. Hemorrhoids relief
And talking about hemorrhoids, this is a common issue among new moms. The weight of the belly during pregnancy and the stress from pushing a baby out can cause hemorrhoids in most postpartum moms.
Sometimes hospitals include Tucks pads in the postpartum recovery kit, but if they do not, try getting them yourself because they are great for healing and preventing hemorrhoids after birth. If you prefer to go the natural way, you can gently pat witch hazel to the area to promote healing. Using a donut pillow or even your nursing pillow will do. Sitting down will help relieve some pressure from the area and allow you to be more comfortable.
5. Stool softener
Whether you had a vaginal delivery or went through a c-section, the medication or your anxiety can cause constipation or experience painful bowel movements. And if you combine this with having hemorrhoids, it can be a less than pleasant experience. Ask your doctor, before delivery, about which mild laxatives you can take to prevent this situation. Popular options include Miralax and Colace. Another thing to keep at hand is glycerine suppositories if you get too backed up or feel you still need to strain too much during bowel movements.
6. Sitz bath
As part of postpartum care, doctors recommend having a sitz bath to soothe soreness, reduce swelling, and maintain overall good hygiene and healing. You can do it in your bath, get a portable sitz bath, or just a bowl filled with warm water (some people recommend adding a little bit of witch hazel), and soak in it for 10–20 minutes a day. Remember never to rub the area while drying it—just pat it dry and be gentle.
7. Pain relievers
Remember your organs moved out of their place to accommodate your little bundle of joy? They need to go back into place, and unfortunately, it will not be painless. Also, your uterus will still be contracting for the next 7–10 days after delivering your baby. Add this to your perineal discomfort or the stitches from an episiotomy or c-section, and you will want to take a pain reliever.
After pregnancy, even if you are breastfeeding, it is safe to take ibuprofen, so ask your doctor how much you can take a day to manage pain. Using a heating pad will also help with cramps or any sore area in your body, like your lower back or neck. Having an antibacterial spray, like Dermoplast, will also help relieve pain and itching from your wounds and prevent infection in said areas.
8. Compression garments
This type of underwear is incredible to use during the early days because it does not only support your posture and keeps everything snug, but it also helps your body get back into shape. You can get postpartum support garments made for either vaginal delivery or c-section.
9. Comfortable pajamas
Once the baby arrives, you will spend a lot more time in pajamas than you usually would, and not only when you fall asleep. Loose clothing will be one of your best friends during the weeks postpartum.
That is why comfortable pajamas are among the top postpartum essentials for moms, and if they look pretty and are made for breastfeeding, they would not only be convenient but a bit of confidence boost during a time when a new mom needs it most. Keep in mind that your pajamas will be in direct contact with your baby, especially during the newborn days, so use baby detergent to wash them to protect the baby’s delicate skin and avoid any potential skin irritation. Many brands have pajamas designed with breastfeeding in mind.
Breastfeeding is a whole other world that begins after birth. Many moms think it will be as simple as latching the baby to their breasts, but it is much more than that. Here are a few nursing moms’ postpartum must-haves. We also have an entire section of our site dedicated to feeding for more information on formula and breastfeeding.
11. Nursing bra
While breastfeeding, your breasts will be sore, especially in the beginning, so having good support for your aching breasts is a must.
There are nursing bras to use during the day with an easy-access flap to open it and let your baby nurse conveniently. You can find them in various colors and designs, so they do not necessarily have to be dull or ugly. You can even get nursing push-up bras. Also, sleeping nursing bras help support your breasts and keep them snug, so you are more comfortable while you sleep.
12. Nursing pads
During this time, you will notice that sometimes your breasts leak breast milk, and if you are not careful, your bra and clothes will be soaked. This is normal and part of the process, so be sure you have breast pads in your postpartum recovery kit. You can get disposable breast pads, but we highly recommend getting reusable nursing pads made of cotton. You will be using them for a while, so it will be more cost-effective, and you will also reduce waste.
12. Nipple cream
During breastfeeding, your baby will suck on your nipples frequently and sometimes too hard. The mix of breast milk and saliva and the sucking motion can cause sore nipples and sometimes even crack them. This can be very painful, and many moms have stopped breastfeeding because of this. This can be prevented if you spread some nipple ointment to soothe and hydrate your nipples after each feeding.
13. Breast pump
Do not let excess breastmilk go to waste. There is a reason it is called “liquid gold” for a baby.
Use a breast pump so you can store the excess milk. Also, keep stock at hand to bottle feed your baby if your nipples are too sore or if a family member wants to lend a helping hand, especially during those sleepless nights. Remember to get storage bags to place the breastmilk in. Do not forget to add the date and the ounces of each storage bag. Then, pop them in the fridge or in the freezer to store for a more extended period. We also have an entire section of our site dedicated to feeding for more information on formula and breastfeeding.
Motherhood is a journey full of challenges and sometimes not-so-pleasant experiences, but it is one of the most rewarding moments of your life. So, while preparing to welcome your baby, always keep in mind that if you do not take care of yourself are uncomfortable, it will make the experience much more difficult and ultimately affect the baby and the bonding process.
A word of advice, as part of your planning process, consult a doula, midwife, doctor, and other moms to get information not only on what you will need for your postpartum recovery but also on what has worked for them from their experience. You will notice that sometimes what worked for one person, or what someone recommends, will differ from others’ opinions. And that is okay.
Choose what works best for you, but it will be much easier with up-to-date information at hand. Also, consult with your doctor about what postpartum supplies you can get from the hospital and what you need to get by yourself. We also have hundred’s of other articles with the most up-to-date information to assist you with all your questions.