Postpartum recovery can be rough. Everyone’s experience is going to be different, but there are some essential items that can help new moms feel more comfortable after giving birth.
I like to be prepared, so while I was pregnant I spent a lot of time searching for what to expect after birth and what I might need for postpartum care and recovery. I might have gone a little overboard on preparing. I didn’t want to be without something that I needed when I was already going to be uncomfortable and probably in some pain. And being a first-time mom, I really had no idea what to expect.
After having our daughter, I learned what was really needed and what was optional. Every mom is going to have a different experience, but the postpartum care items below are what got me through the first few weeks after delivery with minimal discomfort and pain.
This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link on this page. Learn more here.
Postpartum Recovery Essentials
I used Stayfree overnight pads and they worked great. I’m not a fan of the huge, thick pads which is why I chose these. Get whatever type is most comfortable for you. As long as they’re large and absorbent they should do the job!
You’re probably going to want some comfortable underwear to wear after delivery. The hospital usually provides mesh underwear, but when you get home it’s nice to have your own to wear. I recommend either using some old pairs you already have or getting something not too expensive with full coverage to hold the large pads you’ll be using.
This isn’t something you necessarily want to think about, but stool softener is a huge help for that first (and second and third) bathroom trip after giving birth. Things down there are definitely sore for a while so you don’t want to make it any more difficult than it already is!
Pain relieving spray
The hospital will probably give you some of this, but it’s nice to have at home as well. Dermoplast is often recommended for postpartum relief or if you’re looking for something more natural try Earth Mama’s herbal Perineal Spray.
I highly recommend making padsicles. All you have to do it get some pads, spread aloe vera (make sure it’s alcohol free!) and witch hazel over the pad, fold it back up and freeze it. You’ll be happy to have them ready to use when you get home from the hospital. If you don’t want to make your own you can buy similar medicated cooling pads and cold packs.
You won’t be wanting to wipe down there after having a baby, so a peri bottle is a must-have for postpartum recovery. Really, any squirt bottle will do. The hospital will likely provide you with something for this purpose, but if you want a nicer one, this one works great!
If you plan on giving breastfeeding a try, there are a few more things to add to your postpartum essentials list:
Your milk may or may not come in while you are staying in the hospital, but if it does it’s nice to have nursing pads available for leaks. They’ll save you from changing your bra and shirt multiple times each day. Disposable nursing pads are convenient when you’re staying at the hospital so you don’t have to save them to wash when you get home.
Breastfeeding can be painful the first few days (or weeks) as you are getting used to it. Having nipple cream or lanolin cream on hand can help with soreness and dryness.
Another thing that can help with soreness or swelling is ice packs. Sticking them in your bra after nursing or pumping helps with discomfort. Frozen veggies (like peas) in zip lock bags with a thin cloth wrapped around the bag work just as well!
Thinking about postpartum recovery can be a little scary. You’re going to be tired, sore, and probably a little scatter brained with everything new that’s happening. You might not feel like running around to get the things you need for recovery, so having a postpartum care kit ready to go when you get home from the hospital can help make the transition a little smoother.
Just remember that your body was made for this. Don’t worry too much – you got this, momma!