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Let’s be honest. How much money have you spent so far on baby supplies? Hundreds? Thousands of dollars? Now, how much time or money have you spent to prepare for your own postpartum recovery? $20? Nothing at all? Let’s take care of that.
How does that old saying go? An ounce of postpartum preparation equals a pound of cure.
In the months leading up to having my first baby months ago, I read all the parenting babies books I could find. Soon, I felt pretty confident we would figure things out as we went, once our son was born. But at a certain point, I realized I had yet to come across what I needed to know or do to care for myself after giving birth. It turns out, I still felt that way after having my son, too. That’s why I started this blog.
So I did what I usually do, peer-to-peer research. AKA I asked my best friends, sister-in-law, and hundreds of moms in every pregnancy & motherhood Facebook group I was a part of. Then I came up with the consensus of what all those many moms said I would need to care for myself. I bought everything on this list (or was gifted them), and was so glad I did. And I’m now, sharing that list with you.
Because even after raiding your recovery room, which you absolutely should do, you’ll want to be stocked up on a few essentials ahead of time at home. I promise, the more you prepare for what is about to happen, the happier and less stressed you will be when you get home. There’s nothing worse than running out of pads while bleeding all over for days on end. Because you’re definitely not going to be up to running to the store, your husband isn’t going to want to either, and even 24 hour delivery can’t even help you then.
Speaking of which, if you aren’t a member of Amazon Prime yet, let’s start right there. I have to admit I’m an extremely thrifty person, so the thought of paying a penny more than I ever need to is totally cringeworthy to me. That being said, a Prime membership more than pays for itself with all the fast, free shipping on postpartum recovery and baby supplies you’ll be overnighting to yourself on a weekly basis. I couldn’t seem to justify getting a prime membership until I was pregnant, and then I wondered what took me so long. (Get a free 30 day Amazon Prime trial here.)
Secret mom hack: you can even share a family prime membership with other family members and have your own logins!
Now here’s my list of 10 postpartum recovery must haves.
(In no particular order. All available on Amazon, so you don’t even have to leave the house to get them!)
10. Tucks Cool Hemorrhoid Pads: Hate to be the one to break it to you, but after giving birth, it’s very common to have hemorrhoids. I know this from experience. Sorry, TMI. I used these cool pads with witch hazel which provided much needed relief in those early weeks and onward. Get the 100 pack of these medicated pads. Because unfortunately, they can keep popping back up months and even years later.
9. Recovery Ritual Sitz Bath Salt for Postpartum Recovery and Hemorrhoid Treatment: My besties bought me this and I used it every single day, often twice a day to help my swollen lady parts recover. This will be the recommendation from your delivery nurse as well. Sitz bath salts are a must, must have. Because you’ll definitely run out of the ones you get at the hospital and you need to continue this practice to help you heal once you get home. The Recovery Ritual brand includes healing epsom salt, dead sea salt, and essential oils.
8. Organic Bamboo Washable Nursing Breast Pads: If you plan to breastfeed, these will come in handy to prevent leaking through your bra and top. And let’s face it: you are about to start doing way more laundry on a regular basis anyway. You’ll want nursing breast pads that you can keep on hand, and toss in with your next load rather than having to make sure you’re stocked up on enough of the disposable kind. One more thing to remember? No, thanks! Plus, that way you can reuse them for future babies, too.
It will be something you can feel like a human being in while in the hospital during your delivery, for one thing. And honestly, for first few weeks or months you are going to be living in whatever is comfortable and easy to breastfeed in, if you plan to do so. I prefer something like this that looks kind of like a real dress, where you could throw a jean jacket over it and go to the grocery store. Because I promise, you won’t feel like or remember to put on “real clothes” for a while, mama!
6. Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack: When I was still breastfeeding I used these all the time. You can put them in the microwave to create little heat packs to alleviate discomfort, encourage your milk let-down, relieve plugged ducts and painful mastitis. Or freeze them to relieve engorgement. These will be your best friends when breastfeeding gets tough.
5. Kindred Bravely High Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties: The reason for this purchase is to have some comfortable underwear, now that your body has changed. And to hold a pad for the residual bleeding that lasts for weeks.
I recommend getting these in black in case you leak through, so you aren’t worried about stains. And in all honesty, these are affordable enough you could even throw them away if they get too gross after a while depending on how soon you can wash them. No guilt allowed on that one.
4. The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality: If you’re a reader, put down all the parenting books and pick this up instead. Everyone raves about this book and from the skimming I’ve had time to do since my son has been born, it’s extremely validating and valuable. I would highly recommend reading this before you give birth. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and how to give yourself grace and meet your own needs during this time. It will also be harder to fit in reading for a while after giving birth, until life falls into more of a routine.
3. Always Postpartum / Incontinence Pads for Women: Again, you will be bleeding for up to 6 weeks after giving birth, this is called lochia and it’s a part of your healing. Some women opt to wear straight up diapers during this time and no shame in that game but that just was not for me. Once I got home, I wanted to feel as normal as possible which is not normal at all. But it’s more normal feeling if you’re wearing a pad, not a diaper.
Get a few packs of extra heavy absorbency, long length, (all the things) and you should be all set. If you don’t use them now, they will come in handy for your surprisingly heavy and long first period. Yay? Also a good backup plan if you are one of the many women experiencing incontinence or loss of bladder control after giving birth.
2. Electric Heating Pad for Back Pain and Postpartum Cramps: I had the worst back pain for months during my pregnancy and don’t know how I would have survived without an electric heating pad to soothe it. Plus, another thing no one tells you is when your uterus is shrinking back down to its regular size, and when you pump, you can get the WORST CRAMPS ever. I cannot recommend this enough in terms of finding relief. If you are doing any breastfeeding or pumping just leave it on your baby feeding chair, so you have it when you need it and are stuck in a chair for 30 min. This one has 6 temperature settings which is awesome.
1. Frida Mom Hospital Packing Kit for Labor, Delivery, Postpartum Recovery Kit: Frida Mom is a brand you will see everywhere because it’s the gold standard for postpartum recovery products. And for moms like me, who want to buy one thing and be done with it, go for this all-in-one-kit including almost everything you could possibly need from the delivery room to the first weeks at home.
It includes a nursing gown, socks, peri bottle (you get one at the hospital but it’s nice to have one in each bathroom), disposable underwear, ice maxi pads, pad liners, perineal foam, and a toiletry bag. If that seems like a lot of stuff or like more than you would typically spend on yourself in one sitting for self-care? Think again! There’s no way around it: when you deliver a baby, your body undergoes trauma. And what we’re talking about here is a healthy recovery, so you can focus on getting in more snuggles and precious bonding time with your new bundle of joy.
So there’s my list.
And be sure to check out my favorite motherhood apparel site, Kindred Bravely, for a stylish and affordable line created specifically for pregnant, postpartum, nursing, and pumping mamas! As you’re hunting around on their site, be sure to also nab a some more comfy clothes, a soft robe, nursing bra, hands-free pumping bra, and plenty of nursing tops. And if you have a scheduled C-section, my physical therapist recommends compression pants to help with comfort and swelling during your longer recovery.
Self-care doesn’t come easy for a lot of women. But your life is about to change drastically, and it’s high time to make that a priority.
Oh yeah, did I mention: practicing extremely intentional self-care during the first days, weeks, and months after giving birth is not optional. It is MANDATORY! There is no debating the fact that if you let your gas tank run on empty without eating, sleeping, and carving out a little time for yourself every single day, you will become totally burned out. It will also make it that much harder to care for your little one.
One last thought to leave you with: you need to care for yourself, you deserve to do it, and your baby wants a happy mama! You’re the only one who can fully meet your needs. So if you struggle to make time for yourself as a future, new, or not-so-new mama, check out my free Motherhood Self Care Guide for some great ideas.
You got this, mama.
And feel free to check out my little self care gift shop if you want to treat yourself (or pamper a friend) with something special today while supporting this blog and other mama-owned businesses!
Psst… please share this article to help another current or future mama! You can also save it for future reference on your “Motherhood Inspiration” Pinterest board.