We need to talk postpartum essentials. It’s a topic that is neglected by lots of news moms.
When I was first pregnant, I read so many pregnancy books, learned about my baby’s development, how to manage my morning sickness, planned my beautiful nursery… I fixated on how to pack the perfect hospital bag (and I wrote it down, so you can pack the perfect hospital bag too).
But I didn’t really consider the postpartum period, and certainly didn’t think about what postpartum essentials I needed to stock. Why would I? Baby outfit planning and maternity photo shoot organizing is much more fun. Oooh, what a mistake!
Of course I expected labor to hurt, and I also thought I’d be a bit sore postpartum.
I didn’t realize HOW sore!
I didn’t know my nipples would hurt when Baby and I learned to breastfeed (don’t worry, that does go away), that sitting down post stitches would be excruciating, and I’d be terrified to use the bathroom.
Peeing was terrifying. Numbers twos were even more daunting.
Don’t freak out – the pain is definitely manageable, it’s not scary awful, and it definitely isn’t a long term thing! It’s just for the first little while after birth, a new mom has a lot going on down there.
Besides – it turns out there are SO many nifty things to help you manage postpartum, but you need to be organized before the postpartum period.
Most postpartum essentials are actually really inexpensive, but will help take the discomfort away so you can focus on the important thing: enjoying and bonding with your new baby, instead of wincing every time you move.
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Postpartum Essentials 1: The Donut Pillow
Say hello to your new best friend. The trusty donut pillow makes sitting down much more comfortable for the mamas out there who have had stitches. After experiencing an episiotomy, I had to send my husband out donut cushion hunting. I’ve heard they are also amazing for moms who are experiencing hemorrhoids. This is a postpartum essential I highly rank.
Postpartum Essential 2: Maternity Pads and/or Postpartum Pants
Another mistake I made was thinking that the end result would be just like a period, and that regular old pads would be just fine. Uh, wrong. There’s a reason why they make maternity pads and maternity mesh underpants, and you definitely do need them. Leakage can still happen, so make sure you pair with maternity pads with black underwear, or panties you’re happy to throw out. Maternity mesh pants (like these) make for easy clean up.
Postpartum Essential 3: Breast Pads
Leaky Boobs = wet icky bras and shirts and discomfort… and embarrassment if you’re out in public. Using breast pads is an easy way to stay dry and comfortable. You can buy reusable cloth ones, or disposables to stick inside of your bra.
Postpartum Essential 4: Nipple Cream
In the early days, breastfeeding can be uncomfortable while both you and your baby learn how to do it. It is a learning process, and your nipples can feel very sore in the early days. Not to worry, this will pass (if you are worried about breastfeeding pain, I have written an article here to give you some tips on what might help). But in the interim, using nipple cream can really soothe the pain while you figure out how the whole breastfeeding thing works. (By the way, if it hurts too much to bear, try a nipple shield).
Postpartum Essential 5: Sitz Bath
A Sitz bath is a postpartum trick that is handy to have up in your sleeve. When your doctor gives you the ok, you sit in the warm bath that is filled with a mix of salts and essential oils for around 20 minutes. Why? Because it decreases itching and discomfort… and it smells pretty good too. Mommy on Purpose has a super informative article on Sitz Baths here.
Postpartum Essential 6: Padsicles
Padiscles are a super popular DIY project because they help reduce swelling. Not a DIY fan? Don’t worry, it’s a 5 minute project for a whole lot of relief. You grab a maternity pad, pop on some aloe vera, witch hazel and put the pad in the freezer. It’s like a soothing ice pack for your nethers. Mommy Labor Nurse gives a full run down on padiscles here.
Postpartum Essential 7: Spray bottle or Peri Bottle
I personally just used a spray bottle full of warm water, like the one pictured below to spray on myself when I was peeing – soooooo much pain relief (easy to reuse, down the track). Other moms like peri bottles. Truthfully it doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you are tipping/spraying water on yourself when you go to the bathroom. It really helps reduce pain, particularly if you’ve got stitches (they sting).
Postpartum Essential 8: Nursing bras
Nursing bras are comfortable, flexible and allow the baby easy access for feeding time. The clip just pulls down, and you’re good to go. They’re comfy to sleep in. No underwire allowed ladies.
Postpartum Essential 9: Pain Relief Pills
Postpartum Essential 10: Cold/Heat Pack
Cold packs are great to pop on your breasts when your milk comes in – engorgement can be quite painful (but if you don’t have a cold pack, cold cabbage leaves work a treat too). A heat pack, on the other hand, is great for offering comfort and relief for your back and tummy. Save money by grab a pack like this, that can be both frozen and heated.