With baby #2 on the way in the very near future, I’m already epically preparing for postpartum recovery, care and healing the right way after birth. This time, I have a far better idea of what to expect and I am definitely NOT making the same mistakes again.
The first mistake was not having everything I needed to heal postpartum.
Trust me, you DO NOT want to run to the store with your mother when you’ve run out of Dermoplast (*shudders*). Second, I will be 100% SURE to use that dang peri bottle and do sitz baths!
My six week postpartum follow up appointment was not what any doctor would hope for.
Avoid an extremely painful infection (like I had), prepare for postpartum properly and avoid having your postpartum recovery be more painful than birth.
Here are 20 MUST HAVE supplies for your postpartum care kit. No extra stuff. Exactly what you need, prescribed by the hospital. Many of these things, my hospital actually provided during my stay. I ran out at home. Don’t let this happen to you. I definitely won’t for baby #2! The supplies listed below are the TOP most purchased items by other mommies going through postpartum from my other postpartum blog posts. This list was made to help keep things simple, straight to the point and easy.
To make things even easier, be sure to check out the Amazon “Idea List” at the bottom of the post, which links you to a Pinterest-board-like view of the top items for postpartum healing and recovery. It’s pretty nice!
20 Must-have Supplies To Speed Up Healing Postpartum After A Vaginal Birth
#1. A Peri Bottle That Actually Works
(not the craptastic one from the hospital)
Okay, so let’s talk about that dreaded peri bottle. Basically, the hospital gives you this cheapo little bottle to squirt warm water down there every single time you go to the bathroom. It sucks and it’s not an option. However, there is a MUCH better alternative. Fridababy makes a peri-bottle called the Fridet with a nozzle specifically designed to be held upside down, giving you much more control with each use. Take that crappy peri bottle the hospital gives you and stick in the second bathroom or in your diaper bag, then save yourself the frustration and use the Fridet. This routine is one of the most vital things you can do postpartum. You use this thing EVERY SINGLE time you go. Skip this step every once in a while (like I did) and an infection will start down there. Avoid the ridiculously painful infection and use the Fridet. Trust me.
#2. Perineal Cold Packs(LIFE SAVOR!)
Skip the vagina frostbite padsickle (that’s super popular on Pinterest) and opt for something comfortable and cool. First off, I know those DIY “padsickles” are like all the rage but I’ve been there, done that and they were TERRIBLE (in my personal experience). If I wanted to freezer burn my painfully injured vagina then padsickles would definitely be the way to go. On the other hand, when I wanted actual pain relief and comfort, these medicated cooling pads (like they have at the hospital) were AH-MAZING! In my books, this is a must-have item for recovering after a hard delivery.
#3. Perineal Spray
When you leave the hospital, chances are you will receive Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray and you will be thankful as heck. The nurse told me, “Never forget to use this each and every time you go to the bathroom.” The problem is, that’s a lot of spraying so we had to go out and find two additional cans. Save yourself the hassle and have it ready beforehand! I can’t stress this enough. Another similar spray gaining momentum is Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray. It’s a more natural product and I’ve heard raving reviews. Mommies are actually buying it MORE than Dermoplast. Next time, I’ll buy both and see which is better!
#4. Must-Have Cooling Pads For Healing & Comfort
The hospital provided Tucks Medicated Healing Pads to place directly on the maxi pad for relief. So, while you can sit and use the amazing Medline perineal cold packs (item #2 above) for a little while, you can’t really go out and about with those! Plus, those cold packs don’t last forever. Tucks pads are thin, cool and help with the pain tremendously. They are little round 3″ pads with witch hazel and I cannot tell you how much they relieved the burning and itching. Ah-mazing. I ran out of them quickly after leaving the hospital and it sucked. We went and bought a couple other brands that were supposed to be the same but they weren’t near as good! No matter what, I’m making sure this is in my postpartum kit for baby #2.
#5. SUPER absorbent pads
(that don’t feel like diapers)
Very quickly, you will run out of those giant pads from the hospital. You also (like me) may not have been madly in love with them. I felt like I was waddling in a diaper at the hospital. Super fun. Dodge the duck waddle and stock up on Always Maxi (overnight extra heavy flow with wings). They are not as bulky and the wings provide extra space for any leakage. I preferred these for sure. Again, another item that will for sure be in my future postpartum kit (but I guess all 20 of these items will be for sure!)
#6. Postpartum Recovery Underwear (disposable)
This brand is identical to the disposable underwear they will provide for you at the hospital. They are an absolute necessity because of…well, this may be TMI but all the postpartum leakage. You will be throwing these away and replacing them often. Very quickly, when you leave the hospital, these will run out. And boy do you need these guazy, ugly as heck but amazing underwear. Some women have also told me their hospital supplied them with ZERO to take home! Save yourself the trouble and buy your own postpartum maternity (post-surgical) disposable underwear just like the hospital has.
#7. Sitz bath
I wish I had known about sitz bath’s BEFORE I had our baby. Now, it seems, sitz baths are super popular. I’ve spoken to moms who’ve told me this has made a world of a difference, so I’ve already pinned every sitz bath article I can find (in preparation for baby #2).
Basically, a sitz bath cleanses and comforts your lady bits while you soak in a warm, shallow bath. It also can help with pain and itching – which, if you have ever had a baby, you know how terrible that was!
There are two ways to do a proper sitz bath. The first way is by using a simple plastic cover that sits neatly over your toilet like this top Amazon sitz bath by Yunga Tart. The second is to use your bathtub and make sure the tub is clean! The reason people opt for the first option (the plastic cover) is that you risk infection with an unsterile tub.
#8. Epsom Salt For Your Sitz Bath
For your sitz bath use a high-quality Epsom salt made specifically for these types of baths like Epsoak Epsom Salt (which is Amazon’s #1 choice). I linked the large bag because sitz baths are usually recommended 2-3 times a day! That’s a lot of Epsom salt, so you’ll want to probably save and buy the larger quantity. You can also try different essential oils but lavender and witch hazel help soothe, cleanse and are anti-inflammatory. I seem to find those oils the most in sitz baths. I personally, don’t trust just any essential oil (because who knows how much oil is actually in there) except those like Aura Cacia’s Lavender Essential Oil.
#9. NOT Toilet paper
(use this instead)
When going to the bathroom, the thought of using toilet paper WILL be cringe-worthy (nails on a chalk-board cringe-worthy). Preparation H makes flushable medicated wipes that will solve this problem. I couldn’t be more thankful when my mom bought these for my postpartum kit (she’s a nurse!).
10. Stool Softener
(even if you’ve never had to use one before)
After popping out what seemed like a watermelon (having the baby), you may be hesitant to ever want to do anything down there ever again. That’s normal. What you can do is take the proper steps to make this part WAY easier. First, make sure to take a gentle, dependable and effective stool softener like Colace which is the #1 doctor recommended brand. It works. My doctor highly recommended it and it’s worth it.
#11. Avoid Terribly Painful Poops
(that will make you never want to have a child ever again)
Something you may not even realize (if you’ve never had a baby) is afterward, squatting to go #2 is…difficult. One of the things they told me before I left the hospital was to try to be on my “tip toes” during a bowel movement because squatting would help tremendously. That was impossible. After talking with a few other moms who had this exact same issue, I heard over and over to try out the Squatty Potty toilet stool. It may seem ridiculous now but anything to help with that painful event will be WELCOME next time! There’s no way I’m not ordering this.
#12. The Most Comfortable Leggings Of All Time
(that DO NOT show your underwear whatsoever)
One of the things I did correctly before having our little one was buying the BEST comfy clothes. After labor, I lived in leggings, a nursing tank and long cardigans. I purchased two pairs of the best leggings ever. You seriously HAVE to check thee out. With almost 6500 reviews (yes thousands!) and close to a five solid star rating on Amazon, I knew these had to be the real deal. I live in them: during pregnancy, postpartum…not pregnant or postpartum. I love them. My whole pants wardrobe might end up consisting of these leggings.
#13. The Best Thin Comfortable Pads
You don’t want to wear those giant pads forever. Transition into these super comfortable thinner pads. Make sure to add a good panty liner like Always thin dailies as you transition to normalcy. I personally, liked Always liners the best because they were comfortable and effective. Make sure you are ready for the transition though! They will hold some leakage but not much more than that.
#14 – Vagina Saver
Avoid searing pain when sitting, especially with those stitches. Prepare and have a Dohnut Cushion made specifically to protect your healing lady bits. Sitting will be…painful for a few weeks or more after labor. I spoke to women this week who told me, for her, sitting after labor wasn’t even an option. She laid on her side instead. Some hospitals may give you a waffle pad for free when you check out (which sucks) but I’ve heard raving reviews about the donut pillow and I’m getting one for sure.
This pillow is shaped just like it describes, allowing you to put pressure everywhere else BUT the one place you don’t want anything to touch. It’s made of a good quality foam and I’m told it’s a life saver.
#15. Comfortable But Still Sexy Underwear
When you want to graduate into actual underwear (and ditch the diaper feel) I would advise having a pack of ridiculously comfortable underwear on hand like these boy short boxer brief panties. Postpartum, I was thanking God I had those boy short underwear. I liked how they didn’t ride up and they were super comfortable. Plus, I’m not one for the granny panny look. It was nice to feel…somewhat sexy(?) again, or at least, moving in the right direction.
#16. Healing Cream For Lots Of Pain
If you are one of those mommies who have extreme pain down there, don’t discard using the good old fashioned Preparation H cream. I asked one of my friends this week what her postpartum recommendations were and this was one of her top suggestions!
#17. Compression Socks
Postpartum swelling can happen to some women and this can be a real concern. After labor, ankles and calves can actually swell up way more than before! To remedy this, try using a solid pair of compression socks built for this very thing.
#18. Foot Soak
Along with the compression salt, make sure to use Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom salt for relief. Tea tree oil is a natural remedy for swelling and pain. I had a good friend who had crazy painful swelling postpartum in her feet and ankles. She tried everything. The only thing she said that worked was this duo!
#19. Water Bottle
Make sure to drink plenty of water after delivery. The hospital even gave me this GIANT pint-sized thing with a handle, telling me to “drink, drink, drink” all the time. The problem with drinking water (for me personally) is that I’m not very good at it unless I have an easy to use water bottle. I know that sounds silly, but if I carry my Nalgene water bottle around then I ACTUALLY drink out of it. If someone hands me a glass of water, I usually forget about it. I don’t know why that is. The Nalgene has an easy pop top which is my favorite. I strongly dislike the screw top or sucking water bottles. Find a water bottle you love (especially if you are pregnant!) because you will be using it ad nauseam.
#20. The Best Prenatal Vitamins
Remember to keep taking your prenatal vitamins postpartum. Vitamins A, B and C are excellent for healing wounds. However, I am a big advocate of quality vitamins. You may not know that synthetics and fillers are in MANY “vitamins” from Walgreens, Walmart, and even GNC. A friend turned me onto Nutrilite vitamins since they are the #1 health supplement brand in the world and the only company that grows their product on certified organic farms and creates the vitamins all in one place. My doctor raved about them as well. I use Double X which you can find here.
Postpartum healing and recovery after birth definitely does not categorize under sugar, spice and everything nice, but if you have these vital supplies ready in your bathroom you’re on the road to a speedy, comfortable recovery. Avoid infection (and LOTS more pain) and cleanse. Plus get plenty of rest! When you use these hospital recommended things during your postpartum recovery, not only will you heal the right way but you will be able to enjoy the wonderful new little one you’ve brought home. <3