As expecting moms, we direct so much time and attention toward planning for the pregnancy and birth, but not many people talk about the postpartum journey. And it’s definitely a journey. Haha. I was SO grateful that some trusted friends helped me prepare ahead of time for the hard (but totally worth it!) reality that is life as a postpartum, recovering mama. No matter how you deliver your baby (vaginally or by c-section,) your body has worked SO hard to bring your precious little one into the world. Plan on giving yourself lots of time and grace to heal. Here are a few of my tried and true postpartum must haves that have helped me a ton in all of my post-delivery recoveries!
After two VBACs, lemme tell ya, there’s a lot of recovering that has to happen “down south” after you deliver your baby. Padcicles were my BEST FRIEND for the first few weeks after giving birth. They were so soothing and I think they really helped the healing process. I followed the instructions on THIS blog post and made them a few weeks before I was due and was so grateful to have them on hand!
2. Peri Spray
In addition to the witch hazel pads they gave me at the hospital, this was so soothing and helpful while I healed. I would spray it on topically and also on my padsicles before I put them on. There are various ones available for purchase, but I used THIS homemade version and loved it.
I didn’t think I’d need them, buuuuut I was wrong. After a few days of waddling around with the puppy pee-pad sized maxi pads that they give you at the hospital, I swallowed my pride and sent Austin to the store for the adult diapers. They were way more comfortable and it was nice to be able to throw the whole thing away and just start fresh. And they were complete with little lace designs on them so I felt like a sexy goddess. I’m kidding. They aren’t cute, but they’re awesome!
4. Donut (for vaginal delivery)
I wish I was talking about Krispy Creme here but I’m not. (although I do think those would be very appropriate in this situation!) Having a donut cushion to sit on quite literally saved my butt. I used it for weeks! You’re basically pushing a watermelon out of your you know what (let’s not forget how INCREDIBLE that is!!) so it’s common to be sore for a while afterward.
5. Abdominal Binder (for c-section delivery)
I had a c-section with our daughter Audrey and THIS was a life saver! It provided counter-pressure at the site of my incision and made it way less painful when I coughed, sneezed, or even laughed. A friend of mine had the foresight to get me one, and I was so thankful to have it. I wore it for the first whole week!
Sometimes c-sections are unexpected, so keep this tucked in the back of your mind just in case! You can order it while you’re still in the hospital and I bet it will be at your house ready to meet you when you get home.
6. Nipple Butter and Nipple Shields
Just trust me on this one. Your girls will thank you. I particularly liked THIS brand of nipple butter because it’s all natural and organic and I felt safe about my baby potentially getting it in her mouth.
And then most of the time, the lactation consultant at the hospital can size you and send you home with some nipple shields if you ask for them. But if you want to have your bases covered ahead of time, you can order some HERE. (just make sure you know what size you need) Even if you aren’t sore at first, you might find that you are tender after a few days of nursing every 2 hours so I would highly recommend grabbing some just in case. Better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them!
7. Haakaa Silicon Pump
I experienced a lot of soreness at the beginning of my breastfeeding journey and THIS was a really gentle way to express milk even when nursing or using my normal pump was too painful. It’s also excellent for catching letdown.
Haakaa also makes THESE awesome silicone “ladybugs” if you want a more discreet way to catch your letdown. I used them with Liam and LOVED them!
8. Sunflower Lecithin Capsules
As always, run this by your OB or midwife, but in my experience, THIS is super helpful if you are prone to blocked milk ducts. I have a MASSIVE milk supply, and especially in those early days when my body is trying to regulate my milk production, I am super prone to engorgement and mastitis. This supplements helps keep your ducts from getting blocked and was a game changer for me! After four bouts of mastitis, I will never NOT have this on hand while I’m breastfeeding.
You can click HERE to read more about how helpful this supplement is!
9. Omega-3 Supplement
Your hormones are all over the place after having a baby and even if you’ve never dealt with depression before, don’t be surprised if you experience some baby blues. I had it pretty bad after Liam was born and thankfully, my amazing doctor was able to help me find some natural ways to support my body and hormones through this season. Taking an Omega-3 supplement was a game changer and is what really helped me turn a corner. I like THIS particular one because it contains vitamin D3 which is also helpful to support your mood and over all wellness during your postpartum recovery. Just double check with your doctor before taking it!
10. Stool Softener
In case you haven’t realized it by now, birth is incredible, but it is NOT glamorous. Haha. You will find yourself talking about all sorts of things and bodily functions that you otherwise would never discuss with anyone! For example, it’s not uncommon to experience some constipation after you deliver, and especially with things being sore down there, a stool softener can be super helpful to ease the discomfort of your first few post-birth bowel movements.
BONUS: Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep Class
Yep, I’m talking about it again! I cannot stress enough how important sleep is to YOUR recovery! Our bodies do so much healing and mental processing while we sleep, and it is so so important that we are laying a solid sleep foundation for our babies so that WE can sleep and heal.
Do yourself a favor and go through the course BEFORE baby comes so that you have time to absorb the information before putting it into action! I promise you, it’s the best $80 you’ll ever spend!!
Whew! I know that was a ton of info so you might want to bookmark this one! I hope these things are helpful tools for you as you rest and recover after welcoming your precious baby into the world!
If you missed them, be sure to check out the other posts in this series!