If you are expecting you probably have crossed off everything on your hospital bag and baby essentials checklist.
You might even have your birth plan ready to go when labor kicks in.
But have you thought about your postpartum care kit?
To be honest with you I didn’t have one when I was pregnant the first time. I got some nipple cream and breast pump as I know I will be nursing my son. Other than that I was totally in surprise (or shock) that postpartum threw at me.
But, you don’t to be that way!
I wrote this post to cover everything you might possibly need to survive your postpartum period. You can think of this as an Ultimate Postpartum Kit.
You don’t have to buy everything on this list beforehand, but keep referring to this checklist and you can decide whether to buy or not later.
ULTIMATE POSTPARTUM KIT FOR NEW MOMS:
For Pain Relief:
You are going to be in a lot of pain after giving birth to your baby. The uterus will be shrinking back to its original size resulting in menstrual cramps like pain. Your perineum will be sore after pushing a baby out. You will need pain relief to relieve the physical pain.
I am not the first one to take tablets. My husband literally has to push them down my throat normally. The first two days after postpartum was a different story. Once my epidural withered off I was asking for pain killers every two hours because I was on so much pain.
Please don’t be in pain and it’s ok to pop a few tablets if you have to.
For the second time around I researched for some natural pain killers and came across this homeopathic medicine Arnica. Midwives recommend these as natural postpartum pain relief. Arnica is meant to reduce swelling and promote vaginal healing after childbirth. Talk to your homeopathic doctor for dosage and usage.
I felt intense uterine cramps after my second delivery and I felt it the most while breastfeeding my daughter. It makes sense though since breastfeeding releases oxytocin which further initiates the uterus to contract. And since I didn’t need pain killers generally (since it was a natural birth the second time around) I used heat bags to relieve pain and it worked very well.
It is unfathomable to imagine how much the perineum stretches to bring your baby to this world. And rightfully your perineum needs utmost care postpartum. Here are a few must-have postpartum items for perineal healing
Sitz baths were my favorite things about postpartum (apart from cuddling with my babies, of course). I loved the fact that I could be by myself, soaking in the tub filled with herbal goodness and watching my favorite TV show for 20 minutes twice a day.
Not to mention, how refreshing and cleansing it feels.
If you are first-time mom, I highly recommend learning all about Sitz baths here, because they definitely speed up recovery.
It is actually pretty simple to take a Sitz Bath. Once your doctor gives you a go ahead, fill your bathtub with warm water, just enough to immerse your lady bits, sit and soak for 15 – 20 minutes. To get the best results, add herbs to your sitz bath that has various postpartum benefits. You can either make a herbal sitz bath mixture or buy an organic ready to use herb sachet that you can directly add to the tub.
If you don’t have a tub or need a portable version of sitz bath, then these over the toilet sitz bath seats come in handy. These baths are very helpful if you want to take quick, frequent perineal soak due to stitches, hemorrhoids or due to constipation.
Peri Bottle +Spray:
Another postpartum essential you can’t forget. Peri Bottle is your BFP, Best Friend Postpartum!
A Peri Bottle is a spritz bottle filled with water that you will use to clean your ladybits after using the toilet.
Your hospital might send you home with a Peri Bottle, but I highly recommend getting a good one and use it with a perineal spray.
The perineal spray is a herbal spray made with witch hazel that will reduce swelling and pain around the vagina when you try to pee and poop. I recommend this particular spray, made of great natural ingredients that actually work.
Heard of hemorrhoids? I wish and pray that you will never have to know!
Hemorrhoids are basically swollen veins that happen as a result of all the stress exerted around the vagina and anus from pushing the baby.
Unfortunately, many of us will get hemorrhoids after delivery. Tucks are cooling pads that contain witch hazel that is used to treat hemorrhoids and other rectal/vaginal swelling at home.
Hemorrhoids, stitches and vaginal tear can make sitting uncomfortable and painful. This donut-shaped pillow is designed to effectively ease postpartum pain and take the pressure off while sitting.
While the above-listed products are nice to have although I would say they are a MUST) there are a few postpartum necessities that you absolutely need.
Postpartum bleeding will continue for around 6 to 15 days. The first few days you will be bleeding heavy and will go through around 4 -5 pads a day. I suggest stocking up on heavy flow pads beforehand.
Postpartum can be really messy. I mean there is a lot of bodily fluids involved. Even though I packed undies in my hospital bag I ended up using the mesh undies my hospital gave me. I loved them so much that I bought these to continue to use at home until I stopped heavily bleeding.
I am the kinda person who hates anything remotely cold touching me. And yet I have ice packs listed here as a must have. They are so good to use right after giving birth because your lady parts are badly swollen and irritated. The ice packs are insanely soothing and help calm down the redness and soreness.
I would have never imagined that pushing out the first postpartum poop would be scarier than pushing out a baby.
Make sure to drink lots of water and include a fiber-rich diet to get things moving. Sometimes, when nothing works, your nurse will give you some stool softeners that will make it easier to pass poop.
Literally, every part of your body is shaken after going through labor. Whether you plan to breastfeed or formula feed, you will find physiological changes to your breasts (all thanks to the hormones once again).
I have an entire post that lists everything you need if you plan to breastfeed, but there are some items you need during postpartum, whether you decide to breastfeed or not. You will only find those products here, check this post for a full list of breastfeeding must have’s if you plan to nurse your baby.
Naturally, after giving birth, your body starts to make food for your baby. You will feel your milk coming in and your breasts will be engorged. In that process, your breasts will start leaking milk. You might notice a let down when your baby cries or when you smell your baby or even think about your baby. ( miraculous how our bodies are tuned to our babies needs right?)
If you are continuing to breastfeed you might need nursing pads longer. But if you are not you will still need them during the early days until your milk dries up.
When your breasts become full, nipples might get dry and sometimes even crack. Nipple cream keeps your breasts moist, soft and prevents nipples cracking.
Who wants to wear fancy bras when your breasts feel like a brick? Give your ladies a break and opt for these comfortable breathable bras. Plus they are nursing friendly if you plan to breastfeed.
Modern moms are expected to manage postpartum phase by themselves with very less help from family, friends or community. In almost every other cultures, postpartum is treated as a resting period where mom is well-rested, spends time with the baby and is nourished with comforting healthy food.
If you had a vaginal delivery, you will most likely experience weak pelvic floor muscles. If you feel the urge to pee often after delivery or end up peeing while sneezing, these are signs that you have weak pelvic floor muscles.
It is better to start strengthening your pelvic muscles once your doctor says so. Kegels are a great exercise to practice every day to restore pelvic muscles. This kegel kit is an excellent way to practice kegel exercise.
A friend of mine sent us home cooked meals for the first week postpartum. After that, my mom was there and She made traditional Indian postpartum meals for me.
If you couldn’t make arrangements for freshly cooked meals, then making healthy freezer friendly meals are your best bet to make sure you get all the nourishment and nutrients during postpartum.
A doula is someone you can hire you will help you with cooking, taking caring of your house and your baby so that mom gets to rest and recover after childbirth.
You can google for postpartum doula services available near your area. These services can be expensive but they are so much worth it. Some insurance companies might partial or all the costs depending on the plan, you might want to give them a call and check with your insurer.
Other Nice Things To Have:
Postpartum made me crave for water. I wasn’t sure if it was breastfeeding or the crazy hormones that made me sweat like a pig. I carried my water bottle everywhere. I only drank warm water so I got this insulates bottle (I know, I’m weird) but hey you can use it keep your water cold too.
Water Proof Mat:
Leaky boobs and postpartum period can mean messy sheets. I use these waterproof bed covers and they are best. I not only use these sheets for postpartum, but I also use them during that time of the month too. I know these mats are a bit expensive, but they do not feel plasticky or shift around the bed. I even use one on my kid’s bed during potty training.
Special Note for C section mamas
I haven’t had a C section but I do know a few of my friends who had one. I put together this list after talking to them about what they needed after giving birth.
Co-sleeper: Getting up to get your baby can be difficult when you just had a C section. Many C section moms swear by using a co-sleeper or a bassinet to keep their baby close enough.
Oversized Undies: Get these high waisted postpartum undies with a high rise that will not interfere with your C section incision.
Scar Cream: You can buy a good quality scar cream but these silicone scar treatment sheets are meant to treat and minimize the appearance of the scar.
Washcloths: It is crucial to keep the incision area dry and clean. Use clean washcloths and gently pat the area dry to prevent infection.
Let’s Wrap Up:
Postpartum is a period to rest, bond with your baby and restore your health. Take it slow, remember to sleep with your baby and focus on your postpartum recovery. This postpartum checklist will help you understand the different needs of your body and what products you can use to ease the pain and fasten recovery.