Real talk, mama: in amongst all the prep for birth and your baby’s arrival, it can be so easy to forget about yourself and – very importantly – your postpartum recovery. Birth is no joke. Add learning how to feed and take care of your baby all while managing sore-a*s, engorged boobies, crazy hormones, and a billion other things in between, and it’s a f*cking lot.
While everyone’s postpartum experience is different, a few universal products can help you heal, recover, and survive the rollercoaster that is the weeks after birth. Here are 14 postpartum essentials every mom needs.
Types of postpartum recovery essentials
Before we dive in, we want to address two things.
Firstly, postpartum care is more than just letting your vagina or your c-section scar heal. It’s also about helping you rest, bond with your bébé, and yes, even poop (we sh*t you not – quite literally). The products below cover many aspects of postpartum recovery. But in addition to these, eating well, looking after your mental wellbeing, and tapping into your support network will go a long way in helping you during your postpartum period.
Secondly, some postpartum essentials are geared towards the type of birth you have. However, what goes down in birth is, in most cases, impossible to predict. So, if you can afford to (because we know having a baby can be expensive AF), it might be helpful to buy a range of products in case, or at least know where you can source them at all hours of the day or night.
Now, let’s chat about those must-buys for your postpartum kit.
Postpartum recovery essentials
Fun fact: you will bleed from your vag after birth no matter what type of birth you have. What the f*ck, right? Your body sheds blood as your uterus heals and shrinks back to its pre-baby size. It can be pretty heavy (think more blood than you’d usually see in a heavy period) and include clots.
So, disposable underwear is a must. While they don’t look super attractive, they’re big, stretchy, don’t leak, and are so easy to dispose of (trust us, it’s a much simpler alternative to washing pair after pair of bloody panties). Depend’s Real Fit Disposable Underwear are a classic.
Postpartum bleeding can linger for several weeks, but it will become lighter over time. Once this starts to happen, you can shift from using disposable or period underwear to using postpartum pads (otherwise known as maternity pads) inside of regular panties. Postpartum pads are generally thicker and longer than regular pads to provide ultimate protection, and Incognito’s Maternity Pads are some of the best postpartum pads available.
Looking for another (more environmentally friendly) option for postpartum underwear? Period underwear. Really! They absorb blood meaning they can take the place of pads all while looking streamlined and discreet (so much to love). Many brands offer different thicknesses of period underwear to suit different flows, and it’s often a wise idea to have options on hand – postpartum bleeding can be quite heavy at first before it drops off, so you might want to have some thicker versions on hand as well as some lighter ones in case, and you may still need to use postpartum pads in addition to the underwear during the really early days. (Still, they’re convenient AF!) And in terms of the best period underwear, we love Modibodi’s offering – they even have a specific Maternity Brief with a v-waistband that you can wear low under your belly during pregnancy and throughout recovery which provides maximum absorbency.
If you’ve had a c-section birth, the feeling of panties rubbing on your scar as it heals can be uncomfortable. So our advice? Pick up some high-waisted panties. Some women like them loose; others prefer them with a bit of tightness for abdominal support. As for the best postpartum underwear, we like the B Free Post Maternity Comfort Brief. They’re an excellent postpartum underwear option – they’re breathable, stretchy as hell, and come in a multi-pack for convenience.
Buy them here.
Source: B Free
C-section scars can be itchy as sh*t as they heal (as if you didn’t have enough going on already). But, applying lovely, thick cream can help relieve this. We dig Motherlove’s C Section Cream: it’s certified organic and is designed to help reduce scarring and nourish the skin with soothing, antibacterial, and regenerative herbs.
Note that you should only use a cream, balm, or lotion on your belly once your c-section incision has fully closed. Always speak to your healthcare provider for personalized advice if you’re unsure.
Warmth can help soothe your healing c-section wound and keep you comfortable while you’re recovering. So, having something like a wheat bag on hand can be a postpartum savior. You can buy scented and unscented wheat bags – we love this option from Etsy seller, The Organic Sweetie. It’s large, comes presented in a gorgeous cover, and is available with lavender and rosemary scenting (or without, if you prefer).
And even if you have a vaginal birth, a wheat bag is still a must. You can pop it over your belly to help with post-birth cramping, or you can lay it across your shoulders to provide a little relief from the tension of constantly holding a wee baby.
Perineal wash bottle
After a vaginal birth, you need to keep your lady bits and any stitches that might be down there clean and dry to help with healing. A perineal wash bottle is a must for this – it’s a little bottle with an angled spout that you fill with water and use to spritz your bits after going to the bathroom or any time you need without any awkward bending over or twisting. We recommend Bare Mum’s Perineal Wash Bottle.
Pro tip: you can also use a perineal wash bottle to clean a c-section wound. Again, no more awkward bending over or putting pressure on your incision.
Source: Bare Mum
Perennial ice pack
It’s safe to say things can be a little sore down there after vaginal birth. However, using an ice pack on your lady parts can help ease discomfort (really, it’s so helpful). You can buy perineal ice packs that are specifically shaped for your sensitive region (so no, you don’t have to cram a sport-sized ice pack into your pants, girl) – we love BodyICE’s Perenium Strips. Pro tip: buy a few so you can have them on rotation.
Buy them here.
That first poop after giving birth can feel freaking terrifying. Like, what happens if you push too hard? Will it hurt? While drinking plenty of water and eating fibre-rich foods can help get your bod’ in the mood for a number two, it’s normal to need a little extra encouragement. A stool softener, like Colace (if you’re US-based) or Coloxyl (for our Aussie gals), can help move things along. However, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider before using any stool softening product.
Hemorrhoid relief cream
If you have a vaginal birth, you might experience the joy that is hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are essentially swollen veins around your booty, and they’re caused by stress to the area from either carrying a baby (yes, you can get them during pregnancy) or from pushing out a baby. They can range from mildly irritating to f*cking painful and can become aggravated when you poop. A topical ointment like Preparation H (if you’re in the US) or Anusol (if you’re in Australia) can help provide relief. However, always check with your healthcare provider before using any hemorrhoid product, especially if you had an episiotomy or tearing.
Witch hazel cooling pads
Look, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: things can be pretty sensitive in your Southern Region after vaginal birth (you did just push a watermelon out of a tiny hole after all). You might feel sore, and yes, as we’ve mentioned, you might experience hemorrhoids (f*ck!). Anything cooling will be your best friend, as will anything with witch hazel, which is known to help soothe and protect irritated areas. A product like Tuck’s Medicated Cooling Pads, which are cooling (as the name suggests) and come medicated with witch hazel, are a must.
Breastfeeding ice pack
Breastfeeding can be a wild ride and one that can include discomfort or pain as you and your babe learn what’s what in the milk department. Applying some sort of cooling element to your boobies can help until things settle down. You can find disposable cooling discs. However, we love the Lansinoh Thera Pearl Breast Therapy gel pack, which is reusable and can even be used hot (applying heat to your ta-tas can help ease pain in between feeds too).
Side note: if you are concerned about your little one’s feeding or if you’re experiencing persistent pain during feeds, do speak to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for personalized help.
Breastfeeding can be hard on your nipples, especially while your babe is learning the art of latching and drinking that sweet, sweet milk. Your nipples can become cracked and sore (yikes!), and applying a nipple balm to the area can help relieve any pain and itching and also help repair the skin. While this doesn’t happen to all moms, having a nipple balm on hand, should you need it, is a postpartum must. We love Willow by the Sea’s Nipple Balm – it’s certified organic, ultra-creamy and nourishing, and doesn’t need to be washed off before feeds.
Buy it here.
Source: Willow by the Sea
Postpartum belly wrap
Belly wraps (also known as belly bands) can help moms keep their postpartum belly muscles supported after birth and even help with recovery and pain management after a c-section. We dig Kin Fertility’s Belly Band, which is fully adjustable, approved by Australian OBGYN’s, and can even be used for support during pregnancy. However, do know a belly band should never be done up so tight that you can’t breathe, and we recommend seeing a physiotherapist for a check-up at six weeks post-birth, or if you’re concerned about your abdominal muscles at any point post-baby.
Buy it here.
Source: Kin Fertility
There you have it. Ultimately, your postpartum experience will be very personal. Find what works for you and what helps you feel most comfortable and supported. You’re already looking after yourself just by reading this and planning for postpartum, mama bear.