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The Best Postpartum Essentials for a Healthy Recovery
Last updated: 10 Nov 2023
Are the postpartum essentials really a necessity during the postpartum recovery period? This question does pop up in the mind of many mothers when they are so busy stocking up the things for their newborn. If you consider the pain and inconvenience that comes along with the postpartum period, you may be more inclined to pick out a few products for yourself.
Consider it the most important period for your family, as many aspects of your future health depend on how smoothly you recover postpartum. Your child can get your tender loving care only when you are feeling completely recovered. Once you realize this, you’ll get to know that spending a little on postpartum essentials is beneficial both for you and your baby. If you are confused about what to buy, you can check out our top picks of 2023 that are most high in demand and bought by many mothers.
It’s natural to think more about the baby than yourself throughout pregnancy, and even more so after the delivery. You feel a persistent need to learn more about your baby and to shop for all of the essentials that the baby might need for right after their birth. This excitement and baby shopping can make you exhausted and may take a lot of your time. It is equally important to prepare yourself for the challenges you might face personally. The most fundamental of these preparations involves equipping yourself with a complete postpartum essentials kit. It is hard to get one kit containing everything you may need. Some women have planned C-sections, while others have natural births. The requirements differ from woman to woman, but there are a lot of things that every woman needs. Postpartum underwear, pads for hot and cold therapy, and a peri bottle are a few common postpartum essentials.
Resuming your previous routine might take some time. After childbirth, your sleep is not proper, because so much time is consumed in changing diapers, attending to the baby every hour, and learning how to feed the baby. Thankfully, certain things can help you out with your postpartum recovery period and can ease your distress.
The Postpartum Period
Postpartum recovery can be quick for some women, but slow for others, depending on the length of labor, mother’s age, overall health, and pregnancy complications. Your obstetrician (OB) will typically ask you for a follow-up visit after six weeks. During this visit, they check your condition and let you know when you can resume your daily activities. It is a critical time for a new mom to heal completely from the challenges of childbirth.
You can expect the following problems during your recovery period postpartum. Feel free to check out the postpartum essentials you require during this period.
What to Expect: Genital Bleeding (lochia)
The bleeding from the vagina after giving birth is called lochia. This bleeding is different from menstrual bleeding. It is heavier and darker in color because during breastfeeding the baby contracts the womb, compelling it to extract the leftovers. The cramps that you will feel are also similar to menstrual cramps. After six weeks, the bleeding gets lighter and brownish until it stops completely.
Postpartum essentials for genital bleeding
The bleeding can be quite heavy during the initial few days, and you might need absorbent pads or towels. Change the pads regularly to keep your vaginal area clean. The more you take care of cleanliness, the more it will protect you from infections. Keep yourself away from tampons for at least six weeks or after a postnatal OB checkup. Tampons can increase the risk of catching infections.
You might have figured out that you need comfortable cotton underwear that are comfy and not very tight. The material should be comfortable, so it does not cause infection and can be easily adjusted with the maternity pads. Cotton underwear are a good postpartum essential during the healing process as they are breathable. Be mindful with respect to size, considering the baby bump that will still be prominent during postpartum.
What to Expect: Stitches
Stitches resulting from tears or episiotomy must always be kept clean to reduce the risk of infection. Clean them every day and apply a fresh bandage every time. A shower with plain warm water also helps in soothing the pain. After a shower, carefully pat dry with a towel or clean cloth. Tell your doctor if the stitches are hurting, bleeding, uncomfortable, or sore. Painkillers will work well to keep the pain away.
Stitches usually take some time to dissolve. Sometimes, after a few days of delivery, your doctor may call you to take out stitches.
Postpartum essentials for stitches
Perineal spray bottles
Perineal spray bottles are very useful to alleviate the pain you may feel around the stitches. They’re also effective against the tender feeling after giving birth. Perineal spray bottles act like soft mist that doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. It can have a soothing liquid inside that is safe for use after pregnancy, or it can be filled with lukewarm water. You can spray the bottle to clean your vagina. It is also helpful in soothing your pain while you go to the toilet.
Peri bottles are not widely used and not considered a postpartum essential. Still, you will consider them a blessing during your first post-delivery toilet trip, especially if you have any genital tears, stitches, swelling, or tenderness.
What to Expect: Breast Changes
There are a lot of changes in your breasts that you notice when you get pregnant. Breast tenderness, tightness, and pain are common. The breast becomes fully functional when you start feeding your baby. The flow of milk develops gradually within a few days of delivery. If you are a first-time mom, you will notice that your nipples get dry and cracked every time your baby feeds. This is perfectly normal at first. If this continues for too long, you may find it uncomfortable or impossible to nurse.
Postpartum essentials for breast changes
These are used as breast therapy. Breast shells give relief to the breasts and relieve the engorgement pain or breast swelling pain. You can keep them in the freezer to give your breast a cooling effect, or you can use them warm. They are also good at easing out the plugged ducts and helping smooth the letdown of milk. The shells can also be used along with the breast pump flange and help in pressing breast muscles while you pump the milk and reduce the time required for pumping.
Various nipple creams are available to protect the nipples from cracking during the breastfeeding phase. They are safe to be used during feeding and do not pose any risk to the baby. They heal the cracked nipple, reduce dryness, and keep them moisturized.
Your breast may become uncomfortable when managing the baby’s milk supply. A comfortable, soft cotton bra can be a good postpartum essential to help you stay comfortable throughout this process. Nursing bras are specifically designed to help with breastfeeding. Some have a front opening, so you can feed the baby immediately by dropping the cups. Try to buy one with adjustable straps that do not have an underwire.
What to Expect: Genital Fissures
This injury in the tissue of the vagina is the most common problem reported by many mothers after delivery. They feel very painful, especially when the bladder is full. Genital tears can be in the form of small cuts inside or outside the vagina. They usually heal themselves but may require medication if it becomes an infection. You may feel difficulty peeing or passing stool because of these cuts.
Constipation is common after delivery because of changes in hormones. Genital fissures become very painful if you are also suffering from constipation.
Postpartum essentials for genital fissures
Doctors recommend stool softeners when the mother is suffering from constipation. Many stool softeners are available over the counter and are safe to be used after delivery. They are also safe to use in breastfeeding.
Warm sitz baths relieve the pain and are soothing after going through the marathon of delivering a baby. A bathtub with some lavender oils can serve as a good sitz bath, but mothers who get stitches after delivery may find it a little painful to sit inside the bath for too long.
There are bath seats available that can be used to help sit and get up on the toilet.
Top Postpartum Essentials of 2023 Reviewed in Detail
This Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit contains everything to help new mothers get through difficult times. The bleeding, a condition also known as lochia, is heavier right after the delivery, because the uterus is contracting and returning back to its normal position. The maxi pads in this recovery pack are super absorbent, absorbing more liquid than a standard pad. There is perineal healing foam included to help relieve sutures and soreness during your first post-delivery bathroom visit.
The healing foam soothes the pain of the stitches while keeping the genital area clean. During the first few days, you can wear disposable underwear included in the kit to save your regular, pricier ones. The cooling pad liners can be used as cold therapy to further treat the pain. This option is a must-have if you are having a planned C-section or your hospital stay is expected to be more than one day. This pick is our best overall as it contains a complete set of high-quality postpartum essentials to minimize inconvenience and relieve pain.
It is an understatement to say that being a new mother comes with its challenges. Hence, Postpartum Essentials should be your top priority and the best way to begin is with ice packs from Thrive. These ice packs come in a pack of two and are incredibly easy to wear, allowing you to remain comfortable whether you are standing or sitting. These postpartum care must-haves do not require a lot of care as you can simply wash them with soap and water and use them over a hundred times. The ice pads are multipurpose because they can be used after c-section recovery and also works to relieve cramps, UTI pain, and post-vasectomy pain.
Breast discomfort is very common after childbirth due to increased blood flow for milk production. The Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack is ideal for cold or warm therapy to clear the milk ducts and reduce pain. Place these pads in the refrigerator for a few hours before using them as cold therapy to alleviate edema and nipple engorgement. Microwave them for 30 seconds, and unclog the milk ducts, allowing the milk to flow freely.
Due to their proven effectiveness, lactation consultants often recommend these postpartum essentials to new mothers. They can be used in conjunction with a breast pump to speed up the process of descending milk in the bottle.
This Amazon Basics Incontinence & Postpartum Underwear is an affordable pack of highly-absorbent, disposable underwear and is a must-have for the postpartum period. With sizes ranging from small to 2XL, you can easily find your fit that keeps your skin clean, dry, and comfortable. The cotton materials aid in moisture evaporation, while the dual-odor protection technology neutralizes these vapors. The belt area is wide, super-flexible, and breathable, making them comfortable to wear all day long.
Women often experience incontinence where they cannot voluntarily control the bladder because of discomfort in the genital area and pressure that builds up around the stitches. This incontinence underwear helps you stay confident and worry-free during the last trimester and post-delivery period. With this postpartum essential, you can enjoy a good night’s sleep with just one pair of underwear.
This option is a high-quality, leak-proof, and BPA-free product for cleaning down there comfortably. Fill the Cynpel Peri Bottle with warm water and spray a strong stream from the 10-hole nozzle while holding it upside down. You’ll experience immediate relief from pain from any birth tears or stitches, and you will be able to complete the entire cleaning process without bending down. With a large capacity, a single fill is sufficient for single use.
This high-quality and well-designed postpartum essential is backed by a one-year, money-back guarantee from the manufacturer. A travel bag is included with the product, so you can carry this portable bidet with you while traveling.
The INNERSY Women’s Cotton Underwear are super stretchy because they’re made with 5% spandex. These soft, cotton underpants go true to size and are comfortable to wear all day long. Their large waistbands provide full back coverage that sits a little below your belly button. The stretchable material ensures that they don’t roll or move from their position. They cover your tummy and give a little compression without making you feel tight. They give full support while you sleep during your periods, making them a perfect pick to help you during maternity and postpartum.
This postpartum essential is stitched with fine details that make them durable. The waistband is kept high and has a double layer to smooth out your tummy while you move during your last trimester or after delivery in postpartum.
The more you rest, the better your recuperation will be. You should make the most out of every opportunity for a quick nap. Sleep when the baby sleeps, and keep the household tasks at bay for a while. It is time to rest your body and focus much on yourself and your newborn. If you have adequate rest for the initial few weeks, you will adjust better to your baby's routine throughout the six month milestone.
Q: What helps most during the recovery period in postpartum?
A: Other than postpartum essentials, the things that you need most are help with household chores and support from your partner and other family members. It is always helpful if someone monitors your baby for a while and you get a little time to relax or have a short nap.
Q: Which postpartum essentials should I buy?
A: We recommend that you decide after delivery what types of postpartum essentials you need. It's better to wait till the delivery rather than stocking up things in advance. You may or may not need some items on the list. Postpartum essentials like medicated pads, underwear, and stool softeners are also available in hospital pharmacies. If you are conscious about the brand and quality, you can buy these postpartum essentials before you visit the hospital.
The Mighty Moms Reviews Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you tackle motherhood and everything that comes along with it. The content is created by The Mighty Moms Reviews Team. Mighty Moms’ editorial staff is not involved. Mighty Moms is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.