Having a baby is one of the most amazing things that you will ever do. It is also one of the most traumatic things you can put your body through. Before you give birth, it is a good idea to get your postpartum essentials together so that you do not have to worry about them when you get home from the hospital. Stock up on these 10 postpartum essentials before you have your baby and you will be in great shape to take care of yourself while taking care of your newborn.
Reusable Nursing Pads
If this is your first baby, you might not realize that whether or not you are breastfeeding your breasts are going to leak for a while. And they are going to leak a lot. Like through your bra and shirt on a daily basis. If you are a breastfeeding mama, reusable nursing pads are must-have postpartum essentials. That is because they come in all different sizes – get large ones and they will hold that leakage better than smaller ones – and can be thrown in the wash over and over. You will be doing so much baby-related laundry that you can throw them in every few days and keep on going.
There are brands that make reusable nursing pads for both day and night. You may want to stock up on both, but it is up to you. The nighttime ones are often a little thicker and more absorbent so you do not wake up with a wet shirt if you get lucky and your newborn decides to sleep a little longer one night.
Disposable Nursing Pads
If you are not breastfeeding, you should still grab a box of disposable nursing pads for your postpartum essentials kit. Your breasts will leak for at least a few days until your milk dries up and you do not want wet circles on your shirt while you are taking care of your newborn and healing from just having a baby.
If you are breastfeeding, it is a good idea to also grab a box of disposable nursing pads when thinking about postpartum essentials. This way, if you have not done laundry (hmm…imagine that…you do not have time to get basic chores done with a newborn and just after the trauma of birth) and all your reusable pads are dirty, you have a backup plan. They work perfectly fine and will keep you from a soggy bra and the tears that might come from feeling inadequate for not getting to that laundry or realizing you were almost out of clean nursing pads.
Being a new momma is hard even when this is not your first time. As you are putting together postpartum essentials, give yourself all the breaks you can to make your life any little bit easier.
Soft Ice Pack
One of the best things the hospital should provide you with after giving birth are cold packs that you stick in those sexy mesh underwear to help soothe your nether regions. It might sound crazy if you have never given birth, but if you are a girl who knows, you know! So an important component to your postpartum essentials for the first few days is a nice soft ice pack.
The type of ice pack you get depends on your personal preference. There are some nice reusable ones in the first-aid/sports recovery section of stores like Target and Walmart. These are great because you can sit on it awhile and then throw it back in the freezer. Just be sure to get a soft, squishy one and not the hard blue kind that you stick in a lunch box.
There is also something called a perineal ice pack that is essentially an ice pack and a maxi pad in one. They are easily found on Amazon. With these you are killing two birds with one stone. However, the downside is that you might find it does not get as cold or stay cold as long. You can use these sometimes when you need the soothing and use regular maxi pads the rest of the time.
Speaking of pads, they are another postpartum essential you can not live without. Go with the brand you like, but be sure to have some really absorbent ones for the first few weeks. The hospital will provide you with some majorly thick ones, but most of the common brands make some nice super absorbent pads that are not as thick as a crib mattress so you can wear them without that bulky feeling in your underwear.
You will want to stock up on the super absorbent kind for the first few weeks and then some regular pads for the few weeks after that leading to your postpartum appointment with your OB-GYN. It is typical to have at least some spotting up to six weeks after a vaginal delivery and you are not supposed to put anything in your vagina during that time, so no tampons (sorry!).
If you have a cesarean birth, you will not bleed for quite as long but you still will bleed, so make sure to stock up on pads in your postpartum essentials too.
It is pretty scary to take that first poop after having a vaginal birth. Everything down there is sore and hurts and all you can think is how badly is this going to hurt and is it going to tear something up down there? Eeek! While you are in the hospital, they will likely give you a stool softener daily. So go ahead and have some in your postpartum essentials kit. Take it every day for at least the first few days after you get home (and longer if you are still nervous because it will not hurt you). It will take the scary out of that first bowel movement. Seriously.
Witch Hazel Pads or Spray
Witch hazel is a great natural way to treat and soothe the pain and swelling you get “down there” after giving birth. Medicated pads like Tucks or simply a witch hazel spray are great postpartum essentials. They are especially good to have in case you tear while giving birth, have an episiotomy, or you have any pregnancy-related hemorrhoids. It helps soothe everything and give you some added relief. If you opt for the pads, keep them in the fridge because they will feel even better cold.
Pain Relief Spray
You have probably noticed the trend that a lot of the items you should include in your postpartum essentials kit have to do with pain relief. That is because giving birth is hard and your body goes through a lot. The more things you have on hand to soothe your incredible body that just did an amazing and difficult thing, the better. With that in mind, another awesome product you should include in your postpartum care essentials is a pain relief spray. Products like Dermaplast or Bactine are great. These are a good addition to your postpartum essentials after both vaginal and cesarean births. It feels great on episiotomy stitches or on cesarean stitches.
You might have already gotten one of these to use for your aches and pains during pregnancy, so keep it handy with your postpartum essentials too. You do not want to have to dig through the linen closet and in the bathroom cabinets to find it if you need it at midnight.
There is nothing surprising about this one. You will be sore and have aches and pains postpartum, so make sure you have a full bottle of ibuprofen in your postpartum essentials. You might not need any, but you might want some the first few days after birth and there is nothing worse than going into the medicine cabinet and realizing there is only one lonely ibuprofen in the bottle.
Some hospitals will give you a peri bottle that looks like a sports water bottle. You squeeze it and water squirts out. This is to clean your perineum area. There are other versions, with an angled neck for instance that may be easier to use. These are must-have postpartum essentials if you have had a vaginal delivery.
Depending on your delivery, this will come in handy for the first few weeks after a vaginal birth. It helps relieve any sting you might feel after peeing and helps clean the area if you have stitches down there and can not really wipe without it hurting at first. Use your peri bottle as part of your postpartum routine before using your witch hazel or other pain relief spray and you will feel so much better.
A big part of postpartum care is taking care of your body and helping it heal. Be sure to stock up postpartum essentials that help ease the soreness and pain that comes from giving birth. Add in some soft and cozy leggings for utmost comfort, some high-quality lotion to put on after you (finally!) get a chance to take a shower to help you feel good, and make sure you have some really indulgent snack that is just for you when you need a little pick me up. Your postpartum essentials should help you recover. Be patient. Be good to yourself. You deserve it.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out 7 Important Steps To Prepare For The First Few Weeks With Baby.
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