When you’re preparing to have a baby, you are likely setting up the nursery, baby-proofing your house, reading books on breastfeeding and new motherhood, even packing an overnight bag for the hospital. What many people don’t spend enough time preparing for is postpartum care for mama. Obviously, after you give birth, there are a lot of adjustments that takes place, and your own body’s recovery should be at the top of the list, right next to all the important things baby will need.
Preparing a postpartum care kit with everything you’ll need to promote comfort and healing will be a lifesaver. Your hospital may put together a small set of essentials for you to take home, but more than likely, you’ll want to stock up on a few more supplies.
With these postpartum care kit must-haves, you can ensure that your after-birth experience is as stress-free as possible.
1. Postpartum pads
After you give birth, it’s normal to experience heavy bleeding (called lochia) for a week or so. Maternity pads are absolutely essential to make sure you are comfortable and leak-free when you’re ready to move around, starting as soon as you stand up in the hospital.
It’s recommended that women who just gave birth avoid using tampons or a menstrual cup until after a six-week check-up. This lowers your risk of infection and allows you to heal with minimal disruption.
2. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel can help prevent swelling and hemorrhoids after giving birth. Some new moms make their own witch hazel pads or purchase witch hazel wipes to keep handy.
You can even freeze witch hazel-soaked pads to act as an ice pack for sensitive areas as well. While it may not sound great now, you’ll be thankful to have some relief once you’re at home taking care of baby.
3. Maternity underwear
In addition to postpartum pads, maternity underwear can help keep you comfortable as your body heals. Keep some large underwear with a comfortable, stretchy waistband at home. Postpartum underwear is designed to keep everything in place, from your pads and ice packs to your C-section stitches, and is made of soft mesh to avoid irritation. Check out our intimates collection here.
4. Belly Wrap
Speaking of undergarments, if you haven’t added a Belly Wrap to your registry list, you absolutely should! These miraculous garments help support your belly, waist and hips after pregnancy. You can wear them under any clothing until your body has had a chance to recover and regain its shape.
5. Donut pillow
When you’re recovering from labor, sitting down may be uncomfortable. Having a donut pillow on hand can help take some pressure off those sensitive areas. They can also be a huge help propping up your arms while nursing.
6. Perineal irrigation bottle
With all of the sensitivities and soreness, you’ll likely experience postpartum, it can be nerve-racking even to use the restroom. Having a peri-bottle on hand can help eliminate pain and still ensure you get clean. You can carry it with you in your bag while you’re out and about or just keep a few around the house.
7. Perineal healing foam or numbing spray
There are also products on the market that provide instant relief and promote long-term healing. Perineal healing foam is made with witch hazel and absorbs into sore spots, not into any pads you’re wearing. If you’re in experiencing pain and swelling, healing foam or numbing spray could be the answer that gets you the relief you need right away. Our new V-Cool Reusable Hot & Cold Perineal Gel Pack is a great way to get some additional relief.
8. Breast pads
Breastfeeding is hard, especially if you’re a new mom. Aside from learning how to help baby and get the hang of it yourself, there is also a chance of leaking when you aren’t nursing. Breast pads or tank tops can help save you a few changes of clothes throughout the day. With so many different types on the market, it may take a little while to find the right solution for you. So, don’t worry if it takes a few tries.
9. Nipple cream
Breastfeeding may also cause some pain or soreness as you find your rhythm. Nipple cream can help soothe any discomfort that comes from learning and adjusting to nursing, such as dry, cracked and sensitive skin. The good news is, once you and baby learn to work together, that will go away on its own.
Keep the medication close, whether your doctor prescribed some painkillers of you’re going the over-the-counter route. Pregnancy and labor often introduce new after birth aches and pains that you may not expect. This happens as your uterus starts readjusting in size, so don’t be alarmed if you have some minor discomfort.
If you’re having trouble readjusting to regular bowel movements, it may also help to have some stool softeners nearby. Adding these to your regular routine for the first few weeks can help ease you back into what feels normal and prevent hemorrhoids.
As you prepare for this exciting new change in your life, make sure you are caring for yourself as a mom. Your postpartum care kit can include as much as you want, so be honest about your needs and give yourself permission to splurge on the good stuff.
Jenny Hart is a health and wellness writer with a passion for travel, cycling, and books. Her focus is on topics related to women's health and the effects of aging and she is interested in research that can help women feel and age better. When she isn't writing or traveling, she's traversing NYC with her two dogs Poochie and Ramone.
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