Babies & Parenting, Self Care

Postpartum Care Must-Have Products

Fair warning, this post may be textually graphic. So, if reading about bodily fluids and functions is something that makes you squeamish (ladies without kids I’m talking to you) maybe save this for later. Because frankly, you’ll need it. Now let’s get into it, postpartum care!

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Consider Lying-In

Admittedly, after having our son, I wasn’t very kind to my body through my postpartum time. One downside to not having a big support system when you have a newborn means that you probably don’t have the luxury of having a lay in recovery time. My husband took two weeks off of work when Mr. P was born to help me and I was so appreciative.

To read more about creating your own lying-in recovery plan, check out Earth Mama’s Free Lying-in Postpartum Plan.

Let’s talk about recovery, specifically postpartum recovery after vaginal birth. Your nether regions have just gone through a great ordeal. There’s a lot going on. Bruising, swelling, stitches, maybe hemorrhoids, and other unmentionable things.

Good thing that new baby of yours is cute as a button.

Learn from my mistakes

My first suggestion, do not, for the love of Buddha, grab a mirror and look down there during this time. Just don’t. It’s scary. Just let your lady bits do their healing in peace.

If I could do anything over about my first while of motherhood it would be to take care of myself better. I was so aloof to self-care and was all about taking care of our new little human. Obviously, your new baby is extremely important. But mom’s health is important as well.

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I didn’t even know what a sitz bath was until recently. And that’s saying something. My little guy is nearly two now, don’t know when that happened but anyway. It’s just one of the things I could have done to take care of myself better. So don’t make the mistakes I did. Prepare for your postpartum care while you’re still pregnant because these little squishy babies will pop out when they’re good and ready. And that isn’t necessarily when you’re ready.

The tips I’ll give you are for women who are recovering from vaginal birth, because well, that’s what I had. So that’s the type of advice I can give from an honest account of my own.

Below, I’ve provided a handy graphic of what you need to take care of your nether regions after your little one is born.

Postpartum Self Care Must-Have Products

Your body is going to excrete so many things over the first six weeks after your baby is born. Colostrum, night sweats, lochia, poo, lots of blood, and probably some other stuff too. As mentioned above, this isn’t going to be a dainty post. Your body has just popped a human out of it, you bet your left boob it’s going to be like a war zone for a while. So buckle up.

New mom, postpartum self-care tips to live by:

  • Nap whenever you can: Postpartum fatigue is no joke, it will literally make you crazy. Not to mention, lack of rest will cause a strain on your relationship(s), mood, feelings about your baby, as well as milk supply if you’re breastfeeding. If you can, and feel like you need it, nap. If you’re like me and can’t nap with a disaster house, use one of their naps to a quick tidy, and nap during their next one. Make it a goal to nap at least once during the day while your baby is napping. You and your family will thank yourself for it later.
  • Shower regularly: As a new mom, it’s nothing to go for who knows how long before you have one. Showering will help your healing process and your mood. If your baby is having a tough time napping so you can take a decent shower, try putting them in a bouncer chair in the bathroom with you. Also, having a clear shower curtain will mean that you won’t have to keep poking your head out so often to check on that little munchkin.
  • Eat well and drink lots of water: Your body is going through fluids at an extremely rapid speed right now. You should be making a conscious effort to drink at least two liters of water per day. Not only is it great for your body, but for your skin, and your milk supply. If plain water is getting to be too boring for you, pick up some flavor enhancers.
  • Be kind and patient with your body: You will heal, you will feel better, it just takes time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to “bounce back” like that mom you see on Instagram. All of our bodies are different and they go at their own pace. The toughest part of giving birth is getting used to your new body, the one that housed another life for nine or so months. Remember that you’re amazing and you did something extraordinary that not everyone gets to experience.

Those four points are just a few things you can do to take care of yourself as a new mom. They may seem like small, easy things, but it can be hard in the early weeks to see the importance of your needs. This is why you should prepare before your baby’s arrival for your recovery afterward.

Things to take from the hospital

There are things that the hospital will supply you with right away and I highly suggest asking for extra of anything that you’re finding is helpful to you. I can guarantee that those granny panties you asked your hubby to pick up still aren’t quite loose enough for your swollen downstairs business, so things like those big, ugly mesh undies will be wonderful. Also, the industrial pads they have, at first glance, they may look like far too much, but babe, you’ll need them all over.

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Become friends with your nurses, that way you can use your bond to get them to fork over all of the goods before you leave. Here’s a list of what you should stock your bag with before leaving:

  • Tucks hemorrhoidal pads
  • Peri bottles
  • Mesh underwear
  • Pads
  • Bed liners
  • Stool softener
  • Painkillers
  • Perineal cold packs
  • Pain relief spray

Now that you’ve started harnessing the no shame in your new mommy game craziness… Grab some of those hospital hats and swaddles. Just in case your little one doesn’t take to the pretty ones you’ve purchased already. You’ve already gone to the dark side hoarding pads woman, don’t turn back now.

Nanit - The Baby Monitor That Thinks

Sanitary pads

You’re about to go through more sanitary pads than when you started your first period. Seriously. Stock up, way up to the ceiling. The bigger, the longer, the softer, the better. You’re going to basically feel like you’re wearing a diaper, because well, you kind of need to. Some women even go for it, buying a pack of depends. As much as there was no shame in my game back then, I couldn’t bring myself to that. But, it probably wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

When choosing pads, make sure that they are unscented, you’d be surprised how many have synthetic fragrances, and frankly, you don’t need any more irritation down there. Always choose pads with wings, and especially overnight ones. They cover the most area, and you’ll need it.

Helpful tip: Don’t want your guests seeing your pile-o-pads in the bathroom bin? Use that Diaper Genie for yourself as well.

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Massive underwear

You won’t be wearing those cute Victoria’s Secret lace boyshorts anytime soon so pack those away. We need maximum coverage. I’m talking high waisted, no buttcheek hanging out, big girl panties. There are also lady brief options which are pretty awesome. You need something that will hold those pads in and keep them supported. Another option is period panties, you may have seen them on Facebook, but they’re pretty great, especially for your healing time.

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Stool softener

I was unfortunate to have to take iron supplements, Fermex to be exact, while pregnant. Apparently, I’m borderline anemic, didn’t know until I was into my third trimester, that was fun. My midwife, who I had switched to, from a doctor found out and hooked me up right away. What I didn’t realize is that iron can back you up.

Even if you don’t have to take iron supplements, you’ll want stool softener. Why? Because you don’t want to have a ton of wiping down there. And pushing, after you just pushed a watermelon out of a pinhole, isn’t fun. It feels like you’re giving birth, again. So get the softener. You’ll thank yourself. You can take a magnesium supplement (400-600 mg daily). The nurses gave me something at the hospital called Pegg, which let me tell you, worked awesomely. Another option is Colace Clear, which has a dye-free version as well.

To read more about my switch during my pregnancy from doctor to midwife, read this post.

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Painkillers and pain relief

You’re going to be very tender down there, it goes without saying. What doesn’t go without saying is that you’ll need relief of that pain. Aside from taking over the counter (OTC) painkillers, you can opt for a more natural route. Earth Mama Organics, a personal favorite, makes some wonderful items, such as Organic Perineal Balm and Herbal Perineal Spray. The best part about them is that they’re natural, so you don’t have to worry about chemicals. After all, your nether regions have been through enough, it’s time to be nice to them and treat that kitty with some gentle, yet effective, natural methods. The spray contains things like witch hazel, cucumber, lavender oil and other wonderful, soothing ingredients and is free of synthetics.

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Peri Bottles

These are a non-negotiable, must-have item. Peri bottles are bottles you use to cleanse yourself after using the washroom, or between pad changes. They are how you will arrogate those stitches and keep yourself fresh, or at least as fresh as one can, while in a pad. I suggest keeping one in each bathroom, and one in your diaper bag.

Pro tip: keep them empty, and then before you go to use the bathroom, fill with lukewarm water. If you leave a bottle in the bathroom filled, trust me, that room temperature water will feel like an iceberg on your vajayjay. Another option is to put a bit of alcohol-free witch hazel in with the water. Witch hazel is a natural product that you can find with antiseptics at any pharmacy or store that has first aid items. Walmart, and grocery stores included. It will help with inflammation, as well as working as a gentle astringent to ward off harmful bacteria. It’s a safe, and effective cleansing product which can also be used for insect bites, and also facial toner.

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Sitz bath

This is one of the biggest parts I missed after having our son. I really should have done more research because doing one of these three times a day would have saved me a lot of pain, literally. Basically, a sitz bath is a bath for your bottom bits. Other than after childbirth, people use it for hemorrhoid healing, as well as Bartholin cyst treatment. Glamorous I know.

When it comes to sitz baths, you can actually purchase these handy items that go right over your toilet, that way cleanup is fast and easy. I would opt for this option because I’m not a bath kind of girl, especially if I know it means me sitting in my own post labor-ness.

Herbs, Epsom salts, and other soothing items can be put into the water to help aid your healing process. Earth Mama Organics makes a great little product called Earth Mama Organic Herbal Sitz Bath. Another option is Tucks medicated cooling pads.

If you choose to use Epsom salts, make sure that they are free of toxins. You can add 1/4c to 1/2 c to your sitz bath for your healing needs.

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When looking for wipes, as an adult, you’ll want to opt for ones that are biodegradable and flushable. Not all wipes are made equal, or flushable so it’s something you will certainly want to check on when picking yours up. Much like pads and other items you’ll be putting downstairs, be sure that they are toxin-free and unscented. Water Wipes are 99% water and can’t be beaten. If you ever see them on special, grab those suckers.

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Breastfeeding care

Your boobs, even if you’re not breastfeeding needs care all their own. While we’ve been spending a lot of time on our southern parts, it’s time to think about the north. Boobies. When your milk is coming in, those jugs hurt, it’s like they scream to be emptied. You’ll quickly notice that even bending over in the shower to wash your legs, they’ll start leaking. So buying some breast pads is something you shouldn’t turn down, even if you’re not breastfeeding. Why? Because your body is going to assume you want to, and even if you don’t, lactation will happen. So have them at the ready just in case.

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If you are choosing to breastfeed, you will need a lot more breast care items such as nursing tops, bras, nipple cream and even chillable breast gellies. While breastfeeding pillows are technically geared more toward baby gear, it’s something that needs to be mentioned in this post because frankly, couch pillows don’t always cut it. Earth Mama Organics makes Organic Nipple Butter and Booby Tubes, to soothe your tender tatas.

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Do you have any postpartum items that have helped in your recovery? Other mamas would love to hear about them! Leave notes in the comments below.

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Postpartum Self Care Must-Have Products

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