This is the postpartum care kit you need for a quicker and easier postnatal recovery
Every new mother wants her postnatal recovery to be as quick and easy as possible.
The bad news?
Postpartum recovery does take time. It doesn’t happen miraculously like the movies will have us believe.
The good news?
There are some postpartum products that can help make your recovery go smoothly, easier, and quicker. I refer to these items as a new mum’s Postpartum Care Kit.
Some might refer to them as a Postpartum Recovery Checklist. Whatever name you give to it, these postpartum supplies will be your constant companion in your first few weeks (sometimes months) after your beautiful baby is born.
Some of these postpartum recovery essentials can be brought on Amazon or at your local supermarket and pharmacy.
While this post addresses mainly vaginal postpartum recovery, many of the postpartum supplies will be beneficial for you even if you give birth via a C-Section.
Keep reading to find out what I mean.
Postpartum must-haves for immediately after birth
DISPOSABLE ADULT NAPPIES
Whether you had a C-section or vaginal birth, you’ll bleed quite heavily after you give birth.
This is because when the placenta comes out, it leaves a wound on the wall of the uterus. So, the wound will keep bleeding until it heals. This post-birth bleeding is referred to as lochia.
I found these disposable adult nappies so much easier to use than maternity pads. They were lighter and more comfortable.
They are simply disposable pants with pads embedded. This way, the pads do not shift and there’s little chance of you leaking.
They are originally used by women suffering from incontinence. Though, they work well for postpartum bleeding (lochia).
These adult nappies offer full coverage from front to back. They are the best for immediate use after your baby is born. Better than maternity pads.
Many new mums testify that adult nappies are the best in the early postpartum days.
LOOSE COMFY CLOTHING
The best clothes to wear in the early days are those that are loose and free. I’m talking loose trousers, shorts, free tops, gowns, you get the idea.
You really don’t want anything tight on your body at the beginning of the fourth trimester (postpartum period).
It’s a good idea to buy a couple free gowns and dark loose trouser or skirts in advance.
I had an episiotomy with my first baby. So, Ibuprofen was my constant companion. Perhaps too constant though because after a week or so, I started having tummy pain.
It took a while but we finally realized that Ibruprofen was the cause.
So, a word of caution- avoid long term use of ibuprofen and use an alternative if you are an ulcer patient.
Concerning the safety of taking Ibuprofen while breastfeeding, the NHS says this, “You can take ibuprofen, as long as you don’t have a stomach ulcer or asthma that gets worse if you take ibuprofen. Only a small amount gets into your breastmilk and it’s unlikely to harm your baby.”
Note that painkillers (ibuprofen & paracetamol) are no longer prescribed by the NHS. I was given Ibuprofen freely to take home from the hospital with my first son in 2018 but things have since changed.
You will have to get these yourselves over the counter ahead of time. Though you will be given for the duration of your stay in hospital.
A nursing pillow is very useful in positioning your baby for a better latch. Also, when you’ve just gone through labour, the last thing you want to worry about is having to prop up your baby to feed when you are so tired.
If your arms are connected to IV tubes, the tubes can interfere with nursing. This makes nursing awkward, as you try to arrange baby around the long IV tubes. The nursing pillow will help you prop the baby In a way that you won’t have to worry about the tubes.
A nursing pillow is a postpartum must-have for every breastfeeding new mummy.
Nursing bras are extremely important in the early days if you plan on breastfeeding.
The best are the ones without any underwires. They provide comfort to full and engorged breasts- which is how your boobs will be within a few days of giving birth.
They also make quick access to your breasts possible.
However, knowing the right size to buy can be very tricky. After your baby is born, your boobs will get bigger. Consequently, you’ll want to buy those that are functional and comfortable.
This post has great tips on choosing a nursing bra that will serve you throughout your nursing journey.
This is ONE postpartum essential that many pregnant women don’t realize they need.
After a vaginal delivery, you’ll be sore in places. As a result, your first pee is likely to sting! Just imagine peeing on a wound. Ouch! Yep, it’ll hurt!
A peri bottle helps eases things. It helps to dilute the urine as you pee thereby reducing or completely removing the sting.
Though, you can try to angle your pee away from your sore bits by tilting your pelvis, the peri bottle does a better job altogether.
It’s also helpful in keeping down there clean. In the early days, you will not want to use a toilet roll especially if you had stitches. Using a peri bottle rather than wiping can help prevent infection to that area.
My preference is for the one with a long neck. These types allow for better and easier navigation to the area you want to clean.
New mums are not given this at the hospital here in the UK, unlike in the US.
A Peri bottle is a postpartum necessity. You will use it several times till you heal.
Postpartum care essentials for when you get home
Your breasts will leak. In fact, some women’s breast start leaking during pregnancy!
Mine still do and my baby is almost a year old! Breast pads will save you from the embarrassment of having two huge wet patches on your shirt!
There are the disposable breast pads and the washable variety. Whatever rocks your boat.
I bought the disposable type because I couldn’t be bothered with washing.
Nursing pads (as they are also called) can be used at nighttime to prevent waking up to a soaked bed. Although, I don’t find them that comfortable to use at night. They tend to make my breasts itchy.
SILICONE BREAST PUMP
To a new mum, breast milk is liquid gold! Every drop, precious.
Basically, a silicone breast pump is a manual breast pump that helps collect breast milk passively.
It’s not painful to use, easy to wash ( in a dishwasher, no doubt) and sterilize.
It’s perfect for breastfeeding mothers.
Not sure how to use it? This short Youtube video explains how to use a silicone breast pump to get extra milk for your baby.
I wish I watched this video with my first baby. I bought it but couldn’t figure out how to get the pump to stay latched to my boobs. I still beat myself on the head for not watching this tutorial earlier!
While a lot of people rave about the Haakaa, I used Naturebond breast pump with much success.
For a lot of women breastfeeding does not come naturally.
By that I mean, the baby may not automatically latch on correctly like it’s portrayed by the media. Yes, this was a shock to me too!
Breastfeeding is a LEARNED SKILL.
As a result, there is usually some nipple soreness or tenderness in the first few weeks as your baby learns to latch properly and your nipple gets used to nursing.
A nipple cream will help with the initial soreness that comes with breastfeeding. I used the Lansinol brand. It was okay. Took a few hours to work but it did work eventually every time.
Other alternatives are breast milk itself ( who would have thought?) and coconut oil.
POSTPARTUM BELLY BAND
The birth of our babies changes our bodies. Probably the most obvious change is to our bellies.
It can be surprising seeing your immediate postpartum belly.
I encourage every mum to work at her own pace and not feel pressured to lose the baby weight immediately.
I also recognize that some things help to kickstart the healing process. And early. One such thing is using a Postpartum belly band or wrap.
With my first son, I regretted not packing this postpartum band in my hospital bag. Because I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days. I could have started using it as soon as possible in the hospital.
For my second son, however, I started using the belly band by the evening of the day he was born. And this fastened my healing process!
You can read this beneficial post about the many benefits of postpartum belly binding, even if you had a c-section. Also, it goes into details about when and how to use a belly band the proper way,
Postpartum care products as the days turn into weeks
After a week or two, the postpartum bleeding should reduce significantly. By this time, a pack or more of the everyday maternity pads will do the job.
At this point, it’s advised not to use tampons or anything that needs to be inserted into the vagina. This is to reduce your risk of getting infected.
TUCKS AND ANUSOL
No one warned me that I could get piles after birth. Apparently, some women get it when pregnant as well.
All the strain from doing the big job after birth caused me to develop piles.
I used a pile cream called Anusol ( fair warning – it can get messy) and Tucks Medicated.
Tucks comes in a small, round, cool, moist, sheet-like form. I usually just rolled this into a cylindrical shape and tucked between my bottom cheeks (TMI, sorry!). It provided instant relief and such a cooling effect. I LOVED it!
I guess if I had used this, I probably wouldn’t have had need of pile treatment.
Many women become constipated days after childbirth. A stool softener will make it easier to defecate. I wish someone had told me this.
It’s still recommended that you eat as many fruits and veggies, drink lots of water and eat a fiber-rich diet to help prevent postpartum constipation in the first place.
I hear a lot of women say the first postpartum poop is terrifying and can be difficult. While it sure was scary, I had an easy time of it with both babies.
COLD & FLU REMEDIES
While I’m pretty sure you’ve bought your baby’s infant paracetamol, it’s a good idea to stock up on cold and flu medicines for you. Especially if you are having a winter baby.
If you plan to breastfeed, You may be surprised by how many cold and flu medications are not suitable for breasting women. So, find out from your GP or local pharmacist which remedies will be suitable for you and stock up in advance.
You won’t want to be down with the flu, with a newborn, and trying to find the right remedy to use because the one at home isn’t suitable.
THERMAL TRAVEL MUG / FLASK
If you love your tea and decaffeinated coffee, then a thermal mug or flask should be part of your postpartum survival kit.
You’ll soon discover how difficult it can be to drink a cup of tea while nursing your little one. Also, this will remove the need to make a new batch of tea or coffee every few hours.
Stocking up now on everyday household essentials will be incredibly helpful.
In the first few days with your newborn, all you will want to do is rest and cuddle up with your baby. Stocking up on toiletries, kitchen necessities, laundry, cleaning, and pet supplies will make this possible.
I suppose you are wondering, “What are freezer meals?”
Sharla of Freezermeals101.com describes freezer meals as “meals made ahead and frozen for later use. This can look as simple as doubling a recipe that you’re making anyway and freezing the extra. Most often though, the term “freezer cooking” is used to describe batch cooking.”
I read a lot of people recommending that you cook up meals in the last month of your pregnancy.
My reality was that by a month to my due date, I was too tired to batch cook. Standing up for long got me tired very quickly. You might want to put this into consideration when deciding when to batch cook.
If you find yourself in the same shoes as me, you can consider doubling a meal and freezing the rest. That will be easier on you.
Get a professional cook or family/friend to batch cook meals for you.
It’s truly a relief when you don’t have to worry about meals in those early weeks.
Dirty plates can pile up real fast!
You’ll come to see that even loading and offloading a dishwasher is EXTRA WORK! Work you do not have time for.
Getting cheap dispoable plates is a great alternative to washing up!
If you don’t like paper plates, you can get plastic ones from local supermarkets. Sainsbury’s has some good ones.
Disposable plates are a postpartum necessity in my opinion.
SNACKS FOR MIDNIGHT FEEDS
Breastfeeding will make you hungry. Because it takes energy (calories) to produce milk.
I found that I was hungriest at night time. Those 2 am feeds made me very hungry.
Having healthy snacks is great to tide over that hunger wave and sustain you till morning.
Some good snacks for midnight snacks are dried fruits, yogurts, nuts, lactation cookies, overnight oats.
I wish I could say that I spent breastfeeding time watching Netflix. But that wouldn’t be true. Especially at the start. Breastfeeding wasn’t easy for me in the beginning.
Because my sons had tongue ties and attendant latch issues, I spent nursing time researching breastfeeding resources.
With my second son, It was helpful that I already knew the resources I needed beforehand.
My favourite breastfeeding resources were Kellymom.com, La Leche League International and Instagram handles of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
It was good to find a forum on social media where I could read from other mums going through something similar. It made me realize I wasn’t alone.
You would find me nursing and glued to these pages. I learnt about different breastfeeding positions, cluster feedings, how to increase my milk supply, and correct a bad latch.
Also, I read from women who went through stages of cluster feeding, tongue ties, and successfully breastfed. This was extremely encouraging for me and I strongly believe it is one of the reasons I’m still nursing my second son 11 months on.
I wish I can tell you to plan to relax with Netflix but the reality is breastfeeding is a skill every new mum has to learn. Unfortunately, it would not come naturally to most mums. And as much as you read ahead, it takes real-life experience to find out what techniques will work for you!
As you and your baby get the hang of breastfeeding, then you will feel better relaxed to watch Netflix.
To sum up, this postpartum care kit is essential and you need to start stocking up now before your baby arrives.
While a baby does receive the majority of attention at every birth, it’s important for you as a new mummy to prioritize your postnatal care and recovery.
The quicker you heal and feel like your old self, the better able you are to take care of your little.
As you shop for your baby’s newborn must-haves and essentials endeavor to buy your postpartum kit supplies alongside.
Still, take it easy on yourself. There is no prize for having the quickest postnatal recovery. Give yourself grace and your body will heal in time!
Here’s praying you have a smooth and speedy recovery!