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As my due date approaches, I’m thinking more and more about what my labor and baby’s birth will be like. Luckily I am feeling pretty prepared and have all the things that I need. But something else that I need to prepare for is the postpartum recovery period. Remember, your body is going to go through a lot of new changes after you have your baby. And you need to heal. Whether you are having your baby at the hospital, at a birth center or at home, you need to think about your postpartum time. Luckily, there are some things that you can get and do to make sure that you have a faster and easier recovery after birth. Here are my top 12 postpartum must-haves that I tell all of my clients to get.
1. Belly Wrap
Some people love them and some people don’t. But there are several benefits when it comes to postpartum belly binding. First, it can help repair diastasis recti, which can occur from the uterus growing and stretching out the abdominal muscles. Second, it can help with lower back and pelvic support. During pregnancy our bodies produce the hormone Relaxin which helps our bodies open and become looser and more flexible. Obviously this is necessary to grow and birth our babies. When using a belly binder, corset or belly wrap postpartum, you are taking advantage of the Relaxin that is still in your body by putting pressure on your hips, pelvis and ribs to help go back to its pre-pregnancy state.
If you’re wondering how often you should be belly binding, it’s recommended that women wear it for four to six weeks after delivery and 10-hours a day to reap the maximum benefits.
It may have a funny name, but these things will be well worth it and will feel oh so good. I recently did a video on how to make your own padsicles to help you after birth. The ingredients that you place on the pad will help your vagina and bottom feel much better and heal much more quickly. You can change your padsicle as often as you would like. (After delivery, women usually change them out every three to five hours when they are bleeding more and experiencing more soreness. This will decrease as time progresses and your body heals.) It’s up to you. I have prepared a total of 20 for myself post-delivery.
These things are amazing. I love that you can freeze them, put them in the fridge or warm them for a perfect cold pack or hot pack for your nether regions. They provide full coverage down there so you can easily tuck them in your underwear, and the sleeves can be rinsed and reused, or tossed for convenience. Wearing these gel packs will definitely help a sore bottom and if you spray some witch hazel or lavender oil on the sleeves, you will be feeling even better!
If you’re worried about the gel pack, don’t. The TendHer Feminine Cold Packs are made of super soft-touch, BPA- and phthalate-free film and are reusable for eight weeks or more. And if one of them did so happen to leak (which is very unlikely) the all-natural gel formula that they use consists entirely of vegan food ingredients, with no artificial preservatives. You’re safe and good to go!
4. Sprays, Balms, and Salves
On top of the padsicles, you will also want to have sitz baths, bottom balms, sprays and salves for recovery. As I stated in my padsicles video, I prefer to use all natural products on my body especially during birth and immediate postpartum. This is why I chose Earth Mama products to help me heal. And if I need to have a c-section, they also have a c-section healing salve that will help heal incisions. I’m so grateful to have found a company that truly cares about what they put in their products for new mothers and babies.
5. Fridababy MomWasher
After birth, the hospital will give you a peribottle to use so that you can spray and clean your bottom with warm water during your recovery. But have you tried to lean over and aim your peribottle in the right direction after birth? It can be so awkward because you’re having to stick your hand inside the toilet to hold the peribottle at the right angle to get the right spots. No thanks. That’s why I personally love and prefer the MomWasher from Fridababy. You don’t have to do worry about that. No more sticking your hand inside the toilet since its angled spout makes it easier for you to clean the right spots and it also holds two more ounces of water than your average peribottle. That’s another win since you then won’t have to run to the sink mid bathroom break to get more water to properly clean your lady parts. Thank goodness! I also love that the spout is retractable and comes with a travel bag so you can still wash and recover even when you’re on-the-go.
6. Healthy Snacks & Meals
The best way for your whole body to heal is to eat whole foods like protein, fruits and vegetables. Make healthy choices during this time. This fuel that you are feeding your body will help you feel better and recover from the inside out. It also helps with breastfeeding!
7. Stool Softener
For most women, the scariest thing after delivering a baby is passing the first bowel movement. It’s no fun. And that’s especially the case if you tore during delivery. Ouch! I recommend taking a stool softener to make that first bowel movement easier and less scary. Talk to your care provider before purchasing and using.
8. Nipple Butter
So we’ve covered the lower regions, now we need to cover the upper area! You will be leaking and experiencing a lot of changes with your breasts after birth. If you plan on breastfeeding, you want to make sure that you take good care of your nipples. That may sound weird, but we want to avoid sore and cracked nipples as much as possible. This is why we recommend you using an all natural nipple balm to keep our nipples moisturized that is also being safe for baby. Earth Mama’s nipple butter is a great choice. It’s also the first Non-GMO Project Verified Nipple Cream! Major thumbs up!
9. Nursing Pads
If you couldn’t tell from our previous articles, we love Bamboobies! Take care of your breasts and prevent leaking from happening by using these incredibly soft nursing pads. They are super absorbent and eco-friendly. You’ll be so happy that you did.
10. Nursing Tanks & Bras
After birth you should be resting in bed as much as possible. Having good nursing bras and nursing tanks in your wardrobe are perfect items to wear when resting at home and learning how to breastfeed. I’ve already been wearing these tanks and these bras from Bamboobies at home and around town and love them. They are going to be some of my go-to’s when I’m recovering after pregnancy.
Have a few pairs of cute pajamas and comfortable loungewear items that you can throw on. Comfort and breathability are key during your recovery period. Also, it’s nice to have a couple of options that make you feel a little more put together if you have family members or friends stopping by to see you and meet baby.
12. Postpartum Doula
Not only are you needing to rest and recover physically after birth, but you need to recover mentally and emotionally as well. You’ve gone through a lot and you need to rest and process it all. Postpartum doula care is probably one of the best things that you can get yourself (or get a friend who just had a baby). A postpartum doula is someone that is trained that can help you through this transition of adding a baby to your family. She helps with light housework, makes you snacks and easy meals, teaches you baby care (like how to bath, swaddle, diaper, breastfeed, bottle feed, burp, wear your baby–just to name a few), answers questions and can help you get on a good routine, and so much more. She’s a newborn care specialist that will give you peace of mind and a well deserved break from baby if you want to take a shower or a little nap.
These are my top 12 postpartum must-haves! Is there anything that you would add to the list? I’d love to know!