When I was pregnant, I thought I was well and truly prepared for my postpartum recovery. I thought I had all of my postpartum essentials ready to go, boy was I wrong!
While I did know a few things about taking care of myself after birth, I didn’t realize all of the things that I really needed to have in my postpartum care kit.
So, in an effort to keep you from going through some of the extra struggles that I experienced, here are some suggestions on how to prepare your postpartum care kit.
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What to Have in Your Postpartum Care Kit
Some of these things you may be able to swipe from the hospital, but it’s still a good idea to be prepared. I stocked up on a few items beforehand and I am SO glad I did.
Trust me, you need this stuff.
In case you didn’t already know, giving birth is very messy business. It’s basically going to look like a crime scene in your pants for the 7-10 days after you have your baby.
Having some actual maternity pads on hand are WELL worth it.
I stocked up on these bad boys before I had my baby and I’m so glad I did.
Even though I did get some from the hospital when they sent me home, it wasn’t quite enough to get me through the full crime scene phase of my postpartum recovery.
I would strongly suggest having some on hand just in case.
Oh, and even if you have a c-section, you’re still going to be bleeding. You’ll still need the pads.
When you’re finished bleeding through everything in site and feel safe getting rid of the maternity pads, you’ll probably still be spotting a bit.
Having some regular pads available will really help with that.
You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT use a tampon immediately after birth. Don’t even think about sticking anything up there until your doctor clears it.
You also probably won’t be comfortable wearing any small, tight underwear for a bit. Because of that, the pads are the way to go.
They’re more comfortable and will better protect your clothes.
I mentioned the lack of tight underwear. I mean that.
I got some soft, mesh underwear and they were AMAZING! So much more comfortable than trying to wear any of my other stuff.
They were also better able to keep those giant maternity pads in place so I didn’t have to worry about them sliding around.
I also didn’t care as much if I happened to leak a little and get them dirty. They’re really easy to clean and even if they weren’t, I had no problem just throwing them away.
I would have been upset to stain any of my other underwear.
Ice packs are a MUST!
Your hoo-ha is going to hurt whether you have any tears or not. You’re going to want something to help relieve that.
I personally LOVED these ice packs. You basically just “break” them to activate the cooling gel inside and then you just slip it right in your underwear.
Not only did they feel amazing on my very sore lady bits, but I also didn’t have to worry about finding room in the freezer for them since they are self-cooling. Score!
I would keep a few around the house in different bathrooms so that I had them available when I needed them.
I wasn’t kidding about things being sore. Having some pain killers on hand is absolutely necessary for your postpartum care kit.
The hospital will probably send you home with some ibuprofen, but go ahead and make sure you have something on hand anyway just in case.
I can’t even begin to describe to you what trying to poop the first time after having a baby is going to feel like.
I had a couple of small tears and an episiotomy and trying to use the bathroom felt like giving birth all over again.
I think I avoided pooping for 3 days after my baby was born.
Sorry for the TMI, but I want you to understand the gravity of the situation. Get some stool softeners.
Even if you think you won’t need it (you totally will), just get some anyway.
I did mention that things were going to hurt, right? Dermaplast is freaking amazing!
I used it every time I went to the bathroom (because that crap hurts too), and it was wonderful.
Just be sure not to breath in any of the spray through your mouth. It’ll make your tongue go numb. I told you it works!
Speaking of going to the bathroom, snag a peri bottle to make that process easier.
You aren’t going to want to wipe for a while after birth. Especially if you have any stitches.
So, instead, you can fill up a peri bottle with warm (not hot) water and give yourself a little rinse after you go to the bathroom.
Either way, I would keep one in any bathroom you’re likely to use in your house so you always have it available.
I’m sure by now you’ve at least heard about taking a postpartum sitz bath. If you haven’t then I will tell you how absolutely amazing they are!
It’s a great way to heal after giving birth.
You can even go one step further and get one with some nice lavender oil already mixed in with it. Refreshing and relaxing all at the same time. Win-win!
I’ve been using witch hazel for years to clean my face with, but when I found out I could use it for my postpartum recovery I was floored. Witch hazel is apparently great for anti-inflammatory relief.
If you don’t want to do all of that, you can also pick up some of these great little wipes.
You just put them right in your underwear to help with the inflammation.
I like to use them when I was using the padsicle for some extra pain relief. Well worth it!
Regardless of what you may think while you’re pregnant, you are not going to want to wear anything tight or form fitting right after you give birth.
Just because you’re pushing out a baby does not mean that you’ll be able to immediately go back to your pre-baby weight.
Don’t be surprised if you still look 5-6 months pregnant after birth. It can take some time to lose the baby weight.
Because of that, some comfy clothes are a must.
I spent a lot of time in my pajamas for the first few weeks. Probably more than I really should have, but whatever. It is what it is at this point.
The ones that I loved that were the easiest to work with were some like this that opened in the front.
Having a newborn means that you need easy access to the milk-makers because breastfeeding a newborn is no mean feat.
I also had a winter baby and REALLY didn’t want to have to strip down every time my baby was hungry. These pjs totally saved me.
Once my milk came in, I was just way too uncomfortable to attempt to go without a bra. I absolutely hated the pulling sensation from full boobs.
Having some soft, nursing bras were amazing! I wore these things every day, and night, for a year while I was breastfeeding.
I love them!
Your boobs are going to leak, a lot. Have some nipple pads on hand.
I personally am a big fan of the reusable nipple pads since I could just throw them in the wash with the daily load of baby clothes.
You can always keep a pack of disposable ones on hand in case of emergencies. I like to keep them in my pump bag for when I’m out and about.
Breastfeeding is not the easiest thing to figure out, regardless of what other people may tell you. Your boobs aren’t going to know what hit them.
Go ahead and be nice to your girls by applying a little nipple balm after your nursing and/or pumping sessions.
In a pinch you can always use a little coconut oil as well.
Either way, your boobs will thank you.
You are going to be thirsty after you give birth. Even more so if you’re breastfeeding. Make sure you have a good water bottle always available.
I love my Hydroflask and I carry it with me everywhere. Those things last forever and I’ll never use another water bottle. I’m obsessed!
Other Postpartum Essentials
A little bit of prep work while you’re pregnant will go a long way in making your life postpartum a bit easier.
Prepare Freezer Meals
The last thing in the world you will want to do after your baby is born is cook. Preparing your own freezer meals ahead of time will not only give you a healthy meal option with minimal prep, but it will also keep you from ordering takeout.
I prepped several Crock-Pot meals when I was pregnant.
I would get all of the ingredients together and toss them all in a Ziploc bag. Then I would write the cooking instructions on the outside of the bag. That way I didn’t have to bother with tracking down the recipe.
Netflix and Kindle
Breastfeeding means that you are going to be up at all hours of the day and night feeding your baby. Have your Netflix queue loaded and have a few Kindle books available on your phone.
Scrolling through Facebook and Pinterest will get old pretty quick.
Breastfeeding will make you feel like a ravenous animal every time you nurse or pump. All of those extra calories that your body is using to make milk has to come from somewhere.
Make sure you keep some snacks on hand to help curb those hunger pains.
I like to keep some granola bars or lactation cookies in my breastfeeding station so that I always had something available.
Your Postpartum Survival Kit
Preparing for your postpartum care doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult as most people make it out to be, but there are some things that can make your experience a little bit better.
Adjusting to your new life with your newborn is what you should be focusing on, not what your nether regions feel like. So go ahead and put together your postpartum care kit ahead of time so you can get back to being excited about your baby.
Are you putting together a postpartum care kit? What items are you adding? Leave me a comment below.