20 Postpartum Essentials Every New Mom Should have for a faster recovery
Whether you are planning a vaginal delivery or caesarian section, a postpartum care kit is imperative in surviving the 4th trimester.
I thought birthing is the most painful part of pregnancy, but postpartum recovery is a month-long, endless cycle of pain, discomfort, and sleep deprivation.
Having a postpartum care plan will also help you recover faster as you adapt to your new role in the family.
After surviving two vaginal births with second-degree tears and an episiotomy, my postpartum essentials had helped make my recovery a much smoother ride.
The necessities mentioned here is everything I have used and found beneficial. I hope it will help you as well!
When should I create my postpartum care kit
I wish I knew about postpartum care during my first pregnancy. I was busy nesting and surviving my pregnancy, caring for my post-baby body never crossed my mind.
I had a second-degree tear from my first vaginal delivery (no joke – I was walking around like an old grandma and I dreaded every time going to the bathroom). Although the hospital provided a few postpartum care items, there were so many things I wish I had on hand before the baby arrived.
The second time around, I was reluctantly put on hospital bed rest at 32 weeks pregnant and never had the chance to get my postpartum essentials (nor my hospital bag) ready.
Luckily, I was able to order everything I needed from Amazon when I was on bed rest and everything arrived before my baby’s birthday.
If I have another pregnancy, I will absolutely get my postpartum essentials ready and good to go before the baby arrives.
Trust me. There will be no time to wash your hair let alone stepping out to curate these postpartum essentials or waiting for them to arrive in your mail.
Before you create your postpartum recovery kit
While going through your postpartum essentials checklist, keep in mind that there are a few items you can take or request from your hospital.
Based on my experience birthing at two different hospitals, you will be provided:
- Maxi pads. These are not the most comfortable pads because they’rere super thick. But it does its job with postpartum bleeding and the hospital usually provides a ton of these.
- Mesh underwears. These are your one-size-fits-all, stretchy underwear. Not comfortable, but I rather wear these during the first couple of days than getting bloodstains on my own underwear.
- Peri bottle. Some hospitals will only provide upon request so make sure you ask for one (or two)!
- Dermplast. This spray is a life-saver for relieving pain and itchiness.
- Hemorrhoid pads. These are a must for hemorrhoids. Be sure to take these with you.
- Colace or stool softener. You will only receive the medication for the duration of your hospital stay.
- Tynolol or pain killers. Don’t be shy in requesting painkillers. These are absolutely safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you are unsure of how to use any of the supplies from the hospital, be sure to ask your nurse how to use them. Also, if you are in any type of discomfort, be sure to let your nurse know. Your hospital may be able to provide additional supplies based on your needs.
Before we move on to the postpartum essentials checklist, please note that these are the products I’ve used based on my two vaginal births. If you are having a c-section, most of the recovering tips and products mentioned will still apply to you.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
Postpartum essentials for a speedy recovery
Take your vitamins
Your body just went through the birth of a baby so taking extra care during this delicate time will ensure a speedy recovery. If you still have your prenatal vitamins, be sure to continue to take them. Otherwise, take high-quality postnatal vitamins.
Also, be sure that you get enough calcium during the postpartum phase, especially if you are breastfeeding/pumping. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women who are breastfeeding consume 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Most prenatal vitamins do not contain sufficient amount of this important mineral so taking extra calcium is needed for you and your baby’s bone health.
I took this all-natural Calcium supplement during both of my pregnancies and I absolutely loved it. This brand is known for its organic whole foods formula and all of its vitamins are formulated without fillers.
Not just Calcium, this supplement contains 73 naturally occurring minerals linked to healthy bones. It is also formulated with probiotics and enzymes for better absorption.
Wear postpartum belly wrap
The extra belly fat will sag after the delivery of your baby so wearing a belly wrap from day one will help to hold your tummy in. The belt will also speed up your recovery by shrinking the uterus, support your lower back, and redefine the waistline.
For both of my pregnancies, I have worn this postpartum belly wrap from the day I delivered up until 6 weeks postpartum. In order to achieve maximum results, you need to wear the band as much as possible during the day and night.
The material is very comfortable and breathable. It even comes with pictured instructions on how to wear the belt, even if you have a C-section!
When it comes to the best postpartum clothes, comfy and function are key. You will want to nap every chance you get so lounging in comfortable clothing will help you sleep better.
I sweat a lot after my second child and for days I woke up in my own puddle of sweat! The postpartum hormones are the culprits so wearing something that is breathable is a must.
These pajamas are made from bamboo fibers. They are very soft, feels cool, and light-weight. You will feel like you’re on cloud nine wearing them and your baby will appreciate them as well.
Bonus – the button down shirt provides easy access for breastfeeding and pumping.
Postpartum care for pain and discomfort
Painkillers (Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, etc.)
You will feel pain after giving birth – whether you have a vaginal delivery or C-section.
There is no way around it.
If you have a C-section, there will be pain on the incision site. If you have tears or episiotomy from a vaginal birth, there will be pain “down there”. Even if you have no tears or incisions, you may feel uterine pain from your uterus contracting after birth.
For me, the most painful and unbearable pain was my breast engorgement. The pain was nothing compared to my tears down there. For days, I felt like there were a hundred needles stabbing my boobs. I can’t raise my arms, reach for things, and needed help wearing my own clothes!
I had to take Tylenol and Motrin on the clock (especially before bed) to help ease my breast engorgement pain. Ask your care provider how to switch between the two to achieve the maximum painkilling effect.
The first poop after birth will be traumatic. I was so scared to use the restroom because I was afraid pushing will cause my stiches to burst.
Whether you have vaginal or C-section delivery, you’ll want to avoid as much pushing as possible when pooping.
Stool softener will be your new best friend in the bathroom department.
When I was pregnant and put on hospital bed rest, I was prescribed Colace twice a day to prevent constipation. After birth, the nurses gave me the same medication to soften stools.
Colace is not a laxative, which will make you want to go, it only softens whatever you already have.
Start taking it the day you gave birth (even if you don’t feel like pooping). You will be thankful by the time you actually need to go.
Your first bowel movement may not happen for two to three days after giving birth. If you are on the constipated side like me, taking a fiber supplement will make your first bowel movement more comfortable.
The Benefiber Daily Fiber Supplement is 100% natural and tasteless. You can add it to any beverages including prune juice. Did I mention that prune juice helps with constipation? Be sure to ask your nurse for one while you’re still in the hospital.
Postpartum care for the pelvic floor and perineum
Pads (Maxi, Regular, and Pantie Liners)
You will have HEAVY bleeding for the first 2-3 days after giving birth. The hospital will provide you these maternity pads. Be sure to take extra home with you. I took 1 extra pack home and it was sufficient for me.
For about a week after the birth of my second child, I experienced some incontinence where I felt leakage whenever I stood up or sneeze. It’s actually quit normal to have postpartum incontinence and I wish I knew this earlier.
I didn’t like the feeling of wetness on my bloody maxi pads (gross!) so I got some postpartum underwear.
These disposable underwears are very comfortable – you don’t feel like you have a 3″ thick pad between your legs- and I don’t feel ashamed wearing them. After my incontinence went away, I alternate between wearing disposable underwear and using pads on my panties for postpartum bleeding.
Following delivery, hemorrhoids are common for most moms. These pads provide instant relief from burning and itching. It contains witch hazel, an astringent that relieves inflammation and helps soothe the skin.
The cooling effects of these pads is a life saver, especially if you have pain from stiches and bruises down there.
The most effective way of using the hemorrhoids pads is to lay 2-3 of them on your maxi pads. The medicated pads are like a mask for your perineum. Every time you use the bathroom, change to a new maxi pad, and lay a few hemorrhoid pads on it.
You can also use these cooling pads to wipe down there and keep your pelvic floor clean.
Your hospital may provide the Dermoplast spray. Be sure to take it home with you especially if you have a vaginal delivery. The medicated spray immediately numbs the pain and itch and provides a cooling effect.
I used the Dermoplast spay the first week when I felt the most pain. Then, I switched to an herbal perineal spray. This non-toxic spray has the same numbing and cooling effect as Dermoplast. It smells great and feels refreshing after use.
Your pelvic floor will feel sore and sensitive after birth, make wiping impossible. There will be lots of blood coming out and you want to keep it clean.
Hospitals provide peri bottles so be sure to take it home. You can also purchase extra on Amazon (they are super cheap) and have one for every bathroom.
You can put cold water, warm water, or witch hazel in these bottles. Pat dry – do not rub- after use.
Doing sitz bath postpartum is so relaxing and provides some comfort when there is little to be found elsewhere.
Best postpartum care products for the breasts
Breast therapy pads
Your breasts will engorge before your mature milk comes in, typically on the third or fourth day after your baby is born. Breast engorgement is identified by swollen, hard, heavy, and/or tender breasts – and can make breastfeeding difficult. Clogged milk ducts and mastitis are common causes of breast engorgement.
My breast engorgement lasted 3 days and it was extremely painful for me (honestly, worse than my pain down there).
Besides taking painkillers, I’ve found lots of relief applying cold packs to my breasts.
I leave these breast therapy packs in the freezer and stick it onto my breasts whenever I needed relief.
When my milk started to come in, I used these packs as warm therapy as warmth can help with milk flow.
BONUS – It’s the only product of its kind designed to work with a breast pump to encourage let-down and reduce time spent pumping. Just heat up the packs, insert in the covers it comes with & easily snaps onto breast pump flanges!
Have at least 5 nursing bras washed and ready to wear in your postpartum care kit. You will be spending lots of time breastfeeding so you want a bra that is easily accessible.
These nursing bras snap down easily and they are comfortable to sleep with.
For less than $7 a piece, these nursing bras are a steal!
Hands-free pumping bra kit
If there is one item I can’t live without as a new mom, it is this hands-free pumping bra kit.
I use this kit rather than a hands-free pumping bra for many reasons. The kit is way cheaper, more compact, more durable, easy to wash, and one size fits all.
Most importantly, you can massage your breasts while pumping. Massage while pumping will get more milk out in less time. Watch this video on how to massage your breasts to remove more milk while pumping.
All the breastfeeding and pumping takes the beating out of your nipples.
Dry, cracked, and bleeding nipples are no fun.
Give your nipples some TLC by applying nipple cream before you breastfeed and/or pump.
This nipple cream is clinically tested and most recommended by Doctors and Lactation Consultants. It comes with 3 mini tubes which are extremely portable. I have one in my pumping station downstairs, another one upstairs, and one in the diaper bag. The price is also cheaper than buying a jar from another brand.
A little goes a long way too. A pack of 3 mini tubes lasted about a year for me.
Postpartum essentials to make your life easier as a new mom
Other than the postpartum recovery care items to help you heal faster, there are a few things you’ll want to consider to make your postpartum life easier.
If you won’t have someone making or delivering meals to you, having your freezer stocked with prepared meals is a must!
Your newborn will be feeding every 1-3 hours. You will be exhausted from meeting your baby’s need and the sleepless nights, you will barely have time to cook for yourself.
Good nutrition is essential especially if you’re breastfeeding. So, start making some nutritious freezer meals before your baby arrives.
I recommend making at least 20 days’ worth of food. You can always do take-outs or have friends deliver foods to you in between.
Netflex, Kindle, Audible
Yes, you will be exhausted taking care of your newborn but believe it or not, most of the time is dedicated to breastfeeding and consoling a crying/fuzzy baby.
I spent most of my waking postpartum hours sitting on the glider with the baby in my arms. Watching shows on Netflix and listening to stories on Audible made my days go by faster.
If you love to read like me, I highly recommend Brain Rules for Baby. This is one of the best parenting books I’ve read that teaches you how to raise a smart and happy baby.
Taking care of a newborn burns your energy. Have some protein-rich snacks readily accessible when hunger strikes.
These popular protein bars are organic and made only from clean ingredients. Best of all, it tastes just like your homemade chocolate brownies!
I also recommend keeping a jar of mixed nuts around to ensure that you’re taking in enough good fats.
A journal to keep track of baby’s feeding and soiled diapers
Keeping track of your baby’s feeding and diapering is important, especially when visiting the pediatrician or if your baby becomes ill.
I jot down how much and how often my baby feeds and the number of wet/soiled diapers in my journal.
There are also easy to use apps like this one to help track your baby’s daily habits.
Final thoughts on postpartum care kit
Welcoming a new member of your tribe is an amazing thing. Be informed about your postpartum recovery and getting prepared by having these postpartum essentials will help you spend more precious time with your new baby.
Did I leave anything out in my postpartum care kit? Tell me by leaving a comment below!
Postpartum care kit related articles
- Postpartum Care Plan: 11 Tips to stay healthy during the 4th trimester
- Hospital Bag Checklist – for mom, dad, and baby
- Pregnancy Survival Kit: 30 Essentials for the Mom to be Care Package