After having my second baby, it was clear I was so much more prepared to help myself heal than I had been the first time around. While you never know how your birth is going to go and what types of postpartum care you’ll personally need, I think it is better to prepare all of the essentials ahead of time so you’re not trying to figure out how to get some of these items when you’re already dealing with so many other things once baby is here.
Here is a list of essentials that are easy to come by, won’t break the bank in the scheme of things, and will help you through your healing. (Note, this assumes a vaginal birth.)
- Mesh underwear- you’ll need these big ole things to hold the big ole pads you’ll want to wear
- Peri bottle- spraying your lady parts while peeing will be significantly more tolerable
- Dermaplast– use for pain and itch relief
- Belly band– I felt like my insides were falling out of my body without it, plus it will help tighten your skin and core faster
- Pads/padsicles- I made these homemade ice padsicles to aid in recovery, and the extra pads were good for after the first week when you still are likely to be bleeding.
- Open a maxi pad but keep the wrapper intact so you can wrap it up and secure it when finished.
- Pour witch hazel over the entire pad.
- Apply a thin layer of aloe, followed by a few drops of lavender essential oil. Rewrap and secure the pad.
- Place with others in a ziplock bag and throw into the freezer until you’re home after delivery
- Aloe Vera– for the padsicles
- Alcohol-free witch hazel- for the padsicles (also good to use on its own on your nether regions)
- Lavender essential oil– for the padsicles, but consider using as aromatherapy during labor, too
- Stool softener– trust me… you should probably take these after delivery for a few days no matter what
- Ibuprofen– help ease the pain of a contracting uterus (gets worse with each baby), recover from tears and other pains as well as swelling from engorgement
- Sitz bath- ease pain in your lady parts
- Preparation H– hopefully you don’t get hemorrhoids but you’ll want to be prepared if you do
- Hydrogel pads- for cracked and sore nipples (be sure not to apply lanolin when using these)
- Lanolin/APNO- lanolin is so helpful to apply to chapped and cracked nipples, but if you’re really suffering see if your doc will prescribe APNO, which is an ointment that is sent straight from God to help those horrible nipples recover fast
- Nursing pads- a must have when nursing, but especially if you’re using lanolin or APNO
- Ice packs– to help with engorged, painful boobs
- Heating pad– to help get clogged ducts moving in the minutes prior to nursing
I used the affiliate links above to point to specific products that I personally used. The preparation and cost were well worth it to have whatever I needed on hand when I needed it. And, most of these items could be used for a second baby and/or in other applications in life.
Other considerations to prepare ahead of time to take advantage of should you need them:
- Lactation consultant- understanding who is available through your hospital, obstetrician or third party ahead of time will make it so much easier to simply pick up the phone to make an appointment if necessary rather than searching for someone who can help… these women saved my breastfeeding; I highly recommend identifying an internationally board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC)
- Breastfeeding support group- I didn’t think I would want to go to an in-person support group, but man was this helpful; bringing my newborn to a safe space with other women going through breastfeeding trials and tribulations was incredibly cathartic and I got a ton of advice and tips
- Nursing/parenting support- not so much in person, but there are a lot of Facebook groups where like-minded women or parents can post to ask for help, advice, recommendations, etc; while this shouldn’t substitute advice from your doctor, it can be very helpful and supportive to know you’re not alone
Having a baby is the best thing and the most challenging thing you may ever experience. Ensuring you take care of yourself will help you be a better parent to your new little bundle. Good luck!