You’re probably spending a lot of time prepping for your little one on the way- researching and buying all kinds of baby products, reading books about parenting, taking classes on how to breastfeed...
What’s just as important is getting all the supplies for your own postpartum recovery, which can last anywhere from 6-10 weeks (or longer). The last thing you want is to be waiting for that Amazon package or making a last minute trip to Target while you’re in pain with a crying baby next to you. This list captures all the essentials you need, because mama needs some looking after too! Tip: Check with your hospital to see what supplies they give. You might be able to snag a couple of these from them.
Postpartum Supplies for Delivery Recovery
You’ll need these supplies whether you deliver vaginally or via c-section. See below for additional supplies needed specifically for each type of delivery.
- Diapers, pads, liners: Yes, you’ll need all of the above. A diaper or super pads the first few days/week, then gradually shift to regular pads and then liners. Recovery will take weeks, but we promise there is an end. Don’t let that stop you from calling the doctor every few days to ask if what you’re experiencing is normal - our doc was on speed dial.
- Mesh underwear: In the first few days, even a diaper or your loosest pair of underwear might be too tough to slide on or too tight to wear all day. Mesh underwear is a great alternative because they can stretch to almost any size and can fit the super pad without pressing too tight.
- Perineum ice packs: These ice packs are uniquely shaped to line your underwear. Not only will they help soothe your perineum (area between your vagina and anus), but they’ll also help reduce the swelling and hopefully shorten your recovery time. You might think putting ice cubes in a ziplock or using a different shaped ice pack can do the job. It technically can, but trust us (from experience), you don’t want to have to move in or sit on something that isn’t as comfortable as possible.
- Peri bottle: So key. You need this to spray your goods after every bathroom session. For one, the water helps soothe your sensitive, wounded areas. Secondly, it’s a less painful way to clean without using toilet paper to wipe or press. You can use toilet paper to pat dry (very gently) excess water. Tip: use warm water.
- Lidocaine: If you’re not familiar with Lidocaine, it’s a numbing spray. You can use it a few times a day. Make it part of your bathroom routine and spritz on this cold goodness after you dry to help soothe your recovering areas.
- Sitz bath supplies: Depending on the severity of your tear, you might need to consider other self-care techniques. Sitz baths are a good way of relieving pain, swelling, and itchiness in your perineum area. There’s a couple of different ways to set-up a sitz bath but at a minimum you’ll need a basin, warm water, and a mixture.
- Skin salve: These are ointments or special bandages made to help reduce the appearance of your incision scar. Incision scars are beauty marks in our eyes, but we understand if you don’t want them to be so noticeable.
- High-waisted underwear: After you graduate from the mesh undies, you’ll still want to wear high waisted underwear with seams above your incision while it finishes healing.
Postpartum Supplies for Whole Body Recovery
- Compression socks: Swelling can persist after delivery for a few days or weeks. Compression socks will get the blood flowing and help resolve the swelling faster.
- Compression tights: There are several benefits to wearing compression tights such as not feeling like your insides are swimming around unhinged and providing back support. Some moms swear by wearing compression tights a few days after delivery, others wait a few weeks. Up to you when you’re ready and comfortable- they can be challenging to put on.
- Belly band: If you prefer to lounge in loose fitting clothes instead of compression tights, it’s still helpful to have some support around your abdomen for the reasons listed above. Belly bands are great alternatives to provide that support if you don’t want to wear compression tights.
Postpartum Supplies and Medication for Hormone Recovery
- Stool softener: Without getting into details, the thought of your first bowel movement might be scary. Your doctor might already prescribe something for you, but if not, it’s probably good to have a stool softener on tap to help things pass while you’re recovering without too much straining.
- Prenatal/postnatal vitamins: Your body is going through a hormonal roller coaster. The right postnatal vitamins can vary based on whether you’re breastfeeding and other deficiencies you might have. At a minimum, the most common recommendation is to continue your prenatal vitamins while you’re breastfeeding, but it’s worth checking with your doctor as well.
- Birth Control: Definitely get clearance from your doctor for when you can have sex post-delivery. But if they don’t bring it up, be sure to also ask about your birth control options. Your options might change if you’re breastfeeding or on other medication.