Postpartum Recovery is a beast. Girl, Your body does some tricky stuff after having a baby. I’m sorry it’s true. Imagine your period times one hundred. You have things coming out of your butt. You don’t feel up to styling your hair and leggings suddenly become the fashion pick. It’s rough but you have a choice to at least prepare ahead of time so that you have one thing crossed off your list of many responsibilities. Having a postpartum kit prepared for after birth is indispensable. You don’t want to be sitting on the toilet, with swollen hemorrhoids and no hemorrhoid cream handy. Having all your items handy gives you a little peace of mind when you are sleep deprived and emotional as all get out.
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
We make a small commission from some of the links (you dont pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we just love em and want you to know about them. Click here for our full disclosure. Thank you! Whether you’ve already had a vaginal delivery in the past or this is your first birth, does not make a difference. If you push a human out of your vagina, the chances are high that you will need help healing.
Your particular healing period will depend on a few factors:
Did you tear? If you tore, did you need a repair? Did you get hemorrhoids? How many babies you have had? Think after birth contractions. (more on this below) Prevent Vaginal Tearing
What Do I Do Ahead of Time?
I’m glad you asked because I’ve taken my years of experience as a labor nurse and also the fact that I have pushed six humans out, and I’ve compiled a list of essentials. This list is for you to feel prepared and at peace.
Goals for Postpartum recovery Period
Nurture your Baby Heal your Body I did not say clean, cook, or organize things. Sorry, no sparking joy with household organizing during this time frame. Your house and the one million things you do daily, can wait or be delegated to family and friends. Accept help when offered, take a nap when the baby naps, and eat healthy meals. Take short walks with the baby in a stroller.
A place to Keep Your Kit Handy
The first item I suggest that you get is a basket or tote to keep your items organized and easy to move. Going to the bathroom after giving birth is quite the event. Be prepared for this, momma. Grab a tote or caddy (or a utility cart like Ikea or this one from amazon) to keep everything well organized and handy. The caddy also allows you to move your items from upstairs to the downstairs bathroom during the day. An added benefit of having a caddy would be to utilize it as a diaper-changing station after the initial postpartum recovery period.
Items to place in the Postpartum Kit
Below are my suggestions to place in your postpartum recovery kit. If this is not your first baby, quite possibly there are items you have discovered as valuable to have handy. If so, and I have not included them in this kit, please comment below with suggestions
Trust me, you don’t want to use your victoria secret undies for this period. It gets dirty. Like really dirty, So take it from a labor nurse, and buy some cheap underwear. Go more for comfort than style. Think granny panties. Buy soft comfortable underwear that will fit the extra-large pad you will be wearing. Tip: Ask your postpartum nurse for a couple extra of the net panties at the hospital. They get uncomfortable quickly but they work in a pinch. You can keep an extra pair in the caddy and in the diaper bag for emergencies.
Breastfeeding Items for the Kit
Nursing Bra, Nursing pads, Nipple cream, & Breast hot/cold packs are all necessities during this period. I personally loved actual nursing bras and preferred those for the first 6 months or so. Anna, on either hand, wears regular bras which she can pull to the side of to nurse. It’s a personal preference and if this is your first baby to breastfeed then grab both. First Breastfeeding Doesn’t always come easy. (Just in case!) Breastfeeding after Cesarean. A supportive nursing bra is a truly important part of your postpartum vaginal delivery essentials. Before you deliver, get some nipple cream, nursing pads, and gel pads for those sore boobs. A nursing pillow is a must-have. Don’t skip this postpartum recovery item. It is a lifesaver when you are healing. (obviously, this can’t be carried in your caddy but it’s a must to have) Nipple cream and breast packs that double as cold packs and hot packs should be on your list. Your breasts will be sore. Especially if this is your first baby! I also recommend a good nursing cover. I am not saying you have to cover up, but a good nursing cover is worth having. Obviously, I recommend our nursing cover. It is soft as silk and so stylish with its Boho trim. Check them out in our Shop. Guide to Healing Sore Breasts
Perineum Care Items to Include
You might just feel like you need to call Dexter in when you see what happens after birth. So go ahead and buy pads, very large pads. Purchase a mix of sizes, ones that look like they would hold a small village, some medium ones, and some for the lighter days to come. NEVER USE A TAMPON. Do not use scented pads. Another postpartum vaginal delivery essentials to have handy is tucks pads. Tucks pads are fantastic for both hemorrhoids and for those unfortunate stitches down yonder (Hey, I live in TN now!). Be sure to keep the tucks pads in the fridge for better relief. I teach my patients to fold them in half and to line them done the middle of the maxi pad. If they sent you home with a numbing spray or Epifoam for your bottom, you can spray the pad before wearing it. This feels like HEAVEN. If you didn’t receive numbing foam or spray from the hospital, then check out the spray from earth mama. This spray is a more natural herbal spray and works wonders. Postpartum recovery would not be complete without ice packs. They are blissful. I am including the recipe below, for what’s lovingly referred to as Padsicles. Buy enough of the largest maxi pads for both Padsicles and for pads to use in between the frozen pads.
Items For Postpartum Recovery (not in your caddy)
I am including a few items you should have on hand but not necessarily in the caddy or basket.
Remember the after contractions I mentioned above. The fact is that you will be sore and have cramping as your uterus shrinks to its pre-pregnancy size. The more children you have birthed the more work the uterus has to do to shrink. Basically, it’s a worn-out muscle. Be prepared with a good heating pad that does not shut off automatically. (Also use with caution) The heating pad can also be helpful for your sore boobs.
If I could scream this from the rooftops, I would. Why have they stopped giving sitz baths to new moms? It used to be standard in postpartum, to give one to all moms. For moms who have either a vaginal repair or hemorrhoids, this is fantastic to use. Add in a herbal postpartum sitz soak and you are a boss. It is a plastic basin type thing, that you place in your toilet (after lifting the seat). It comes with a system, which is a bag and a tube. You fill the bag with very warm water and hang it above the toilet. The end of the tube has Jett like holes. The basin is filled with very warm water and you sit on it. Your bottom is mostly submerged, while the water from the bag flows out and onto your perineum.
I highly recommend getting a postpartum belly band or binder to support your uterus as it shrinks. It diminishes the need for medication, which is always a plus in my mind. It is perfect for a post-cesarean patient. It is snug and decreases the pain while moving. It also helps the uterus to shrink and therefore your tummy.
Recipe for Padsicle: (check the bottom of the post for ingredients)
- Lay the pads open and flat on a large cookie sheet.
- Spread a generous amount of the gel over the pads, covering all of the pad..
- Using the witch hazel, pour about 2 T down the center of each pad.
- Drop 3-4 drops of lavender oil on each pad.
- Refold the pads, placing them into a freezer bag and freeze.
After delivery, remove one at a time and wait five minutes before using. Understand Each Stage of Labor 6 Signs of Labor According to a Labor Nurse I hope this list of postpartum recovery kit to prepare ahead of time helps make your recovery a smooth process. I’ve also included a postpartum checklist for you to keep handy. Take a screenshot to save to your phone for trips to the store. Related post: 6 Signs of Labor according to a Labor Nurse