Congratulations on that bundle of joy, mama! The last few weeks of pregnancy are filled with so many emotions, and a big one for me was around postpartum recovery. As a first-time mom I had ZERO idea what to expect. Honestly, I was kind of terrified. If you’re feeling the same and wondering “what do I need for postpartum care?” you’re not alone! Read on for the must have postpartum recovery essentials to help you over the next few weeks!
Postpartum care is a topic that not enough people talk about, and every postpartum recovery is different. As a mom of two, I remember feeling very prepared for childbirth, but very NOT prepared for my postpartum recovery.
There’s so much focus on preparing to become a mother that many of us forget to also do some research on how to heal after that little one arrives. The first few weeks and months after childbirth can be tough, no matter how you look at it. Not only is your body healing, but you’re also adjusting to a whole new life.
I’m happy to tell you that while yes, you will absolutely feel like you’ve been hit by a car (because childbirth is EXHAUSTING), there are a few things that can help make your postpartum recovery so much easier and quicker.
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How Long Is Postpartum Recovery?
You might have had a cesarean birth or a vaginal delivery, or an easy or complicated delivery. No matter how long you labored for or what your delivery looked like, your body has gone through a trauma. You’ve created and birthed a whole new human being! Your body will need time to recover.
Traditionally, the first six weeks after giving birth are known as the postpartum period, though many mamas now consider this to be the first 12 weeks (aka, the 4th trimester). Researchers now also actually believe that this period lasts up to 6 months! This recovery and transition period is an intense time that requires all sorts of care for both you and your baby.
During this time period, your body will experience a ton of changes. I’m not talking just about healing from childbirth! Your body will also be dealing with hormonal mood swings, figuring out breastfeeding, juggling life with battling sleep deprivation and of course, adjusting to motherhood (or motherhood of more than 1 if this isn’t your first child).
Even when the recovery period is over, it might take longer to feel like yourself again. Finding the right postpartum recovery essentials can make a big difference.
What Do I Need for Postpartum Recovery?
The postpartum recovery period can be exhausting, painful and honestly pretty messy. No matter what your delivery ends up looking like, it’s a smart idea to stock up on a few postpartum recovery essentials to help you during that time.
But just a heads up: I’m not pulling any punches here, so this list is also filled with possibly a little bit TMI.
- Let’s get the most embarrassing one out of the way first: Adult Diapers.
Trust me, I know! I was convinced that pads/sanitary napkins and granny panties would totally do the job, but let me tell you just in case no one else has: you will be leaking. All kinds of things. A LOT. For potentially weeks.
You also won’t have total control over the muscles you use for urination right away (which is a whole other can of worms).
A girlfriend who gave birth a few weeks before me actually ordered these amazing adult diapers off Amazon, and I was so thankful she did. Within the first day of arriving home, I was all about that diaper life. It was just so much easier to manage, and a lot less messy.
Seriously, order a package to have *just in case.*
2. Medicated Cooling Pads (aka Tucks Wipes)
Again, not the most glamorous of items, but Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads are pretty magical while you’re healing down there.
The wipes are medicated and soaked in witch hazel, which is extremely cooling even when they’re room temperature and helps alleviate the pain associated with any tears or swelling.
It will be uncomfortable for a few days to a few weeks to use the bathroom depending on your level of damage and stiches, so having these in your bathroom really helps with the discomfort level.
You can also order a package of two boxes of a less expensive brand here on Amazon.
One note: Don’t flush these. You don’t want to risk a clogged toilet on top of everything else!
3. A COMFORTABLE Nursing Bra that Grows With You
Your boobs are going to go CRAZY after birth. I remember feeling so shocked that they seemed to change size overnight, and continued to go up and down throughout my breastfeeding journey.
Having a comfortable nursing bra makes a world of difference. I tried quite a few, and my personal favorite was the Kindred Bravely French Terry Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra.
I feel like I can practically live in this bra. It has an easy pull-aside design with gentle support, and is designed to accommodate fluctuating breast sizes during breastfeeding and beyond (which I learned the hard way not every bra does).
This comfy nursing bra comes in more than 15 colors, and is a cult favorite among moms with its under $30 price tag (check out the nearly 6,000 positive reviews here!)
4. And speaking of your breasts: if you want to breastfeed, a great Pumping Bra is a game changer.
I had zero clue that pumping bras existed when we came home from the hospital. For almost the first week of A’s life, I was so incredibly frustrated and annoyed that I had to sit in one place holding those breast pump flanges *just so* in order to pump.
The Simple Wishes Pumping Bra made a huge difference for me! First, it’s super adjustable, as it comes with a large velcro strip as the back closure.
This is really important, as your breasts change size over and over postpartum. It stays in place while you’re pumping AND actually holds those dang flanges in place too.
I recommend ordering 2, as you’ll need to wash them frequently. I just threw mine in a garment bag in the wash with our other clothes and hung them to dry.
You can order yours here and check out all of their pumping bra options, too.
5. A Postpartum Girdle
I wasn’t sold on the idea of a postpartum girdle or corset until close to the end of my pregnancy when a friend told me that after you give birth you struggle to sit up and do “normal” things for yourself because of that. After hearing that, I knew not being able to take care of myself would make me mentally feel a million times worse.
After a bunch of research, I decided to order this postpartum corset through Amazon for easy and stress free returns. This line of Postpartum Girdles and Corsets are medical-grade abdominal compression binders made of polyamide fabric and elastane.
Their hypoallergenic and micro porous fabric prevents skin rashes by allowing the skin to breathe, which keeps you comfortable.
Not only did I feel a huge difference when wearing the corsets in my ability to control my core, but the compressions of the garments helps your body heal quicker and your uterus shrink back down into place.
These are actual photos of me at 41 weeks pregnant, and again at 4 weeks postpartum.
I attribute SO MUCH of my seeming to “bounce back” from pregnancy to my postpartum corsets.
(Want more information about postpartum girdles? Check out The #1 Postpartum Recovery Item: A Postpartum Corset)
And technically not part of the list, but: an Amazon Prime account. I found a new love for Amazon in the weeks following Baby A’s birth. Amazon Prime made purchasing items for myself or him such a breeze (especially in the middle of the night).
I speak from experience when I tell you that once you bring that sweet baby home you’ll realize a dozen things you need that you never expected… and with a newborn you won’t be feeling like leaving the house to grab them, no matter how close the store is.
Plus a Prime membership now also includes THOUSANDS of movies and TV shows you’ll want to binge watching while up in the middle of the night feeding your little love, grocery delivery and local restaurant delivery! You can get a FREE 30 day trial membership HERE)
So there you go: the Top 5 Absolute Must Haves for a Fast Postpartum Recovery!
Be sure to check out these related posts:
Postpartum Healing After Vaginal Birth