Postpartum recovery essentials
A couple weeks ago, I shared a bit about my postpartum fitness journey.
This week, I thought I'd back up and share the products I found helpful during my recovery (besides the basics the hospital sends you home with).
I was so unprepared for the postpartum changes. If I ever do this again, I'll have a better grasp of the "equipment" I need to get through those crazy weeks after delivery. If you're an expecting mama, hopefully this post can help you be better prepared than me.
Side note: God bless Amazon and two-day shipping. Also, mad props to all the women before me who delivered babies and recovered without any of these supplies.
Perineal Spray for Bathroom Trips
The hospital gave me some Dermoplast spray. I used it to numb things but as I started healing it was just too much. This New Mama Bottom Spray by Earth Mama was perfect. Like giving your bottom a spa treatment. A necessary and cooling, comforting spa treatment with ingredients like witch hazel, cucumber and herbs.
I think it would take having a few kids to use the entire bottle, but on the packaging it suggests using the leftovers as a face toner. Really! I've been spraying it on my face after the shower and it's just as refreshing on my face as it was down there. :)
Breastfeeding Sleep Bras for Tender Boobs
I bought nursing bras before Memphis was born, but even the "sleep bras" I got that seemed so comfortable before felt like heavy sandbags on my tender postpartum boobs. Desperate for something that was actually comfortable, I bought a two-pack of these Kindred Bravely French Terry sleep bras and exclusively wore them for several weeks. They're super soft and lightweight and were worth every penny. I sized up — not because they run small but because I wanted them more for comfort, not support.
DIY Padcicles for Ahhhhhhmazing Relief
If you're pregnant, planning a vaginal birth and reading this, YOU NEED THESE. My doula suggested them and I'm so glad she did. They're easy to make, inexpensive and felt amazing in those first couple of weeks. The weird icepack pads the hospital gave me were OK, but these were so much better. You just need big ass pads, witch hazel, aloe vera gel and (optional) lavender essential oil. The instructions I used are over at Pretty Providence.
Granny panties that are almost like diapers
It had been years since I'd used pads and I’d forgotten just how large they are. My cute undies just weren't going to cut it. I got these on Amazon. They are a cheaper version of the Thinx absorbent underwear that are quite popular. I certainly wouldn't wear them without a pad but I didn't want to spend much on some ugly undies I was only going to wear for a couple of weeks.
Reusable nursing pads to save your shirts
I remember the first time my breasts started leaking ... no, spraying ... and feeling totally overwhelmed. I soon realized how important nursing pads were. I use disposable ones sometimes, but I love these reusable ones. They are softer than the disposable ones and they're obviously less wasteful. Plus they come in a cute little pouch. These things are very important.
Epsom salt for daily sitz baths
My midwife told me to take sitz baths every day, which essentially means sitting in a shallow bath with Epsom salts in it. The salts help things heal down there. If you follow my Instagram stories, you know I am a huge fan of Epsom salt baths. The addiction started during my pregnancy and I'm still loving it to sooth sore muscles. I buy a two pack of huge bags of Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt at Costco for like $10. If I'm feeling fancy I'll mix them with a few drops of an essential oil like lavender — but make sure you mix it with the salt and DO NOT put the oil directly in the bath. I learned that the hard way. :)
Herbal bath for healing, relief and a little relaxation
I took 2-3 sitz baths per day, but I also included a few herbal baths and ohhhhh mama it was heavenly. I purchased mine at the birth center locally. If you're in the KC area you can go to New Birth Company and pick one up (you don't have to be a patient). If not, Medicine Ethereal has a very similar product on Etsy. The process is similar to making tea. You let the herbs steep for 20 minutes in boiling water. Then, you remove the herbs and just put the water in your bath. You can reuse the herbs 2-3 times. I used mine three times. It gets weaker each time, obviously, but it was still great!
Lanolin for cracked nipples (ouch)
I was going to try the Earth Mama nipple cream but both my sister and my sister-in-law told me that this stuff from Medela was legit. I think a little is supposed to go a long way but I lathered up because at first my son made me feel like I was sticking my nipples in the garbage disposal. Sorry for the graphics. If it weren’t for lanolin I’m not sure I would have any nipples left for him to nurse on.
Big water jug for breastfeeding thirst
Breastfeeding makes you soooo thirsty. I don't know how much water I drink in a day ... but it's a lot. They gave me this big water jug at the hospital and I'm still using it. A regular drinking glass seems to only hold enough for one sip now.
Also if you're reading this and still pregnant or newly postpartum, tell your partner that one of their new jobs is to refill your water. During the early postpartum days when Memphis was feeding every 1-3 hours, it was so helpful of Kristopher to make sure I always had water (with ice because I'm a diva). He can't feed Memphis so changing diapers and refilling my water were his jobs during those sleepless nights.
Placenta capsules for hormonal balance
I encapsulated my placenta. I can't say whether or not it made a difference because I've never experienced postpartum recovery WITHOUT the pills but I can say I didn't experience postpartum depression, my uterus shrank back pretty quickly and I've never had an issue with milk production. I shared a lot more details about placenta encapsulation in this post.
Postpartum recovery can be rough but I was surprised by how quickly I healed. Each day seemed significantly better than the previous.
I'm sure none of these products are absolutely necessary. I mean, cave women didn't have any of these things and here we are. But I'm glad to be a Millennial mom and am grateful to have the means to get these products. Maybe they aren't necessary, but at the time they seemed like they were.
The most important tip I can give for the postpartum period is to enjoy it. During that time your baby is your world (as he should be) and even though you might be dealing with sleepless nights and painful potties, there's nothing quite like getting to know your precious babe and smelling her oh-so-sweet newborn scent. Take a whiff for me, will ya? And know that you will get sleep again.