Becoming a mom for the first – or even the fifth – time can be simultaneously exciting, nerve-wracking, and magical. There’s nothing quite like holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time and gazing down into those perfectly miniature features. But you can quickly become overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for a newborn as well as other members of your family. That’s why we’ve hand-picked these 16 Must-Have Postpartum Care Products to help you take a holistic approach to the healing process.
The truth of the matter is, postpartum self-care is often neglected in the face of everyone else’s wants and needs, and it can be easy to forget that YOU just gave birth. You brought another human being into this world, and it’s vitally important to prioritize your own mental and physical needs in order to recover.
I’ve chosen to make this article all about your postpartum needs, New Mama (or Mama of Five). As the saying goes, “You can’t take care of anyone else unless you first take care of yourself.”
Your Body After Baby
Since your body went through some pretty drastic changes over the course of nine months–in addition to the actual act of giving birth–it’s understandable that you’ll experience many postpartum symptoms and side effects on the road to recovery. Over-the-counter pain medication can help to alleviate pain, and other postpartum care products work to soothe discomfort.
“Down There” Pain and Discomfort
Whether or not you had any vaginal tearing while giving birth, you’re bound to have soreness in your perineum, which is the area between your vagina and rectum. This is understandable given the birthing process.
In addition to perineum soreness, it’s also normal to experience afterbirth pains as your cervix begins to shrink back to its original size. Although the first week or so can be uncomfortable, these cramps do decrease and eventually get better.
As if there hasn’t been enough trauma to your nether regions after giving birth, many women also develop hemorrhoids due to constipation. Stool softeners and drinking lots of water are typically go-to strategies for clearing these symptoms up, but it’s important to be patient with your body for the first several weeks post-baby.
Breast Engorgement and Nipple Pain
Whether or not you’ve decided to breastfeed, you’ll inevitably experience some degree of postpartum breast pain due to changing hormones and milk production. Breast engorgement typically occurs when your body is attempting to establish its milk supply, and you can ease this discomfort by nursing your baby, wearing absorbent nursing pads, and putting warm compresses on your breasts.
Postpartum nipple pain usually goes hand-in-hand with breastfeeding and pumping, as your nipples don’t immediately adapt to a newborn constantly nursing from them. The most common treatment for sore, cracked nipples is nipple cream, and it’s also beneficial to make sure your newborn is latching correctly. Remember, your baby comes equipped with the basic instincts, but they’re not always nursing professionals right out of the womb.
Postpartum Anxiety and Depression
Many women become fatigued in the first few months of motherhood, and it’s easy to understand why. Our sleep schedules are thrown for a loop (or simply done away with), personal time suddenly seems nonexistent, and the stress of having another human being utterly dependent on you for their survival can get overwhelming.
Due to these and other factors, you may experience postpartum anxiety and depression as a result. This is nothing to be ashamed of and is actually relatively common, so don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or midwife about what you’re feeling. There are many coping strategies for postpartum depression and anxiety, and you’ll soon discover that you’re not alone in the struggles of motherhood.
Must-Have Postpartum Care Products
This two-sided comfort cushion eases perineal pain by reducing pressure while you’re sitting (which you’ll be doing a lot of those first few months). It has a reusable gel pack to reduce swelling and pain, and the other side works to relieve pressure. The cushion is portable and needs no inflation or batteries, so feel free to take it anywhere and everywhere you need to.
These soothing perineal cold packs are a life-saver for the first week after giving birth. Simply crack the cold pack for instant relief and apply every few hours as needed. The soft outer fabric prevents possible irritation, and they’re absorbent as well. We like that they’re also perfect for addressing swelling due to hemorrhoids and can be applied to c-section incisions as well.
Dermoplast is one of the best perineal pain relief products out there, and doctors and nurses commonly recommend it to new mothers. The hospital strength benzocaine relieves pain on contact, and the spray also contains cooling menthol and moisturizing aloe and lanolin. The best part is that Dermoplast doesn’t require a prescription, and you can find it in almost any drugstore.
If you’re searching for a product to soothe both afterbirth pains and lower back pain from constant nursing, these fast-heating patches are the answer to every new mom’s prayers. A soothing combination of 5 herbal ingredients works to alleviate pain and reduce swelling, and they last for up to 6 hours.
While not exactly the height of fashion, you’ll appreciate the stretchy comfort of FridaBaby Postpartum Underwear during your first several days after giving birth. They’re designed to keep large, bulky pads and ice packs securely in place, and the breathable fabric provides more coverage than the hospital-provided alternative.
You’ll want to keep a stack of these ultra-absorbent postpartum pads handy for the first month after giving birth, which is when vaginal bleeding and discharge are at their heaviest. You’ll appreciate the RapidDry core and double leak guards to help you feel as secure as possible in those early weeks.
If you delivered your baby via c-section, your incision site will be uncomfortable and sore during the healing process. Motherlove C-Section Cream is specially formulated to minimize scarring and soothe irritation. Its antibacterial ingredients also work to reduce bruising and protect against infection.
It may be tempting to jump right back into your gym routine a week or two after giving birth, but you must take things slowly and give your body the right support system. This Postpartum Recovery Belly Wrap works to correct posture and reduce swelling, and it also helps your uterus return to its normal size more quickly. We also love that this multi-stage belly wrap also comes in regular and plus-size.
If you’ve decided to breastfeed or pump, initial breast discomfort will become a fact of life until you establish your milk supply. The LaVie Warming Lactation Massager is an (almost) magical device that uses heat and vibration for faster letdown and works to reduce common breastfeeding issues like oversupply, clogged ducts, mastitis, and engorgement. The massager can be used on all breast sizes and has built-in rechargeable batteries so that you can use it anytime and anywhere.
If you’re struggling with clogged ducts and milk flow, try the LaVie Lactation Massage Roller. This simple little device can be used in five different ways depending on your needs, and it enables you to empty your breasts quickly and effectively. The silicone massage roller is also water-resistant so that you can use it in the shower to alleviate clogged ducts and breast tenderness.
Unless you’re an alien from another planet, breastfeeding your baby will be painful at first. Your nipples will inevitably become sore and cracked even if you have the most competent baby on the block. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter contains organic herbs and beeswax to both moisturize and soothe sore nipples, and there’s no need to wash off before nursing.
There will be times when you simply don’t have enough available hands to hold your baby, pump, talk on the phone, and relieve nipple and breast pain at the same time. This is where Medela Soothing Gel Pads come in. These uniquely contoured hydrogel pads cool on contact, and you can reuse them for up to 24 hours after opening. They also fit discreetly inside your bra, so you can get relief no matter where you are.
If you’re like well over half of the pregnant women in existence, you probably won’t escape pregnancy without a few stretch marks. In truth, your postpartum tummy may need more love than usual after giving birth, and Bio-Oil is an excellent way to hydrate and nourish your skin. This serum is full of natural oils that boost collagen production and skin elasticity, helping to reduce the appearance of stretch marks during the recovery process.
Tucks Hemorrhoid Pads have been a postpartum staple for years now, and for good reason. They provide quick relief from the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids with soothing witch hazel, and they can be applied to specific inflamed areas. You can also use these cooling hemorrhoid pads as hygienic cleansing wipes, and one tub should carry you through your entire postpartum recovery.
While many postpartum products tackle the physical symptoms of new moms, it’s equally important to focus on the emotional side of things as well. The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums provides much-needed levity and guidance regardless of how many children you’ve had, especially when it comes to those sensitive questions you don’t know the answers to.
Your first month postpartum will seem to go by both incredibly slowly and like a blur, and you may often feel caught up in a whirlwind of sleepless nights, spit-up, and cluster feedings. It can be easy to lose your center, which is why you need the Calm App in your life. Just a few minutes of quiet and meditation can do wonders for reducing stress and anxiety.
Check out more of my favorite new mom essentials on my amazon storefront.