Postpartum Care Essentials & All the Items You’ll Need after a Vaginal Delivery
As I prepare to deliver our second baby in November, I find myself cringing at the thought of pulling out my old “postpartum care kit” – which was really just a bag that sat on my bathroom floor full of all the items that I never even knew existed but absolutely RELIED on after delivery…items that I needed for much LONGER than I ever anticipated. 🙂 I still have a few things tumbling around in that bag – which has been in storage – that I can use (boxes of feminine pads, an unopened peri-bottle I never used (because the hospital gave me one), etc. But now we are getting to that time in my pregnancy where I’m having to think through all of this again – and so I’m going to share my list with you today! If there’s anything I’ve forgotten, help a sister out and let me know in the comments below. And if you know of any mama friends who need help getting all of this together, please share this post!
Now – it’s important to note I am *anticipating* a vaginal delivery and to *try* and breastfeed – and so these are the things I’m preparing for. We will also be sharing a post on Thursday with the same info but for mamas who know they are having a c-section – so stay tuned for that!
Vaginal Delivery Postpartum Recovery Basics
Order and put these things in a bag, box, or some form of organizer in your bathroom – you will need easy access every time you go to the restroom.
- Disposable Underwear – These were by far my favorite. I did not enjoy the adult diapers I had also purchased. (I wonder why LOL). But seriously – these disposable underwear are not too bulky, pretty high waisted, comfortable, disposable, and best of all don’t feel like adult diapers
- Feminine Pads – I used these and liked them because they’re thin but absorbent and (again!) you don’t feel like you’re wearing a diaper
- Peri Bottle – This is the one I have that I never opened. The hospital gave me one that I just kept using but I’m glad to have it this time around. In fact, Frida Mom has a ton of great postpartum essentials – so check them out if you haven’t already. Here is a link to their full postpartum recovery kit they sell if you just want to go straight for it. I haven’t personally used everything in this kit but it looks pretty legit and is compiled of a lot of things that are already on this list
- Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads – Read the next part for how I typically used these
- Ice Diapers – TMI coming – I had a 3rd degree tear and hemorrhoids – it was very painful down there for a while and the nurses at the hospital gave us a trick that helped a lot. Take a newborn diaper and create an opening between the external and internal layer (here’s a YouTube video I found that shows exactly how to do it here). Load it up with ice. Put them in the freezer until you’re ready for one. My husband and mom did a bunch of these for me – they’d make like 3-4 at a time and then I’d just go and get them when I needed a new one or was in a lot of pain. Here’s the play by play on how to use. You’ve got the disposable underwear on, then take the ice diaper and place it inside the underwear like a pad, and then put a medicated cooling pad on top of that – pull up your underwear. If you need to, you might have to put a feminine pad in there – probably over the ice diaper but under the Tucks cooling pad. This sounds so ridiculous as I type it out and I can’t believe the SHIT us women go through – LOL. But it helped a lot!
- Stool softener – Just trust me on this one
- Pain Medication – Ask your doctor what’s acceptable to take – Tylenol/Ibuprofen/etc.)
- Comfortable robe – I have this one and have had it for over 2 years. I wore it pregnant, in the hospital after delivery, and I still wear it today. It’s made from a soft bamboo blend fabric (just like our COO BABY jammies) and is cooling while somehow also keeping you warm. I think it’s the perfect robe because it’s flattering, comfortable, and looks nice if you’re caught in pictures postpartum. Works just as well for non-pregnancy/postpartum too!
- Cheap, comfortable, larger than your normal size sweatpants – get a few pair and don’t buy your pre-pregnancy size. Go bigger.
- Nursing tank tops if you’re planning on nursing or pumping
- Hands-free pumping tank tops and/or bras if you’re planning on pumping
- Water Tumbler – This isn’t clothing but you want to make sure you have a couple good tumblers with straws. It’ll help keep you hydrated and you can just take with you when you’re feeding, lounging, etc.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding and/or pumping:
- Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads
- Nursing bras and hands free pumping bras
- Nipple Shields – Not everyone wants or uses these, and a lot of people told me that using them would impact my ability to nurse and my son’s ability to latch by himself. But that was just not true for us. They were instrumental in helping my son to latch in the first few weeks, which gave us both confidence and reduced stress around feeding times. They also helped immensely with pain management, and after 1-2 months we were able to drop them completely and continue nursing without them. I don’t think I would’ve been able to breastfeed as long as I did if I hadn’t started with these.
- Nipple Shield case – If you do end up using nipple shields, I would recommend buying a couple cases (they’re basically retainer cases – lol) so that you can pop them in when you’re not using / throw in your diaper bag if needed
- Nipple Cream – I used this after nursing every single time for the first few weeks at least – I swear it helped with some of the pain and ensuring they didn’t get too dry / cracked
- Breastfeeding book to help with tips and tricks and set accurate expectations for yourself. The best thing I remember reading when it came to breastfeeding was that it could take 30, 50, maybe even 100 tries before you get latched the first couple times (or more). Try not to get frustrated if you don’t get it the first few times. It’s totally normal! Remembering that helped me to stay calm and not be so hard on myself when it didn’t work instantly
- Hot Tip #1: Setup nursing stations around the house (i.e. nursery, bedroom, living room). Have a space in each room you can relax and have everything you need in one place without having to scramble for it every time. For me, this included the following: nipple shields, nipple cream, tumbler with ice water, granola bar or something to snack on when you’re starving at 3am, burp rag, headphones, and a blanket to cover yourself with if you get cold
- Hot Tip #2: Fed is best. If breastfeeding isn’t in the cards or if you choose not to do it – you’re still an amazing mother – don’t let anyone (especially yourself) tell you differently
I hope this list was helpful to you! Again, if you think of anything I’m missing please let me know – as I will need to order it ASAP – haha! And if you think this is a great list – please check out the image below and pin to Pinterest – it helps us get introduced to more mamas so that we can continue on with our mission! Thank you so much!! xoxo Kaci
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