Updated on November 5, 2015
The New Mom’s Survival Kit: What You Need Postpartum
I’m going to let you in on a secret. There are a whole bunch of things about labour, delivery, and the postpartum period that seasoned moms haven’t told you. It’s not that we don’t think you need to know these things, because you do. It’s just that we’ve either forgotten about them or don’t want to freak you out any more than you already are about birthing a human being. (Don’t worry, eventually you’ll hit a point of being so over pregnancy that you’ll do almost anything just to get that baby out). I’m not going to sit here and tell you every single detail of what the birth experience is like. Apart from the fact that every woman’s experience is different and unique, some things are better left for you to just find out for yourself. That being said, there are some things that I really do want you to know about the aftermath of delivering a baby. I want you to be prepared for a few eventualities so that you have what you need when you need it and aren’t sending your partner out to the drug store every few hours to buy another little something you needed five minutes ago.
Here are ten things that I had in my postpartum survival kit. I used every single one of these items and they all contributed to making my recovery just a little bit easier.
1. Depends. Yes, I’m talking about adult diapers. Aside from their extreme usefulness after your water breaks (the amniotic fluid can replenish and continue leaking/exploding out of you with every contraction), they are also a godsend for the first couple of days postpartum. You can use them instead of monster pads, or you can use them with monster pads. Together with pads, they create a leak proof save your underwear and your mattress solution to the heavy postpartum bleeding of the first 48 hours.
2. Pads. Lots and lots of pads. You’re going to be bleeding for a while. By that I mean six weeks give or take a week or two. At first it’s going to be really heavy, but it will level off eventually and it may stop for a few days and come back again. Good times. Now not just any pads will do here. No no. You want pads that aren’t going to catch or pull on any stitches you may have. Yes, that can happen. Steer clear of anything with a “dry weave” on top. My preference was for Kotex brand. More specifically, the U by Kotex Security pads. You’re going to want overnights, long supers, and regulars. Go without wings for the overnights and long supers if you want to use them inside Depends.
3. Peri bottle. You’re going to love this one, trust me. If you’re delivering baby in a hospital, you will be provided with a peri bottle. Take it home with you and pack it in the diaper bag whenever you leave the house. If you’re delivering baby at a birth centre or at home, ask your midwife where you can purchase a peri bottle. What’s this for? Well, after pushing a baby out, you’re going to be pretty darned sore. The last thing you want to be doing is wiping with toilet paper. Instead, fill your peri bottle with water (you pick the temperature that you like best), and rinse yourself off. Then you can dab with toilet paper if you want or just drip dry, whatever suits your fancy.
4. Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray. Because it feels amazing. This stuff is just awesome. It even sprays upside down. Just get it.
5. Padsicles. What’s a padsicle? A padsicle is a frozen maxi pad. Couldn’t you just use ice packs? That depends. Do you want an ice pack to stick to your lady bits? You can make your very own padsicles in advance and they won’t stick to your skin! Consider it a great activity while you’re waiting for early labour to transition into active labour. Grab a few of those overnight maxi pads. Unwrap them, but leave the paper over the adhesive underneath. Cut them into thirds, pour some water over them (not too much, just enough to make them wet but not soggy), place in a single layer in a zip loc bag, and freeze flat. Now you have perfect sized ice packs ready to go when you need them. The first time around I didn’t cut the pads before adding water and freezing. What I ended up with were insanely long rock hard padsicles that did not exactly bend and form themselves to my shape… I had to crack them on the edge of the counter and then cut them with scissors (since the waterproof layer doesn’t break with them). Save yourself that step by cutting them to size before you wet and freeze them. When you use them, you want to use them on top of a pad or in the depends because they will get wet as they thaw. You don’t want to spend every waking moment with a padsicle against your lady bits, but when you’re feeling particularly sore they are very soothing.
6. Stool softeners. I know what you’re thinking. Just get some, take them, and thank me when you’re praying that your first postpartum poop doesn’t rip your perineal stitches out. After The Heir was born, one of the first things I asked the nurse for was a stool softener. There is seriously nothing more terrifying than the first postpartum poop. Any pressure or pushing at all can be undesirable after delivering a baby… Just take my word for it. You’re welcome.
8. Epsom salts. Just plain unscented epsom salts. This is so you can take what’s called a sitz bath. A sitz bath is just a shallow bath with epsom salts in it that you can dip your sore bits into to soothe and promote healing. To avoid having to sit your bottom on the rock hard tub, roll up a small towel and submerge it in the tub. Sit with the edge of your bum on that towel so you can avoid sitting directly on the bottom of the tub. Try to take a sitz bath at least once a day. It’s glorious.
9. Ibuprofen & Acetaminophen. Did I mention that you’re going to be sore after delivering that baby? You’ll want to have ibuprofen and acetaminophen on hand at home waiting for you. Your care provider/midwife/doctor can tell you how much to take and when, but needless to say you’ll be taking it for a while.
10. Nipple cream. I’ve talked about the importance of nipple cream before, but it’s worth noting again. Don’t wait until you are dealing with nipple trauma. Dab breast milk on your nipples first, let it dry, then top with nipple cream.
That’s what was in my postpartum survival kit. I’d consider all those items absolute essentials. Not having a baby yourself, but looking for the best baby shower gift for your pregnant friend? Add a couple of these items to that shower gift and that mom-to-be will love you for it.
What items would you add to your postpartum survival kit?
This post contains affiliate links.