Postpartum Recovery Essentials

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Postpartum recovery is SO hard, both mentally and physically. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought it was going to be easy. But it was so much harder than I had anticipated, and I was not prepared AT ALL.

Most of the items that I mention in this article were all purchased AFTER I got home from the hospital. When I was pregnant, I kept thinking about the arrival of my baby and what she was going to need. I had given NO thought to what I was going to need during this time.

In some ways, there isn’t anything that could have prepared me for this dark, ugly place that was postpartum for me. But it definitely would have helped if I had had some of these items beforehand.

I’ve never been more thankful for Amazon Prime. I can’t tell you how many times I ordered items on Amazon or sent my husband to Target. It was a lot.

So I put together a checklist of postpartum recovery essentials that will help me if I ever decide to have another baby! Hopefully this list will help you as well.

Disclaimer: This is meant as general information, and is not medical or any other type of professional advice. If you have any medical questions or concerns, you should contact your health provider. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Please see my Disclosure for more details.

Postpartum Recovery essentials

1. Depends

I started out using overnight pads that I put in the freezer, and it was horrible. They were so bulky that they irritated my tear, and made sitting so much more painful. Then I tried Depends, and they were SO MUCH BETTER. They were thinner, absorbent, and made sitting much less painful than the pads. Plus, since I was using Depends, there was no need to get big granny panties.

RELATED: How to Recover from a Perineal Tear

2. Witch Hazel or Tucks Pads

I always put witch hazel on the Depends to help with irritation and to keep that area clean. I also used tucks pads, which I liked, but I preferred the witch hazel.

3. Colace

Postpartum hemorrhoids is a real thing, and it sucks. A LOT. Seriously, your first experience going to the bathroom will probably be rather unpleasant. I used Colace, which is a stool softener, and it really helped.

4. Perineal Squeeze Bottle

You are really going to want these in order to stay clean down under! Good hygiene practices for downstairs are extremely important for healing and to prevent infection. Use one of these perineal squeeze bottles to squirt warm water down there every time after you go to the bathroom.

5. Motrin IB

Cold packs were my favorite, but I also took Motrin IB every day to help with pain relief and swelling.

6. Perineal Cold Packs

The hospital will probably give you some perineal cold packs, but they may not give you as many as you would like or you may end up using all of them while you’re there. These will really help with pain relief.

7. Dry shampoo

This was a huge postpartum recovery essentials for me. I took fast showers every day because I had a second-degree tear and it hurt like hell to stand. That meant I didn’t wash my hair nearly as often.

Dry shampoo helped keep the greasiness at bay, and kept me feeling a little fresher. I use Bumble and Bumble dry shampoo and Drybar dry shampoo. Love both equally. The Drybar shampoo definitely leaves more of a white residue, but if you work it through your hair enough then the residue will disappear.

8. Boppy nursing Pillow

If you are planning to nurse, this will help tremendously! When I was at the hospital, I found it awkward and difficult to position my baby when breastfeeding. The Boppy made it so much easier, especially if you use the cradle and football hold positions.

9. Boppy Newborn Lounger

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was dual purpose, and one of my most important postpartum recovery essentials. I did use it a lot for its intended purpose, for my newborn to lounge on.

However, it also had a life-changing benefit… it allowed me to sit down with the least amount of pain while I was recovering from my second-degree tear.

I don’t remember why I thought that this would work, but I do know that I was desperate at the time. My husband had brought home multiple hemorrhoid pillows, and they were HORRIBLE.

They hurt so badly, and we returned all of them. Then I tried the Boppy Newborn Lounger, and it was a game changer!

10. Nipple Shields

Nipple shields are great if you have cracked and bleeding nipples, which is what happened to me within the first few days of being home.

They allowed my nipples to heal while my baby was nursing, and also reduced the pain.

11. Nipple Cream

If you are going to breastfeed, you are going to want lansinoh nipple cream. I always applied it to my nipples after breastfeeding, which helped to heal, soothe, and protect my sore nipples.

RELATED: 8 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

12. Nursing Pads

Again, if you are planning on breastfeeding, you may want to invest in some nursing pads. It is common for milk to leak out of your breasts, which can be messy and uncomfortable! I mostly used reusable nursing pads, but I also had some disposable nursing pads as back up in case I went through them really quickly.

13. Nursing Bras

You will definitely want nursing bras if you are going to breastfeed. They are designed so you can easily breastfeed your baby without having to take your bra off. Underwire bras can be very uncomfortable and can also potentially cause clogged ducts.

14. Reduce Thermos

When breastfeeding, I always felt like I could drink enough water to fill a swimming pool. I have to give my husband credit for this purchase. He was constantly getting up to get me another glass of water, so he decided to make life easier for himself. He bought me a 40 oz Reduce tumbler, which kept my water cold and was narrow enough at the base to fit in a cup holder.

The lid is configured so you can use the straw or drink from the lid. Reduce tumblers also have a limited lifetime guarantee. This is still one of my favorite things, and I haven’t used a cup to drink water since I got it.

15. Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

These swaddlers were ESSENTIAL to my baby AND US getting sleep. My baby would not sleep without them. The few times we tried to put her to bed without a swaddler, she would startle herself awake within minutes because of the moro reflex.

RELATED: Mastering Baby Sleep (like a boss)!

16. White Noise Machine

A white noise machine was also essential for our bedtime routine and also for naps, now that she is taking naps in her crib.

17. Night Light

A manual night light was another essential item that I always used when putting my baby to bed for the night. It allowed me to keep the room dark, but see well enough during our bedtime routine and while I was nursing.

18. Bassinet

This bassinet allowed her to sleep in the room with us, right by the bed. This was really important because when you’re getting up multiple times a night to feed your baby, especially when it hurts to walk, it’s much easier to just reach into the bassinet by your bed.

I liked this bassinet because it was reasonably priced in comparison with other bassinets I looked at. It worked very well for us, and we never had any issues with it.

19. Baby Basics Care Kit

You need this Baby Basics Kit in your life! It comes with nail clippers, a nail file, snot sucker, gas relief tubes, and a baby bath brush for eczema and cradle cap. I use the snot sucker the most, but you have to be careful to suck gently.

If you use it too much or suck too hard, you could irritate your baby’s skin or potentially even rupture her ear drums. I use Little Remedies saline spray to loosen up mucus before using the snot sucker.

RELATED: How to Relieve Your Baby’s Cold

20. Onesies with mitten cuffs

I had major postpartum anxiety, and I was constantly afraid that my baby was going to scratch her face. These Moon and Back newborn onesies with mitten cuffs were so helpful! I also had mittens, but they fell off her hands and we would lose them because they were so small.

These onesies with the mitten cuffs were much better because we never had to worry about them falling off. If you do get these onesies, make sure to buy the preemie or newborn sizes because those are the only sizes that come with mitten cuffs.

21. Baby Swing

Baby swings were postpartum recovery essentials that gave me the short breaks that I desperately needed. I spent a lot of time holding her as a newborn, which I loved, but sometimes I really needed a break.

These swings helped her to stay happy when I wasn’t holding her. I used the 4moms Mamaroo swing, which has five motions and speeds. It also has sounds, but I never used them.

I also used the Graco DuetConnect swing, which has six swinging speeds, ten melodies, and five nature sounds.

22. Exercise ball

This exercise ball became one of my best postpartum recovery essentials when it came to calming my crying baby. I would hold her while gently bouncing up and down, and it worked almost every time.

If you want help figuring out what size you should get, this website can help you.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Calm Your Crying Baby

23. Baby logging app

This helped me to keep track of her diapers, how long she was breastfeeding, how long she was sleeping, her measurements, how long I was pumping, and how much formula she was drinking.

My memory was nonexistent at the time, so this was a lifesaver. There are some free apps, but I didn’t find them to be very user friendly. I really liked Baby Loggy, which is a paid app.

RELATED: How to Survive the Fourth Trimester

24. Gas Drops

Gas drops were so helpful when my poor baby was in pain because of gas. I would add the gas drops to a bottle of formula or breastmilk, and it really helped give her some relief.

25. Gripe water

Gripe water helped relieve stomach discomfort for my baby. Like the gas drops, I would add gripe water to a bottle of formula or breastmilk.

26. homemade wipes solution

I make my own baby wipes solution, which really helped to wipe away the meconium from my baby’s bottom without irritating her skin. Meconium is the first stool your baby passes, and has the look and consistency of black tar.

The wipes solution is made of 1 1/2 cups of filtered water, 2 tbsp of olive oil, and 2 tbsp of Aveeno gentle baby wash. I put the wipes solution in amber glass spray bottles, and spray it on to reusable wipes.

26 must haves for postpartum recovery

What helped you to get through postpartum? Please share in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Postpartum Recovery Essentials”

    • Thank you so much, Scarlet! You are right, and I totally overlooked them. I got caught up in the excitement of having my baby that I really didn’t give any thought to postpartum AT ALL. I made this list of postpartum recovery essentials afterwards and, if I have another baby, I will be prepared!


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