Postpartum Essentials You Must Have For Recovering from Birth

With all of the excitement and preparation for a new baby, we sometimes skip over some of the less joyful aspects of giving birth. Moms are not feeling their best right after childbirth, so it is helpful to have those postpartum essentials ready.

Postpartum Essentials You Must Have For Recovering from Birth As you learn how to care for your newborn, you are also recovering.

The days after having a baby can be rough. You’re sore, bleeding, and may have stitches and hemorrhoids. Engorged breasts and sore nipples are also common.

You won’t want to be running to the store for maxi pads. 

It is so easy to focus on everything the baby needs, don’t neglect to care for yourself. These postpartum essentials will have you healing quickly and feeling better!

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Tummy Care 

Pain Reliever

You will not be feeling your very best after giving birth. 

Not only will your lady bits be hurting, but you may feel sore all over from labor and pushing. You’ll also feel after-pains, or contractions for days afterwards as your uterus returns to it’s pre-pregnancy size.

Ibuprofen is generally the recommended pain medicine postpartum and is considered safe for breastfeeding. Make sure you have some Motrin in the medicine cabinet, you’ll be glad you did.

Postpartum Corset 

There are many reasons why I would consider a corset as important as other postpartum essentials. 

Wearing a postpartum corset (like the Bellefit) helps provide abdomen and back support as you recover from delivery. From a cosmetic standpoint, it also takes away that deflated belly pooch all moms get after giving birth. 

I returned to work after my third pregnancy just 2 weeks after the baby was born. I got so many compliments, but it was all thanks to the corset I had hidden under my top. With the postpartum girdle I could start wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes within a week. 

After my first child I got a really cheap postpartum belt and it was terrible. For my subsequent births, I splurged on the Bellefit and it was an amazing choice. 

The Bellefit is comfortable, made of a lightweight material, doesn’t ride up or down on the waist, doesn’t create that unflattering “popped biscuit” look, adjusts as you lose weight, and has an extender to fit women of different heights.               

Heating Pad

Many moms are surprised to learn the contractions don’t end with childbirth. 

Afterpains (cramps after delivery) generally start within a day after delivery and last around two days. The pain you feel is your uterus contracting back to pre-pregnancy size. 

Let me tell you, they can be rough. And it’s worse with second or third babies because subsequent pregnancies cause your uterus to lose muscle tone. 

A heating pad saved me. Thank goodness the hospital had one I could use. But when I had to go home, I had nothing for relief. 

Be prepared and get a heating pad now. Later you can even use it for other sore muscle pain or menstrual cramps. 

Alternatively, you could also use a bladder for hot water, but who has time to heat up water and pour it into a bladder when you’re taking care of a newborn?

Vitamin E Oil

Many are aware of the benefits for using Vitamin E oil on scars and injuries, but there are also many uses for women post-delivery. 

Rub it over stretch marks on your belly and thighs to moisturize, provide elasticity, and fade marks. If you had a c-section, use extra oil around your scar to help it fade and heal quickly. 

You can even use small amounts on your sore lady bits when irritated after delivery. Speaking of sore lady bits, that brings us to…


Downstairs Relief 

Witch Hazel Pads

Witch hazel helps reduce inflammation and sooth itching and irritation which is exactly what you’ll want postpartum.

Though these pads are traditionally used for hemorrhoids, which you might also need after giving birth, they’ll provide relief for your lady parts as well.

The hospital may give you some witch hazel pads, but plan to have them at home too. If you have stitches the itching may worsen as they heal and you’ll be glad to have these for comfort.

You can also store the container in the refrigerator for extra cooling relief!

Peri Bottle

Using a peri bottle will help prevent infection and keep everything clean down there after using the bathroom. This is especially important if you had tearing or stitches. 

It also makes things more comfortable and avoids rough wiping. Spraying while you pee will help alleviate stinging and cleaning.

The hospital will most likely give you one of these bottles, but you will want to have one for every bathroom at home. Also, the hospital bottles are usually simple like this one and though they do the job, there are more luxurious options with angled spouts to get those hard-to-reach places like this one.

Sitz Bath

While not an absolute necessity, this can provide relief and comfort. A sitz bath can help relieve pain and swelling after giving birth as well as keep everything clean and promote healing.

Though this may sound a little silly, you essentially just sit in a shallow bath and can literally do this in your tub. 

BUT since that’s sort of a pain, you can get a portable sitz bath that goes over your toilet. This way you don’t have to fully undress.

You can add epsom salts to the bath for additional comfort too, but avoid soaps and bubble bath. 

Also, warm water can be very comforting or cold water can help with pain and swelling.

The hospital might give you a portable sitz bath especially if you ask for one.

Perineal Cold Packs/Pads

Having a plethora of pads is one of the most important postpartum essentials. Be sure to get a pack of absorbent perineal cold packs for directly after delivery. 

Think the sound of a cold pack on your sensitive bits sounds uncomfortable? Think again. 

You’re incredibly inflamed and sore after delivery so these cold packs feel amazing. You need to wear pads anyway for the postpartum bleeding, might as well make yourself comfortable!

They’ll probably give you a few of these in the hospital but trust me, buy a pack of these for when you get home. You won’t regret wearing them for an extra day or two. 


Honestly, the hospital will probably provide you with a can of Dermoplast but I would recommend getting an extra for home. At least one for every bathroom you’ll be using regularly. 

This spray numbs and cools your very sensitive lady parts after delivery and then a few days later when the stitches start to itch. 

And if you have some left over afterwards, you can use it for itchy bug bites or sore sunburns. 

Stool Softeners 

Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are extremely common after giving birth. But even if you’re not one of the lucky ones to develop those, believe me you’ll still be extremely sore down there. 

Make things easier on yourself by taking stool softeners for a few days or weeks post-delivery to avoid pushing hard on a sensitive area. Your body will thank you. 

Disposable Underwear

The hospital will likely supply you with mesh panties and giant maxi pads. They’re ok at best in my opinion, but work fine for the first day or so. 

I prefer to switch to disposable underwear (aka adult diapers) when I change from the hospital gown to my own clothing. They’re surprisingly comfortable, plus there’s no extra laundry and no worrying about leaks staining your clothes.

With my first, I didn’t think I needed them, but when I caved and bought them for my subsequent pregnancies I discovered they were a total game changer. Never thought I’d love being back in a diaper so much! 

Menstrual Pads

Unfortunately after birth the bleeding and discharge can last for several weeks. It should become much lighter and you likely won’t want or need to wear the disposable underwear for that entire time.

You should not use tampons postpartum, so make sure you have plenty of pads.

Also, you’ll want to have underwear that is very comfortable and that you won’t care about if there’s a leak.


Boob Care 

Whether you choose to try breastfeeding or not, here are some postpartum essentials you’ll need for your girls. 

Disposable Nursing Pads

I didn’t even know leaking was a thing until I became a mom.  I also didn’t realize how BAD milk could smell.  Ugh.  

For me, it’s much easier to just throw those soaked boob pads away.  There are so many things that need cleaning with a newborn (onesies, changing pads, bibs…) that I didn’t want to add tiny pads to the list.  

Bonus, when you have disposables you can tuck them anywhere and everywhere.  Yes, definitely make sure you have a few in your purse, car, desk, coffee table, changing area, vanity, etc.  I liked the Lansinoh ones the best because they’re absorbent and stuck the best in my bra.

Even if you are not planning on breastfeeding, you may still experience leaking when your milk comes in so it’s great to have some of these on hand.

Nipple Cream

Many mamas can describe the terrible chafing and cuts that come with nursing or pumping for an infant. 

The Motherlove nipple cream is one of the most highly rated on Amazon. This cream is thicker than most so it creates a nice, thick coat on sore nipples. 

Best of all, it’s completely natural so you don’t need to wash it off before the next nursing/pumping session. 

Read all about other nipple cream options in our Baby Registry Must Haves, Breastfeeding Edition.

Pro-tip: get multiples and keep one near a chair where you pump/nurse, beside your bed, and one in your purse.

Comfy Sleep Bras

You think pregnancy boobs are big? Just wait until after delivery!

When your milk comes in a few days after delivery, you’ll want something comfy and adjustable to wear that still provides support. I highly recommend these awesome sleep bras from Target.

Don’t think you need a sleep bra? Imagine waking up in a puddle of breast milk every morning. You’ll want something comfy to keep those nursing pads in place!

And trust me, they’re not just for sleep. In those early days when you’re staying at home you can wear a sleep bra 24/7 since they’re so comfortable. I tried several and most were too loose or didn’t stay in place well, but these were perfect! I seriously lived in them through most of my maternity leave.

Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads

I wish I had bought these to be prepared, but instead a few days into breastfeeding I was frantically ordering them on Amazon (thank goodness for 2 day shipping!). 

The Lansinoh soothies gel pads are crucial for sore nipples. Put them in the fridge and they are even more awesome. 

Yes, the price tag seems a bit high for 2 pads, but you can use them multiple times (up to 72 hours or until saturated). If you’re dealing with nipple pain, they are well worth the cost.

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Comfortable Clothes

You will want some super comfy clothes to wear postpartum.

Keep in mind that you likely won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away. In fact, you may still look about 6 months pregnant. A lot of maternity clothes though accentuate the belly, which you probably won’t want after giving birth either.

Things like loose and soft shirts, with easy access if you’re planning to breastfeed, and sweatpants or leggings will be your best friends postpartum.


About Author

Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.

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