Are you a new mom or know a new mom who is postpartum? Postpartum and recovering from a c-section? Read on for my advice on all the postpartum must haves you’ll need. This post may contain affiliate links.
Postpartum Must Haves
I can’t believe I am already one month postpartum! This is my third postpartum experience and so far each has been so different. These early days are filled with so many feelings — both physically and emotionally — it’s messy, it’s chaotic and wild and emotional and calm and beautiful, all rolled into one. It’s sleepless nights and forgetting to shower. It’s napping when you can and navigating this whole new world with this new little person, who has suddenly become your world.
If you haven’t yet head over and check out my post Things No One Tells You About Postpartum for an unapologetically honest look at the first few weeks after giving birth! And if you’re interested in my story, check out my One Month Postpartum Update post and how to be kind to yourself and your body <3
Ok, let’s get into it, here are my postpartum must haves!
Postpartum Must Haves: Support
I’m going to start out my postpartum must haves post with some truths about postpartum and what I wish I knew going into it, as well as things we really need during this time. The fourth trimester is no joke and it feels like no one talks about it, especially not prior to it happening to you. It’s again, like all female reproductive things, a taboo topic. But for real, I feel like I knew (almost) everything about what to expect with my baby but literally nothing about what to expect about myself and my body during postpartum, just that my vagina would hurt and my boobs would make milk.
So what is postpartum really like? What do we need to remember? And what can help? Read on my mama friend, I hope this helps!
Support, Love & Encouragement
I wrote a full blog post on this, but here are some things I wish I knew going into postpartum:
〰️ The witching hour – fussy baby/anxious mama anxiety spiral – is very real.
〰️ That it’s ok to stay in bed, skin to skin with my baby. Let everything else go.
〰️ How to hold my breast properly for a good latch and how to hand express.
〰️ How to feel empowered about babywearing.
〰️ Realistic expectations about infant sleep and how to bedshare safely.
〰️ How to say no to visitors (although this year Covid is helping with this one!).
〰️ How to be gentle and kind to myself and how to let go of guilt.
〰️ That I know my baby best and I am the perfect mother for him.
〰️ How to ask for help (and accept it/not feel ashamed about it).
〰️ How to love my body and all that it is capable of.
Support, Support, Support & Focus on YOU
So what do you really need in the first few weeks after giving birth? Let’s break it down:
- Love & encouragement
- Food & water
- Help with household tasks
- Patience with yourself
- Positive reinforcement from your partner and family, i.e. – “you are an amazing mother,” we need to trust ourselves and sometimes we need help with that
We Need A Village
No but really — there is so much to be said for this — back in the day and still now in other countries, postpartum moms have a ton of support from women in their lives, it’s our American culture that emphasizes a crazy amount of independence. It’s just not for me, we NEED community, we need support especially during the vulnerable time of postpartum!
We don’t have these “villages” anymore but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask a friend or family member if they can come over here and there to help with household things. Or if you can, I highly recommend hiring a postpartum doula, they help with EVERYTHING including dishes, laundry, tidying the house, cooking, they help soothe the baby, take care of you and will even entertain your toddler. Ours was an amazing help those first few weeks!
Even the smallest tasks can be a huge struggle for the new mom, especially physically for c-section moms, and we shouldn’t have to worry about them during those first few weeks. Your legit only job is to focus on YOUR recovery and feeding/soothing the baby.
It’s OK to Get a Therapist
Best thing I ever did was set up appointments postpartum with my therapist. Check locally for maternal mental health therapists in your area, it made a huge difference to be able to talk to someone who understood all the crazy facets of motherhood. If you are in the Hudson Valley area I use everydayparenting.com!
I’ll get into the postpartum must haves products below but literally those listed above are really the most important things.
Moms need more support, we need encouragement, we need to feel empowered, we need love and we need a little help with the house until we’re back on our feet. With a c-section that’s about 6-8 weeks. I don’t know why, maybe it’s pressure from social media and society in general to live up to these unrealistic standards, but we forget that our bodies need to heal. You grew a human in there for nine months, it’s going to take a while to heal and you have to be gentle and kind to yourself.
Postpartum Must Haves: The First Two Weeks
All that said, let’s breakdown the physical items that helped me! Most likely you’ll be in the hospital for at least 24 hours (vaginal delivery) or 48 hours for a c-section. I have had two c-sections, my first was an emergency after 36 hours of labor, my second was planned, so I’m going to gear my must haves towards my experience but will also include suggestions for vaginal deliveries as well! If you are a nursing mama check out my breastfeeding must haves here!
There will be blood, sometimes a lot, sometimes not much, it ebbs and flows for me! Yes, even with a c-section. But comfy, organic pads are a must have as well as stretchy undies that don’t bother my incision! These Honey Pot pads were my choice, they even come with recipes for padsicles on the box! And I cannot say enough about these Fridamom Postpartum undies (boyshort cut, I’m pictured in them above) – super comfy but also durable!
Because incision pain is rough, especially after you get home from the hospital, which I was not expecting! I alternated taking Motrin and Tylenol and it took the edge off. Stool softeners like Dulcolax or Colace are also a must because, well, pooping after birth is horrendous. For me I had gas pains and constipation issues for four weeks after delivery, it took a WHILE to regulate, stool softeners are your best friend, trust me!
If you are a Young Living member I recommend taking Digize and Comfotone for constiaption and gas issues!
Another must for me, yes, even with a c-section! I brought this to the hospital because of how clutch it is, it does exactly what the name implies, basically a water spray bottle for down there. Very handy and ergonomically designed water spray bottle so you can wash. It was a life saver for me also after the catheter was taken out and I had to pee for the first time (but couldn’t) spraying warm water down under helped a ton with that!
If you don’t get the Fridamom kits (below) you’ll definitely want to buy these individually! I did not need to use either for Elora’s birth but because I was in labor for 36 hours with Luca and because Liam was a vaginal delivery I used the sprays and tucks with them and they helped soothe the soreness so much! If you are use Young Living products do yourself a favor and get the Clariderm spray, best peri-spray hands down!!
If you’re like me and just want the easy ticket I highly recommend grabbing the Fridamom Postpartum kit for $50 on Amazon! It comes with all the things!! Some of them wouldn’t be needed for c-section recovery but for vaginal you would definitely get good use out of it. Included in the kit is:
- Fridamom Postpartum Undies
- Perineal Witch Hazel Cooling Pad Liners (like Tucks)
- Perineal Witch Hazel Healing Foam
- Instant Ice Maxipad (padsicle)
- Toilet Top Storage Caddy
Or you can go for the labor & delivery & postpartum essentials kit which includes all of the above PLUS:
- Fridamom Momwasher
- Delivery & Nursing Gown
- Bathroom Essentials Case
Speaking of storage caddy’s I love these macrame baskets I found on amazon both for my nursing station by my bed and postpartum station in the bathroom!
An abdominal binder is an absolute must for me during the first few weeks (then I switch to compression leggings or a corset). But your belly is going to feel hollow and empty and with a section your incision is extremely tender to the touch, the binder provides support and an extra layer of protection, it helps me feel like my insides are staying put! I start out with the one they give me from the hospital, if yours doesn’t give you one (I’m not sure if this is just for c-sections or not!) here is one that looks the same! I just make sure I position it low enough so it’s below my incision.
A must have for vaginal deliveries — you’re welcome!!
Postpartum Contraction Roller
Ohhhhh those lovely postpartum contractions. These can be SO painful, like regular labor contractions and cramps! I suggest taking some Motrin and also making a roller of soothing essential oils. Below is the blend I use (Disclaimer: I can only speak to the efficacy and purity of Young Living essential oils, they are the only ones that have worked this well for me. If you want to join my team, click here!).
Just because! No need to get dressed during these days, just get comfy in a robe or house dress — easy access for nursing! And some comfy slippers, I love these $20 ones from Amazon, they are holding up really well!
My favorite pajamas for postpartum are the button-front ones from Kindred Bravely, use my code COVINO20 for 20% off your order!!
The sleep nursing bras (pictured below) by Kindred bravely are my favorites for postpartum, especially early postpartum when your milk is still regulating and engorgement is happening often.
Get 20% off your first Kindred Bravely purchase when you order through my link: kindredbravely.com/COVINO20 (discount applied at checkout)!
Postpartum Must Haves: Two Weeks & Beyond
By two-three weeks, at least with a c-section, you’ll be feeling a lot better. But slow your roll! Don’t get too ahead of yourself, you are still very much healing. I pushed myself a bit too hard a couple of times and my body forced me to slow down — I knew it because I started bleeding heavier than I had been and it was scary. It was definitely a reality check. But it still feels good to feel good so revel in the small wins like being able to sit own and get up on your own, sleeping more than two hours in a row and drinking your coffee warm!
I stopped bleeding around four weeks this time and was so happy to switch from the Fridamom disposable undies to these! Highwaisted is a must have with the sore incision and full coverages nice because I had to continue wearing a panty liner for a week or so. The Kindred Bravely C-Section undies (pictured above) are by far my favorite high waisted undies for postpartum!
I also love Kindred Bravely’s nursing bras, both the sleep ones and regular ones! My bra of choice rom them is the Marvella (pictured above) — buttery soft material, soft, no underwire which is super important for nursing moms (underwire could hurt or even damage your breast tissue if you get engorged), it’s fully adjustable and the slips are SUPER easy to undo one-handed. Nothing worse than not being able to unclip your bra when your baby is screaming!
*If you’re not nursing and want to get rid of your milk supply (I had to do this with my second), here are my suggestions — peppermint tea, peppermint essential oil topically on your breasts, a tight sports bra, cabbage leaves in your bra.
Get 20% off your first Kindred Bravely purchase when you order through my link: kindredbravely.com/COVINO20 (discount applied at checkout)!
With my first the only place he would sleep was on my chest so this wrap saved us, I could still get things done while he slept on me! Total game changer when I figured that out. And with Elora I can also wear her during fussy times and still tend to my toddler which is so convenient. Solly is my favorite wrap because I love the buttery soft but strong material and I ‘ve become a pro at wrapping — it’s really not that hard, they offer tutorials on their IG page!
These button front tops (pictured below) from amazon are only $22 and awesome for nursing mamas! I live in these postpartum!!
These are a must for me because they help with healing your core (bringing the separated muscles back together) and they make you feel put together — at least for me they do! Think about it, nine long months your abdomen expanded to house your baby and in an instant he’s out of there leaving you an empty cavity and separated abs. The empty/loose belly is a strange feeling and this corset helps make your body feel a little more like usual which I like!
Bellefit (pictured above) is my corset of choice, I purchased both the large and extra large, I start wearing the XL around 3-4 weeks postpartum and eventually switch to the Large when and if I can (I won’t make myself crazy about it!). For sizing, I am usually an 8 in pants but I gain about 30-40lbs. when pregnant.
BaoBei Maternity Compression Leggings are also awesome, I got my normal size but did not start wearing them until about three weeks postpartum.
Postpartum Incision Care
For the first few weeks it’s all about protecting your incision and keeping it clean (just showers, letting the water and soap run over it and then gently patting dry), but once it’s healed around five-six weeks you can begin really taking care of it and this is what I recommend:
- Scaraway Strips – I wore these everyday with Luca for several months after he was born and I truly believe they work to lessen the appearance of the scar and prevent it from getting bumpy. I wore them almost 24/7 aside from when I showered!
- Scar Oil – After showering I always apply my scar oil, it’s a special blend I made for supporting the healing of my skin and lessen the appearance of my scar. It includes 20 drops each of lavender, frankincense, joy, gentle baby and jasmine with jojoba for a carrier (2oz. bottle recipe).
- Massage – C-section massage is a MUST! And it’s never too late to start, here is an informative video on how to massage your scar and the benefits, I swear by it!
- CBD Muscle Rub – I combine this with my scar oil and use it to massage the scar, it has been helping so much with the tenderness!
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist // Postpartum Ab Rehab
I wish thee were covered by insurance, I truly think it should be part of every woman’s postpartum care. My Pelvic Floor PT taught me so much about how to heal my body, she’s the one that taught me about the c-section scar massage as well and how beneficial it is to do for my pelvic floor. Just because your baby wasn’t delivered vaginally doesn’t mean your PF won’t get messed up!! I can’t stress that enough. Please if you can, see a local Pelvic Floor PT after giving birth (I usually go around 8 weeks postpartum for the first visit)!
I also highly recommend checking out these account on IG – @nancyandersonfit, @expectingandempowered and @the.vagina.whisperer. They give AWESOME tips for moms, SO educational, nothing is off limits! I purchased Nancy Anderson’s Ab Rehab program back when I had Luca because I had pretty sever diastases recti and it was awesome. It was all about starting to rehab your core simply with specific breaths combined with kugels. Total game changer and the rehab every mom needs.
CBD & Essential Oils
If you follow me on Instagram you know my love for CBD and plantjuice. Never have they ever been so insanely helpful in my life than during pregnancy and postpartum. I’m going to list my favorite Young Living products and why here!
I have a highlight on this on my IG which I highly recommend you watch if you’re considering taking it, also talk to you doctor, I am not an expert! I LOVE my CBD, I started ingesting it about a week after I gave birth and feel like it’s helping with so many things – my skin, my mood, my hormones – but mainly it’s been taking the edge off with my anxiety and stress. I’ve been taking it daily consistently for a month now and it 100% is helping me mentally deal with all the stress of postpartum with a new baby and toddler!
I also use my CBD roller topically for calming on the go and also for sleep, as well as the muscle rub daily. Sore neck from nursing? CBD muscle rub is your jam! Sore feeling around your incision? Massage with some CBD muscle rub!! The pain relieving benefits of CBD are real!
I take my CBD orally, a dropper under my tongue, there is 0% THC in it which is what both my doctor and I felt comfortable with for me. But it has essential oils added back in to give the benefits of the terpenes and flavonoids that are lost in the process of isolating the CBD from THC. I take CBD isolate, not full spectrum! If you have any questions please message me on Instagram or email me, or if you’re wanting to grab your kit straight away click here! It comes with the oil, the roller (GREAT for sleep!) and the muscle rub for $165!
Oils & Their Benefits for Postpartum
- Peppermint — for the first pee and first poop postpartum! Seriously. A couple drops in the toilet bowl will help stimulate your parts to go! If you’ve ever been their you know how hard and scary it is, this truly helped me!!
- Digize – topically rolled on your belly also helps you with the first poop, trust me you definitely want to do this!
- Progessence Plus – This one is your hormone support powerhouse! Made from natural progesterone found in yams it is known to promote hormone balance both postpartum and during regular cycles. I apply it topically to my wrists and ankles daily.
- Endoflex – Thyroid support is a must for me because I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis but it should also be the focus of all new moms! Your thyroid is part of your endocrine system which helps regulate hormones. We all need support with that postpartum! I roll endoflex on topically to my thyroid or take the vitality version as drops under my tongue, it supports healthy thyroid function, hormones, metabolism and adrenals.
- Ningxia Red – For energy, vitamins/nutrients/antioxidants, and milk supply support!! Plus it’s delicious.
- Sulferzyme – Literal game changer for postpartum hair loss and brittle nails! This supplement supports your body so you don’t get hit so hard with these annoyances of postpartum!
- Claraderm – Cooling spray for your sore post-birth perineum and for c-setion mamas, great to spray on your scar once it’s healed! Pregnant mamas, this is also great to use as prep for birth. Starting about 6 weeks before your due date spray this on your lady bits daily to help prep the skin for stretching!
- Diffuse Oils!! – Get yourself a diffuser what are you waiting for!? Diffusing straight plantjuice is SO beneficial for your health both physical and mental! Ditch the candles and go toxin free already. My favorite blends for postpartum include stress away, peace & calming, valor, white angelica and sacred mountain!
- Gentle Babies – Grab this book if you’re an oily mama, literally everything you need to know about oils and pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum!!
Postpartum Must Haves: Breastfeeding
There is a lot to unpack here with breastfeeding supplies so instead of jamming it all into this one post I’ve separated it out, click on whichever post you want to check out next!
I hope this post and the other posts I’ve written are helpful in some way for you on your pregnancy and postpartum journeys, I would love to know some of your must haves in the comments or let me know of any questions!
SHOP THE POST:
Click HERE for my Amazon Storefront page where most items from this post are linked!