Postpartum Must-Haves You Absolutely Need for Recovery

When the swaddles and bottles have been ordered, don’t forget about you, mama. There are some postpartum must-haves you need at home for recovery. Here’s the full list.

There are some essential items to have on hand when recovering from birth, and these items can vary depending on your delivery type and whether or not you’re breastfeeding.

However, being prepared with these things at home can help make your recovery more comfortable and, hopefully, help you feel more supported during those early postpartum days.

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Essential postpartum must-haves

No matter your delivery type or if you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, there are some essential must-haves that every new mother should have at home to help aid in postpartum recovery.

1. A postpartum plan

Often overlooked for the ever-popular birth plan, a postpartum recovery plan is what’s really needed to help you feel most supported after giving birth.

You can download our free postpartum guide to help you get organized, create a plan, and better prepare for life after birth.

2. Reusable mesh underwear

These ultra-soft, breathable, and reusable mesh underwear are way more comfortable than the pairs of scratchy, sticky postpartum underwear the hospital typically gives you. Plus, you can’t beat the price for three, especially when you can launder and re-use as needed.

3. A variety of pads

While hospitals typically send you home with a stash of giant maxi pads, it’s important to have various pads with different absorbancies at home as your body starts to heal and your bleeding begins to taper.

Here’s what we recommend:

4. Stool softeners

After giving birth, passing your first bowel movement can feel extremely uncomfortable, so make sure to have stool softeners on hand. Most importantly, make sure to actually take them.

infographic of postpartum must-haves for after birth of your baby

5. Prenatal vitamins

Did you know that you’re supposed to continue taking your prenatal through at least the first six weeks after birth? And for nursing moms, you should continue to take your prenatal for as long as you are breastfeeding. Read more on when to stop your prenatal.

6. Comfortable underwear

It’s best to have a few pairs of stretchy and super-comfortable underwear to help you ease into your body after birth. We love this underwear from Kindred Bravely because it sits below your postpartum bump for ultimate comfort.

Note: if you give birth via c-section, you’ll have to find underwear that sits above your c-section line. The incision is different for everyone, so find a pair that’s most comfortable for you.

7. Nutrient-dense snacks and meals

Recovering from birth is hard work, so it’s essential to have nourishing snacks and meals at your disposal. If you need help getting started, check out our section dedicated to postpartum nutrition to give you ideas.

8. Soft washcloths

Purchase a set of soft, organic washcloths to keep at home during early recovery.

You can use these to clean yourself up in between a full shower, cool down during night sweats, catch leaking fluid (from all areas), and even as a burp cloth in a pinch.

9. A support band

Designed to help support and compress your abdominal muscles after birth, a postpartum belly band can help you heal faster and feel more supported.

doctor in scrubs catching a new baby

Vaginal delivery must-haves

Recovery from a vaginal birth can vary depending on if you tore and to what degree. In general, the below postpartum products can help you heal from a vaginal delivery, keep you feeling more comfortable, and help you care for yourself in the process.

Keep in mind that these products for a vaginal delivery are in addition to the essential postpartum must-haves listed above.

Read next: A Midwife Shares Vaginal Birth Recovery Tips

1. Perineal spray

Formulated with organic herbs, this soothing perineal spray can help provide comfort and relief during the tender days after birth. It’s naturally cooling, too, so it feels refreshing to use whenever you need it.

2. A sitz bath

Specially designed for comfort and healing of your down-there parts, a sitz bath is a must-have for those who give birth vaginally. Pair it with organic and all-natural sitz bath tablets for ultimate healing and recovery.

3. Ice packs

You can purchase ready-to-go ice packs plus pads like these or make your own by soaking postpartum pads in a combination of water and aloe then freezing until you’re ready to use.

4. A donut pillow

If you experience tearing during birth or are simply seeking some extra support, consider getting a donut pillow to help take the pressure off of your delicate bits and pieces during postpartum recovery.

5. Upside-down peri bottle

Unlike traditional peri bottles that can result in an awkward angle while at the toilet, an upside-down peri bottle can help you cleanse the area needing attention without extra strain on your end.

Looking for an all-in-one option?

If you’d like a box shipped to your door with everything you need for birth recovery, check out the Care for Birth Box by Bodily to make your life (and recovery) easier.

new mom with c-section scar and holding baby

Cesarean delivery must-haves

There are some specific items to help your c-section recovery go a bit smoother and a little less pain-free. It’s important to remember that you’ll need everything on the postpartum list of recovery must-haves plus the specific items listed below for c-section recovery.

Read next: C-Section Recovery Kit Ideas and Must-Haves

1. Loose clothing with thick waistbands

As your incision heals, it can be painful at times. It’s best to have a few loose clothing pieces with thick waistbands that span your incision, so it doesn’t irritate further. Or, better yet, even no waistband at all (hello, flowy romper).

2. A small pillow

Coughing, laughing, standing, and even sitting in the car can be extremely painful in the first few days after having a c-section. Make sure to have a small pillow nearby at all times to gently press on your abdomen as needed for a little extra support.

3. A gas reliever

The gas is real after having a c-section and can be extremely painful when built up in your system. Take a gas relief aid regularly to help lessen the pressure on your abdomen and your new incision.

4. Peppermint oil or tea

Many don’t realize that a catheter is inserted during a c-section (after your epidural has been placed), and, sometimes, it can be a little tricky for your bladder to start working once it’s removed.

Pouring a cup of brewed peppermint tea or a drop of peppermint essential oil into the toilet can help your bladder relax and relieve itself naturally.

5. Pain relievers

It’s important not to be a hero while recovering from a c-section. Make sure to take the pain relievers your doctor suggests and on the schedule they recommend. The more you stay ahead of managing your pain, the speedier your recovery will be.

Looking for an all-in-one option?

If you’d like a box shipped to your door with everything you need for c-section recovery, check out the C-Kit by Bodily to make your life (and recovery) easier.

mom nursing her new son

Breastfeeding must-haves

Nursing your newborn can feel overwhelming at first, so it’s essential to have these must-haves on hand before the baby arrives to ensure you’re prepared.

Remember, every breastfeeding journey is different, and we encourage you to reach out to an IBCLC lactation consultant if you’re experiencing consistent pain or discomfort.

And, if at any point in your nursing journey your mental health is at stake, know that there is no shame in choosing another feeding method that works best for you.

Read next: Breastfeeding Nutrition Guide for New Moms

1. A comfortable nursing bra

Finding the right nursing bra can feel time-consuming and expensive but absolutely worth it. To help, we’ve rounded up six budget-friendly nursing bras on Amazon so that you can find the best nursing bra for your needs.

2. Soothing nipple pads

Your nipples can take a beating during the initial breastfeeding phase, so having reusable nipple pads on hand can help provide soothing relief and extra comfort in between nursing sessions.

Also, if you require more relief, this nourishing breast mask with aloe, honey, tea tree, and cucumber is a great option.

3. Reusable nursing pads

Leaks happen during the first few weeks (…months) of breastfeeding, so it’s important to have reusable nursing pads to stash in your bra to help soak up leaks. If you wanted, you could also use these collection cups to catch any extra milk that leaks out during feeding sessions.

4. Organic nipple cream

Make sure to have an organic nipple cream nearby to help further soothe nipples in between nursing sessions. What we love about this nipple cream is that there are no funky ingredients and no need to wipe it off before nursing or pumping.

5. A manual pump

While not all nursing mothers use a traditional pump, it’s nice to have a manual pump like the Haakaa to express gently when you’re too full and need to relieve some pressure.

It’s also an easy way to catch your letdown on the side baby isn’t nursing from in those early days. It’s also a pressure-free way to build up a small milk stash.

6. A nursing pillow

Finding a comfortable nursing position can be tough while you get used to breastfeeding. Make sure to have a nursing pillow like this one or this one nearby so you can prop up your baby and make yourself more comfortable in the process.

7. Plenty of snacks and water

Nursing mothers are often hungry and thirsty as soon as the baby starts to nurse. Make sure to stash plenty of nourishing snacks at your breastfeeding station and keep a large bottle of cold water nearby, too.

8. Reusable milk storage bags

Did you know it’s estimated that breastfeeding moms will go through 1000 single-use plastic storage bags a year? That’s a lot of waste.

If you are pumping or using a Haakaa, opt for these reusable milk storage bags instead of the traditional single-use plastic ones. You’ll save money in the long-run, and help save the environment from plastic waste while you’re at it.

Looking for an all-in-one option?

If you’d like a box shipped to your door with everything you need to begin your breastfeeding journey, check out the B-Kit by Bodily.

baby drinking formula out of a bottle

Formula feeding must-haves

If you’re not nursing, there are some important items to have at home to ensure you’re comfortable as you work to slow – and eventually stop – your milk supply.

Of course, make sure to have the formula of your choice on hand, as well as a set of sterilized bottles and anything else you need to formula feed your baby.

Read now: The Must-Know Basics of Preparing Formula for Your Baby

1. Cold cabbage leaves

It’s believed that cabbage leaves can help relieve swelling and reduce pain in your breasts while slowing down your milk supply. Just follow the step-by-step instructions to make sure you’re getting the most relief from of your cabbage.

2. A tight-fitting bra

Wearing a tight-fitting sports bra can help reduce your milk production. It will most likely feel uncomfortable the first few days, but the compression will help naturally slow down your milk supply over time.

3. Cold compresses

Gently apply cold compresses such as a washcloth with cold water or a reusable circular ice pack to help relieve the pain you feel with engorgement.

4. Reusable nursing pads

Leaks are inevitable, even if you are hoping to slow down and eventually stop your milk production. Make sure to have a pack of reusable nursing pads on hand while your body evens out its milk supply.

5. ‘No Flow’ tea

Specially designed by its female founder, this organic No Flow tea is caffeine-free and made with high-quality herbs to help stop nursing naturally. With continued use, it can help naturally slow your milk supply.

mom holding newborn babys hand

Download your postpartum checklist PDF

If you’d like to have your postpartum recovery must-have items all in one easy place, download our free PDF postpartum checklist.

Print out the pages you need and keep yourself organized as your postpartum approaches. It’s one less thing for you to think about, mama.

Shop our favorite postpartum must-haves

Our favorite postpartum recovery products to help you recover more comfortably.

More resources on postpartum recovery

Hello Postpartum was founded with the idea that those giving birth should have access to free, expert-created resources all in one place. Check out a small sampling of our helpful articles on postpartum recovery below.

Hello Postpartum

Postpartum Resource Library

Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.

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