Postpartum Must-Haves You Absolutely Need for Recovery

Once you’ve ordered the swaddles and crib sheets, don’t forget about yourself. There are some postpartum must-haves you need at home for recovery. Here’s the complete list.

There are some essential items to have on hand when recovering from birth, which 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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new mom with baby looking at her phone

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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 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 five pairs, 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 essential 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 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 for maximum comfort. We prefer these high-waisted super-soft undies from Bodily.

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. We love the Chocolate Lactation Bites from Majka for a quick, nutrient-dense, and delicious snack.

Read next: 24 Quick and Easy Breastfeeding Snacks

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 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 whether you tore and to what degree. In general, the below postpartum products can help you heal from a vaginal delivery, make you feel more comfortable, and help you care for yourself.

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 water and aloe, then freezing until you’re ready to use.

Read next: How to Make DIY Frozen Postpartum Pads

4. A donut pillow

If you experience tearing during birth, develop hemorrhoids, or seek extra support, consider getting a donut pillow to help take the pressure off your delicate bits and pieces during postpartum recovery.

5. Upside-down peri bottle

Unlike traditional peri bottles that are awkward to use, an upside-down peri bottle can help you cleanse the area without extra strain on your end.

Are you looking for an all-in-one option?
The Care for Birth Box by Bodily has everything you need for postpartum, all in one box. It will make your life (and recovery) easier.

new mom with c-section scar and holding baby

Cesarean delivery must-haves

Some specific items help your c-section recovery go a bit smoother and 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 c-section 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 to avoid irritating further. Or, better yet, no waistband. (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 to gently press on your abdomen as needed for a little extra support.

3. A gas reliever

Your gas can feel intense 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 out.

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 the schedule they recommend. The more you stay ahead of managing your pain, the speedier your recovery will be.

Are you looking for an all-in-one option?
The C-Kit by Bodily contains everything you need to recover comfortably from a c-section in one convenient box.

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 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 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 soothing nipple pads on hand can help provide soothing relief and extra comfort 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 months of breastfeeding, so it’s crucial to have reusable nursing pads to stash in your bra to help soak up leaks. You could also use these letdown collection cups to catch any extra milk during feeding or in between sessions.

4. Organic nipple cream

Make sure to have an organic nipple cream nearby to help further soothe nipples in between nursing sessions. This nipple cream contains no funky ingredients, has over 12,000 reviews, and there’s no need to wipe it off before nursing or pumping.

5. A manual pump

While not all nursing mothers use a traditional pump, having a manual pump like the Haakaa to hand express when you’re too full or to catch letdowns during nursing sessions is critical. These tools can help build up a small milk stash.

6. A nursing pillow

Finding a comfortable nursing position can be challenging while getting used to breastfeeding. Make sure to have a supportive nursing pillow nearby to prop up your baby and make yourself more comfortable.

7. Plenty of snacks and water

Nursing mothers are often hungry and thirsty when 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.

Are you looking for an all-in-one option? Check out the B-Kit by Bodily for everything you’ll need, including a comfy nursing bra.

baby drinking formula out of a bottle

Formula feeding must-haves

If you’re not nursing, there are some critical 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, as well as a set of sterilized bottles and anything else you need to formula feed your baby.

Read next: 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. Follow the step-by-step instructions to ensure you’re getting the most relief from 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 hope 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 lactation naturally. With continued use, it can help naturally slow your milk supply.

infographic of postpartum must-haves

Download your postpartum checklist PDF

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

Print out the needed pages 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 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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