If you know me, or have read any one of my blog posts, you know how important planning for postpartum is to me. Having had one postpartum experience where I did not not prep or plan anything at all and just ‘winging’ it, to prepping and planning as much as I could. I would definitely recommend the latter for any 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th time moms.
Here is a list of my favourite items (in no particular order) that I had on hand for my second postpartum period that were game changers for me. Every one of these items were handy, but all together, they hugely added to my comfort postpartum, which was crucial during my first weeks and months of “survival mode”. Pair the items with a little letting go of expectations, asking for help and resting as much as possible, and it will be smooth(er) sailing for you mama!
As in adult diapers for those first few days or weeks of bleeding. These were a game changer and ensured I didn’t ruin any underwear or pants with leaking (like I did the first time around :P). I wore them exclusively for the first week, then just used them at night and used a heavy pad during the days.
As an added bonus, they make them in all sorts of different colours and patterns, they almost look sexy. Ok, they don’t look sexy, but who cares at this stage? You can get them on Amazon, Shoppers, Walmart, etc.
2. Inflatable Donut or Pillow
Ok, this one has mixed reviews… My midwifes suggested I didn’t use it too much because if you’ve had tearing or an episiotomy, it can stretch the tear when you sit in the donut, but it really helped me in the first few weeks postpartum. And full disclosure, I had the pleasure (this is my sarcasm) of getting hemorrhoids as well, so the donut helped me sit with more ease. I brought it in the car, and used it when nursing. You can get one of these bad boys at Shoppers home health, Walmart or Amazon. Alternatively, use a nursing pillow, or really soft pillow to sit on, and try to stay off your bottom as much as possible. Try to recline or lie on your side when you can, even when nursing.
3. Sitz Bath + Herbs
I used this at least once a day for about a month. After my first daughter, I had a bath everyday to heal my perineum and sooth my hemmies (yes, I gave them a nickname). But after my second, it was a lot harder to get the time for a proper bath everyday (with a busy toddler), so a sitz bath was clutch for my healing. Place it on your toilet with warm water and maybe even some herbs (like these) and/or epsom salts.
4. Peri Spray
After my bath or using the washroom, I sprayed some of this spray on my perineum. It was lovely, and felt so cool and healing. Alternatively, you can use the peri spray bottle they give you at the hospital, and even add some of the sitz bath herbs in there.
5. Lactation Tea
I drank this tea daily to try and help keep up my milk production. If you don’t like the taste of it, opt for another herbal tea that you do like simply to get more liquids in. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes with a cover on your mug, then sip throughout the day.
6. A Snazzy Water Vessel
If you are anything like me, you are more likely to drink water if you have a nice water bottle, glass, or mug. I carried mine around with me everywhere and always filled it up before sitting down to nurse. My husband was coined “my water boy” during this time. If you are breastfeeding, a good way to calculate how much water you should be drinking is to aim for 1 oz water per 3/4 lb -1 lb of body weight, so for 150 lbs, thats about 110oz-150oz/day (thats 14 – 19 cups of water). But if you have a water bottle that is 16oz, just try to fill it up 7-9 times.
For a fun and inspiring water vessel, check out Winner/Homesense or Chapers/Indigo.
7. Belly Wrap
Belly wrapping is a traditional practice that some doula’s still do, but there are lots of easier options that can give you the same benefits. I liked wearing a belly wrap for the first month, it made me feel supported and comfortable, kind of like receiving a warm hug. Now I used this in the Winter/Spring, but wouldn’t have wanted to wear one if it was a hot summer, so let the timing of your birth help guide your decision. The one I got was from Bellies Inc, and came with a core recovery exercise plan as well. There are many other options out there in terms of style, so check them all out before you invest.
8. High Waisted Leggings
To add a little extra support around the mid section, wear with or without the belly wrap above, I loved Lululemon’s Align legging. They are high waisted without being too tight or restrictive, especially nice if you’ve had a C-section. And they are still my favourite leggings!
Pro Tip; size yourself down in the align leggings, as they do stretch out over time.
9. Postpartum Manifesto
This is something I made while I was pregnant. Basically, it was like if I were giving my friend a pep talk in her challenging postpartum days. This is such a personal journey, so take some time when you are pregnant to write down some advice, encouragement, and inspiration that you can foresee yourself needing. I wrote a post about it a while back that explains it in greater detail. But print a few out and put them up in the washroom, by your bed and a chair where you do your nursing so you can read it at least once a day, and feel a bit of encouragement during those challenging times.
10. Body Butter
I used this thick, nourishing cream everywhere because I always felt dry. And in fact, I still use it on my face at night and on my kids dry spots. Here’s a recipe if you are a DIYer, or buy a thick, nourishing cream with as few ingredients as possible (try the health food store), and make sure there are no added perfumes or fragrances (opt for fragrance from pure essential oils). You can also use this rich, all natural cream on your sore nipples during those first weeks of nursing. If you intend to use it on your nipples, omit the essential oils.
I vowed to not be on my phone while nursing my second baby. My main reason being that it is hours of staring at a screen, googling, scrolling social media – really little of what I did on my phone was productive in any way, and I felt like it added to my overall anxiety (based on my experience with my first daughter). BUT, after the initial days of solely gazing at my baby, I needed some form of productive entertainment. And I needed something that could be used with only one hand. That’s where my e-reader comes in. I loaded my kobo with books and read whenever I sat down to nurse. Because of this, I felt I was able to relax (vs. entering a more stimulated and anxious state when staring at my phone) more when nursing, and I actually looked forward to stealing away moments in the rocking chair of her nursery, reading and nursing. I am still nursing at 2 years postpartum, and still read from my kobo when nursing her before nap and bed everyday.
I hope this list gave you some ideas on things you might need or want to help make your next postpartum period a little smoother.