As delivery gets closer and you prepare to meet your new baby, you need to stockpile things for your postpartum survival kit to help heal and recovery. Childbirth is no joke, and it takes a lot out of your body.
It’s important to take care of yourself as well when you come home from the hospital. It’s easy to focus all of your attention on your new baby – you did just wait 40 weeks to meet him – but your body went through a crazy journey and needs some TLC as well.
What your body needs is rest and relaxation; you have a lot of things happening. You have a massive wound inside of your uterus, you’re bleeding heavily, and you feel like anything will set you off at the drop of a hat.
Plus, you’re exhausted but feel like you’re running on adrenaline and newborn glory.
What you need is a survival kit with all your postpartum goodies to keep you sane and help you feel better in no time.
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Why You Need a Postpartum Survival Kit
Any mom will tell you that the weeks following childbirth are full of highs and lows. It’s a time of adjustments, emotions, and serious body changes.
You grew a baby for 40 weeks, and it came out of your body. That’s a lot to handle.
This time is often called the fourth trimester, and some cultures focus on letting mom rest in bed for several weeks. However, that’s not too practical in the United States when most moms need to go back to work six to eight weeks after having their baby.
Your goals during the 4th trimester are to take care of yourself while you heal and take care of your new baby.
Having a survival kit makes that a lot easier.
What Happens During Your Postpartum Recovery
No matter how you deliver your baby, vaginal deliveries and c-sections often have many of the same troubles during the recovery period for new moms. How long you take to recover has a lot variables, such as your overall health, age, the length of your labor, and so many other factors.
Everyone focuses on the arrival of the new baby, but a lot happens for mothers after they give birth to a new baby. Unfortunately, we don’t talk enough about what moms can expect after having their baby.
Here are some things you should be prepared to face.
All mothers, no matter if you have a vaginal birth or a c-section, have vaginal bleeding after childbirth. Typically, the bleeding is the heaviest for the first one to two weeks, and gradually, the bleeding decreases.
Vaginal bleeding takes place for up to six weeks postpartum. It’s normal for you to experience periods when you have some breakthrough and heavier bleeding, especially if you are more active that day.
If you have a c-section, you have two sets of stitches. First, you have internal stitches that dissolve, and you also have a set of stitches, staples, or glue externally.
Some women have stitches after a vaginal birth. Tearing is a reality, and while these stitches usually dissolve on their own, you still have to keep the area clean and experience soreness.
One thing that I noticed after I had my three kids is body aches, especially in my back. Sometimes, everything just felt sore like my hips, legs, and shoulders.
Trouble with Bowel Movements
If you have a c-section, it’s normal to struggle to have your first bowel movement, which may lead you to experience constipation. Many women after vaginal birth suffer from hemorrhoids.
Don’t be surprised if you experience swelling and discomfort for several weeks following delivery. This happens even if you have a c-section; many women have swelling of their labia after having a baby.
Sore or Cracked Nipples
Breastfeeding mothers often experience sore or cracked nipples as they get used to nursing their baby. Breast tenderness is quite normal, and as you learn how to properly latch your baby, you might experience some cracks.
Your body experiences a drastic drop in hormones after having your baby. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re on a wild ride of emotions during your first few postpartum weeks.
I would cry one minute – often happy cries – and feel overwhelmed the next. My emotions took some time to get back in order.
However, make sure you pay attention to this. If your emotions don’t start to sort themselves out after a few weeks, it may be a sign of postpartum depression or anxiety.
Related: How I Knew I Had PPD: A Mom’s Real Life Experience
Putting Together a Postpartum Survival Kit
When I had my first child, I came home unprepared. I knew I needed some maxi pads and had those on hand, but I didn’t realize hemorrhoids could rock my world or how wonderful a sitz bath felt on my sore bottom.
Bringing a new baby home is hard. You have to take care of this new little human while trying to recover yourself. You want to have everything in your postpartum survival kit to make this time as smooth as possible. I liked everything to be kept in one spot so I wouldn’t lose something when I really needed it.
You never know how long it will take you to recover. Some women recover well in a week, but others take several weeks to feel better.
What to Include in a Postpartum Survival Kit
1. Maxi Pads or Depends
Since you bleed heavily during the first several weeks, you need to wear maxi pads or depends to catch the lochia. Typically, it’s recommended to get the most absorbent maxi-pads you can find, but you should also have an assortment of absorbency rates.
The bleeding decreases over time.
It’s NOT recommended to wear tampons. Lochia needs to come out, and it can lead to a bacterial infection of your uterus.
I like the Always Discreet Pads for the first week or two, but I also love Depends Postpartum Underwear. They make life much easier, and you skip wearing panties. That’s always helpful since if you soak through, you will ruin your underwear.
2. Mesh Undies
I will forever think that the mesh undies at the hospital are THE most comfortable underwear in the world; nothing can change my mind about that. I felt like I wore a cloud.
So, I knew I needed extra, and while I took some from the hospital, it’s never enough. You can find all sorts of options, but Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear are made with moms in mind. They have a boy short cut that keeps your pad properly in place.
I love these!
3. Large Granny Panties
No matter what you call them, high-waisted underwear is a must-have during your postpartum weeks. Unfortunately, we all have to go back to regular underwear at some time.
Think of this as a transitional step.
Women who have c-sections will want underwear that goes above their incision and won’t rub. Larger panties hold pads in place better, and honestly, if you leak a bit, you don’t want to ruin your good panties.
4. Frida Mom Peri Bottle
Your vagina will be sore after birth, but your recovery time varies. If you don’t have stitches, you may only have discomfort for a few days, but other women have pain for several weeks.
Wiping with toilet paper sounds horrible, but the area needs to be kept clean to reduce the risk of an infection developing.
Chances are the hospital gave you a peri bottle to use to clean your bottom, but when I got home, I preferred the Frida Mom Peri Bottle. It has an upside-down, ergonomic design that makes it easy to clean your bottom with limited mobility.
One of the frustrating parts of the traditional peri bottle is having to reach between your legs to get the right angle. This design eliminates the problem. Just fill the bottle up with warm water and spray for some relief.
5. Tucks Pad
I mentioned that hemorrhoids were a huge frustration for me after I had my first child, and Tucks were a lifesaver for me.
These medicated cooling pads offer relief to your bottom. Not only can you wipe with them, but simply placing them in your underwear on your hemorrhoids feels great. It gives you instant relief.
Some women also use Tucks for their vaginal area to ease the discomfort.
6. Frida Mom Perineal Cold Pack
Another thing that will give you the sense of relief you need on your bottom is a perineal cold pack. Some hospitals provide them, but not all of them do.
Frida Mom sells instant cold therapy perineal cold packs that give you 20 minutes of use at a time without the use of a freezer. They’re large pads that cover the entire perineal area from front to back with an adhesive back, so they stick to your panties.
Also, since these are a 2-in-1 perineal pack, they also act as maxi pads, absorbing up to 260g of liquid each.
Eight ice maxi pads are sold in each box; they’re totally worth having in your postpartum survival kit.
Here is something else that will soothe your aching bottom – Dermoplast. This spray cools and soothes your entire vaginal area if you experience tearing and burning. It gives you temporary cooling relief, and you can reapply it as often as needed.
Honestly, with little kids in your house, having Dermoplast on hand is a great idea regardless. It relieves pain fast, perfect for minor cuts, shapes, burns, bites, and sunburn.
You totally need it in your first aid kit!
Related: Family Travel First Aid Kit: What You Need to Pack
8. Sitz Bath
When I had my son, I had no idea that a sitz bath would be a life saver for me. They help with discomfort and hygiene, while speeding up the healing process.
Count me in!
You want to get a sitz bath; they fit into any size toilet. You fill it with warm water and some sitz bath salt, then sit in it. This helps improve your hygiene around your bottom, along with promoting more blood flow.
I like this sitz bath by Deanic because it circulates water as well. Plus, it’s budget-friendly.
9. Sitz Bath Salt
As I mentioned, you want some sitz bath salt. Some women just use Epsom salt, but I like Recovery Ritual Sitz Bath Salt. They added mood-boosting botanicals and aromatics to help fight off baby blues.
It really smells great! It’s safe to use in the bathtub and sitz bath daily.
10. Stool Softener
One of the most common problems moms have after giving birth is trouble having a bowel movement. C-section moms are given stool softeners to make it easier, but all moms should take them.
Taking a stool softener isn’t the same as a laxative, so don’t worry. All this does is soften your stool, making it so you don’t have to strain. If you already have hemorrhoids, the last thing you want to do is strain.
11. Hemorrhoid Cream
I know no one really wants to talk about hemorrhoids – awkward, right? – but the reality is most women end up with them after giving birth.
So, one of the necessities in a postpartum survival kit needs to be some hemorrhoid cream. Preparation H is the most well-known brand, but any generic brand should work as well. Applying this cream to the area reduces the burning and itchiness, making it easier for you to sit down and have a bowel movement.
If you prefer a more natural option, try Motherlove Rhoid Balm. This is an herbal, organic hemorrhoid cream using witch hazel. It reduces pain and swelling while easing any itchiness. Motherlove uses ingredients like witch hazel, calendula, and yarrow to bring the comfort you need.
12. Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack
Honestly, I loved having these in my postpartum survival kit. The cold gel helps relieve engorgement, swelling, and discomfort, all common during the first few weeks of breastfeeding.
It also works for heat therapy to relieve clogged ducts and relieve discomfort from mastitis. Heat also helps your milk letdown while nursing your baby.
13. Motherlove Nipple Cream
Most moms have some nipple discomfort in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. I love Motherlove Nipple Cream.
This is a lanolin-free, plant-based, organic cream that you don’t need to remove before your baby nurses. It helps to soothe pain and discomfort from sore or cracked niplples. You also can use it as a pump lubricant!
14. Nursing Pads
As your milk comes in, you’ll leak a lot; leaking is most common in the first six to eight weeks of breastfeeding. Nursing pads protect your clothes – most moms soak a few shirts while breastfeeding.
There are all different types of nursing pads, and I preferred the disposable ones. Some women prefer cloth nursing pads, but it’s a personal preference.
I prefer the Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads. They’re affordable and feel soft on your nipples. Plus, I found them to be quite absorbent.
15. Comfortable Nursing Bras
Another nursing postpartum must-have is a few good comfortable nursing bras that you can sleep in. Some bras are better for leaving the house when you want your girls to look nice.
Otherwise, when I’m home, I just need some support and a way to hold my nursing pads in place. I like the Cakye Maternity Nursing Sleep Bras; they’re comfortable for sleeping but give easy access when you need to nurse your baby. The material is so soft!
I always felt hungry after I had my babies. It might have been the breastfeeding or simply my body needing more fuel to help the healing process.
Whatever the reason, make sure you include some snacks in your postpartum survival kit.
- Granola bars
- Protein bars
- Trail Mix
- Lactation Cookies
- Fruit Leathers
- Fresh Fruits
I know having a postpartum survival kit made my recovery easier, so I suggest all moms stockpile the items they need to make their fourth trimester easier and more relaxed.
Do you have any things you found helpful when you came home from the hospital? Let me know in the comments!