You’ve got your hospital bag packed, the nursery decorated. But what about the things your body needs after giving birth? These are your must have items.
I had my hospital bag packed and the crib assembled. I’d bought the baby must-haves that’ll make those newborn days easier. But then, I thought about… me. What would I need to help my body recover after giving birth?
We spend so much time preparing for the baby that we forget our own physical needs after delivery. After all, should this be any other hospital procedure, you likely would dedicate time to nursing yourself back to normal. But with a baby in tow, our postpartum healing doesn’t always get the attention it needs.
Recovery also depends on so many factors, like the way we deliver, whether this is a first delivery, or even the size of the baby.
Essential things your body needs after giving birth
Coming prepared will make the healing process after birth more comfortable, but we don’t always know what we need during those early days. Sadly, I only knew about some of these helpful items in the hospital, when the nurses handed them to me during my stay.
Be warned: reading a few of these might be overwhelming if you haven’t given birth yet. I had been so scared of giving birth, so thinking about pain relief wasn’t always pleasant. Thankfully, the delivery and recovery for both my pregnancies wasn’t as bad as my imagination made them out to be.
As always, it’s better to be prepared than caught off guard. Take a look at these essential things your body needs after giving birth:
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After I gave birth, I kept a basket in the bathroom filled with the following items. Every time I’d use the bathroom, I’d go through my routine of applying these soothing aids. You might want to keep these handy in your bathroom as well:
- Squirt bottle: After delivery, you won’t want to use toilet paper to wipe in the toilet. The next best thing? Squirt bottles. Find refillable bottles you can fill with water each time you use the toilet.
- Perineal spray: A post-delivery numbing spray will do just that: numb to ease the pain and discomfort.
- Ice packs or frozen pads: Place ice packs on your underwear to keep you comfortable. Other moms also swear by freezing pads and wearing those at home.
- Tucks pads: You can also place Tucks pads on your undies or on top of the ice pack or pad for further soothing. These are medicated to help with the healing.
- Perineal balm: A friend swore by the Earth Mama vaginal ointment to soothe any swelling.
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Your breasts will go through changes after delivery as well. Here are a few things your body needs after giving birth:
- Nursing tops and bras: These are a must for any breastfeeding or pumping mom. Get several camisoles you can wear and layer, and nursing bras work well with your other clothes. Believe me when I say you will wear these items 24/7 around the house.
- Nipple cream: Many moms experience nipple discomfort, especially as we learn to latch a baby. You might also have blistered, cracked or sore nipples as you and your baby get the hang of breastfeeding. Nipple cream will also help prevent these discomforts by applying them before your baby nurses.
- Nipple shells: These shells will keep your clothes from rubbing on your nipples. They add breathing space, about the next best thing to airing your breasts.
- Nursing pads: Along with nipple shells, nursing pads are also a must to keep your breasts from leaking. I also found they added an extra layer of comfort like the nipple shells that prevented tender nipples from chafing on clothes.
- Ice packs or cabbage leaves: If you decide not to breastfeed or to stop, your breasts will still feel engorged, and painfully so. Without a way to expel the milk, they’ll feel full and uncomfortable. But expelling the milk will only trick your body into making more milk, thus extending the cycle. Instead, apply ice packs or cabbage leaves on your breasts to decrease milk production. (Get tips on how to wean from breastfeeding.)
- Medication: Your pain threshold may differ from others. I tried to do without taking over-the-counter medicine, but if I felt I needed it, I took them. I needed to be comfortable enough to be present and able with my babies.
- Belly wrap: After giving birth, you won’t shrink down to your pre-baby size just yet (that takes at least 6-12 weeks). Instead, your belly will look how it did at about six months pregnant. For added comfort, use a belly wrap.
- Sanitizers and hand wash: Have plenty of sanitizers and hand wash ready at home. You’ll need them for the constant hand washing after diaper changes. They’re also useful if you have visitors who want to hold the baby.
- C-section underwear: C-section moms can wear comfortable and breathable underwear like these to protect the incision. And you’ll still be bigger than your pre-baby body, so large underwear will also be necessary.
- Prune juice: Bowel movements might be slow the first few days. To help move it along without too much straining, drink prune juice, which is high in fiber. Other moms also swear by papaya.
Even with everything ready for the baby, it’s easy to overlook your own bodily needs after delivery. Don’t make that mistake! Instead, pack essential items for post-delivery comfort, from numbing spray to perineal balm. Make breastfeeding smooth with items like nursing pads and shields.
And finally, don’t forget miscellaneous items you might need, from c-section underwear to a belly wrap. Remember, you’re healing from delivery as well—now you can make sure you’re taking care of baby and yourself.
Get more tips:
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (Make Sure You Have These!)
- 9 Things to Do Before Baby Is Born
- Come Prepared: Your Hospital Bag Essentials with a Free Printable!
- How to Avoid Baby Clutter
- The Ultimate Mom to Be Guide: Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me when I Was Pregnant
Don’t forget: Grab your Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet below—at no cost to you: