Postpartum recovery is no joke! Birthing a baby is already a fairly distressing experience on the body, and combining that with the [potential] need for additional “repairs” after baby squeezes through — it’s all just a lot to recover from!
There are sooo many products and “kits” (like this and this) as well as advice from birthing experts on how to help minimize discomfort in the postpartum period — it’s hard to know what you do and don’t need! Now, everyone and their delivery experience is different so you may require different products for your specific needs, but I wanted to share what I personally found to be incredibly helpful for my postpartum recovery.
I will note that I definitely required some “repairs” after delivering Sophie so this is all related to how I managed my healing in regards to some tearing. I know this topic is pretty TMI, but I can’t help myself from sharing in case it helps even just one of you be more comfortable after giving birth!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the mesh underwear that the hospital was going to provide so I ordered a box of the FridaMom disposable underwear during my third trimester just to have another option available. I didn’t find the hospital underwear to be horrible… they’re boyshort style, made of fine mesh so they’re lightweight, and the material is VERY stretchy so they’re actually pretty comfortable. The FridaMom style is high-waisted and stretchy, but also more… substantial(?) and the cut makes them feel more similar to real underwear (in my opinion).
Please note the surface area in the crotch of each of these options. The mesh underwear from the hospital have a very interesting design in that regard which makes it a bit more challenging to place a pad (especially the mega ones you will get —and want— from the hospital). Not a dealbreaker for that style, but just something to note.
The hospital pads are awesome — I totally underestimated how many I would want after leaving the hospital and definitely wish that I had asked our nurse for even more than I did. I liked them not just for the absorbency, but also for the padding to cushion my tender areas when sitting down. There’s no denying that they’re bulky, but I really liked / appreciated them for this recovery. The “smaller” pad in the photo is from a pack of extra long (overnight?) pads that I bought from the store to replace the hospital pads due to their length and thickness, but I personally wish I had asked for more of the hospital “diaper style” ones to use instead. Load up! You can never have too many and don’t be shy about asking — the nurses want you to have everything you need when you leave their care!
The bottle on the left is the “peri bottle” provided by the hospital. 🤣 Good luck rinsing your nether regions with that while sitting on a toilet! I’m sure it can be done, but why force yourself into those acrobatics when you could use a bottle specifically designed as a portable bidet? I have been BEYOND appreciative for the FridaMom peri bottle — do yourself a favor and just order one. Be sure to include it in your hospital bag; I promise you won’t regret it. (The nozzle will easily collapse into the bottle for ease of travel!)
*Top Tip: fill the bottle with warm water and spray it on yourself while actively peeing to help avoid any stinging sensations on your lacerations.
The hospital will provide you with a different brand of witch hazel pads, but I also bought a container of my own because I didn’t know what my hospital would provide. Tucks offers little round pads that are soaked with witch hazel which is a great product for soothing inflammation, especially as it pertains to hemorrhoids. 🥴 I put my container in the fridge so that the little rounds offer a pleasant cooling sensation when placed in my fresh underwear dressing.
Basically, Dermoplast is heaven in a can. The hospital provided me with the exact same can / brand, but I had ordered my own ahead of time (also because I didn’t know what the hospital would or wouldn’t provide). You can spray the Dermoplast directly onto the affected areas (but note that spraying upside down isn’t effective, so just like the hospital’s bullshit peri bottle: good luck maneuvering if you attempt to spray it directly on yourself) or you can spray straight onto the pad which is what I elected to do (I actually sprayed it onto the Tucks rounds which I laid out across the mega “diaper” pad). I am loving this product for instant pain relief. 🙌🏼
Miralax is the exact stool softener that my hospital provided to me while I was in recovery and recommended that I continue using after we were discharged from the hospital. I’m not going to lie, that first “#2” post-birth was pretty scary, but this product made it a lot more comfortable. The powder is completely flavorless, is super fine so it dissolves easily, and is very effective. The brand offers containers in a variety of sizes, but the two week portion felt like the right option for me… I may restock if I feel like I need it, but a 14 day supply seemed like it would be enough for me to recover.
These are the products that I really appreciated having on hand and felt like were the most helpful for my situation. If you are looking for additional recovery advice or products beyond my list (like sitz baths or frozen “padcicles” for extra soothing!) I highly recommend following @karrie_locher on Instagram — she has a TON of helpful content in her highlights! I truly love following her. She also offers educational courses for purchase if you want to go beyond just the postpartum personal care. As a postpartum nurse and [soon-to-have] four kiddos of her own, you can trust that she really knows her stuff!
I hope that this breakdown of my postpartum essentials was helpful for you and congratulations on your little one! 💗