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Breast pads, nipple cream and sitz baths: Your guide to postpartum healing

Zariah Kale

Zariah Kale

Zariah is a writer, history nerd, amateur chef and mum of three. When she is not negotiating screen time with one of her two tweens, or falling asleep during movies, you'll find her scouring vintage shops for one-of-a-kind pieces or apologising to friends for the "late reply" over text.
Created on Oct 30, 2023 · 6 mins read

The list of things to do before the baby arrives seems long and confusing. What do you pack in the baby’s bag? Do you really need a dozen breast pads?   And as you stuff your freezer with cooked meals so you and your partner don’t have to worry about food prep, you start to wonder if the maternity pads you got will be enough. Should you get more? What about the laxatives? Rumour has it that post-birth poop is the pits! (Spoiler alert: It truly is).

What should I stock up on after giving birth?


While you may have gone crazy in the baby section—I mean, those tiny onesies and burp clothes are so adorable that they defy every logic and you end up overbuying—rational thinking does come in handy when stocking up on postpartum healing kits.

Because, after giving birth, it’s just as important to look after yourself as it is to look after your baby.

This means if you researched the most organic, talc-free baby powders and shampoos, you should give the same amount of thought to nutritious snacks and lactation bars.

PRO TIP:  Start with a list of products you need and then identify which ones you need to stock up on to ensure a quick recovery and an easy transition into this new chapter of your life.

Here’s a simple guide to help you get started:

Postpartum care essentials


Include items like maternity pads, disposable underwear, witch hazel pads, and perineal spray for postpartum healing. Pads and disposable underwear are items you need to stock up on- trust us, they will be your best friends.


Nursing supplies


Whether you are planning to breastfeed or bottle feed, you’ll still need to invest in nursing bras, breast pads, lanolin cream for sore nipples, and a breast pump. A breast pump can help drain the breasts to avoid mastitis (plus it’s a great way for your partner to be able to participate in feedings), while lanolin will help with cracked and painful nipples.

Another great item to have on hand is the Lactamo Breastfeeding Ball. This genius little silicone ball uses a combination of temperature, movement and compression to help with common breastfeeding problems including oversupply, undersupply, blocked ducts and engorgement.

Make sure you also stock up on breast pads. A dozen are good if you plan to buy reusable, cotton pads, or at least 2-3 packs if you decide to opt for disposable ones.

PRO TIP: Gel-based nursing pads may not absorb milk, but they are a game changer for sore nipples!


Healthy snacks


Keep nutritious snacks on hand to fuel your body during those sleep-deprived days. Try to go for snacks that have higher nutritional value, rather than the ones that simply satisfy cravings. You need to keep your energy levels up so a sugar high (and crash) is not what you need right now!

Household items


Last but not least, grocery runs will be the last thing on your mind once the baby arrives. So, don’t forget about everyday essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, soap and any of your favourite toiletries. Stock up on these items as much as you can – it’ll be one last thing to think about once you’re in that delicious newborn bubble.

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What items will I need postpartum?


Every single person’s experience with pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is different but here is a general guide as to what you may need after having your baby.

This simple checklist may come in handy:

  1. Postpartum pads—they’re larger and more absorbent than regular pads—or adult diapers for managing postpartum bleeding.
  2. Nursing bras or tops to provide easy access for breastfeeding.
  3. Breast pads to absorb leaks.
  4. Nipple cream to soothe sore nipples.
  5. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
  6. Postpartum underwear is designed for support and comfort.
  7. Stool softeners or laxatives to ease bowel movements.
  8. Perineal Irrigation Bottle (or peri bottle) for cleansing after using the toilet.
  9. Perineal Healing Foam or numbing spray
  10. Pain relief medication, as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  11. Heating pads or cold packs are useful for relieving soreness or swelling.
  12. Breast pump, if you’re planning to express breast milk.
  13. Healthy snacks and plenty of water for nourishment and hydration.
  14. Supportive pillows for breastfeeding or resting.
  15. Postpartum recovery aids, such as a belly wrap or compression garments.

What Is The 5 5 5 Rule For Postpartum Recovery?


Whoever came up with the 5 5 5 Rule was a genius because this triple number rule holds the key to a joyful postpartum recovery.

This mystical chant provides a road map to rejuvenation, guiding new mums through the transforming journey that follows childbirth.

Let me quickly deconstruct the 5 5 5 rule and expose its secrets:

5 Days of Rest


Aim for five days of rest and take it easy. Allow your body to heal and recover from the physical demands of labour and delivery.

5 Weeks of Support


Seek help and support from loved ones for the first five weeks. This can include assistance with household chores, cooking, and taking care of the baby.

5 Minutes of Self-Care


Dedicate five minutes each day to self-care activities. This could involve deep breathing exercises, gentle stretching, enjoying a sitz bath and salts or engaging in a hobby you enjoy.

See? Simple, but genius.

How can I heal my body after pregnancy?


Healing after giving birth can be a breeze with the right mindset and knowledge. If your childbirth story was a peach and you have no complications, you can be on your feet in a few days.

But if you had some complications, recovery might take longer.

The first rule of recovery is to remember to listen to your body. Sure, your colleague’s best friend’s sister may have returned to work one week after giving birth, or been back in shape two months after her little one was born, but that doesn’t make it the bar. Everyone’s delivery and postpartum are different.

Here’s what you can do:

Start by prioritising getting enough rest and sleep whenever possible to allow your body to recover. The first few days after childbirth are hard on the body and the mind, and it is vital that a new mum get as much rest as possible to recover ASAP.

Focus on eating nutrient-rich foods and nourishing your body to feel better, healthier and more energised.

While you are focusing on maintaining a good diet, don’t forget to hydrate yourself. Drink loads of water, as it will also help to improve lactation.

Don’t underestimate the importance of supplements and vitamins.

Last but not least, connect with friends, family, or support groups to address emotional changes. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance. You’ll be surprised how many people lend a hand in taking care of the baby and can even help with household chores too.


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