Having a baby is hard work! We mommies surely love the emotions and doting care that come in tow with being pregnant, but it’s not all bliss. From hemorrhoids and heartburn to Cesareans and morning sickness, a lot of us pay dearly for the experience of bringing new life into the world.
That’s when reality really sinks in, too. That moment we bring the baby home, life suddenly smacks us in the face. The time spent in the hospital doesn’t seem so bad in reflection, given that someone else was taking care of us for once. Believe it or not, this is the one thing a lot of home birthing mommies miss!
The postpartum period is a brutal time for many mothers. They are exhausted. Their bodies and minds have been pushed to the brink and now they’re expected to jump back into their normal, everyday routine with a new person full of demands in tow? What gives?
We’ve had enough of this idea that women need to bounce right back to their prior selves after giving birth. The postpartum period should not be a time that women need to worry about whether or not they’ll become mentally unstable due to all the pressure mounting on top of them. It should be a time to take care of themselves and encourage the bond between mother and child.
Who better to tell us about the best products and services to take advantage of after having a baby than women who’ve already done it? We polled a slew of average, every day moms on social media and asked them what their favorite postpartum must haves were. Here’s what they had to say.
15 Depends, Darling
Move over postpartum pads, a new level of absorbency is in town. Once upon a time, women had only one option when it came to postpartum bleeding. And boy do we bleed! The pads that the hospital doles out to women after childbirth are nothing short of deserving an XXL label. They’re huge, bulky, and have no wings.
That’s right. There are no barriers on the sides of those massive pads to catch any kind of dribble or offshoot should all that blood and lochia decide to make its way to the left or the right. This is why it’s so important to pack underwear that we won’t mind tossing a day later.
Enter, Depends. Yes, adult diapers. Women everywhere are standing up and praising the use of these disposable undies as a better alternative to postpartum pads. They don’t leak and they feel far more secure than those mesh panties. Let’s be honest though — the mesh panties rock.
14 Meal Trains Are A Must
It was pretty clear across poll results that moms everywhere are dying to skip out on meal prep in their postpartum days. They just had a baby. The last thing they want to do is stand in the kitchen over a stove waiting for water to boil when they could be gazing into their newborn’s eyes and swooning.
Furthermore, they’re exhausted! They’ve just pushed a human being out of their vaginas three days ago and now everyone wants to know when life is going to be back to normal and what time dinner will be on the table. Seriously? They don’t deserve a little time off for all their hard work? Meal trains are a great addition to any baby shower gift. Neighbors who want to help out without overwhelming new parents can set these up online with a few clicks of a button, and family members can join in by bringing a dish for dinner every time they want to catch a glimpse of the new little squish.
13 Peri Bottles, Please
The overwhelming majority of women polled answered with a resounding yes in testament to the importance of the peri bottle. These small, plastic squirt bottles will be your best friend in the days and weeks that follow childbirth. Initially, you might be told they’re just a perk from the hospital that helps you to wash off since wiping would be far too traumatic.
Think again. They might clean you off a bit, but they’re also making it completely pleasant to pee — something that can hurt quite a lot in the days following birth in the absence of warm water running over one’s nether regions. In addition, the peri bottle will save your life when it’s time for your first postpartum poop. Ouch!
12 An Angel To Scrub The Toilets
It’s understandable that your mother-in-law wants to stop by every single day to see her new grandchild. What isn’t understandable is why she thinks she’s just entitled to. Am I right? I think I am. For goodness sake folks, women used to be really cared for after having a baby. It wasn’t treated as a mundane and uneventful thing just because it happened often.
Women should still be revered and cared for in these instances. No new mom wants to be on her hands and knees scrubbing the bath tub or making sure there aren’t any dust bunnies under the sofa. They deserve to use all their free time to bond with their new bundle of joy. If your in-laws want to visit, invite them over and ask them to bring their rubber gloves.
11 Epsom Salts To The Rescue
If you’ve been doing pregnancy the right way, you’ve already become accustomed to the beauty of Epsom salts. They relieve discomfort in your tired and achy feet after a long day at work when you’re well into the third trimester. They ease your back pain as you sink down into the bath tub, and they really help to reduce swelling toward the end when you’re marveling at how you can make lasting impressions in your ankles with a finger poke.
Postpartum, you’ll need Epsom salts once again, because you’re going to want to take advantage of that sitz bath every time you can. Most hospitals will send you home with one. If they don’t, you can send your other half out to pick one up at any pharmacy, or just soak in the bath tub while filled to a shallow level. Hemorrhoids and stitches from that second-degree tear you weren’t expecting will soon be a thing of the past.
10 All The Help!
To be honest, cleaning isn’t the only thing that falls short on a new mom’s list of priorities. She needs help in general acclimating to her new life as a mother. Whether this is her first child or her fifth, there’s an adjustment period, and she needs to feel supported during that time.
In the days that come after birth, moms may feel depleted of all energy while trying to meet the demands of a baby that is cluster feeding and waking every ninety minutes throughout the night. They need their partners to step in and attempt to soothe the baby when he or she is off the breast.
During the day, if Dad is back at work, invite a friend or relative over to help tidy up the house or watch over the baby while Mom takes a much-needed hot shower or a lengthy nap to make up for the shuteye she isn’t getting at night. If you’re not geographically close to anyone who can help out, consider hiring a postpartum doula to step in a few times a week and prepare dinner while doing a few loads of laundry. Every little bit helps.
9 Baby Slings Galore
Babywearing is all the rage; haven’t you heard? We’re here for it. It’s not as hard as it looks, but it can take a little time and finesse until you find your groove. There are several carriers out there that both Mom and Dad can take advantage of, such as the Ergo 360. This is the only structured carrier that also allows the baby to face forward without compromising joint mobility or putting any unnecessary stress on the hip joints.
Other moms prefer wraps, and those come with a slew of specific and trendy knots and ties that allow you to perfect your babywearing style. Some parents like to go with simple slings, and this is a great option for newborns, especially those being breastfed. A ring sling will allow Mom to carry her baby on her as she nurses or rests. All babywearing options provide one fantastic feature: the use of both of your hands.
8 Padsicles In My Panties
Sure, the hospital gives out shitty pads for postpartum bleeding. But, those padsicles, ladies. They are effing amazing. Until you’ve had the need to put these icy compresses against your swollen and battered vagina, you just can’t imagine how glorious is feels. By the time you realize you no longer need to use ice down there, you just might feel a little sadness that the sensation of a chilled coochie is coming to an end.
Whether you tore, had an episiotomy, or remained completely intact throughout labor and delivery, you’re going to want these. Ask for extra before you head home! Lots of women now make their own makeshift padsicles, too.
This can be easily accomplished with a little aloe and witch hazel. Careful with essential oils and topical agents that may contain menthol or eucalyptus. These ingredients are not breastfeeding-friendly, and they may burn the sensitive skin in that area.
7 Tender Butters, Baby!
If you thought all the pleasure stopped down below, think again. By the time you have that baby, you may already know which nipple butter you prefer, because many moms have issues with nipple soreness in the first trimester of pregnancy. Nonetheless, there are a few options out there that can soothe your breasts and make breastfeeding a more pleasant experience. Note: nursing should not hurt! If it does, check that latch and see a lactation consultant.
While there are a host of manufactured creams and ointments on the market, some moms prefer plain old coconut oil to keep their tata’s moisturized and lubricated. This can aid in deterring irritation from clothing. Wearing breast pads doubles as an absorbent layer while also protecting nipples from chafing against your shirt or bra. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to pull out the big guns — pun intended — and use heat or ice packs, like those made by Lansinoh, to calm your tits.
6 A Place To Get Comfy
Every new mother needs to feel supported, and this extends beyond mental and emotional care. She needs a comfy nursing chair to sink into that supports her back and arms when she’s feeding that baby for thirty or forty minutes at a time. Moms need a quality place to sleep. The couch won’t cut it. If she’s recovering from a Cesarean and can’t handle the steps to get upstairs to bed, make sure to invest in a quality air bed or comfy recliner downstairs for the recovery period.
If you’re really wanting to get in touch with your ancestral roots and experience birth the way it was intended, hop on board with a laying in period. This involves allowing Mom and baby to settle into a cocoon in the bedroom for at least a week after birth. During this time, she isn’t asked to do anything but tend to the baby. Chores are tended to by everyone else. Her meals, drinks and anything else she needs are brought to her. Rest, mommies! Take it easy! Your bodies have been through a lot.
5 Placenta Pills, Pronto
Women have been consuming their placentas for centuries. In fact, females of most species engage in this practice. We just make it a little more PG and comfortable by making sure we can’t taste it. Whether you’re masking raw chunks of it in a strawberry smoothie or dehydrating it and putting it into capsules with herbs, the placenta is thought to be a nutrient-dense and hormone balancing addition to any postpartum period.
Touting as having the ability to deter postpartum mood disorders and boost milk supply, the science is still unclear on this topic, but the anecdotal evidence of it working is nothing short of impressive. For that reason alone, the placenta encapsulation industry continues to grow as more and more women are signing themselves up for this experience.
4 Alone Time With Baby
Everyone is excited when a new baby is brought into the family. It’s only natural that Grandma and Uncle Jack and Aunt Rose want to get their first glimpses of the little one, right? Think again. What’s truly natural is that two parents get time to bond with their newborn before the rest of their flock descends upon them.
The relationship between an infant and its mother begins long before birth. When that relationship is frequently interrupted after birth by allowing others to hold or feed the baby, it can actually impair the maternal bond with the baby.
In addition, time spent alone between Mom and baby is crucial for the development of a healthy milk supply and sleeping patterns. Both Mommy and her little bundle of joy need some downtime to get to know one another. There’s plenty of time for everyone else to meet and greet later.
3 Tucks Pads, Honey
While the stories of shredded vaginas and impossible to endure labors are far from a reality for most women, things will be sore and quite swollen down below in the days following labor. During our poll, moms reiterated again and again the importance of witch hazel pads for their lady bits.
These moist pads are thin and generally circular in shape. While used as directed, one would wipe gently with a pad and dispose of it, but many mommas opt for actually tucking it into place down there and wearing it along with the ice packs and postpartum pads. The cooling effect is soothing on a stitched perineum and witch hazel is also a great astringent to help calm and shrink hemorrhoids. Yes, you may collect a few of those during birth, even if you escaped them during pregnancy.
2 New Mama Bottom Spray
Back in the day, moms were all too happy to jump on board with Dermoplast and be done with their postpartum vaginal woes. The benzocaine in this spray numbed the area temporarily and moms could say goodbye to itching and discomfort left behind after delivery. Accompanying menthol soothed the region and applied a cooling effect. It was hard to believe anything more glorious would ever come along, but it did.
Enter, Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray. Its lengthy name might prove to be a struggle to remember, but you’ll never forget how it made you feel: relieved! The spray contains lavender that has natural antibacterial properties to keep incisions from episiotomies and stitched areas from tears safe from infection. Cooling witch hazel and peppermint essential oils keep you feeling fresh and pain free. Best of all, this spray is far more natural and free of potentially harmful ingredients in Dermoplast, like polysorbate 85 and parabens.
1 Sleep, Sweet Sleep
When asking tens of thousands of mothers what their favorite product or service was during the early days and weeks of their little one’s life, the most common answer that popped up was indeed, sleep. During the final weeks of pregnancy, moms aren’t getting much rest. They’re nesting. They’re busy worrying about making it through labor. They’re anxious to meet their little baby. They’re up late over-analyzing every symptom and wondering if that heartburn is a sign of anything to come.
When the baby arrives, they’ll usually sleep a lot more than parents expect for the first few months. This is normal and something to be grateful for. In the first few days, take advantage of Dad’s time off from work to nap and let him tend to the baby. Nurse on demand and take it easy in between feeding sessions. This isn’t a time to get caught up on housework or meal prep. Soak up all those newborn moments; they’re so fleeting. And by all means, when baby closes his eyes, close yours, too.