You are probably buried in cute little onesies, blankets, and all.the.things to help your new baby transition to life outside the womb, but what about you? Have you considered what might be helpful to have on hand as you heal after birth? Here are our postpartum doulas' list of essentials!
- A water bottle with a straw! If you think you are thirsty while pregnant, wait until you are nursing a baby...
- Maxi pads, or Depends. You will not be allowed to use tampons during the postpartum period, so be sure to stock up. Many people find that Depends are more comfortable, and provide the most coverage!
- Hot & cold therapy packs. Think soft ice packs, rice socks or other heat packs. You can also buy gel packs that can go hot or cold! These are helpful for the perineum, as well as on your breasts in the early weeks.
- Sitz bath. This is a great way to get some healing relief postpartum.
- Epsom salt or sea salt. While you are using a sitz bath, a little bit of epsom salt or sea salt can help promote healing. It can also come in handy for a breast soak if you ever suspect that you might have a blocked duct.
- Peri bottle. This little plastic squeeze bottle will be given to you at the hospital, so no need to get your own. You will use it in the immediate postpartum to rinse out down below while you are peeing, to dilute the sting, and afterward, so that you don't have to wipe (ouch!!)
- Comfortable clothes. Don't expect to go home in your favorite pre-baby jeans. The soft stretch of most maternity yoga pants or leggings will be your friends for a while, and be sure to have lots of comfy nursing tanks and bras too.
- Breast Pads. There are both disposable and reusable options, and you will definitely need these to contain any leaks while your breasts figure out how much milk to make.
- Coconut oil or nipple cream. You don't need a whole ton, but there is definitely a learning curve as your breasts adjust to nursing or pumping. Keep some coconut oil or a small tube of nipple cream on hand for soothing.
- Hair dryer. It's not for your hair. Used on a low or cool setting for a minute or two on the vagina after going to the bathroom or bathing will feel soothing, and also dry things out to prevent any potential infection.
BONUS POSTPARTUM ESSENTIALS
Not everyone needs these two things, but some people find them helpful to have after birth!
- Placenta encapsulation. Talk to us about some of the anecdotal benefits of having your placenta encapsulated to take after birth. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if it's interesting to you, we can talk you through how it works!
- Belly binding. Cultures around the world have various versions of this, and many women who try it feel it is very supportive and soothing, both after a vaginal birth as well as after a cesarean birth. You can get your own support band, or you can try bengkung belly binding through a professional (we can share more!)