10 Postpartum Essentials for Care and Healing

By Twill Care Editors
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
January 17, 2024

Recovering from childbirth isn’t easy, even if the delivery goes well. Pain, bleeding, swollen breasts, and hemorrhoids are just a few common postpartum symptoms, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

To prepare, stock up on postpartum essentials that can ease discomfort and help you heal. Here are some helpful items for your postpartum care kit and how to use them:

  • Peri bottle: Squirt water with a squeeze bottle while you go to the bathroom for a gentle clean.
  • Ice or cold gel pack: Apply an ice pack or cold gel pack to the perineum (area between the vagina and anus) for 10–20 minutes at a time to ease pain.
  • Heavy flow maxi pads: Expect heavy period-like bleeding that slows over the course a few weeks after giving birth.
  • Witch hazel pads: Applying witch hazel can be helpful for pain from tears, episiotomy, and/or hemorrhoids. Try them cold.
  • Sitz bath: Sitting in warm, shallow water can reduce swelling and pain.
  • Stool softeners: Constipation is common after delivery. There are many OTC options, or your doctor may prescribe you one.
  • Nipple cream: Use baby-safe nipple cream to soothe soreness from nursing.
  • Numbing spray or cream: An OTC numbing product can help relieve vaginal pain as you heal.
  • Heating pad: Warmth may help back, neck, abdominal, and/or c-section pain.
  • Pain relievers: Ask your doctor which pain reliever they recommend for you. Ibuprofen is often preferred.

Making your postpartum recovery kit may not be expensive. Many hospitals and birthing centers give postpartum essentials, like the peri bottle and sitz bath, to birthing parents before they’re discharged.

Want to know in advance what you’ll need to buy and what will be given to you? Ask your doctor or midwife, or ask at your hospital tour.

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