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Must-Haves for Postpartum Recovery, According to an L&D Nurse
February 7, 2024

Must-Haves for Postpartum Recovery, According to an L&D Nurse

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Must-Haves for Postpartum Recovery, According to an L&D Nurse.
Must-Haves for Postpartum Recovery, According to an L&D Nurse

Liesel Teen has been a labor and delivery nurse for over five years. She’s the voice behind Mommy Labor Nurse, an online space dedicated to educating new parents on pregnancy, birth and postpartum—but even she was taken by surprise after having her first baby several years ago.

“I feel like I seriously underestimated how challenging postpartum would be,” she says. “I knew pregnancy and birth were going to be hard and I needed to prepare for that, but nobody really told me exactly how hard postpartum was and how to prepare.”

What Teen experienced isn’t uncommon. Lots of birthing people spend months prepping for a new baby but much less time thinking through what things will be like once that baby actually arrives.

Luckily, a little knowledge goes a long way. Learning about the postpartum experience can be really empowering. So can knowing what products to have on hand to help you rest, heal and recover after birth.

We asked Teen about her favorite, can’t-live-without postpartum products for both vaginal and C-section births. Here’s what she had to say.

General Postpartum Favorites

“I recommend all birthing people make a little postpartum care basket to keep in their bathroom, whether they had a vaginal delivery or C-section,” Teen says. “All birthing people are going to have bleeding and general soreness down there. Maybe a bit more for those who gave birth vaginally, but everyone can benefit from this!”

Here’s what to put in your bathroom basket.

The hospital will most likely give you a peri bottle (a small squirt bottle that you fill with water to clean yourself after you use the bathroom and change your pad) after birth, but FridaMom’s version is a step up. “It’s angled, and it has a one-way air valve for continuous, gentle water pressure,” Teen says.

“Tucks are great for healing and preventing hemorrhoids after you give birth. And, unfortunately, hemorrhoids are a common occurrence. Some women prefer to apply witch hazel to a wipe or cotton ball, but I totally love the Tucks pads for convenience,” Teen says. Some hospitals may give you some upon discharge, but not all do, plus you’ll want extras at home anyway.

This bundle includes a perineal spray, a perineal balm and an herbal sitz bath (among other soothing goodies)—all of which Teen recommends. The spray offers immediate cooling comfort and includes a touch-free bottle that’s easy to aim. The balm is made from organic herbs and can be used a few times a day, while the sitz bath sachets can be used either as compresses, padsicles or in the bath.

“Some extra high-waisted, wide-banded underwear are perfect for postpartum especially,” Teen says. These feature a foldover waistband so you can pull them up for extra support or wear them lower if that’s more comfortable. They’re also seamless so they won’t irritate your skin.

“Dermoplast is a spray that is wonderful for relieving pain from vaginal tears or general vaginal soreness,” says Teen. It contains aloe, lanolin and menthol and is easy to apply for immediate relief.

Postpartum constipation is (unfortunately) pretty common post-birth. You’ll want to have some suppositories on hand for relief when you need it. “If you get to the point where you are so constipated you need a suppository, trust me, you don’t want to drive all the way to the drug store for that a few days after you have a baby!” Teen says.

“Don’t forget some good, heavy-flow pads,” says Teen. These oversized pads are good for both daytime and overnight and offer good leak protection.

Breastfeeding Favorites

You’ll want an extra stash of postpartum supplies on the ready if you’re planning on breastfeeding your new arrival. Here are Teen’s favorites.

“A good nipple cream is a must for the early weeks of breastfeeding. Motherlove’s is my favorite! Keep it in a little breastfeeding essentials basket and apply after every feed,” Teen says.

Nursing bras are designed with fold-down cups to make breastfeeding easier. “These are my super, all-time favorite from Kindred Bravely. They are so comfortable and they seriously last,” says Teen. They’re also made from ultra-soft fabric and are wireless and seamless.

“I hate the way dried milk smells, so keeping milk off my bra makes my bras last longer. Instead of changing my bra, I can just change the reusable pad,” Teen says. Unlike disposable nursing pads, these are washable so they’re a more eco-friendly choice.

Teen—and tons of other breastfeeding parents—rave about this tiny pump, and for good reason. “This little handheld breast pump is awesome!” she says. “It can catch your letdown when you’re nursing on the other side and is perfect for reducing engorgement when your milk first comes in without accidentally creating an oversupply. Love love love my Haakaa!”

“I’ve actually recently been trying and reviewing as many breast pumps as I can, and I have to say, the Willow seriously stands out! This wearable, cord-free, tube-free breast pump is next-level pumping. I’m absolutely loving it.”

C-Section Favorites

While Teen has never delivered via C-section herself, she has cared for many C-section patients through her job as an L&D nurse. These are her top recommendations.

Compression bands are a postpartum must-have for C-section parents and, according to Teen, by far what most people recommended investing in. “They offer great benefits to you also such as increased healing, help with posture and back pain relief,” she says.

These high-waisted undies won’t dig into your incision, which is going to be sore and tender for quite a while post-birth. They’re ultra-soft, really comfortable and pretty stylish, too.

It’s all about loose clothing when you’re thinking about what you’ll be comfortable wearing post C-section, says Teen. Loose PJs, flowy maxi dresses and nightgowns like this one are all great choices that are easy to wear and easy on your incision.

Postpartum Favorite for Newborns

And last but definitely not least, a few of Teen’s recommendations that can help your newborn settle into the fourth trimester as you recover postpartum.

“I have a Snoo now with my second baby, and I cannot say enough good things about this bassinet,” Teen says. “It for sure is helping us all get more sleep. What I love most about it is how it eliminates the dance of putting baby down, them waking up and resettling them over and over again because it gently sways, has vibration and has white noise.”

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.