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8 Postpartum Recovery Essentials I Wish I’d Had with Baby #1
Updated on
November 1, 2022

8 Postpartum Recovery Essentials I Wish I’d Had with Baby #1

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8 Postpartum Recovery Essentials I Wish I’d Had with Baby #1.
8 Postpartum Recovery Essentials I Wish I’d Had with Baby #1

After a rocky healing process with my first birth, I made a mental checklist of what I’d do differently a second time around to better support my body, my baby and my sanity. Amid all the well-meaning advice to stash freezer meals, sleep when the baby sleeps and save my placenta, what really helped was having the right essentials on hand. So, we’ve partnered with Shipt to share the postpartum gear that made the biggest difference.

Shipt lets you shop your favorite stores (think Target, CVS, Bed Bath & Beyond and even Sephora) from the comfort of your home—whether that’s nursing from your bed in the wee hours of the morning or recuperating on the couch in the sweatpants you’ve been rocking for three days. With a monthly or yearly subscription, any Shipt order over $35 comes with free delivery so you can get everything you need for your house from diapers and wipes to groceries or even pet supplies for your furbaby. Here’s what made my list (and yes, all of it can be ordered same-day if you’re in the thick of it right now).

With my first birth, my motto was “Why buy what the hospital gives out for free?!” But I did not love all the bending and reaching I had to do with the standard hospital-issue peri-bottle (peri bottles use warm water to help keep your nether regions clean in lieu of toilet paper after birth). The Frida Mom Upside Down Peri Bottle requires no such acrobatics and elicited at least one daily “Wow, this really is so much better!” from behind the bathroom door.

Getting in and out of bed to refill a cup can feel like running a marathon after giving birth (that goes double if you have a C-section). But hydration is a key component of postpartum care, for everything from breastfeeding to digestion. Keeping a giant tumbler next to your bed can help encourage you to drink extra water (I aimed for several giant gulps after each nighttime feeding—it tricked me into almost doubling my water consumption).

Most of what I learned postpartum with my first baby involved a lot of late-night Googling and overnight deliveries (because the idea of going to the store with a newborn felt daunting, to say the least). Suddenly the next-day delivery window went from feeling lightning fast to “do I really have to wait 24 hours with my nipples feeling like this?!”

This time around I got so many things delivered, from pantry staples to emergency diaper refills (because, whoops, we ran out). I’ve used other same-day delivery services before, but the big benefit with Shipt is that you can order not just from grocery stores but from my number one postpartum destination—Target.

If you plan to breastfeed, the first few weeks in particular can be challenging (for me that looked like cracked nipples and a lot of pain while baby learned to latch). I had the same struggles this time around, but this time I also had nipple shields on hand. The soft silicone creates a barrier between baby’s mouth and your skin, lessening some of the pain. (Some lactation consultants may advise against them or suggest limited use, but for me they were a huge help in getting us over that initial hump.)

Ice can help with postpartum swelling and pain management. But I couldn’t figure out how to accommodate for the way my DIY padsicles melted in my underwear, so I used exactly one and left the remainder of my homemade batch sitting in my freezer. Instant ice packs provide all of the cooling relief of a padsicle, but without liquid (you just crack them and they turn cold). And as an added bonus: the no-freezer method means you can keep them right next to all the rest of your postpartum supplies.

When you have a new baby, minutes can feel like hours: I wanted my caffeine faster, I wanted bottles warmed more quickly. So we ordered a programmable electric kettle that we use for everything: from my daily cup of tea to my partner’s favorite pour-over to reheating breastmilk. You can adjust the temperature, so you don’t have to worry about over warming bottles. And since it holds the temperature for half an hour, your hot water will still be hot if the baby interrupts your coffee routine.

More than half of postpartum people will experience constipation in the first few days after giving birth (and not for the first time—it’s an even more common pregnancy symptom than nausea). That first “go” may take a few days or be painful to pass. But a combination of high-fiber cereal and a squatty potty really helped after my second birth. Though you may want to keep stool softeners on hand as well (just talk to your doctor before taking anything postpartum).

Our first baby was born a night owl. The only way to get him back to sleep after those midnight wakings was to bounce a lot (think: deep squats). Which is not ideal when you’re trying to heal stitches. It took my partner and I about three weeks to realize we could save our arms and quads by using our birth ball to bounce him back to sleep. When our second proved to be just as fussy, we same-day ordered a yoga ball for every room of the house—the nursery, the living room, our bedroom. We even bought a smaller travel-friendly ball that fits in the trunk of our car for when we visit the grandparents.

There’s always going to be a learning curve after you bring home a baby (no two are the same! And that includes siblings). But your self care shouldn’t come last on the list just because you have a tiny human to take care of. Stocking up on these essentials can help you get ahead of the game. But when you need supplies ASAP, having them delivered to your doorstep in just a few hours can be a big help.

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