After giving birth, your body goes through rapid physical and chemical changes effecting every part of your self. While the most important thing you need for postpartum recovery is a good support network to back you up while you adjust to the fourth trimester (meal trains, paid parental leave, proactive friends who come over to clean), there are a number of products that exist purely to soothe your body, aid recovery and streamline life with a newborn. We've made it our priority to seek out, test and provide those products. Here's what they are, and how to use them.
Firstly, postpartum vs. postnatal
Used interchangbly, "postpartum" and "postnatal" both refer to the time after childbirth, but postpartum refers to the mother and her body, while postnatal relates to the baby.
How to think about postpartum recovery
You've probably prepared a hospital bag and a room for the baby, but you should also prepare for postpartum recovery. Making plans for extra support, from professionals, friends and family for the first six to 12 weeks after birth means you can really focus on your recovery and your baby. This might look like hiring a postpartum doula, organising for a friend or family member to come by in the mornings and give you some rest after a wakeful night, or filling the fridge with meals. Prioritising postpartum care after childbirth is one of the most important things you can do for your mental wellbeing too. It’s an incredible time when your baby is finally earth-side, but it can also be a little overwhelming.
Postpartum recovery aids checklist
1. Something to soothe your wounds
Things are going to be a little sensitive down there, particularly if you've given birth vaginally. It’s totally normal and you can help soothe discomfort easily with the Body Ice Set. That includes a dependable perineum strip (plus disposable sleeves), to provide cooling relief. Bare Mums Reusable Warm and Cool Insert is shorter, contains naturally derived, non-toxic gel and is curved in design to allow for more comfortable wearing. It also slips straight into the dedicated pouch in the Bare Mums Reversible Postpartum Briefs. Both strips can also soothe a C-section scare, and the Bare Mums briefs have a pouch for that too. For cleaning, you can use a Bare Mum Ergonomic Perineal Wash Bottle to spritz lukewarm water onto the perineal area or C-section wound, to cleanse without pressure. Noonie Cleanse and Soothe Spray is another no-contact way to cleanse your sore spots.
2. Something to soothe your boobs
Don't put on a brave face if you're suffering from sore, cracked nipples. For when you're establishing feeding (and beyond) these medical grade nursing cups from Silverette heal and damage. Crafted out of pure 925 sterling silver, the cups are antibacterial and antimicrobial to protect against infection. Best used 24/7 between every nursing session for at least the first two weeks, these cups help support healing and prevent cuts, wounds, cracks, soreness, and infections that can occur while breastfeeding. Beyond that time, you might want to use a nipple balm to soothe and hydrate between feeds. Being Boobie Balm is a beeswax base infused with a whole heap of soothing botanicals, while Nature Baby Mum's Butter is 100 percent organic shea butter for getting all the moisture and healing to where it's most needed. Both are multipurpose and you'll find you put on everything.
3. Something to expedite recovery
If you brake your wrist, you put it in a brace, right? Well there's no brace for your vagina or abs, but SRC Recovery Shorts serve that same purpose. Compression aids healing. Designed in consultation with an obstetrician for the ultimate in comfort and functionality, SRC shorts and leggings provide the support you need to heal and move more freely post-delivery making lifting, feeding, bathing and caring for your baby much easier. Specifically aiding the treatment of C-section wounds, perineal trauma and episiotomy wounds, they also treat multiple postpartum conditions such as abdominal muscle separation and lower back pain. They're comfy, supportive and can be worn 24/7 for healing around the clock. They also come in a full-length size which is perfect for cooler months.
4. Something for milk leaks
Your milk might come in straight away or it might take a little longer. While your milk is establishing, you might experience leaks. Save your clothes and pop some breast pads into your maternity bra to catch the leaks. For the hospital, add some disposable breast pads to your hospital bag (so your not taking home extra washing), and then we love these reusable bamboo breast pads which can be washed and reused over and over. If you're more about making the most of every drip, Haakaa Ladybug Silicone Milk Collectors are wearable cups that sit inside your bra and collect the leaks so you can pour them into a bottle and feed them to bub.
5. Something for the postpartum bleeding
Even if you have a C-section, you still will have some bleeding after birth. Most women will bleed after birth (from light spotting to heavy bleeding) for up to six weeks. Make sure to invest in some really comfy, breathable pads and bring them to the hospital with you. We can’t go past the TOM Organics maternity set. Described by new mothers as ‘like sitting on a cloud’, TOM Organic Maternity Pads are breathable, comfortable and ultra absorbent. If you're a fan of a multitasker, the Noonie Cooling Padsicles(an absorbant pad and cooling strip in one) are a revolution. They are light, comfy maternity pads that feature a signature instant-chill cooling panel, simply squeeze to pop the centre pouch and insert into your underwear to give relief to your perineum and vagina area. Genius.
6. Something to wear
Let's start down low. Ditch the low-rise knickers, and go for high-waist, breathability and comfort. In the immediate days after childbirth, you want something that will comfortably fit your maternity pads and icepacks. With an insert for the ice pack, Bare Mum Reversible Postpartum Briefs will make you feel very put together in a time when you a bit out of sorts. Similarly, the Juem Lou Brief are chic luxury in a functional design, like all Juem. A few maternity bras are essential, but tricky to buy, so read our guide on how (and when) to buy them. Juem maternity bras are streamlined, comfortable and cool, while Hotmilk maternity bras provide lots of support. Finally, get yourself some chic, comfortable button-down pjs and slippers that make you feel good.
Did you know lists are totally our thing? That’s right, we make downloadable, printable lists for you to check off each item as you go and help make this whole having a baby thing that little bit easier. Download our recovery list now. You can also discover our full recovery collection here. Liked this article? Take a look at our hospital packing guide here too.