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Postpartum Recovery Essentials

Monique and Chris Seleen with their newborn, Carter. Photo by: Stephanie Reed Photography.

I expected pregnancy to be taxing on my body. I was prepared for labor to be painful. I anticipated there would be a recovery process, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be as long and difficult as it was. 

I spent months preparing for the arrival of our baby, but very little time thinking about what would make recovery as easy as possible for me. 

Looking back, here are some items I found to be essential that aided in my healing and made those first few weeks a little less painful: 

A peri bottle: 

The hospital gave me a few plastic bottles to take home but my favorite one was Frida Mom Upside Down Peri Bottle gifted from a friend. It has more of a shower hose nozzle that was a bit more convenient to use and looked cuter too. Either way, a peri bottle is pretty much a must-need those first few days and weeks. 

Witch Hazel or Tucks Pads:

Witch hazel has healing properties and the Tucks Pads provide cooling relief. The hospital gave me a supply to take home, but once I used those up, I bought some more and also got a bottle of straight witch hazel to just squirt on as needed too. 

Ice packs or disposable ice pads 

In those first few days, the two-in-one disposable instant ice packs that also double as maxi-pads were great. Eventually, I transitioned to reusable ice packs specifically designed for postpartum recovery. 

Mesh underwear 

I had heard mixed opinions about the lovely mesh underwear that the hospital provides but I actually really liked them! Fortunately, they gave me a few packs to take home. They’re stretchy and lightweight and hold everything in. Had I not had so many to take home, I definitely would have bought some more to have. 

Epsom salt 

I’m not a big fan of baths, but my midwife insisted that I take epsom salt baths multiple times a day if possible to promote healing. I was desperate for any sort of relief, so I obliged. 

A donut pillow 

This was something I didn’t think of ahead of time and ended up buying about 3 days after coming home from the hospital after realizing how painful it was to sit. It was a lifesaver especially on hard surfaces like wooden chairs, but I pretty much brought it everywhere with me those first few weeks. 

Comfortable loungewear 

Thankfully athleisure attire is easy to come by these days and an absolute MUST when trying to recover from childbirth. For the first few weeks, I continued to wear maternity clothes for a more comfortable and roomy fit. Liu & Qu Maternity Lounge Pants on Amazon were my favorite. I bought them in several different colors and wore them both during pregnancy and during those postpartum weeks. 

A basket of snacks and water next to the bed/or chair in the nursery where you spend a lot of time. 

It can be difficult to get up and get yourself something to eat when you have a sleeping baby on you or are trying to feed your baby. Keeping a basket of grab-and-go snacks is an easy way to ensure you’re eating too. Some trail mix, granola bars, nut packs, and dried fruit are great options. A huge water bottle is also a must have. 

A good bra

Whether breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, a supportive bra is another essential item. If nursing, find one that is easy to unclip and comfortable to wear all day. If bottle/formula feeding, a tight fitting sports bra is necessary those first few weeks. 

Stool softeners

If you give birth in a hospital, they will give you stool softeners right away and advise you to continue taking them at home for the next few days. Just do it, you’ll be glad you did. 



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