This article has been written from the perspective of one of our content creators...
After birthing three babies, I’ve finally learned what is most essential for postpartum recovery, no matter your delivery experience.
It’s so easy to find lists for specific choices, like chest or formula feeding, delivery-specific recommendations, and the internet is absolutely flooded with lists for what BABY needs…but there aren’t really lists that include things everyone freshly postpartum could use.
My first delivery was a fairly normal vaginal delivery. I had no problems finding list after list that told me to get the witch hazel pads and Dermoplast spray.
When I scheduled a C-section for my second, I was able to find a few posts telling me to get loose-fitting clothes and an abdominal binder. I nursed all of my babies and there is no shortage of recommendations for kinds of nipple cream and nursing pads.
After three babies over 7 years, I have compiled 5 absolute must-haves for postpartum that are either never listed or very specific compared to the general recommendations.
First Postpartum Essential: Disposable Underwear/Diapers
This seems to be more commonly recommended now, but I still don’t see it mentioned nearly enough!
When I was preparing to have my first, everyone said to buy a cheap pack of granny underwear to wear after the hospital so your regular undies didn’t get ruined. It makes sense, but that cheap, packaged underwear isn’t really comfortable and the sizing is weird.
I bought a package for my first and an extra high-waisted pack for my second, before I finally bought myself some adult diapers and extra mesh underwear for my third.
No matter where the baby came out of, they will fit you comfortably and make for an easy cleanup (plus the diapers give you extra leak protection, which is helpful for reclined sleeping after C-section recovery!).
FridaBaby Buttwasher & Cloth Wipes—Another Postpartum Game Changer
Yes, peri bottles are a given after birth, but the FridaBaby Buttwasher is a game-changer! The standard peri bottle isn’t very large, doesn’t give a good stream, and can be hard to use if you have limited mobility.
The angled nozzle and large bottle make this an absolute must-have! I never felt like I was able to use the plain, straight bottle easily after my first two. When I used the ButtWasher after my last, unplanned C-section, I was so mad it wasn’t around a few years earlier!
Since I wasn’t able to bend easily, being able to hold the bottle at arm's length—thanks to the long nozzle & “upside-down” design—and the continuous stream REALLY helped get everything cleaned up down there.
Where do the cloth wipes come in? Well, the point of a peri bottle is to not irritate anything down there with wiping, and leaving little bits of toilet paper behind isn’t good either!
Drip drying works, sure, but we don’t always have time for that and sitting on the toilet to dry isn’t how I enjoy spending my time. Before I had my last baby, I cut up some scrap flannel and made myself a little wipe station in the bathroom.
When we came home I would rinse and then gently pat dry with a wipe—no residue left behind and no irritation from wiping. I kept a small wet bag nearby and washed regularly. Try reusable wipes—your bottom will thank you!
A Water Jug is a Postpartum Necessity
Make sure you read that one correctly. I’m not recommending a water bottle like everyone else - you need a water JUG!
Staying hydrated is important for everyone—whether you gave birth or not, are nursing and pumping or not…you need water! I’ve carried various reusable water bottles and cups with me since I was a teen, but as I got older and added more kids to my chaos, I found I wasn’t keeping up with refills when they got empty.
Right after birth, I had people who could get me some more when I was trapped with the baby, but when they left it was all on me. Since I didn’t always have a free hand it went undone and I wasn’t staying as hydrated as I needed to be.
Bringing a third baby home, I knew I would need something that would hold A LOT of water and I prefer my water ice cold so it also needed to be insulated.
The largest option I found was a 50-ounce insulated water jug with a lid and straw that has since become a part of me. I don’t need to refill it as often as I did my smaller 16/24/32 ounce bottles so it isn’t another task I need to worry about keeping up with.
If the temperature doesn’t bother you, there are so many options for gallon bottles now that would be absolutely perfect for busy postpartum parents. Drink your water!
An Extra Long Phone Charger is Crucial
Actually…get a few. Most people probably have long chargers by now and I’m years behind on this. But so often I was with the baby, had a dying phone and a charger that was just inches short of what I needed.
Get the comically long charger…and then go ahead and get a couple more to keep in a drawer for when it eventually breaks or around the house in the various places you usually get nap-trapped.
I know I’m not alone in vegging out on the phone when there isn’t much else to do. I always bought books with good intentions but they never got touched in those early days—you’re too tired to concentrate! Plug that phone in and scroll away on TikTok.
Fresh Air is the Ultimate Postpartum Life Hack
This one won’t cost you anything and is easily accessible. Do you know the saying “put them in the bath or take them outside” for babies that won’t calm down?
It works on adults too—but if you just had a baby, you shouldn’t take a bath for 6 weeks, so your options are temporarily limited to going outside.
I spent too long cooped up inside when my babies were fresh and it definitely had a negative impact on my mood and mental health postpartum.
With my first baby, I took small walks when I could or even just stand at the door when I got a minute to breathe—it made a huge difference in the way I recovered, but I didn’t prioritize it enough.
After my second was born, the baby blues hit, and I used the excuse that it was too cold and my C-section recovery prevented me from being active.
It took me almost two months before I made the time to go outside and take a deep breath, and it was like I turned into a whole new person!
Trigger Warning...After this image...we speak about postpartum depression.
This last time, postpartum depression hit me like a truck, and while I wasn’t able to move much, I could sit outside with the baby and watch my older kids play in the yard.
It didn’t “fix” me but it got me out of the stagnant room I had trapped myself in and around other people in the sunshine. The change of scenery (along with proper medication—PLEASE speak to your doctor if you’re struggling with postpartum depression) and fresh air helped me feel normal for just a little bit.
I wish someone had told me to make going outdoors a priority. It seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re in that newborn fog, the most obvious things can be hard to recognize.
I hope these were helpful for you—this is the list I needed to see 7 years ago when I was preparing to welcome my first.
We know nursing pads and maxi pads are postpartum must-haves after birth and it’s easy to find out what baby products are currently popular or “lifesaving,” but these 5 overlooked things are essential for every recovering parent!