The first couple months of postpartum life is one of the only seasons that described as equally exhausting and exhilarating, joy-filled and tearful, shockingly slow and way too fast. I read every book, blog post and article on the postpartum experience during my first pregnancy and yet nothing could even come close to preparing me for it. I’m going to be as real as can be in this post in efforts to be as helpful as possible so buckle up, friends. Here is every single item I’d call essential to make the postpartum weeks as comfortable, seamless and healthy as possible.
Bathroom / Lady Bits:
I keep this bin on the back of the toilet in our room and stock it with all the items you see above. If you click any items in the image you can purchase directly that way. You need all these items. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I’m sorry, these items are non-negotiables unless you don’t have a need for Tucks pads (if you catch my drift.)
I always start off with depends and then transition to pads but I prefer these natural organic pads much more than “always” or something like that. This time, I didn’t tear so I was completely healed within the first couple days and didn’t have any soreness while using the restroom. With my first I tore so badly that it used to take me at least 15 minutes just to relax my muscles to go to the bathroom. In that case, I used the sitz bath spray and the balm every time I went to the bathroom. This time around I just used the peri bottle and the spray every time for the first few weeks because it was so refreshing and helps speed up healing.
Speaking of using the restroom, whether you tear badly or not DO NOT forget to take your Colace every single day for the first few days. Trust me. Do not. I kept this by my bedside and just remembered that one time I forgot to take it with Oshiolema and straight up cried my eyes out in the bathroom. I also continued taking this every night as a natural way to keep my digestion normal because giving birth messes things up a little bit. Real talk, I also take a swig of warm prune juice every day that first week. Not taking any chances!
The four most important clothing items for me in every postpartum experience are my tummy-flattening support leggings, this support tank, my postpartum belly wrap and a great nursing bra. I think every single woman needs to wear a wrap immediately postpartum. I have herniated discs in my back and diastasis recti (an abdomen separation that often occurs after pregnancy) which means all the strange positions we find ourselves in postpartum can take an enormous toll on the body. I wear this wrap every day for one week and then switch to wearing this wrap at least 4 days a week for the next few weeks. The second wrap is NOT comfortable to me whatsoever but it is the absolute best. Pro-tip: be sure to wear it over a tank (either this one or this one) to protect your skin from irritation. In addition to helping support my core and help me heal, I always notice this helps tremendously with shrinking my uterus back to size and helping tighten the excess fat.
This nursing bra is the one I wear every single day and love it so much that I still wore it multiple times a week for the two years after I was done nursing. It’s that good-hence the 4k+ great reviews on Amazon. This is my favorite one for sleeping and for those early days where everything hurts.
These tummy support leggings are the most flattering, comfortable, necessary item in my closet after giving birth. They’re designed to hold you in which really helps after essentially having an open wound down your middle. They’re also thick so they don’t show the Depends or giant panty line you’ll be sporting for a few weeks. The support tank paired with the leggings and a long cardigan is my go-to outfit in the first days. (you can see them in the first photo-they almost reach my nursing bra which is ideal postpartum.)
I give myself two weeks to essentially wear pajamas so let’s address that too. If you haven’t purchased a pair of these pajamas yet, take this as your invitation. They are the most comfortable pajamas I’ve ever worn and everyone who has purchased them through my blog tells me they feel the exact same way. Like buttah! I stick to pajamas with buttons for easy access to the milk makers.
Now, when I transition to actually “getting dressed,” I keep it cozy and simple.
Trust me when I say, this top with these leggings will be your favorite “athleisure” outfit in your wardrobe. The tops built in bra is supportive enough that you can actually go without a real one and trust me, your chest will thank you. The leggings are the same ones I’ve raved about for years but they are even more crucial in those first weeks postpartum because they feel like a second skin. Comfort is key for me while everything is healing and there’s a reason these pants are called “the naked pant.” This length is the one I personally find most flattering.
You can see my favorite matching sets, sweaters and cozies in this post.
I’ll be dedicating a whole blog post to breastfeeding so I’ll just stick to the basics here and keep it short. Nursing is always a bit jarring at first-let’s be real. I don’t know about you but I don’t have someone sucking on my chest 8-12 times a day so it takes a bit of getting used to every time. I go from being pretty small chested to suddenly having two upside down mixing bowls attached to me. They’re sore and solid and it’s a LOT, you know? But hang in there. It gets so much easier every single day and before you know it, your body has regulated to your exact situation (twins? your body will provide that amount. preemie? your body knows whats up.) For those times where you get clogged ducts that hurt so badly you want to cry, this little tool has been SO helpful for me. I used it all the time when my milk was regulating and now that she’s sleeping longer stretches I have a feeling I’ll need to pull it out again.
I have to give a quick shout out to the Haaka because it’s the MVP of my nursing experience. It allows me to not have to hook up to my pump and instead build up my freezer supply just with by attaching it to the opposite side of where she’s nursing. It collects my let-down and I store it in these bags which I can’t rave about enough. I struggled so much to pump enough for bottles with my older two because I feed on demand and never create an over supply. This is the answer. These are the other items I couldn’t successfully breastfeed without:
and these are my favorite tops that make either pulling up my shirt to nurse or unbuttoning to nurse a breeze:
Lastly, now that Zeameh is in our room we have portions of the night where our room isn’t pitch black. I also am not a great napper and need all the tricks to be able to go to sleep in the meantime. For that reason, the eye pillow that helped me get more rest in pregnancy has also been an absolute essential postpartum.