A few disclaimers: like any health article, this post is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. If you think you may be having an emergency please do not delay care -- call your OB or 911 immediately. Please consult your doctor if you are making any changes to your prescribed regimen. You are responsible for your own health. Also, this post includes affiliate links for your convenience at no additional cost to you. For more, see my disclosures.
Chances are, for the first few days after giving birth, you'll be rocking a pair of enormous disposable mesh panties with maxi pads tucked inside.
Repeat after me: Kate Middleton is a unicorn.
Society places a large emphasis on acquiring cool gear for newborn babies, but not so much when it comes to our postpartum bodies.
As a nurse and mom who suffered through a nasty third degree tear, I'll tell you the first few days can be pretty rough.
You won't be thinking about diamond earrings when it comes to your "push present." You'll be wondering how in the heck you'll be able to poop for the first time without re-tearing all the muscles in your pelvic floor.
Last year I put together a "Poop Kit" for a Mom friend, which was kind of a joke, but really it was out of sympathy for having gone through the same terror of The Dreaded First Poop.
Consider this my gift to you, dear soldier. Here's a list of all the essentials I recommend for the first week home as you're recovering from the dramatic changes your body goes through while returning to normal.
Because every new Mom needs a nurse BFF keeping it real -- someone who's used to dealing with bodily fluids in all colors of the rainbow, bowel preps, pain meds, and adult diapers.
This category is incredibly important. There's going to be a lot of --er-- discharge after giving birth, especially for the first couple of days.
In the beginning you may experience what I call "The Torrent," a sudden gush upon standing. It's totally normal, but let your nurse know if you're filling up more than one pad/hour or passing clots bigger than a golf ball.
Needless to say, you're going to want to feel fresh with all of this going on. Take any leftover mesh underwear from the hospital home with you, as well as those amazing plastic squirt bottles they give you to pressure wash your vajayjay.
1. Squirt bottle
Here's a good sequence to remember: pee --> spray water gently from the bottle on your entire vaginal area --> gently pat dry --> change out your underwear with a new maxi pad and Tucks pad --> redress.
2. Mesh panties and/or Depends Undergarments
You're sexy and you know it. It's okay -- we've all been there.
3. Maxi pads
For a refreshing change (like a York Peppermint Patty kind of change), throw them into your freezer prior to wearing.
4. Nursing pads
You probably won't have this issue until your supply comes in (if you're planning to breastfeed), but once it does you may notice leaking from the opposite side or when you're engorged. Absorbent pads like these are lifesavers.
Pain Control and Healing
These items are extremely helpful and readily available at any local drug store.
5. Lanolin nipple cream
Every mother deals with chapped nipples at some point. This stuff is non-greasy and safe for baby, too.
6. Sitz Mineral Baths
Sitz baths were prescribed to me by my doctor when I had my tear. They're also good for hemorrhoids. Little did I know I was supposed to use a special sitz bath container like the one below. Side note: immersing your entire body in mineral salts may have an unwanted laxative effect.
7. Tucks Witch Hazel Pads
The hospital will give you a pack to keep in your bathroom. I recommend buying extras for home: they're a Godsend.
8. Dermoplast Spray (Blue Top)
It contains benzocaine, which is a cousin of good ole topical lidocaine.
Apparently the red top version is more likely to burn (has active antiseptic ingredients), so steer clear of that.
It's extremely important not to strain on the toilet, especially if you've had a tear or C-section. I've listed these items in order of intensity, so proceed with caution. I made the mistake of going overboard after a week with no pooping, and needless to say it was a good thing I was already in diapers.
Please read the directions carefully and only take as instructed!
Colace is a stool softener, meaning it draws water into your intestines to soften your stool. Your doctor will probably want you taking one daily for a while, especially if you're prescribed narcotics for pain.
10. Dried Prunes
Yummy and a great source of fiber, which adds bulk to your stool. Also, a good snack to keep in the basket next to your nursing chair.
11. Milk of Magnesia
Stronger than Colace. Follow package dosing instructions.
12. Smooth Move Tea
Keep this separate from your other teas. A few times I drank this (well after my recovery period) forgetting about its laxative properties until it was too late!
aka "Magic Powder" aka Proceed with Caution!
Only a small teaspoon is needed to achieve the desired effect. This should only be used if nothing else has worked. Inositol comes as an over-the-counter powder available at most natural health stores.
If you're reading this and expecting or know someone who is, consider buying them a discreet postpartum care package or "poop kit" containing some of the above items.
Feel free to throw in some wine and chocolate -- those are always appreciated by sleep-deprived mothers!
If you're reading this as an experienced mom, do you have any postpartum products that you couldn't live without? Please share in the comment box below!