Today I’m sharing my postpartum essentials and favorite postpartum products with you. I hope this helps a new mama somewhere out there!
Hi there! My name is Chantal. I’m the owner of this site, a certified personal trainer, and mom of two.
Today, I’m choosing to write a sister post to the single-most popular article on my site – 11 Ways To Tighten Your Postpartum Belly.
That post has been read, shared, and saved literally hundreds of thousands of times, and it’s not lost on me. The fact that so many mamas are out there reading my article is so awesome!
So today, rather than focusing on the things you can DO to improve your postpartum recovery, I’m going to talk about tools and products that helped me along the way.
Specifically, my fave postpartum essentials and postpartum products.
New moms have the tendency to buy into a lot of things that they don’t really need for themselves and for baby. (Ahem, wipe warmers.) There are a lot of postpartum products that aren’t truly necessary.
Trust me, I was that mom! I did so much research and reading, and I was lead to believe that I needed allllll. the. things. But the list of things you need after giving birth is actually not huge.
The hospital will actually give you a lot of the things you actually realllly need, but then there are some things that are really nice to have. I’ll call them postpartum essentials and my favorite postpartum products because I feel that they really contributed to my overall recovery.
Now – I am not someone who has had 8 babies and labored a bunch of different ways. So I can’t give you a ton of advice about giving birth in general, but I can tell you what worked for me in my specific circumstances. I can also tell you one specific thing I recommend NOT doing. (Keep reading to find out!)
That being said, you’re probably wondering what sort of births I had. Or maybe you’re wondering what has compelled me to share my postpartum essentials with you.
So, I’ll start with that.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I did a lot of research about childbirth. Overall, the birth stories and books I read made having a c-section seem horrendous.
Some women online made me feel like it was absolutely terrible to have a c-section. As in, having a c-section would make me a second-rate mom.
I believed it, too. I was SO against having a c-section that I made a natural birth plan that involved absolutely every precaution possible. A c-section was only a life-or-death option for me.
So of course, as luck would have it, my pregnancy ended in the dreaded cesarean. An emergency one, too.
Because that’s life.
It taught me so much. Yes, I cried and felt unworthy when they told me it had to be done.
I’d labored for 40 hours after all, but my daughter’s heart rate was dipping. I’d done so much but so little in the way of making progress. I was disappointed. That’s the short story.
I’d put too much stock into the way that I delivered, and wasn’t focused on the overall outcome: a healthy baby. But the reality was that my daughter’s cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and it’s possible that she wouldn’t have made it without the c-section.
Of course, now I’m super grateful for my c-section.
It helped me make better choices with my second birth, also a c-section. (Except it was planned that time.)
But the mentality I went into motherhood with – and the expectations I set for myself – were super harmful.
I went into motherhood with a sense of failure and even a bit of resentment. I carried that with me well into motherhood. My sense of failure led me to feel like a failure in other ways. I sucked at breastfeeding, and then I gained quite a bit of weight in my first year as a new mom.
This snowballed into more bad feelings, and what was originally diagnosed as postpartum depression was later classified as regular clinical depression.
Now that I’m on the other end of it (thank goodness), I can see some pivotal moments that really led up to that. My number one, biggest mistake?
Putting too many expectations on myself.
Yep, the worst thing I did for myself was expect too much. I compared myself to other moms so much that it backfired. I had a negative attitude and was full of resentment. That made things worse for me overall.
And it all started before I even gave birth.
So when I share my postpartum essentials and favorite postpartum products with you, please remember that this is what worked for me.
Not everything I say will work for you. You’re a different human, with a different baby, with different circumstances. Don’t think that you need to do everything like I did, or have every product I recommend. Trust your mama instincts!
Okay. Onto the good stuff.
My Postpartum Essentials & Favorite Postpartum Products
1. Postpartum Girdle
This is forever at the top of my list because of BACK PAIN. I had a rough pregnancy and lost a lot of muscle mass, then I had a c-section. So my ab muscles – stressed, stretched, and bothered – were of little use to me in my first several weeks postpartum.
In turn, my back worked extra hard. It hurt to bend over, hurt to hold my baby while standing, and I even had some muscle spasms in my back after both babies. (Super painful, don’t recommend.)
A lot of people think that the girdle is to help you “get your body back” after baby. Yes, it helps your uterus shrink and waist take shape again. But, it also helps support your back if you get the right kind. (It also helps you feel like your guts aren’t about to fall out if you’ve had a c-section.)
So – get yourself a good, supportive and adjustable postpartum girdle. If you only get yourself one of my postpartum essentials, this is my top recommendation.
Related Reading: Best Postpartum Belly Wrap For C-Sections (Cheap!!)
2. Nursing Tanks
Notice I said nursing tanks, not bras, right?
I mean, I don’t know about you, but after having a baby, I’m not planning on lifting my shirt out in public. While I had nursing bras with both babies, I found it kind of silly to have a nursing bra if you’re just going to wear a regular shirt on top of it. Who wants to lift up their shirt and deal with it while nursing? Not me!
I rather my shirt and bra be built together, so that no one has to see my saggy belly while I nurse. Sure, they make nursing shirts, but then you still have to have a special nursing bra on top of it. I lived in the nursing tanks with the built-in shelf-bra and an open cardigan in those first few weeks. I found them much easier to deal with than a nursing bra + shirt combo.
Mine just came from Amazon, but there are a ton of options out there. My top recommendation is just to go for the ones with the built-in bras, similar to these ones.
Related Reading: 13 Things No One Tells You About Having a C-Section
3. Lactation Cookies
Snacks are important, okay?
I struggled to breastfeed. Like a lot. But I did feel that these yummy lactation cookies helped. Plus, cookies are easy to eat while nursing. Much easier than drinking a tea – and the lactation supplements hurt my stomach. So, if you’re into cookies and want to try them, these are the ones that I had. (They’re actually super yummy, my husband ate some unknowingly. Oops.)
Related Reading: 11 Things No One Tells You About Breastfeeding and Pumping
4. Super Comfy High-Waisted Pants
I love compression leggings as much as the next girl, but postpartum is not the time to wear them. You need loose, comfy, clothing that isn’t going to bother your belly or incision. Postpartum can be an itchy time for your belly, and if you’re wearing a girdle or those fun postpartum mesh undies, you’ll want to trust me here.
I had postpartum-specific yoga pants the first time around, but you don’t have to. You can also just get some thrifted exercise clothes that are a size larger than what you normally would wear. (I did this my second pregnancy.) Just shoot for the wide waistband. I can’t find the exact ones I had from PinkBlush, but they were really similar to these.
If you’re curious about my favorite maternity and postpartum clothing, I was pretty much obsessed with Pink Blush.
Related Reading: 5 Places to Find Cute Maternity Activewear
5. Granny Panties
I’m not talking about the mesh undies you’re bringing home from the hospital. Those feel super comfy for a bit, but you’ll out-shrink them within a few days. (Your body is amazing!) You may be ready to wear some “real” underwear pretty quick, but it might be too soon for anything tight or constricting.
It will certainly be too soon for strappy things. 😉
So it’s okay to get yourself some high-waisted, roomy underwear that you may never wear again. I got some classic Hanes granny-panties that were a size up from what I normally wear and it was glorious. (I recommend dark colors, of course.) Those undies have long since been trashed, but it helped me to feel normal but also comfortable in my first several weeks postpartum.
P.S. If you’re a c-section mama, your previous undies might hit your waist at the wrong place, rubbing on your incision. You don’t want that!
I recommend some regular old granny panties, but they do make some postpartum-specific underwear, too. Here are a few to check out:
So, now that you have the deets on my postpartum essentials, can you narrow it down for yourself? You may find that you don’t need all of these things. Or you might go for all of them! Either way, I wish you the best in birth and postpartum.
Want to go beyond my favorite postpartum essentials? I have a bunch of articles about mamahood and health! Check these out: