You’ve probably noticed by now that I am a planner. So when I was going off on Maternity leave, I wanted to do my research about what I would need for my postpartum recovery. I knew that once I finished work, baby could come at any time and I didn’t want to feel unprepared when it did. So I did my research, made my list and made myself a little caddy (link below) of things that I could keep by my bedside or downstairs that had everything in it that I could possibly need when baby was here. The caddy had all of my recovery essentials in, so I wanted to share with you what I found useful along with some other bits I loved.
I was recommended paper knickers, which you can buy pretty easily from Boots but I personally didn’t find them supportive enough. I found that buying big high-waisted briefs about 2 sizes bigger than your pre-pregnancy size worked better and I felt more comfortable and covered in them.
I found that the cheaper ones just weren’t comfortable enough for me. So I invested in two really supportive and comfortable but more expensive bras that have lasted me. They were brilliant for daytime feeds and comfortable enough to wear during the night feeds.
This one sounds ridiculous. But I promise you it works. It’s basically a large maternity pad-which are absolutely crucial regardless- covered with some Witch hazel, Aloe Vera gel and Calendula oil which all promote healing. I kept mine in the fridge (hence the name) and it really helped to provide relief on my stitches, and I was pretty much healed within 2 weeks. Also keep lots of normal maternity pads in there as you will use a lot of them for afterbirth bleeding.
Water and snacks
I kept a big bottle of water in my caddy so that it was within reach at all times. Breastfeeding makes you super thirsty so it’s vital and it helps maintain your milk supply. You’ll also feel more hungry than usual, so I kept protein bars and bags of popcorn in my caddy to keep me going. Even if you don’t breastfeed, water is still so important especially when you’re recovering so staying hydrated is key.
Whether it’s a Kindle, an Ipad or a book, make sure you have something handy to read or keep you entertained. Breastfeeding can often take a shockingly long time (often up to an hour) so you need something within arms reach to keep you occupied. Be prepared to be trapped under a sleeping baby for hours on end. If you’re looking for a good postpartum recovery book, I recommend ‘The fourth trimester‘ by Kimberly Ann Johnson.
I made myself up a little makeup bag of things that made me feel good. Those first few weeks are blissful, but they’re also emotional and exhausting so self-care and doing something to make you feel good is essential. My kit included nipple balm – also used as lip balm, deodorant, hand cream and a hydrating face spritz. So even if you get stuck on the couch in your PJ’s for hours and don’t actually manage to make it to the shower, these will automatically make you feel a little bit fresher.
I also had a little bag of products that I used during or after my bath (which are SO good for recovery if you can steal some time). They included a Lavender oil to put in my bath along with some Calendula oil. Both are good for healing and relaxation. I also had a massage oil which was good for massaging my boobs in the bath when they felt super full and painful and a bottom spritz which I used on my stitches after a soak.
Nice PJ’s and a dressing gown
I wouldn’t even bother in investing in any clothes until you’ve had the baby because you’ll have no way of predicting what size you will be and this will fluctuate once baby is here. Instead, invest in some nice loungewear sets or PJ’s that make you feel comfortable and warm. Also make sure that they’re something that you’re happy for visitors to see you in. I lived in lovely oversized nightshirts that were perfect for breastfeeding and I didn’t feel too confined in them. I just popped a pair of leggings underneath when I had visitors and kept nice and comfy in a fluffy dressing gown.
Of course this all depends on how your labour and recovery are. Some are definitely worse than others and require more than just a bit of oil. But all of these things worked for me and I felt so much better knowing that I had a few bits that weren’t exactly necessary but still made me feel more like me during the huge transition. My best friend who is also a mama actually put together a huge basket of all of the things that she recommends based on her experience and it was the loveliest thing. So if you have any recommendations or a pregnant friend, please consider doing this or sharing as much advice as possible because it really does make a massive difference!
Links to products recommended