Postpartum Must Haves After C-section

If you had a C-section, there are a few must-have postpartum items that will be helpful as you begin to heal from the surgery.  Our list includes tips for a successful recovery after having a baby via cesarean section in no particular order.

With a baby on the way and recovering from a C-section, you may be wondering what you should have in the house to help you on your new mom’s journey. This list covers the must-haves after a c-section that will make your recovery easier, while also giving you peace of mind knowing that your baby is being taken care of in other ways.

Postpartum must-haves after c-section…with so much to deal with, it’s easy to forget what things you’ll need to feel like yourself again. Here’s a handy list of postpartum essentials that will help make the process a little easier.

Expecting moms, listen up: The postpartum must-haves and essentials you stash in your postpartum kit are just as important as stocking the nursery with the newborn essentials you meticulously added to your baby registry. Yes, that comfy pregnancy pillow is your sleeping savior now, but a postpartum kit will help you heal after one of the biggest bodily events of your life (you know, after nine months of growing a human). It should have all the necessities to help you recover as quickly and comfortably as possible after the physical trauma of giving birth. And while buying supplies like postpartum pads and perineal spray isn’t nearly as fun as browsing through teeny-tiny baby clothes, your exhausted, sore self will be grateful to have a bit of relief. After all, your baby needs you, and you deserve to have the best post-birth care as you dive head-first into motherhood. All that said, knowing what to buy for your postpartum care can be tricky, especially if you’re a first-time mom.

What To Eat After C Section For Fast Recovery

After your c-section you can eat these foods to help you recover fast. Whole grains, especially oatmeal, are high in fiber. Dark, leafy greens: Alfalfa, kale and spinach. Fennel: This spice helps fight infections and relieve gas. Garlic: Other antibiotics can cause stomach upset but eating two cloves of raw garlic a day will ensure that you don’t get ill at all. Chickpeas: A good source of protein which aids your recovery after birth and prevents constipation.

Healthy, delicious whole grains boost your energy levels and get you back on the move. Toss a handful of nuts into your morning oatmeal or sprinkle some flax seeds (also good sources of protein) on top.

Recovering from a cesarean section is no joke. It takes time and energy to heal after surgery, as you are unable to move as much as you want and take care of your new baby. However, there are some foods that can help speed up the recovery process and get your body back on track.

How To Sleep After C Section

Getting comfortable after surgery is important. To relieve pain, swelling and bruising, you should focus on sleeping on your left side since this gives you optimal blood flow and also makes digestion easier. You may need a body pillow or other supportive aids to get comfortable and provide proper support for your abdomen and hips. Even if you’re not able to lie down for long periods of time, try to take short naps throughout the day so that you’ll feel more energetic when you wake up. If possible, sleep in an elevated position (such as on a recliner chair) to help reduce swelling in your legs and assist with healing.

The best position for sleeping is on your left side. This allows optimal blood flow to your developing baby and it also makes digestion easier. To get comfortable and provide proper support, you may need a body pillow or other supportive aids.

After your c-section, it is important to focus on establishing a good sleep routine. In order to maintain blood flow to your baby and reduce swelling, it’s recommended that you sleep on your left side at night. A body pillow or other supportive aids will help keep you comfortable and provide proper support for your abdomen and hips.

Whether you’re recovering from a cesarean section or just have a large tummy from pregnancy, it can be hard to find a comfortable position that doesn’t aggravate your incision. But sleeping on your left side will give you added support, so it’s the ideal post-birth position for most women. Your beltline should be slightly tucked in for better circulation and easier digestion. You may also want to buy a body pillow or other supportive aid to make sure you’re getting enough support for your abdomen and hips.

Cassie Shortsleeve, a perinatal health coach and educator and the founder of Dear Sunday, says, “Matrescence, the process of becoming a mother, is one of the biggest physical, physiological, [and] psychological transformations women go through in their lives.” Beyond assembling a postpartum kit, Shortsleeve recommends specialized postpartum support. “I always suggest a postpartum doula and social support (virtual groups — I run some) throughout this transformative timeframe,” she says.

When Can I Start Bending After C Section

It’s important to be careful when bending and lifting your baby in the first weeks after delivery. You should not lift your baby by pulling on his/her shoulder, legs or feet. Lifting more than your baby, stretching, straining and deep bending are not recommended until about 4-6 weeks post-delivery OR until you are able to do these movements with no pain or strain and your incision feels like it has healed.

After a c-section, it can take about 6 weeks for your body to heal before you can start lifting more than your newborn baby, stretching, straining and deep bending.

You may resume normal activities such as light chores, exercise and physical activity when you are ready. However, if possible, avoid heavy lifting, straining and deep bending until about 4-6 weeks post-delivery OR until your body feels like it has healed.

RELATEDThe Best Breastfeeding Pads For Preventing Leaks While Nursing

What should I wear immediately after delivery?

You’ll want something that’s easy access for breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, and medical personnel, but also easy for covering up if you expect guests and don’t want to — you know — be all naked (but if that’s how you roll, more power to you!). A labor and delivery gown is made for just this (don’t worry, we found cute ones!), and you’ll definitely want to stock up on mesh underwear, but more on that below.

Also consider getting a few sets of nursing gowns and pajamas and bringing them for your hospital stay. You’ll also appreciate having them in those first weeks and months at home.

What should I buy for postpartum care? / What should be in a postpartum kit?

Do your postpartum self a favor and stock up now, then create a kit for your delivery bag plus more supplies to keep at home. Below, your official postpartum checklist, which includes must-haves from the moms who’ve been there. Seriously, you’ll want one of everything on this list.

1. Cooling Wipes & Pads

A godsend. The cool, soft cloths are gentle enough to clean your delicate areas and sturdy enough to line the top of your menstrual pad (or disposable undies). The natural antiseptic in Tucks helps inflammation while fighting bacteria. It’s incredibly soothing to your war-torn vaginal area and your newly-inflamed hemorrhoids (yep, there are hemorrhoids).

Frida Mom also has pad liners that can be stashed in your panties for relief. They’re soaked in witch hazel, a natural soother.Tucks Medicated Cooling Wipes$8.39AT AMAZONFrida Mom Cooling Pad Liners$11.04AT AMAZON

2. Peri Bottle (Squirt Bottle)

It’s hard to feel fresh when you’re a hot mess. After using the bathroom, a quick squirt of warm water keeps your personal spots clean. Most hospitals provide peri bottles, but you can buy yourself a better one that’s designed to squirt upward so you don’t have to finagle an angle. It’s a small convenience, but you’ll want anything that makes life even the tiniest bit easier as you recover. Unless you have a bidet, a peri bottle is your new best bathroom friend, making it a postpartum must-have.Ninja Mama Peri Bottle$9.99AT AMAZONCYNPEL LTD Peri Bottle$9.99AT AMAZON

3. Pain & Itch Relief Spray (For “Down There”)

Get a bottle for every room where you might pull down your undies! No joke! One major brand is Dermoplast — I found the blue bottle to be superior to the red bottle. Both use benzocaine as their active ingredient, but the blue bottle contains menthol and lanolin, making it perfect for after-birth care. After gentle wiping or spritzing with water, a quick spray on your privates eases the sting.

Similarly, Frida Mom has a healing foam that also relieves pain and swelling. Like the pad liners, it uses witch hazel as a main ingredient and is made without harsh chemicals.Dermoplast Pain & Itch Spray$6.42AT AMAZONFrida Mom Perineal Healing Foam$12.97AT AMAZON

4. Postpartum Pads

Again, the hospital will have pads, and they will probably have ice packs, too. If you’re lucky, they may also have padscicles, which are both in one. Either way, you’ll want to have some extras on hand. Instead of getting pads and ice packs separately, go for absorbent pad/ice-pack combos that are easier, less bulky, and cleaner than shoving an ice pack and a pad in your (mesh) underwear.

As the bleeding lets up, you’ll be able to downsize to heavy-duty overnight pads, then regular pads over the course of a few weeks.Medline Deluxe Cold Packs$29.99AT AMAZONNEWGO Perineal Ice Packs$12.90AT AMAZONFrida Mom 2-in-1 Postpartum Maxi Pads$19.97AT AMAZON

5. Disposable/Mesh

Underwear

Most hospitals put you in mesh underwear. It feels awkward, but it’s oh-so-practical. It’s much easier to toss everything instead of having a pile of disgusting undies to wash. As you heal, accidents still occur, so be sure to add this to your postpartum checklist. And, FYI, you’ll be wearing these for at least a couple of weeks.

While you’ll probably be sent home with a pile of not-so-sexy underthings, it’s nice to have extra underwear on hand so you don’t run out. Frida Mom‘s boyshort mesh undies are thicker than hospital-grade, and since you’ll be wearing a pad with them anyway, you can keep them on for a couple of days. (They start to deteriorate when you rip off the pads). Some new moms even opt for absorbent underwear, which takes the place of using mesh underwear with pads, and Always Discreet is a popular choice.Always Discreet Postpartum Underwear$30.49AT AMAZONFrida Mom Disposable Underwear$15.99AT AMAZON

6. Products for Breastfeeding

Nursing or not, you will leak. Grab some nipple pads to absorb extra milk and keep your shirts (mostly) dry. Disposable nipple pads are easiest in those first few weeks especially, but you can grab a set of washable pads, too. If you are breastfeeding, consider getting a pair of nipple pads designed to soothe sore, cracked nipples, like Lansinoh Soothies (they can be reused for up to 72 hours). And if you want to catch the milk leaking into your bra rather than absorb it, Shortsleeve recommends Haakaa’s silicone breastmilk collectors, which she says are “so great for catching milk early on and [you] could get enough to make a bottle without needing to pump, i.e., someone else can do a feed without you needing to pump.”

In addition to dealing with leaking milk, you’ll likely experience sore nipples for a few to several weeks after you start breastfeeding, but an effective nipple cream can be a lifesaver. Shortsleeve recommends Motherlove’s nipple cream and says, “It’s the softest out there, and needed in those early days of raw and painful nipples.” (Bonus: The company is a woman-owned, zero-waste Certified B Corp that focuses on herbal ingredients.)

Good nursing bras are another key to improving your breastfeeding experience, and Shortsleeve suggests Bodily’s Everything Bra. “This one is as soft as butter,” she says. “I always tell clients to invest in it.”Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads (1 pair)$7.98AT WALMARTLansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads (200 count)$17.14AT AMAZONOrganic Bamboo Nursing Breast PadsFor the price and quality, you really can’t beat this deal. These organic bamboo nursing pads come in a 14-pack, which is more than most reusable packs come in, as well as a laundry bag and a gift bag. They also come in three different sizes—medium, large and extra large—so you can find the perfect fit for your breasts. Each bad as a total of 4 layers and is made to last 5-6 hours between changes. $14.96AT AMAZONHaakaa Breast Shells Milk Savers$26.99AT AMAZONMotherlove Nipple Cream$10.40AT AMAZONBodily The Everything Bra$48AT BODILY

7. Caffeine & Pain Relievers

Blinding postpartum headaches, especially after an epidural, are a real thing. Ask your doctor beforehand about how to address it, as your plan may differ due to your healthcare needs and history.

For me personally, a combination of caffeine and Tylenol staves off shooting headache pains. After baby number three, iced coffee did the trick. One inexpensive caffeine pill equals one cup of coffee, so keep a bottle on hand (or, go all out and consider it an excuse to get Starbucks on the reg). You’ll also want a stash of ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol). (The doc may suggest you rotate.)Tylenol Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels$3.82AT AMAZONAmazon Basics Ibuprofen Tablets$8.99AT AMAZONNutricost Caffeine Pills$12.95AT AMAZON

8. Stool Softener

It takes a bit of time for your system to regulate — not to mention, pushing in any capacity can be very painful while you’re still raw. That’s why most doctors recommend a stool softener for those first few days.Dulcolax Soft Chews$16.64AT AMAZONAmazon Basics Stool Softener$5.52AT AMAZON

9. Prenatal Vitamins

Your body needs to recoup. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins for at least six weeks postpartum, longer if you desire. And talk to your OB-GYN about postpartum vitamins. Yes, they’re a thing.SmartyPants Prenatal Gummy Vitamin$27.85AT AMAZONRitual Prenatal Vitamin$35AT RITUAL

10. Quick, Healthy Snacks

With a newborn at home, you’ll barely have time to take a shower, let alone sit down to a healthy snack. This is especially true if you’re a breastfeeding mama, as you’ll be especially tired and hungry as you work to nourish your baby around the clock. But whether you feed your little one with breastmilk or formula, you’ll want to keep your energy up with some quick, healthy snacks like dried or fresh fruit, granola bars, or yogurt cups.

If you plan on being a breastfeeding mama, look for snacks with ingredients to help with milk production like oatmeal and even lactation-promoting ice cream (!). And check out Boobie Bars and Nunona Mama Balls, which are specifically designed to enhance the quality of breastmilk. (P.S. They’re delicious and satiating even if you’re not breastfeeding.)Boobie Bar Superfood Lactation Bar$16.98AT AMAZONNunona Mama BallsIntroducing a preggo mama’s version of a box of candy — only better. Nunona Cashew Confetti Balls are made with nut butter, oats, dates, flaxseeds, and brewer’s yeast — all ingredients designed to energize, nourish, and improve the quality of breastmilk. Especially if her due date is near, this is the perfect snack to have on hand to sustain her ravenous postpartum appetite.$42AT AMAZON

11. A Postpartum Care Kit / Postpartum Care Package

You can also save yourself some trouble by getting a kit that’s already put together for you. You’ll probably end up paying a bit more for fewer products, and we still suggest going through this checklist to make sure all your bases are covered.

However, these kits provide a great starting point, are easy to pack into your hospital bag, and make wonderful baby shower gifts for other expecting moms. Amidst piles of cute (and at times, useless) baby items, she’ll certainly appreciate that someone thought of her.Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit$49.99AT AMAZONBodily Care For Birth Box$105AT BODILY

Make those first weeks easier on yourself by thinking about your needs beforehand. I know, I know, it’s more fun to buy a layette than it is to buy a package of Depends. Thinking about snuggling blissfully with Baby is preferable to thinking about what you will do when you can’t wipe after number two. However, experience has taught me that I don’t want to be without these items after birth, and you won’t want to be, either.

Best Postpartum Products

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Basket on a bed filled with postpartum must haves for mama

One of the things that I like to do is make a basket for the bathroom. Postpartum bleeding and recovery can be pretty tough at first. But there are a few things that make it so much easier. Your hospital will most likely give you some of these products, but I like to buy some too because the bleeding/pain can last weeks or more.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.517.2_en.html#goog_9791378140 seconds of 59 secondsVolume 0% https://611bf440a7816b1fcd1292958fda5c45.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

BLEEDING & HYGIENE:

  • Disposable Underwear & Pads – The hospital will give you large pads and the mesh underwear and these work fine, but I like to buy the disposable underwear (adult diapers). I find they are more comfortable and are more effective with bleeding. And I can get them in a plus-size that fits my body better. I also buy pads in various sizes because you will bleed heavy at first and then it will get lighter.
  • Peri Bottle – After you have your baby, your lady bits will be quite sore. It can hurt to wipe, so most hospitals will also give you a small peri bottle to help you cleanse yourself. I like the one from Frida Mom because the angle of the spout is easier to use. It also comes with a little bag that you can put it in if you need to take it on the go.
  • Cleansing Wipes – I don’t use these right away, when I am so tender. But they are great for when you are home recovering and you still don’t want to use toilet paper.
  • Sitz Bath – I recently found these tablets from Frida Mom and I am so happy to have them on hand. Sitz baths are the perfect way to get clean but also provide comfort. I have also heard good things about this soak from Pure Body Naturals.

PAIN RELIEF:

  • Dermoplast – this spray is amazing! It is cooling and helps relieve the pain. Some hospitals provide some, but like I said, I like to buy extra to have at home too. It is one of my absolute must-haves.
  • Tucks Pads – these little pads also provide relief when you wipe, especially if you develop hemorrhoids (very common).
  • Cooling Pad Liners – these are new to me, they are also from Frida Mom and they go right on top of your pad for a cooling effect.
  • Afterease – After you deliver the baby and the placenta, your uterus still has to get rid of any excess blood and get back to its normal size. To do this, it contracts. And it can hurt. I read that it gets worse with every baby, it was definitely more painful after my second. Every time I breastfed, my contractions would start. I have never tried these Afterease drops, but I have heard amazing things, so I bought them to try.
  • Instant Ice Maxi Pads – These are from Frida Mom as well and I am so excited! You usually get a few from the hospital but then I would make my own for home. Now I have these on hand and let me tell you, they are sooooo nice. It is basically and ice pack for your hoo ha and it helps numb the pain and itchiness so effectively.

BREASTFEEDING:

I just want to say that there is so much that goes into breastfeeding and making the right decision for you and your baby. I am just sharing these things because I plan on breastfeeding and these items helped me with my first two babies.

  • Nipple Balm – Your nipples can crack and get very sore at first, so a good nipple balm really helps soothe them.
  • Nursing Pads – Boobs leak (a lot) lol. I love to have some disposable pads on hand, but I found these reusable pads that are so soft and absorbent. They can be washed and re-used and they come in an adorable little pack.
  • Comfy Nursing Bras – This is so important, you definitely want to be as comfortable as possible with easy access for the baby. It has been a little hard for me to find really good, supportive plus size options – so leave me some recommendations in the comments if you have them!
  • Comfy Nursing Tanks – I like to wear these tanks around the house and under my robe. They are great to have in the hospital too.
  • Breast Pump – I get a free pump through our insurance, be sure to look into your benefits! With my first two pregnancies, I used a Medela pump and it was good but big. So this time, I am trying a Spectra. I have heard great things and it is much smaller and can run on batteries for easy transport!
  • Haaka – I have never used this, but have heard SO MANY moms rave about it. When you are nursing, it suctions to the other breast and catches any milk let down. This can help build up a freezer supply and no milk goes to waste!
  • Nursing Friendly Clothes/Jammies – Button up jammies are perfect for nursing, so I love to have multiple sets of those.
  • Nursing Pillow – I have always used a Boppy and I have loved it, but I have heard amazing things about My Breast Friend as well. This helps support the baby while you are nursing. My lactation consultant helped me use it to get the baby in the right position for feedings.

COMFORT FOR MAMA:

  • Robe – A good cozy robe is so good for nursing! I love to put on some leggings and a nursing tank top and then just wear a robe around the house. I love this soft, plush one from Amazon but I also bought a pretty & lightweight one from PinkBlush (both include plus sizes).
  • Cozy & Soft Blanket – You are going to be spending a lot of time in bed, on the couch, in a recliner with your baby. A good, soft blanket is a great way to make it more comfortable and relaxing. I just bought an amazing one from Costco, but Amazon has tons of options too!
  • Body Butter – This body butter from Primally Pure has been Heaven during this pregnancy and I will continue using it long after. It is so rich and creamy and helps soothe the areas with stretch marks. Use code: TBB to save 10% off your first purchase with Primally Pure
  • Water Bottle – It is so important that you stay hydrated as your body recovers. I love to have a nice big water bottle around me at all times.
  • Lip Balm – My lips are always getting dry and I like to keep a lip balm by me wherever I am nursing the baby. That way it is within reach when I need it.
  • Leggings – Your body goes through lots of phases postpartum. It takes time to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. I like to have different sizes of leggings for this phase. Some of them are more stretchy and some are compression. The compression ones are nice to help you feel more supported in your tummy area.
  • Slippers – I like to bring slippers to the hospital for labor/delivery and have them at home. They are cozy and keep your feet so warm and comfortable.
  • High Waisted Underwear – You want underwear that fits but is also high-waisted to help support your tummy. These ones from Amazon have tons of positive reviews and come in inclusive sizes.

FOOD & SNACKS:

  • Protein Bars – I love to have both Perfect Bars and RXbars on hand for a quick, protein-packed snack.
  • Smoothies – This is a great way to get a super healthy snack/meal in while breastfeeding.
  • Chomps – Chomps meat sticks are another great protein packed option to have.
  • Thrive Market – I buy so many of my healthy snacks from Thrive. And it is great for postpartum because it gets delivered right to your front door!
  • Meals – cooking is difficult during this time, I recommend keeping it super simple. Here are some easy options…
    • Bagged Salad with a shredded Rotisserie Chicken
    • Chili – super easy to throw together
    • Takeout Meals – so many places deliver now because of Covid
    • Soups & Stews
    • Casseroles
    • Places like Sam’s Club & Costco have lots of take and bake meal options

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