Sore nipples, pain in the perineum and backache – these you know are just a tip of the iceberg as far as the postpartum nightmare is concerned. Needless to say, this will be your misery for the first six weeks after your bun comes out of the oven. Your ultimate goal is to make a speedy recovery during this period and to make it as comfortable and easy-breezy as possible. An all-purpose postpartum care kit comes in handy here and you must have these items in it.
When it comes to packing up a kit you need items for your five Bs- boobies, belly, back, body and bum plus areas close to the bum.
I YOUR BOOBIES I
1. Breastfeeding cooling pads
You'll need these to give your nipples some quick cooling relief after all that suckling by your baby. These pads are made to soothe sore or painful nipples so you can continue to breastfeed.
Tips: Buy those with pads made of hydrogel, are reusable and can be refrigerated for a maximum cooling effect.
2. Breast pads
Leaking accidents are the most annoying thing about breastfeeding (well, for now, yes, but wait till your baby grows some teeth - yikes!). Anyway, breast pads to the rescue. Just stash these inside your bras and you're good to go.
Tips: Buy those that are washable, reusable and made of cotton so they are more absorbent and don't rub off on your already throbbing nipples – ouch! Some come in fancy patterns and colours – if you want to add some chic.
3. Nipple balm
Applying a nipple balm is another way to relieve painful or cracking nipples if you're not so cool with the cooling pads.
Tips: Buy those that are non-toxic, baby safe and organic since your baby can swallow it when they are feeding. Look out for brands with ingredients such as beeswax, olive oil, coconut oil, calendula and chamomile.
4. Nursing bras
Those twin girls up there, sure need a lot of support during this period so do get them some nursing bras.
Tips: Buy those that have a hands-free nursing bra accessory or double up as a pumping bra so you can breast pump on the go without having to change out of your regular nursing bra – the Bravado Designs Clip and Pump bra does this.
Overnight bras for middle-of-the-night feedings and those without hooks that bite should be your best pick.
5. Soothing breast wipes
Take the tussle out of cleaning up after breastfeeding by stocking up on some breast wipes. You don't need to go wash down after every breastfeeding session with your baby, just wipe and get ready for the next.
Tips: Buy those products that are non-toxic, baby-safe, organic and maintain good breast hygiene.
Print your Postpartum Care Kit to view your must-haves for your boobies.
I YOUR BELLY I
6. Belly binder or band
A belly binder or band comes in handy if you've given birth by a C-section. It holds your abdomen in place and supports your core and pelvic floor and helps your body to heal. What's more – it makes your postpartum belly look less bloated under your clothes.
Tips: Do not wear belly-binders too tightly, this can put too much pressure on your pelvic floor and can make you develop prolapse or hernia.
7. Abdominal pads
You can put these on your incision while you're healing to prevent it from being irritated by your underwear.
Best Brands: Medline
8. Silicone gel (cream) and sheets
These are other must-haves if you've had a C-section; you can apply them to improve scarring after you've healed.
Best Brands: ScarAway (Silicone sheets) and Kelo-Cote (Silicone gel)
Print your Postpartum Care Kit to view your must-haves for your belly.
I YOUR BACK I
9. Heating Pads
There's nothing that your postpartum backache loves more than a heating pad – make sure your kit doesn't lack this.
I YOUR BODY I
10. Pain relievers
Pain is the name of the game when it comes to postpartum. Everything from your C-section incision right down to your vagina screams pain – you may even get gas pain if you've had a C-section! Pain relievers will be your best buddies during this period.
Tips: Pain relievers must be prescribed by your midwife or doctor.
Print your Postpartum Care Kit to view your must-haves for your back and body.
I YOUR BUM & CO I
11. Maternity Pads
One of the common symptoms of postpartum is prolonged and heavy vaginal bleeding as your womb sheds its lining, which is all the blood and tissue that helped your baby to grow. This is called lochia but no worries - this is like having a period but a bit longer and soggier than normal. Besides, it doesn't last longer than 10 days. But you will spot lightly for another six weeks so don't skimp up on maternity pads just yet.
Tips: Go for pads that can keep you covered overnight so you don't get leaks and have to wake up in the middle of the night to change.
Do not use tampons or menstrual cups during this period since this kind of blood contains a lot of bacteria and might build them up inside you causing an infection.
Best Brands: Always
12. Disposable Underwear
You'll have to make a choice between wearing regular underwear or disposable underwear – the latter should be your option since it's more convenient – you don't have to keep washing your undies anytime you soil yourself and it saves you a lot of time which you don't have a lot of for now because you're caring for two – you and your bundle of joy and we don't need to tell you that that already is a handful.
13. Peri Bottle
Keeping your perineum spick and span is very key during your postpartum recovery. Chances are you may have been 'torn' during delivery and you are sore – you need to clean that area well to avoid infection especially after you use the loo (to pee or poo). A peri bottle can be very useful - you can fill it with only warm water or some warm water and antiseptic solution and squirt some over there to freshen up.
Best Brands: Frida
14. Perineal Cooling Pads
For the first few days after delivery, perineal cooling pads come in handy to soothe the swelling and pain and to absorb the bleeding. You can decide to use these for a while and then switch to maternity pads when it's convenient for you.
Tips: Buy those that don't need to be frozen every now and then.
Best Brands: Medline
15. Perineal Spray
Get some more relief for your peri by getting an anaesthetic – a local one to be precise, to help you manage your peri pain. These come in various forms – creams, ointments and pads though sprays are more common.
Tips: Consult your doctor first before getting a perineal spray since using anaesthetics require some professional advice.
Best Brands: Dermoplast
16. Stool softeners
It appears constipation and C-sections are partners in crime since most women who have C-sections get constipated but by and large, it is also an ailment of most woman during postpartum. Taking stool softeners makes it easier to empty your bowels without the hassle.
Tips: Talk to your doctor about using stool softeners and what choices will be best for you.
Drink lots of water if you’re put on a postpartum constipation laxative – the laxative needs water to do its work.
Best Brands: Colace
17. Sitz bath and tablets
'Get in the hot seat and give your bum a sauna’ by getting a sitz bath. This contraption is simply made of a plastic tub that fits inside your toilet bowl (below or on top of seat) and can be filled with hot water to release hot steam around your bum – this can be very soothing and helps clean your peri and relieve pain around your vag and peri. You might want to pump some sitz bath tablets or Epsom salts into your bath for some extra relief. What's more, sitz baths also provide relief from haemorrhoids by reducing swelling.
18. Kegel weights or balls
All that stretching, pulling and pushing during delivery will probably leave the muscles in your pelvis and vagina a bit wobbly. Using Kegel weights or balls to do some Kegel exercises helps to put the strength back into these muscles and also to prevent incontinence.
Tips: Talk to your doctor before inserting anything into your vagina during postpartum for fear of infection.
Best Brands: Intimate Rose
19. Haemorrhoid cream
Those swollen veins in your rectum or anus are some of the excess baggage that comes with postpartum – and oh they itch like hell! Applying some cream will give you some relief from the itching, pain and swelling from haemorrhoids or piles so make this a part of your list of items.
Best Brands: Preparation H
20. Medicated Cooling Pads
Another way of relieving pain or any kind of discomfort from haemorrhoids or piles is by applying medicated cooling pads. These can also be used daily to keep your vagina and rectum clean.
Tips: Go for those that contain witch hazel as this is the best
Best Brands: Tucks
With these must-haves, you are on your way to making a full recovery from postpartum so you can enjoy all those blissful moments with your baby.
Print your Postpartum Care Kit to view your must-haves for your bum and areas around your bum.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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