FAIR WARNING: This post is real life, guys! While I am tip-toeing into TMI territory, it is with the hopes it will be useful for someone. I had to scramble after my first birth to get these things, and the traditional product offerings often contain ingredients I’d rather avoid. It is so much easier to buy these things ahead of time.
This is my (very!) personal postpartum list. Everyone does things differently, but if you’d like some ideas, I hope these are helpful. While some of this might seem like overkill, taking care of our delicate bodies after a birth not only helps prevent infection but also makes things far more comfortable … and more apt to heal quickly. I recommend corralling all of these items in a convenient place in your bathroom so it is at the ready every time you need it. Here we go:
Organic overnight pads and pantiliners. 2 packs of each. Traditional pads and pantiliners often contain questionable ingredients, including chlorine and fragrance. [EDIT: Since publishing this post many years ago, better products have arrived on the marketplace. I've updated the links to reflect that!]
Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Spray. This is to replace the Dermoplast numbing spray provided by the hospital, which feels amazing but isn't the best in terms of ingredients.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. This is to replace a traditional hemorrhoid cream, which often contains parabens.
Peri bottle. Although plastic is best avoided, I wouldn't worry about it in this case. The hospital or birthing center will provide one, so definitely bring it home with you.
Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream. This is an alternative to lanolin. Although it has been used for generations, lanolin really is not a safe ingredient. The lanolin itself is not that bad, but the sheep are nearly always sprayed with toxic ingredients. Click here to learn more.
Stool softener.TMI, I know, but many women struggle with this after delivery. I hear Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks is a great organic option (I have not tried it personally).
Prenatal vitamins. Continue with these. I like the ones from Thorne.
Heating pad. Great for sore backs. This etsy seller did a custom cover for me in a plain natural cotton for no additional cost.
Underwear. And here it is: do yourself a favor and buy a pack or two of comfy white cotton underwear. These likely will end up in the garbage and that's okay. Comfort and recovery are the key here. (And then treat yourself to something beautiful and organic when things are back on track!)
There. Now we are really friends.
Not on the list but something to consider: pain reliever. Many women forgo pain relief altogether due to concern about the ingredients. Although I avoid medicine whenever possible, after something this disruptive to the body, I wouldn't hesitate to take Advil for a limited period if I needed it. For my son, I think I took it for two days, and with my daughter, I don't remember taking it at all. Just be sure to take it with food, and limit it to what is genuinely needed.
No doubt this list is incomplete—every birth is different. For example, I did not need ice packs, but I know many women do. Here is a recipe for making your own ... and if you use the products listed above, they will be even safer. If needing a sitz bath, Wellness Mamahas a great herbal recipe.
And finally, I was still learning about toxins when I had my first baby, so I used some ingredients back then that I now regret. This list, while not perfect, is a huge improvement. Sending love and comfort to all expectant mamas!
EDIT: Soooo I've gotten a lot of questions about the pain relief. Our bodies are all very different and by all meansI support however you need to cope and recuperate. If you need Advil for two weeks, go for it! If you need something stronger, I support you! I had epidurals with both deliveries, and I don't regret it for one minute and would do it all over again the exact same way. Everyone's experience is extremely personal and different. The goal is healthy babies, healthy moms ... however you get there is amazing!