In addition to filing your freezer with nutritional meals, lining up pet sitters, and daily help from family, friends, and/or professional postpartum experts, you’ll need to stock up on supplies to have on hand upon your discharge from your birthing facility. Below are a dozen comfort suggestions to help you prepare for an easier postpartum time and a speedy recovery for both surgical and vaginal deliveries.
NEW MOM MUST HAVE ITEMS:
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After care items for a vaginal birth:
- Epifoam — If you receive stitches on your perineum,you’ll likely receive a numbing spray called Epifoam while in the hospital. If you need more after your return home, ask your doctor if Dermaplast ( over the counter) is an acceptable alternative.
- Sitz Baths — This plastic tub is placed directly on the toilet rim (seat up) and you sit on it as it circulates warm water on your bottom via a tube connected to a bag you fill from the sink. This helps clean your bottom, may encourage urination, and will help with healing. Many women find it very comforting. Follow this with an ice pack! (Insert sigh of relief!) Your hospital may offer you a sitz bath or you can find this at your local pharmacy.
- Peri-Bottle — Following the birth of your baby, you will be given a small plastic bottle filled with warm water. Use it to squirt on your bottom as much as necessary to help encourage urination and dilute the sting caused from urine. Once your bladder is empty, squirt your bottom again gently with as much water as necessary to help clean your bottom. Then PAT your bottom dry with hospital wash cloths or toilet paper. Take your bottle home with you or buy a few to keep in each of your bathrooms.
For both type of deliveries:
- Doughnut-Shaped Pillow or Wedge — (V-shaped) cushion
Called coccydynia or coccygodynia, tailbone pain usually goes away on its own within a few weeks or months after childbirth. To lessen pain while sitting, use a doughnut-shaped pillow or wedge(V-shaped) cushion. Try a dollar store pool tube.
- Witch Hazel or Tuck’s Pads — Found at your local pharmacy, witch hazel is an over the counter astringent, which can be used to help shrink hemorrhoids. Most commercial bottles of witch hazel contain alcohol so it may sting with direct application. TJ Dickinson’s is a brand that sells pure witch hazel. It may take you some time to locate TJ’s unless you shop at Whole Foods. (You may want to try the wipes, Tuck’s pads, or Preparation H.) If using the liquid, you can make a”padcicle” by soaking a pad with witch hazel and placing it in a clean Ziploc bag then freezing it. Once frozen, remove it and wear it as normal. Many women find this very comforting for their swollen, sore bottoms – especially after a vaginal delivery.
- Senokot — A gentle vegetable-based laxative called Senokot may be offered to you at the hospital. You can also find it over the counter at your local pharmacy. It is generally well-tolerated (doesn’t cause intestinal cramping) and takes effect within about 12 hours, so it’s usually taken in the evening.
- AquaPhor Healing Ointment — Aquaphor Healing Ointment protects the skin to enhance the natural healing process and help prevent external irritants from reaching the wound. You can find this at most Drug Stores