8 Postpartum Must Haves

I can’t believe Liam is already five days old!


For my first post as a new mother, I thought I’d share my postpartum favorites. Although I was lucky enough to have a quick and healthy recovery (I was up walking less than an hour after delivering Liam), there are some things that have made my first week at home a lot easier now that the delivery high and adrenaline is wearing off…

1. Bamboo Belly Bandit


The weirdest feeling after birth is the lack of muscle tone in your abdomen. As a side sleeper, I could feel my ribs touching my hip bone because my oblique muscles had more or less disappeared. Although pricey, the Belly Bandit is a great way to start toning your abdomen right after delivery. I’ve worn it between 1-3 hours every day since I got home from the hospital and can already tell the bloat is gradually disappearing. It also makes your core feel tighter and stronger which is a great feeling.

2. Squirt Bottle


This one isn’t very glamorous but oh so necessary… Since I got a few stitches, it is extremely uncomfortable to go to the bathroom. As you pee, squirt a bottle full of warm water against the sore area or stitches and it will drastically reduce the burning sensation because of the dilution. Trust me and thank me later…

3. Frozen Witch Hazel Pads / Ice Pack


Again, helps with the soreness. Wrap an ice pack in a piece of cloth or in a ziplock bag and rest it against your sore area. Another option is to wet maxi pads with witch hazel and freeze them for later. The feeling truly does alleviate the pain.

4. Arnica Homeopathic Medicine


My midwife recommended homeopathic arnica to help with postpartum healing. However, when researching it, I realized there were a few other benefits:

  • The shakes – if you have had a baby you will likely remember the shaking that usually occurs after a birth.   Arnica will ground you, return your body to the present and allow you to stop shaking.
  • Postpartum bleeding – Arnica works to speed the healing process after you give birth and one aspect of this is assisting in controlling bleeding.  Taking Arnica for the seven days after your birth will allow you to stop bleeding faster and if hemorrhage is an issue will reduce the possibility of this if taken immediately following the birth.
  • Swelling and bruising – Arnica will greatly reduce the discomfort of swelling and bruising of the perineum after birth.  If there is a hematoma, tearing or cutting then Arnica is an even greater support measure.
  • Babies – if your baby has experienced any level of trauma – i.e:  bleeding, bruising, shoulder dystocia, vacuum or forceps extraction then Arnica will definitely deal with the sensations of pain and shock.

5. My Brest Friend


In regards to breastfeeding, I was lucky enough to have a baby who latched on right away… he did so well! For days when I need the extra support, though, My Brest Friend comes in very handy. Unlike the boppy pillow which doesn’t tighten at the waist, My Brest Friend can be tightened as low or high as you want it. Liam is supported and comfortable and so am I.

6. Organic Milk Maid Tea


Although my milk came in very smoothly around my third day postpartum, I’ve been drinking this organic milkmaid tea to help with milk production. It can’t hurt! I do recommend drinking it hot because of the strong combination of herbs (fenugreek, fennel, red raspberry, and stinging nettle). I find it tasty, but definitely think it could be a little strong for some.

7. Nursing Apps


Joe and I have been using the notes section of our i phones to document feedings, wet, and dirty diapers. However, there are a variety of nursing apps available that can make the first few days easier. You can document feedings, sleep time, diaper changes, etc… My favorite one is Eat Sleep, but two other pretty good ones are BabyNursing and MammaBaby.

8. Help from family and friends


I knew having my mother in New York living with us for the summer would be helpful, but I didn’t think it would be as incredibly necessary. She has been helping with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and it has allowed Joe and I to take regular naps and showers. Simply having people stop by to drop off food and snacks has been helpful. Do not refuse the help when it is offered — you will most likely feel overwhelmed when coming home and your focus will be on your baby, not on dirty dishes and loads of dirty onesies!

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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