I am a doctor mom to a toddler and an 8 month old. I am so happy to be sharing my post partum journey with you. Being a doctor, I was so sure i know everything the first time i got pregnant. I knew when the braxton hicks contraction turned into actual labour contractions. I knew when the episiotomy would be given. I even knew i would need oxytocin to increase my contractions.
Since i had done the drill to my patients a hundred times. What I didn’t know was the “postpartum period”
Shockingly easy for me, now that I think of it, but at that moment it felt no less than hell. I knew I could do it, but it was tough. No sleep, forever hungry, irritated, frustrated, no husband for emotional support (I was at my mom’s and he was home, working) it was crazy but mommas there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Breast milk supply does increase, babies do learn to latch , they do sleep 12 hrs at a stretch, and it does get easier but then “you decide to have a second baby !”
Here is a list of 60 tips and products that made my postpartum times easier, definitely not cakewalk but smoother, and I speak from personal experience as well, twice. So let’s dive right in,
Disclaimer: Through NO additional cost to you, I may be compensated from affiliate links included in this post. Learn more here.
I have divided the list into 4 parts, you can click on either of the lists first to view it right away.
1. Mummy essentials
- Mesh underwear: the most troublesome, high maintenance problem after pregnancy is the postpartum bleeding. thank god to these mesh underwear/ pad fixators. these are made of bamboo fiber, breathable and yet keep everything in place. they are disposable, yet washable. they come in a pack of 5 i bought 2 packs and about the sizing you should buy the exact waist size which is during the 9th month.
2. Briefs: i call them granny panties. once you deliver a baby forget those g strings, and bikini cut low waist panties. it all comes down to which ones can hold everything down. these have an additional tummy band so provide extra support to the rectus muscle and are good for uterine involution.
3. Perineal cold packs: for the vaginally delivered moms, the soreness can stay anywhere between 20 to 40 days postpartum, also that is the time period required for your stitches to heal. the pain from stitches makes it difficult to sit and feed but timely use of these pads just when your painkillers are going to wean off, helps a lot.
4. Thick longer sanitary pads: cannot imply enough the importance of having long thick pads stocked up, those with good absorptive capacity. because the weakness in initial week just after delivery makes it very difficult to move around. so its good if you dont need to change your pads frequently.
5. Painkillers– emanzen d or ibuprofen: buy only on prescription and use. i needed to take these three times a day. yes labour is painful but postpartum period is too. it doesnt end there. till your stitches heal be ready for the pain.
6. Uterine relaxant – meftal forte: a thing about being a second time mom- certain things were different one of them was this- uterine involution is much faster in a second time mom than a first. why so you may ask and how? well each time your baby breastfeeed’s in the first two days after delivery, it will cause contraction of the uterus. in simpler words- you get labour contractions each time you feed you baby, except there is nothing in the uterus to be thrown out this time. nobody is going to tell you this !!! the pain is hell all over again. but fret not. its great because you uterus shrinks quicker as soon as one n half day. more you feed, more shrinking and then the pain wears off.
7. Stool softner– syrup cremafin or syrup empty: the most dreaded moment is when you want poop. hard stools or straining at stools or squatting can make your stitches loose and even seperate so this is the most quintessential item on the list. also eat well, eat right. stay hydrated, make sure you dont consume things that are gassy because passing gas, sneezing, coughing all cause increased abdominal pressure and hence pressure on the stitches which can cause delayed healing.
8. Metrogyl ointment: this along with betadine ointment is to be applied on the suture line after every visit to the bathroom, to avoid an infection.
9.placentrex cream: contains extracts of human placenta, to ensure quicker healing
10. Betadine ointment: to be used with metrogyl ointment.
check my blog on care of the tear to know more about healing perineal tears
10. Steamer : human body is considered to be very weak after labour. heat is supposed to promote healing and cold delays and even stops it (think of it like cryopreservation shown in the movies to stop all bodily functions) based on that concept, drinking warm water, taking hot water baths, taking facial steam, maintaining a warm temperature in the room for yourself and tha baby, all are important for your healing and these are to be followed upto a month to 40 days. great if you can continue for 3 months with help ofcourse.
11. Ajwain/ fennel seeds: these are a galactogouge, have natural anti colic properties. when 2tbsp used in an infuser bottle with 1 litre of warm water, left overnight for soaking and taken the next day over a period of 24hrs, help ahieve the above benefits.
12. Donut pillow/ post partum care pillow: it avoids pressure on the suture line thus promotes quicker healing.
13. Heating pads for sore uterus: help in quick involution of the uterus. also helps to relieve the pain from uterine contractions each time your baby feeds and expedites its involution.
14. Postpartum tummy compression belt: a lot has been spoken about recovering from the flabby postpartum body, getting your tone back. easier said than done. this belt when worn daily for minimum 3 months, can help in reducing the baby pouch. calorie cutting is not an option for us breast feeding mammas. exceptions include, activities that cause an increase in the intra abdominal pressure like passing urine stool, sitting on a chair to eat, sleeping, breastfeeding. i know that means half the time your are not supposed to wear it but trust me ladies a bit of rush can only achieve harm here. relax give your body time to recover and do things only till the point of your comfort. dont force yourself especially for something as external as your looks.
15. Tummy control high waist leggings: oh i have lived in leggings for as long a i can remember (since my delivery) they are soft comfy. hold the flabby tummy in place, give a false sense of having a toned body, dont hold food stains so great when your kids are weaned and you want to save some time from laundry. plus they look much smart than those nighties we wear traditionally.
16. Track pants or pajamas: like i said change your wardrobe, keep switching because breastfeeding, forces us to wear clothes that are functional not necessarily smart. so here my choice for comfy yet functional home wear.
17. Snacks : dry fruits, fresh fruits, protein bars, panjiri, lactation tea, lactation cookies. one is forever hungry when breast feeding. eating right will help you gain calories the right way that can be used up in milk production and not add on to unnecessary weight gain that will be difficult to lose later on in life
Read the recipie of panjiri, a traditional high protein high calorie food good for postpartum recovery and healing along with increasing breast milk supply.
check my blog on 10 most effective ways to increase your breast milk supply
18. Hot water baths: its importance cannot be specified enough except in one word “bliss”. first is childfree time which is most important benefit of going for a bath. then hygeine, healing of suture, relief from soreness. and the list goes on. try to take a bath every day. no i am not stating the obvious, if your a mamma u know how difficult that can be. Hot water increases blood circulation to all body parts n thus promotes quicker recovery.
19. full body massage: its customary in many south east asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many african coutries for postpartum women to recieve full body massages with essential oils followed by hot water baths every day or alternate day, for a minimum of 40 days. i swear by this practice usually a doula or a maid experienced in this niche is kept. best thing you can do for your body is this.
2. BABY ESSENTIALS
21. Swaddle: swaddling gives a sense of warmth and feeling of beig the womb, which is great for newborns adaptation into the new world. for moms its great because a well swaddled baby is much easier to put to sleep than one with limbs left open. these are soft muslin swaddles, gentle on the childs skin.
22. Sleep sack: its type of swaddle except its great for using as a part of your bedtime routine. because these sacks can be used uto toddler stage. infants these days dont want to be swaddled beyond a month or two. these sacks keep their limbs held together as well as give them space to make movement as and when the child grows.
23. Soother: must have for infancy stage, because newborns have a sucking reflex and they need to suck. it helps them relax n sleep. many soothers are available but now a days the orthodontic ones have come which have a flattened tip to avoid undue pressure on the developing palate. soothers are different from pacifiers. pacifiers/dummy should be given or not? lets leave that question for another time. i say its a double edged sword.
24. Dim light: again as a part of bedtime routine, to calm the baby, yellow light can be used.
25. White noise machine: when in mothers womb, babies like with lot of noise, and its not silent unlike what we think, there is the constant sound of the placental blood vessels, the mummy’s aorta (largest blood vessel in our body) blood gushing back n forth creates a humming sound. when the baby comes in the outside world, the babies find our environment very silent and thus difficult for them to sleep. white noises are noises that mimic mummys womb eg. water gushing from a waterfall, humming of a train. this machine is one perfect device to help us mammas in the task of putting our kids to sleeep.
26. Diapers: i definitely recomend this one for the initial 2 months of age. there are a lot of options but i have tried them all. and heres my opinion.
After the child grows, this one is the best most economical choice. trust me there are options which give you the fullness indicator and are diaper style but you dont actually need all that. this extra absorb variety is the best in the market in terms of absorption capacity tested overnight, leakages, and the pant style makes the job a lot more easier.
27. Onsies: to the indian moms out there, i would like to advice do not go for the traditional jhablas (thin cotton vest) onsies is the way to go. they are the best matrial you can give your child. and newborns dont like changing clothes. they just wana eat n sleep. so let them be comfortable.
28. Mittens caps and socks: newborn need a warm environment irrespective of the temperature outside, these are must have for you new born.
29. Bed with mosquito net: i cannot stress enough, the importance of this product. as a doctor, seeing children down with diseases that are absolutely avoidable yet fatal. malaria, dengue, japanese encephalitis. mosquitoesare like god- they are omnipresent. we even took this bed to the hospital. it was a part of our labour bag items. its pure genius. plus keeps your child safe from all relatives.
30. Moses basket: there are so many kind of beds available. this one works fine as a fancy bed, cary cot and a cradle too when used with a stand. choose what works for you.
31. Nest: great for creating warm temperatures, in winter. And also works fine as a baby carrier for those monthly visits to the doctor. Later on it can be sed as a mattress in the cots.
32. cot/ cradle: as i two time mum i can say that the most hardest part if the initial days of baby care is putting them to sleep. Ofcourse there is breastfeeding but this one is very difficult because you cant decide what method to choose and ince choose sticking to it is difficult because each baby is different. And your tired and you want to sleep and your hungry. I found that swinging/ gliding action is the best method. These cradles have such gentle gliding actions. Well there are automatic ones too. Do check them out but these work just perfectly. The automatic ones dont grow with the baby because once they reach the age of rolling over, those chair type swings are a waste n unsafe too. While these provide plenty of space for sleeping supine or in rolled over position too.
33. Anti colic medication– Colic aid or gastica. The first word of advice i would give to any new mom is stock up in these, newborns tend to get gassy due to a no. Of reasons but all of them mean no night sleep for moms. This was my saviour. The trick is to give it when thr child is very fussy n crying at the top of his lungs, and see him calm down immediately. All natural ingredients. Make it a good choice.
34. For common cold- Naso clear drops. Newborns have low immunity. And tend to catch a variety of ailments in the first few months of life, and common cold is just one of them. Common anti allergic medications cannot be prescribed to them but these saline drops with steam inhalation work wonders in decongestion a baby’s nose. Because a baby with blocked nose cannot breast feed. As they are mouth breathers.
35. Gripe water or not: it was given for reducing colic in babies but was banned in many countries due to high alcohol content in it. Which would put the babies to sleep. Now the manufacturers have reformulated it with same contents as in colic aid. And remarketing it. I would stick to hood old colic aid drops.
36. Baby tracker app: feed baby- baby tracker app. I found this one great during my pumping times. It has alarms to remind you about your next feed, diaper changes, you can even save your vaccination schedules, track vol. Of breast milk, formula consumed and a lot more. Its pure genius.
37. Nail cutters or sissors definitely nail cutter/clippers. Even till date i fret just at the thought of cutting my kids nails. And thats after two babies. These clippers helped reduce the fear a bit, making the job much easier. Being ergonomic, safe nor very sharp (i tried it on myself first) and they come with an additional skin protector before the actual blades. There are ones with magnification available but i feel the less attachments, the better control over the clippers.
38. Rashfree cream: stock up on these mamas. Every mom would have witnessed rahses in some part if her babys life but these tubes are so efficient that the rashes reduce in one application itself. Yes one ! Rashfree has been my constant companion so much so that i carry a spare one in my purse. You dont want a baby cranky due to bur ing itching rashes, especially when they cant even say it.
39. Vaseline: to keep your little ones bottom, mousturised. I would apply it after each diaper clean.
40. Wet wipes: haven’t heard the name,? Its manufactured by piramal- a pharmaceutical company. I have trued Johnson n Jhonsons, baby hug, luvlap, mee mee, pampers, himalaya. But i found these the best in terms of length freshness, fragrance, moisturizing capacity, water content, drying capacity. This one superceeded all. No, its not sponsored, it my personal opinion. The second best wipes were luvlap. Do try it n let me know
41. Sebamed baby powder: contains natural ingredients, especially zinc oxide. doesn’t feel gritty on the skin, doctor trusted and recommended brand.
42. Sebamed baby soap: the only product that doesn’t make my baby cry while bathing, thus making it a memorable experience. excellent for newborns sensitive skin.
43. Sebamed baby lotion: for those winter babies, whose skin turns dry ir those who develop allergy in their first week of life outside the womb like my girl. But sebamed helped.
44. Sebamed baby massage oil: our babies hae been in the womb for 9 months. Not much space there as you know. Baby massages are a way to loosen their joints and strengthen them. Allow mobility. And help their skin get strong. ofcourse it also helps develop a bond with the mother because babies love massages.
45. Anti bacterial liquid cleanser: i will tell you the best part about it. Its not soapy, it comes off soon, its food grade. We can use it to wash our newborns clothes, toys, teether, bibs, fruits, veggies before cooking, if your baby is weaned. And its very affordable.
3. BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS
46. Shatavari powder:
Shatavari (asparagus racemosus) available as a tablet under various labels, when taken twice to thrice a day, promotes lactation within 48hrs !
It is available as a tablet by himalaya brand and as powder by many brands but zandu is by far the best in providing quality shatavari powder
Powders are to be taken with warm milk for additive effect.
47. Tab lactare: contains a multitude of herbal galactogouges, usually prescribed in the immediate Post partum period. For starting milk supply in a new mom.
48. Tab leptadin: another herbal medication. Good for improving milk quality and quantity.
50. Iron supplements
52 Nipcare cream: when you start breast feeding, you will experience many cuts or tears on your nipples because baby is learning to latch and also the skin is not used to so much friction. The pain from this is immense but you can’t stop Breast feeding and wait for it to heal. So this is my go to remedy. Apply it after your feeding sessions and wipe off before next feed. Few other home based methods include applying breast milk over the cut and letting it air dry, applying ghee or vaseline.
53. Breast feeding pillow / boppy: gives rest to our arms as we dont have to carry the baby for 20 mins to half hour. (Time period for which a newborn feeds) It has a thick back support, a Pocket to keep burp cloths and the phone. And a buckle, the other option is a velcro which is not advised as it makes a huge noise while you open it. most newborns pass out on the breast. i personally wouldnt advise the boppy as it doesnt provide any lumbar support.
54. Hydration -Simple yet most effective tip to drastically increase the quantity of milk. Milk is 90%water so naturally you drink more water and help in production of more milk.You need to consume a minimum of 3 litres of water every single day to ensure adequate production of milk. Keep a bottle handy. Make it a habit to drink after every feed, that way you can be sure to have consumed the required amount. Can also be used for consuming galactogouges like fennel seeds or cumin with water
55. Calories – lactation cookies, panjiri
56. Breastfeeding bra or not: well any bra is fine anything thats quick because once they cry we just jump to feed them and at that time clasp, clips better be avoided. Plain every day padded full coverage bras give good support and work just fine.
57. Nursing cover: most babies dont prefer these as they get suffocated or fidget with it. But uts great for traveling or when you live in a joint family and you dont have privacy, these work just fine.
58. Breast pads: for the first few months our body us adjusting to the milk needs of the baby. So it tends to produce excess n so much so that the whole top can become wet. Aslo when you breast feed from one side the other side experiences a letdown too. These save us a lot of laundry, infection risks, sleepless nights from constantly getting up to change. Infact i am still using these at 8 months of Post partum period.
59. Breastfeeding friendly tops: gone are the days when a women trudging around the house in a nighty, scarf tied around her head, timidly moving about the house, would be recognised as a postpartum women. Now a days we want to get back on our feet as soon as possible. You are what you wear. Your dress can change your mindset. Theres loads of options for each n every occasion. Maternity friendly wear has evolved a lot
60.Manual breast pump: my baby was a fussy eater. He would leave the breast so often n cry. Even uf u moved a muscle. I tried for 2 months but then could not take it any more. He was also hungry most of the time but milk was plenty as i was leaking n full most of the time so i resorted to pumping. My advice, don’t overthink do what your baby needs you to do. It worked wonders for both of us. We found our way and i successfully fed him gor a year. I used this manual pump. It was great in expressing quantities. But tedious.
61. Double electric breast pump: spend the big bucks to earn yourself some relief. Buy medela. Its very good but costly. If you are thinking of buying a pump go for double and electric and Medela and you regret. All of these elements are so important. After all it’s your baby’s nourishment we are talking about. If you not sure about spending such big bucks, then buy an electric breast pump by trumom is a great company with awesome after sales and very affordable. See how you and your baby feel about it and then go ahead for medela. (I got replacement valves for my pump delivered free of charge, within 3 days that too after 9 months of purchase)
62. Milk storage bags: for the working moms. These bags have label so you can write the date you have expressed it and date of exp for the caretaker at home.
63. Nipple sheild: for those initial days when your not used to the constant sucking of nipples by babies (primigravida) or the teething days
64. milk bottles: this kne and tommee tippee bottles mimic the breast closely. Bt the other ones are costly. Philips ones have anti colic valves which helped reduce my babys colic by preventing gas entering his mouth during bottle feeding. Doesn’t affect latching. You can use both breast feed and bottle feed with this variety.
65. bottle warmer: this ones for those working mamas who pump, store breastmilk. Rewarming in microwave destroys a lot of breast milks nutrients. This machine warms the bottles to just the right temperature required for babies.
66. formula: many many brands are there, this ones pediatrician adviced as its the only brand that contains DHA and many other substances that are present in breastmilk and are important for brain development. When choosing a kind of formula please look for allergies, do test feeds.
67. Formula storage container: this ones great for night time feeds and travel too. But especially in the night when your too sleepy to measure properly. Jus make these cups ready n keep in the eve. Also each one has seperate openings and covers so can be used individually too. Just add the powder and keep and add water at the time of using.
68. sterilizer: boiling is so tedious. This one has auto shutdown, requires as little as 30ml of water to sterilize. And total time required is less than 10 mins. Its got a thick cord too.
69. Tongs: hungry baby, hot just sterilized bottle, me running from the sterilizer to the basin shouting hot hot hot. This was the scene every single time. Because you cant wash n sterilize and keep in advance each time.
70. bottle dryer: i never even knew such a product existed. It can stall 4 bottles at a time and its great because it would reduce the chances of fungus formation due to the bottle being, constantly wet. Otherwise i would leave them in the sterilizer and they wouldn’t dry.
71. bottle brush: many are available but this design is a game changer. The tip has serrations and help clean the nipple. A lil in the higher side of price but once purchased, it worked well for a year without bristle damage.
72. Eye mask: very near and dear to my heart,this product. I had it on the whole day, not just the night it would be fixed on my forehead like a hairband reason being if at all my baby would sleep i would sleep too. It was a false sense of hope i would give my self by always wearing the eye mask its so important.
73. Hand sanitizer: being a doctor it is second nature to me now. Its a very good practice to santize your hands before touching a newborn for atleast the first month. Especially after using the washroom and after changing the babies diaper too. See eee I bought big 500ml bottles that lasted me like 3 months. Also i would emphasis that guests who come to see the baby sanitize before touching the baby. I was able to cut down on the risk of infection by this small practice.
74. Bluetooth earphones: your alone, hubby’s at work, want to talk, oh no you don’t have a free hand to hold the phone. We would end up talking just once a day, because i would be so busy with the kids. These lil angels helped so much.
75. Bobby pins and hair band: its a must have. If you dont want the typical indian aunty hairstyle with twigs sprouting off your forehead liek the rays of the sun in all directions.
76. Chocolates: lots and lots of them, for those days when you cant take it anymore, but remember u got this mama !
77. coffee: do i need to explain this?
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