I’m currently in the thick of the postpartum fog, and it is REAL.
Truly, there is nothing else like the first few weeks (and months) after giving birth (mamas if you know you know). While it can be such a beautiful, special experience (believe me, now that I have a toddler I’m soaking up ALL those newborn snuggles) it’s also a rollercoaster of physical and emotional ebbs and flows.
From the healing your body is doing after giving birth (from vaginal tearing to abdominal surgery, excessive bleeding, hemorrhoids, etc.) to some pretty major hormonal shifts that come with symptoms ranging from the baby blues to night sweats, to your brain structurally changing (in a process known as Matrescence), to your lifestyle being turned upside down (surviving on little to no sleep and revolving around your baby’s nutritional needs), it can be tough to feel like yourself, let alone a functioning human being.
So, while we obviously know this is a critical time to take care of our babies, it’s also just as important to take care of ourselves.
Personally, I notice even the simplest acts of self-care here and there end up having a huge overall impact on how I feel, heal and recover each day. Thus I’ve been relying on a few tried and true postpartum recovery essentials to help me get through it, and I’m sharing them with you below in the case you (or any new or expecting mamas in your life) could use the inspiration.
The nursing thirst is INTENSE and for good reason, as we Need Even More Water Than we do During Pregnancy (breast milk Is Made Up Of 90% Water and Experts Recommend About 128 Oz Per Day, Or Approximately Four 30 Liter Water Bottles).
Not Only Will Hydrating Ensure You Can Keep Your Milk Supply Up (I’ve definitely found this to be the case for me), But It Will Do Wonders For Your Hormones, Working To Mitigate Headaches, Offset Fatigue Or Brain Fog, Improve Digestion, And Flush Out Waste And Other Toxins (Crucial For Alleviating Constipation Which Can Lead To Estrogen Dominance).
Because most of our water lacks the trace minerals and electrolytes we need to keep us truly hydrated, I’m a big proponent of adding them back in via these LMNT Electrolyte Drink Packets, which work to increase hydration via sodium, potassium and magnesium, but with ZERO added sugar. The watermelon and raspberry salt flavors are my fave!
If you have a vaginal birth, pads are (unfortunately) a necessity during your first month (give or take) postpartum. And IMO if you’re going to use pads, you might as well purchase some that make it a more pleasant experience. Luckily, these herbal-infused pads from The Honey Pot Co. do just that, as they contain mint, lavender, and aloe that work to cool and soothe while deodorizing bacteria and balancing our bodies natural PH. They’re also completely non-toxic and void of traditional hormone-disrupting additives and chemicals most pads contain, including fragrance, parabens and even chlorine. Truly one of my fave new finds this go around!
Because nutrient needs are even higher post-birth than pregnancy due to lactation (which requires increased amounts of vitamins and minerals) it’s a smart idea to continue taking your prenatal multivitamin postpartum. I’m super impressed with these supplements from Modern Fertility, which contain an optimal dosage of bioavailable nutrients important for a healthy pregnancy and breast milk production (including folate, choline, omega-3’s and vitamins B, C and A), are void of any inflammatory dyes or fillers and enhanced with a hint of citrus, which makes them actually kind of fun to take. You can read my FULL review here or use this link to get $5 off your Modern Fertility Prenatal Multivitamin purchase!
There’s a lot taking place in your body after giving birth, including your organs, which need to move back into their original position prior to pregnancy (wild!). Using techniques like belly binding, wrapping or compression helps gently guide your muscles and ligaments back into place while providing overall support to your pelvic floor (and can be especially instrumental in working to prevent diastasis recti). Because I like to keep things as simple and efficient as possible, I opted for these compression leggings, no wrapping or strapping required (plus they go with everything)!
If you’ve nursed at some point, then you’ve probably also dealt with sore/chapped nipples (so fun!). This go around I’ve been using Primally Pure’s Baby Balm, which I’d also been applying to my belly during pregnancy to combat dry skin and stretch marks. I love that it uses only the cleanest and most effective ingredients (deeply moisturizing tallow, anti-inflammatory emu oil, soothing calendula flower, etc.) and is super multi-purpose (safe to use on nipples, stretch marks, diaper rash, your baby’s skin, etc.) **Don’t forget to use my code SOFRESH10 to save 10% on your purchase.
There’s absolutely no way around it, nutrient-dense food is CRUCIAL for optimal postpartum recovery, healing, hormonal balance and breast milk production. Also if you’ve nursed postpartum then you know the crazy hunger pangs and blood sugar drops you experience are REAL. Thus I’ve been relying on some delicious and nutritious hormone-healthy snacks, meals and foods to keep my body balanced and my milk supply optimal, including these INSANE GF Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Lactation Cookies, this Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal, and my Greek Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowls. To snag a full list of my favorite healing foods and recipes for optimal postpartum recovery, check this post out.
During postpartum comfy undies are a non-negotiable. I love this brand, which is made with ultra-soft, non-toxic materials, designed to hold pads and work for both c-sections and vaginal births, while actually looking flattering.
One of those items that takes two seconds to use, but makes SUCH a difference in how you feel, this completely clean, non-toxic brand contains herbs like witch hazel, lavender and hazelnut that work to soothe and promote perineal healing.
After lugging around my extremely heavy and inconvenient hospital-grade breast pump everywhere for a year after I gave birth to Eloise (including an overseas trip to Greece and a backpacking excursion), I vowed the next time around to invest in a hands free breast pump, and I’m already SO glad I did.
After a somewhat steep learning curve (watch the videos and allow yourself a few tries!) I now love using the Willow Hands-Free Breast Pump, which easily allows me to pump while driving, making coffee, cleaning up the kitchen, etc. It’s also much lighter and super portable, so I don’t find it cumbersome to take with me places when I need it. For any moms out there who want to maximize time and efficiency, I highly recommend looking into a hands-free option. You can also use my code lauren25 to save $25 off the Willow Pump.
Comfort is the name of the game with pretty much EVERYTHING postpartum recovery, and a nursing bra should be no exception. My favorite is the Cake Maternity Rock Candy Nursing Bra, which is Oeko-Tex certified, aka non-irritating to the body, super comfortable, flattering and extremely easy to use for nursing. I also like their built-in nursing tanks too.
Pregnancy and giving birth does a number on your body, and this includes your digestive tract and gut health. Specifically, the use of anesthesia, antibiotics and NSAIDS during and after for pain relief tend to wipe out our good gut bacteria, while a C-section can disrupt your microbiome. Also, common postpartum hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance or hypothyroidism can lead to impaired gut motility and constipation (and vice versa). Thus it’s important to do everything you can postpartum to optimize the health of your gut (which will work to promote high quality breast milk too!)
One easy step you can take to do so is invest in a high quality probiotic that works to promote optimal gut health. I’ve been using this brand my this entire pregnancy and postpartum recovery period and I’ve seen a HUGE difference in my gut health this go around (way less bloating, indigestion, constipation, etc.) You can use the code SOFRESH15 to save 15% off your purchase.
One of the things I was most surprised about when giving birth to Eloise was the extreme amount of nipple chafing and pain when trying to breastfeed. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad this time around (I think my nipples were a bit more used to the wear n’ tear lol) but I made sure to arm myself with any and everything that would help with the pain, and these cooling soothie gel pads were on lock in my fridge. I highly recommend for any mamas attempting to breast feed, along with a high quality balm (see #5).
As mentioned above, constipation is a common side effect postpartum, which is not fun in general, but ESPECIALLY when you’re dealing with tearing, stitches or hemorrhoids after giving birth. Most doctors recommend taking a stool softener to help, but I prefer magnesium citrate, which works to pull water into your intestines and combine with dry stool, making it much easier to pass. I opted to go this route as it’s completely safe, non-habit forming (as most laxatives/stool softeners are), doesn’t disrupt gut health and is super effective.
Okay, this one is a little random but I use my Himalayan salt lamp every.single. night feed and love that it provides a soft, natural light so I can see what I’m doing without fully disrupting my circadian rhythm (and the babies!) by turning on a bright, harsh light (which signals to your endocrine system to start pumping out cortisol to keep you awake). Either way, if you’re looking to optimize your sleep in between those newborn night feeds (which c’mon who ISN’T?!), I highly recommend investing in some sort of dimming/natural light situation.
If opting to breastfeed, it typically takes up a huge chunk of your time during those first few months postpartum, so it’s important that you’re as comfortable as possible when doing so. This is my second time using this nursing pillow, which I love because it clips on snuggly so it’s one less thing I have to carry in my arms, and helps get baby in the ideal position to boot. Plus it even has a little pocket for your water bottle, because the thirst while nursing is next level.
+ Hello Postpartum — A one stop shop for ALL of the postpartum topics that can help you through this time (think tips to communicate with your partner, overcome loneliness, heal your pelvic floor and more).
+ Placenta Encapsulation — While there isn’t much science yet behind placenta encapsulation, I opted for it with both of my babies because WHY NOT do anything you can to help maximize nutrient intake in order to promote optimal hormonal balance and healing?! I chose a service through my doula company.
**This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you purchase through a link on this page.
I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.