*This article was updated in August 2022*

Definition of postpartum [post·par·tum]: The period following childbirth.

From the Latin phrase postpartum "after childbirth," from post "after" + partum, accusative of partus "act of giving birth, childbirth," from parere "to give birth to, bring into being."

Can we pause there for just a moment?

Bring into being. Isn't this phrase beautiful? How does this phrase make you feel? To me, it feels like we're bringing both the baby and the new mother into being. Both people are unknown. Our prior selves have forever changed, and our physical bodies are different.

It's a new beginning for both. How beautiful is this?

What is postpartum?

Sarah, Founder of Poppylist, 24 Hours Postpartum with First Daughter

Women are beginning to see the range of choices they have during pregnancy and birth, but the journey isn’t over when the baby arrives. Bringing our attention back to the importance of the postpartum period, bringing this back into being for new mothers, will help create a safe, accepted, and celebrated space for this critical recovery period.

In today’s society, modern mothers are pushed to prematurely “bounce back” or “snap back” after delivering their babies. We’re inundated with social media images of women’s slim bodies on display 4-6 weeks post-birth. Their photos display endless amounts of happiness and an appearance of an easy transition into motherhood, fast recovery, adequate sleep, and youthful energy. And while some of this may be true, of course, it doesn’t speak to the reality of most new mothers. How do I know this? Because my Poppylist community has told me. You’ve told me. And I experienced it. This culture leaves new mothers feeling ashamed and alone to face the physical and emotional challenges of this radically new chapter of our lives.

This brings me to my first introduction to caring for my body post-delivery. Had I not been gifted the First Forty Days book, I would have never considered my postpartum recovery. I would have never known ways to bring my friends along with me in my recovery. I wouldn’t have learned how to ask my mother for help or how to set healthy boundaries while she was in town for the first month. I’m convinced that the only reason I had the strength to push for 90 consecutive minutes was that I sipped on the ‘Labor Aid’ beverage that’s encouraged from this book. The First Forty Days is a book I purchase for every single friend that’s expecting. It indeed was my postpartum bible, and it is now recommended across every single baby registry produced by Poppylist.

During the postpartum period, you might find yourself asking some of these questions: Should my nipples hurt this bad? Why am I still bleeding? Should my body hurt to walk? Why hasn’t my stomach gone down yet? Is it normal to cry this much? Am I the only mother who can’t bond right away with her baby? Does my partner still think I’m beautiful? Should it feel uncomfortable to use the restroom? Do I need a belly band? Why do I feel ashamed of these pads? Why didn’t I think to buy that? What am I going to eat if I don’t have the energy to cook? Why is it so hard for me to ask for help?

Although the First Forty Days does not address all of these questions, some of your concerns might be put at ease once you read the book. It stands as a lifeline—a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance. It is the perfect ally for the first few weeks with a new baby…and beyond. And beyond just this book, we’ve curated the Top 25 postpartum recovery products for your delivery, either vaginal or c-section. Every single product that you’ll see listed below has been sourced directly from a mother within our community, and we’re so excited to share them with you!

As a reminder, you are not alone in your thinking and your thoughts have been asked by so many new mothers before you, including me. If they persist, we encourage you to seek professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Download our Postpartum Care Checklist for free.

The Best Postpartum Products for Your Delivery:

1. First Forty Days book

  • In the First Forty Days, MotherBees founder Heng Ou channels her own experience with the Chinese practice of Zuo Yuezi—a period of postpartum recovery in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby. This book is a guide for the modern mother and offers 60 simple and delicious recipes.

2. Tumbler cups with a straw

“I’m always thirsty as soon as I sit down to nurse.” Poppylist mom, @jennifer_holm.

For more water bottles, visit our latest article: 5 Water Bottles Our Breastfeeding Moms Love.

3. Washable nursing pads

“I leaked a ton and sometimes I didn’t have a pad with me so I sometimes used 3 bras a day.” Poppylist mom, @laliarmijo.

4. Button-down nursing lounge tops

Hatch Nursing Nightgown

5. Lactation support supplements

6. Silverette nursing cups

  • Silverette Nursing Cups, $59.90
  • These small metal cups are crafted out of 925 sterling silver that fit over and help to protect nipples while breastfeeding. Silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial metal that also contains anti-inflammatory agents. It heals and prevents cuts, wounds, cracks, soreness, and infections.

7. Peri bottle

“My peri bottle did not have a long neck, it was just a squirt bottle and it worked great. Sometimes I’d add a few drops of witch hazel for extra relief.” Poppylist mom, @snholli.

8. Nursing bra

  • Momcozy Hand-free Pumping Bra, $19.00— A hand-free pumping bra is a must for many reasons, but especially if you plan on returning to work while still pumping.

9. Belly band

  • Bandit Postpartum Belly Wrap, $49,95— We do not support the ‘snap back’ culture. Belly bands can help improve cramping post-delivery, and for myself, the compression on my stomach after delivery helped my core and lower back feel more secure.
“I used a belly band for a couple weeks. It really helped me feel supported and seemed to ease the pain fro my c-section.” Poppylist mom, @michela.weibel.

10. Postpartum doula

  • DONA International
  • Families who work with a DONA certified doula know they’ve connected with someone who has completed our in-depth, high-quality training and certification process. DONA International doulas are held to the highest professional standards. You can access their free membership of more than 5,000 in more than 50 countries worldwide.

11. Freezer meals

  • Carve out time to put together easy dinners. One recommendation from our community is to put all of your one pot (or crock pot) ingredients in a gallon ziplock baggie and store in the freezer. You can do this with soups, too, and store them in mason jars inside the freezer. Individual portioned soups will be helpful.
  • Pro Tip: Write the expiration date on the bag/jar, not the date you made the food. This way you can alleviate any math while you’re tired from mothering!
  • Here’s a link to 15 easy freezer meal ideas: https://happymoneysaver.com/easy-freezer-meals/

12. Pre-scheduled lactation appointments

  • There are a couple of ways to find a lactation consultant. One is to ask if there's one at the hospital where you deliver; many hospitals have one on staff. Consider seeing this professional while you recover, and make a follow-up appointment before you’re discharged.
  • Another option is to go to the International Lactation Consultant Association's website, www.ilca.org. ILCA is the professional association for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, representing more than 6,000 members in 85 countries. The website has a search function that allows you to find an IBCLC in your area.

13. Extra long cell phone charger

  • You may experience extended nursing or pumping sessions in a chair or long periods in bed for recovery. For this reason, we recommend buying a few extra long phone chargers and placing them in areas of your home where you’ll spend a lot of time. You might need to look at your phone to pass the time, listen to music, or catch up on a podcast.
  • 5 Pack of iPhone Charges, ranging from 3 ft - 10 ft.

14. Postpartum recovery kit

  • One Tough Mother Postpartum Care Kit, $95.00— This kit includes the Ultimate Postpartum Handbook, with expert resources and advice from a full spectrum doula, an IBCLC-certified lactation consultant, an Infant Sleep Educator, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and many other professional experts.

15. Bathrobe with pockets

Parachute Cloud Robe

16. Tucks cooling pads

  • Tucks Cooling Pads, $7.00, Pack of 100—We won’t spoil the surprise, but these pads provide the ultimate relief after delivery. The hospital should have these on hand. Take as many home as possible!

17. Mesh or full-coverage underwear

18. Laxative

  • I did not receive a specific brand of laxative from my community (although I personally used Dulcolax), and there are so many options available in terms of consumption: powder, chewable, pills, etc. So check with your doctor on what he/she recommends, and make sure you have these at your home post-delivery. Trust us. You’ll want some assistance with your bowel movements no matter how you deliver!

19. Dermoplast

  • Dermoplast Pain, Itch and Burn Spray, $6.50
  • I went through two cans of this. If you have a vaginal delivery, make sure you have this on hand. Dermoplast offers maximum strength of benzocaine which provides immediate pain relief. The menthol soothes and refreshes, and the aloe moisturizes. Your hospital may have this, and if they do, grab some extras to take home.

20. Pads or Depends

  • Girl, stock up. And take as many home from the hospital as you can. Ensure you have a thorough discussion with your doctor and postpartum nurse about bleeding after delivery.
  • If you want a recommendation, here’s a Black owned, female founded company that we love. Try the Honey Pot postpartum pads, $11.99

21. Perineal spray

Earth Mama Perineal Spray
  • Earth Mama Organics Herbal Perineal Spray, 4oz, $12.95
  • A soothing touch-free, cooling herbal mist for your vagina & c-section incision. This bottle comes with a clever upside down sprayer so it’s easier to reach hard to get places. Cruelty-free, no parabens, propellants, benzocaine or artificial fragrance.

22. Nipple balm

  • Spectrum Essential Coconut Oil, $7.00— Mothers around the world have been using coconut oil for centuries to help heal their nipples while nursing. Keep in mind that it’s an unfamiliar scent, and if you baby doesn't want to latch, note that it could be due to the coconut smell. Please speak with your lactation consultant for expert advice and recommendations if you experience challenges with breastfeeding.
  • Motherlove Nipple Cream, $10.95
  • Earth Momma Organic Nipple Butter, $12.95
  • Bamboobies Nipple Cream, $14.99
  • One Tough Mother Nipple Balm, $22.00
  • Additional Information: We do not recommend nipple balm with Lanolin for two reasons. (1) It’s not a natural ingredient and (2) it’s been proven to clog Montgomery glands. These glands lie just below the surface of your areola and may be seen as small bumps in the skin. They’re also called areolar glands, and provide lubrication during breastfeeding. Most importantly, they secrete a scent similar to the inside of your placenta, guiding your infant to your breast for nursing. For additional questions regarding nipple support, lactation support, and breastfeeding, please contact your doctor, mid-wife, doula or lactation consultant.

23. Meal delivery subscription or gift card

  • Motherbees offers a variety of healthy and nourishing food options, serving the Los Angeles, CA region only. See Los Angeles County map, here.
  • Thrive Market. Treat yourself, or a new mom, to a months worth of healthy groceries and snacks that won’t break your bank.
  • Check to see what local food delivery companies are available in your area: UberEats, Favor, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, etc. Most of these companies offer gift cards, so consider adding this to your baby registry, too. If your baby registry let’s’ you add comments, make sure to include dietary restrictions or your favorite restaurants incase someone wants to send you a meal directly.

24. Hair products

“These items are important to add, and you’ll be glad you have them available for when you realize your hair is falling out and needs a new style!” Poppylist mom, @peekagloves.

25. Cooling pads

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