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Best Baby Shower Gift Ever: The Postpartum Recovery Kit!

The Best Baby Shower Gift Ever! Postpartum recovery kit, give mommy all of the embarrassing things that you need to recover from giving birth

I’ve been promising this post to friends and family for months. And then I made a post baby recovery kit like this for a friend’s baby shower present, promised some more people I’d write the post… Anyways, here it is. Something completely different than our normal beauty posts… This is a postpartum recovery kit! This is a great baby shower gift, it was a huge hit at my friend Amy’s shower! This is everything embarrassing that you want to have on hand for after you deliver your baby. You may or may not have a partner who is willing to run to the store for these essential items for you!

I read so many different mommy blogs back when I was pregnant (my daughter was born in January 2011), and found lots of little jewels of info. I had almost all of the embarrassing stuff I needed in that immediate post-baby haze, though there were a few things (that I did even know existed) that I sent my mom out to purchase.

postpartum embarrassing items

In an effort to reduce embarrassing item runs to Target, or to be fully prepared for all bodily fluid issues, I created this kit. I recently gave one to my friend Amy for her shower. At 2 weeks postpartum she sent me a text message that said she had delved into the kit and it was exactly what she needed!

Read on to see what is in the kit!
Warning: Do NOT read this if you are not expecting or already have kids. It scares some people!

I’ve also written a post on the Pediatrician’s New Baby Kit, a kit of baby medications that I give away as well (and yes, I’m a mommy and a pediatrician). That kit is a bit less scary!

If you’re making this kit for a baby shower gift, you should know that it can become pretty large. I put it all into a Sterilite tote (as seen above), and I picked an opaque one on purpose. I labelled the top as a post-partum kit, with a warning that the new mommy-to-be might not want to open it yet! Of course, she did take a peek, and she had a ton of questions about everything it contained! All of the other moms at the party did a lot of nodding and agreeing with contents. Women without kids yet did a lot of gasping and “do you really need that???” Yes, you really do!

What things do I need after having a baby
So, it should be pretty obvious that even if you didn’t push the baby out (meaning, you had a c-section), the whole area down there isn’t quite right. Oh, and you’re about to have the longest (and heaviest) period that you’ve ever had.

Perineal Bottles: They’ll give you one at the hospital (the nurses will send you home with it), but you really should have one for each bathroom. Buy a few extras, I just ordered from Amazon but you can sometimes find them at the drugstore. This bottle is squeezable and it has a few holes at the end. Basically, fill it with luke warm-ish water (not hot!) before you go to the bathroom. I’ve read online that some prefer to add a little witch hazel or lavender oil to the bottle as well, I just used water. After you go to the bathroom, you’ll rinse the whole area off with this bottle. It sounds strange now, but trust me, you’ll love this thing after the baby is there!

Preparation H Wipes: Again, a package for each bathroom. These are witch hazel wipes, you’ll use them after rinsing with the bottle. You could make your own, but these wipes are more portable and convenient. I found them to be very soothing!

Sitz Bath: The nurses usually send you home with one of these, you really only need 1 of them. The idea is that it fits into your toilet, you sit down and that bag (which you’ve preloaded with warm water) will fill the bath with warm water to soak you. Sit there for 10-20 minutes and it helps prevent infection and aids healing.

Personally, I found this little tub very uncomfortable and difficult to use. I ended up just sitting in our regular tub a few times a day and it worked much better for me.

Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy Flow: These are probably the biggest and most absorbent pads on the market right now. I read about them on-line and had 2 packages ready to go, but I did have to reorder. When everything was over, I had used almost 4 packages. A lot of people rave about the pads given to you by the hospital, but maybe my hospital used cheap pads… I found them mostly bulky and non-absorbant. These ones were much better.

Blue Pads: Having said such amazing things about my pads, I will say you should have some blue pads ready to go as well, especially for the first week or so! There are sometimes… gushes of so much fluid that no pad will handle it all. (Confession: I had a gush in my new rocker… big old stain. Thank goodness the slipcover was still on backorder!)

Anyways, these pads are what we use for tons of things in the hospital. There are a lot of different versions, these are the ones I’ve ordered a few times now for my daughter and our dog. It’s absorbent (to a certain extent) and waterproof and also completely disposable! They come in different sizes, and if you’re using them just to sit and sleep on post-partum you shouldn’t need more than 20 or so. If you don’t want to order the huge amount from Amazon, look in the incontinence pad area of Walmart (really!) they sell smaller packs for just a few dollars.

Not Pictured: Big Underwear!
Yes, you’ll need some big panties to hold on to a pad that large. Based on Shana’s recommendation from The Mom Edit, I bought a ton of dark (aka- more stain resistant) undies from AE, and they were perfect! I sized up from my normal by 2 sizes (1x for pregnancy, 1x for not being a skinny 13 year old girl, since that’s their normal buyer). Super comfy and I admit to still wearing them all the time.

What pain meds to take after giving birth
Listen to your doctor and nurses when they tell you that you’ll need to stay on top of the pain meds. It’s best to just plan to stay on them around the clock, take them whether you need it or not, but make sure you don’t go over the max recommended daily dose for that Tylenol! Tylenol is every 4 hours (with a max of 3000 mg a day), Advil/Motrin (same thing) are every 6 hours. I kept a little notepad and jotted down when I had taken something so I wouldn’t overdo it.

It depended on the day, but sometimes a little icepack went a long way towards making me feel better! You can put ice cubes in a disposable diaper and wrap it up, but I never got enough cold from that. Instead I mostly used disposable cold packs (mine were from Walmart), which I wrapped in a washcloth. I washed the cloths pretty frequently and after I stopped using the packs a few weeks later I just tossed them. At 2 for $2.50 or so, I had no problem doing that!

recovering from giving birth
It’s true. Really, really listen to your nurses when they tell you to use a stool softener! Your first bowel movements, even when things are normal, will feel like giving birth again. Alone. On the toilet. OMG, sooo painful! (Especially if things tore a little extra, like they did for me.) So, you’ll need a stool softener. Miralax is my one of choice- it just holds onto fluid and makes your stool softer. It doesn’t get absorbed at all and it doesn’t make anything cramp up. If you tore a little more you should also add in some Colace. I took both every day for weeks and was so thankful that the pharmaceutical gods had created them!

As for the Preparation H cream… sometimes you get hemorrhoids from pushing. Just buy a tube so it’s already there. You might not need it (somehow I didn’t after 3 hours of pushing), but if so… there it is! Buy it when you’re already buying the other embarrassing items. Problem solved.

best baby shower gift
Finally, I’m assuming that there will be nursing going on. I’m not going to lecture about the health and intellectual benefits for the baby, or the breast cancer reduction for mommy, or even the bonding emotional benefits. If nothing else, it makes you drop that baby weight like a rock, so look at it as a totally selfish thing to do and decide to nurse the baby.

Soothie Pads: Soothie pads are little silicone pads that feel amazing for sore nipples. Leave them in the fridge to keep them cool.

Disposable Pads: Not everyone has problems with leaking (I never did), but you should probably have a package of these around for the 3rd trimester and beyond. There are also versions that are reusable and can just be washed in the washing machine.

Lanolin Cream: Not every cream is ok for baby to ingest, but lanolin is fine! A little cream on irritated nipples after nursing is very helpful.

Nipple Shield: My mom ran out to get me these when my milk came in and my daughter’s latch was killing me! This just adds a little protection that makes things hurt a bit less. I probably would have quit nursing without these. Buy a couple of them to have on hand, we left them around the house so we didn’t have to hunt down a new one. They do sell them at the store, but the package looks empty in the display, just read the names and look for the package that looks empty! Note that these are only a temporary measure, it helps you get through the most painful first few days.

Sleep Bra: Finally, the sleep bra was amazing for my last trimester and after delivery. It feels like a t-shirt and offers some support. It is especially helpful for the first few weeks when your milk comes in and cup size can vary so drastically. I slept in them for about 4 weeks after I was done nursing as well.

Let me know if I missed anything or you have any questions!

Guide to Skin Care while Pregnant or Nursing

Don’t forget to check out the other articles in my Pregnancy and Nursing Skin Care Guide!

Also check out my Pediatrician’s New Baby Kit!

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About Me

Iā€™m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment


  1. 9.4.12
    Rebecca said:

    I am long past baby days, but I rememeber them well, and I can testify that every one of the things you mentioned are a necessity, and they are things you don't want to send someone else to buy for you. This would make a GREAT gift for a sister or girlfriend. But maybe don't present it at a couples shower…

  2. 9.4.12

    Yes! I think it would frighten the guys! At the all girl shower I gave (we had a "slightly inappropriate" theme) it was perfect. It took a while to open the present because there were so many comments and one pregnant attendee broke out a pad and paper to take notes!

  3. 9.4.12
    Anonymous said:

    I wished someone would have told me about this "before" my first daughter was born!! Great post for expecting moms.

  4. 9.5.12

    What a great idea! I practically lived in my sleep bra.

  5. 9.5.12

    I really did live in my sleep bras! I wore one during the day as well for my entire 3rd trimester (my rib spreading was so bad I couldn't stand to wear a regular bra), and for the first few weeks post partum as well. They are amazing!

  6. 9.5.12
    Anonymous said:

    OMG, I was already scared of the idea of having kids but now I'm bloody terrified…

  7. 9.5.12
    Ayisha said:

    Great informative post. Your post is very much useful for every mom. Thanks a lot for sharing !! I will visit your blog again.

  8. 9.5.12
    tam_tammy said:

    I am not a mother myself but I have to say this is a great post, thank you!

  9. 9.5.12
    Rachel Branch said:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My sister and best friends are both having their first baby in a few months and I know what I'll be getting them!

  10. 9.5.12
    Crissy K said:

    I wish I would have known this before my first baby…life was tough after birth lol. This time around I'll be getting that preparation H stuff for sure šŸ˜€

  11. 9.6.12
    Phyrra said:

    this is terrifying. oh my god šŸ™

  12. 9.6.12
    Pammy said:

    Awesome post!!! I am forwarding a link right now to my Bestie who is having a baby any day now. xxoo

  13. 9.6.12
    Anonymous said:

    Oh my, I'm terrified. How long does it take for things to feel ok down there?

  14. 9.6.12

    It depends a lot on how much damage there is. Pushing for a long time, tearing (there are different grades of tears, I was at the borderline of 3-4 if that means anything, but if not I'm not going to explain that as it will make you more afraid!), and then I got my first yeast infection about 2 weeks post partum which definitely didn't help with my healing… etc. It was uncomfortable and hurt for about week, just uncomfortable for maybe another month or so, I didn't *really* feel normal again fully until about 6-8 weeks. I've heard the first is by far the worst, after that with subsequent babies things are much easier!

  15. 9.26.12
    Amy Buege said:

    I'm the Amy mentioned in this post and Christine really did save me with this kit! šŸ™‚ I'm so thankful to have her as my friend. The kit was a life-saver for my husband too. Sending my hubby out for any of these items would have sent him into white-faced shock, and I'm pretty sure he would have looked like a deer in headlights while roaming the feminine hygiene aisle at the store. šŸ™‚ Who knows what he would have bought in his sleep deprived state!

    My co-worker's baby shower is this weekend and I'll be recreating the kit as one of her gifts. She was at my "slightly inappropriate" baby shower so she already knows the kit is completely awesome but doesn't know I'll be hooking her up with her own set of post-partum goodies. Her due date is quickly approaching and she even referenced the kit recently… I'm sure she'll be happy to get her own kit, and even happier to cross one more task off the lengthy list of things to do before baby arrives!!

  16. 9.27.12

    Amy!!! Thanks for commenting! šŸ˜€ (I've known Amy since 2nd grade, she was my college roomie our senior year, she set me up with my husband and she was in my wedding. So excited to see her commenting!) šŸ˜€

  17. 10.23.12
    Nattie said:

    This is a great idea! My friend is having a baby shower soon, I'll have to try and get one of these together! šŸ™‚

    Natalya, Ruff House Art

  18. 12.27.12
    Anonymous said:

    Yes, stool softeners are a must! Also an internal hemorrhoid soother called Tucks work amazingly. I didn't have them throughout all of pregnancy but as soon as the little one was born they came rearing their nasty heads!

    And for everyone who is terrified of this, don't be. This is nothing compared to how uncomfortable you will be at the end of your pregnancy. The postpartum part is easy!

  19. 2.19.13
    Kit said:

    I am making one of these up right now, and I think the only difference is that I'm including a bottle of pain numbing spray (for the hoo-haa) and instead of a sitz bath a container of Epsom salt with lavender oil in it. Also, a word of warning, someone (my husband) bought me underwear that was nice and big, and I burst out into tears and asked, "do you think I'm fat?!" Just be careful with that one. I'm dodging it by giving her 2 little packages of the mesh undies they have at the hospital. šŸ™‚

  20. 2.19.13
    Kit said:

    Oh, and maybe include a nice pair of slippers?

  21. 2.20.13

    Slippers for home, definitely! I wouldn't want nice slippers on a hospital floor. šŸ™‚ I'm honestly not sure if either Epsom Salts or Lavender are "allowed" in that area post-partum? If so, I think it sounds like a great idea! And the underwear… I think every girl should buy that herself šŸ˜€

  22. 7.17.13
    Anonymous said:

    The only thing I would add- Depends or whatever brand adult diapers you choose. Less hassle than the big pads & undies. Other than that, SO right. If you're breastfeeding, just check with your healthcare provider for what types of meds to use.

  23. 8.19.13
    Anonymous said:

    I'm a few weeks shy of my due date with my first child and I stumbleuponed this blog. Even with taking pregnancy classes, they never really mentioned the 'after labor' scene. This really opened my eyes of what will happen and how to be prepared for it! Thank you, thank you!

  24. 9.6.13
    Mishka said:

    I always give the new mothers-to-be that I know, a package of adult diapers before the baby comes along. I had a long labor with my first and a very long and strenuous pushing stage. Incontinence was not something I expected to encounter, but it was a reality for the first few days postpartum. I also could not get comfortable with those giant maxi pads.

    One of my friends ended up with a C-sec and said that the adult diapers were much more gentle over her scar than underwear.

    Sitz baths were magical šŸ™‚ Second baby was a breeze and I didn't need anything for recovery.

  25. 9.6.13
    Anonymous said:

    I would also add depends to this list. Put the big pads in them and if you leak it's no biggie. They are also good if you have a c-section because they don't put pressure on your tummy.

  26. 2.5.14
    Anonymous said:

    I had to sit on my Boppy pillow for two weeks, but I remember my mom having a blow up donut to sit on. Either way, I would add something like this to the suggestions list:) Am having #2 in a few months and this was such a helpful reminder of things I need to get. Thank you!

  27. 2.21.14
    Anonymous said:

    My midwife encouraged me to use epsom salts and lavender in a bath, both really help with healing and are antimicrobial/bacterial/fun galaxy. Certainly don't want to get any sort of infection down there.
    I'd recommend going to a herbalist and asking for them to make up a bunch of postpartum "teabags" for the bath with heqling flowers/herbs. (Great for mum and bub.)

  28. 3.11.14
    Anonymous said:

    Tucks pads – put them in your pad = instant relief. Also, colace instead of Miralax. Ibuprofen ass Ć  lifesaver for me!

  29. 7.23.18
    Estelle said:

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for the great post. It helps to prepare for my postpartum. And no one told me that I need all these things.

    Also, can you tell me whether it is safe to use lavender essential oil with ginger as a massage oil after delivery?

    Thank you!

    • 7.23.18
      15mins said:

      On yourself it’s ok, but be careful with lavender oil around the baby as it can be an estrogen mimic

      • 7.24.18
        Estelle said:

        Hi Christine,

        If the baby oil contains all these ingredients, is it safe?

        Peppermint oil (mentha piperita oil)
        Eucalyptus oil (eucalyptus globulus oil)
        Nutmeg (myristica fragrans oil)
        African palm oil (elaeis guineensis oil)
        Clove (eugenia caryophyllus oil)

        • 7.24.18
          15mins said:

          I’d be careful with a lot of peppermint or eucalyptus oil.

  30. 12.14.19
    maggie said:

    I used this list to prep for when my daughter was born in 2017 and I’m due with #2 in a month so I came back just to sanity check that I had everything! this is a great post, but I really wish it didnt refer to all the carnage that comes with delivery as “embarrassing.” I don’t think there is anything embarrassing about getting hemorrhoids or bleeding after you deliver the human baby you just grew! those are things that just happen, and we have enough guilt to deal with as moms without piling on being embarrassed about the way our bodies respond to growing a person. I get that men are often weirded out by all of that, but if you’re mature enough to get a woman pregnant, you should be mature enough to deal with what happens to that women’s body (and mind) once the baby comes out. and women certainly shouldn’t normalize the idea that our bodies are icky or embarrassing after birth!!!