Postpartum Recovery Checklist With 15 Ways to Help Moms Have a Smooth Recovery

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If you’re looking for ways to have a smooth recovery after childbirth, you’re in the right place. This postpartum recovery checklist with 15 of the best recovery tips can help!

Throughout pregnancy, mothers spend so much time planning baby showers and daydreaming about their birth plan that the postpartum period often gets overlooked. Of course, unintentionally so.

But what if someone told you that postpartum is a crucial transition period into motherhood? What if someone told you that you should be focusing some of your attention to prepare for your recovery and emotional health for a smooth recovery? That’s what these postpartum recovery tips will help you do!

Things To Do While Preparing for The Fourth Trimester

It’s inevitable — you won’t be able to prepare for EVERY little hiccup that comes your way after birth. However, you can prepare for some of it. You can also arm yourself with certain tools to help cope and work through the more challenging motherhood obstacles as they arise. Here’s how.

1. Make your own postpartum padsicles

If you ended up having a vaginal delivery, mama let me just tell you, you will be S-O-R-E.

And one of the best things to help calm things down a bit down there is going to be ICE! But who wants to just grab a bunch of ice & ice their vagina, right? I mean how uncomfortable is that?! No thanks!

Instead, you can gather up some supplies and make yourself some DIY POSTPARTUM PADSICLES.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Witch Hazel (I used ol’ reliable T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel – seriously the best)
DIY Postpartum Padsicles Step by Step

As you see, these cooling pads are super easy to make! Simply follow these steps to make and store them until you’re ready to use them!

Step 1) Unroll pad (saving the wrapping) & apply 2-4 teaspoons onto the pad;

Step 2) Apply generous amounts of aloe vera gel & smooth it out onto the pad

Step 3) Fold pad back into it’s original wrapper, stick into ziplock bag and store in the freezer!

To make your life easier, you can grab all the items I used for my postpartum padsicles here on my Amazon Store!

2. Stock up on medicated cooling pads

These bad boys are a bit different then the ice padsicles we just talked about making above.

These medicated cooling pads, also known as Tucks Medicated Healing Pads, are little 3″ round soaked in witch hazel pads to help ease the pain and commence the healing!

I found these to be extra helpful with getting rid of that painful burn/itch feeling around the 24-48 hour mark after giving birth.

Whenever I’d use the bathroom, I’d put 2-3 of these pads in my discreet undies (or if you’re wearing a maxi pad, layer them on top of your pad) for instant relief!

They don’t come with too many in a pack, so be sure to grab some extras from the hospital or order a couple off of amazon.


Here’s one I think we can all admit to being guilty to at one point or another — listening to our bodies!

Listen, you just gave birth. You have a wound in your body (hence the bleeding), you need to take it easy and relax. This holds even more ground if you had a cesarean delivery or any kinds of complications related to your delivery.


Ask for help, call up friends, family, look into hiring a postpartum doula — do what you need to do so that you can literally relax for at least the first week. Trust me when I tell you it will make all the difference.

And if you’re a fitness buff like I am, I know how much it sucks waiting around to get back into your groove. So instead of just ‘jumping back into things’, listen to your body and ease into it instead.

I highly suggest starting with a program aimed to help you rehabilitate & restrengthen your body, one of my all time favorites is called Juna!

Juna is a fitness app created for moms by a mom to help you stay active no matter if you’re pregnant or recovering from childbirth! Juna is great because they provide step-by-step video and voice instructions with every workout you do.

They also go above and beyond with providing extra goodies such as healthy recipes, breathing & pelvic floor exercises, nutritional tips and more!

If you’d like to try the Juna App for yourself, they were kind enough to extend a FREE 1-month trial if you click here & enter code: KW30FREE

4. Take a stool softener (seriously, just do it)

A common horror story other moms warned me about was ‘the first poo’.

Many of these women shared how painful it was, how they developed hemorrhoids, and some even experienced bleeding back there, yikes!

Fortunately for me, I never experienced that at all. I’d like to think it’s because I swooped up the recommended stool softeners my doctor told me to get (she recommended Dulcolax stool softeners by the way) and began taking them RIGHT after birth.

So….my suggestion, if you aren’t trying to experiment with any painful poops, get yourself the stool softener.

5. Don’t neglect your breasts

Yes, mamas, your breasts are also a part of the postpartum recovery period.

Now, they didn’t go through any trauma in the same way your abdomen/vagina did, but trust me when I say they will feel very sore once your breastmilk comes in!

Not to mention, if you’re a nursing mama, your poor nipples will feel like someone rubbed them raw with sandpaper — it sounds horrible, but I’m just being honest.

As your baby learns to latch, they can cause some serious pain to your nipples. That’s why I always suggest keeping the following 3 items on hand ready to help ease the discomfort (yes, I use EVERY item on this list):

  • Earth Mama Nipple Butter (a smooth creamy butter that glides on to keep your nipples moisturized against baby’s saliva drying them out)
  • Bamboobies Soothing Flaxseed Pillows (multi-use warm/cold pillows to ice your nipples if they’re in pain or warm compress your breasts to help with engorgement and promote milk flow)

For more breastfeeding items, you can check out my Amazon shop for the FULL list of products I used breastfeeding both my boys.

If you feel like you need more tips or help in the breastfeeding area, these posts may come in handy for you during this time:

6. Rest, rest, and more rest!

So we kind of touched on this back in point #3, but your body needs rest mama.

In fact, I think rest has got to be one of the most important postpartum recovery tips from this entire list.

When I say rest, I mean:

  • Stay in bed with baby or lounge on the sofa when you get the chance
  • Take an extra nap or two throughout the day
  • DON’T feel obligated to invite anyone over to meet baby (unless of course they’d like to contribute to some of the household chores)
  • Spend extra time giving your body some TLC, like using your ice pads, taking a sitz bath (this sitz bath is the one I used and found it worked great), etc…
  • NOT rushing back into any kind of fitness or workout routine

Trust me on this one. With my 2nd little one, it was tough to rest, but my husband did everything in his power to make sure I did (despite my stubborn nature that wanted to keep going).

There were days I didn’t listen and let me tell you, I felt horrible! I would get painful cramping, have much more bleeding, and really bad headaches whenever I’d push myself to do more than I realistically should.

So take it from someone who didn’t want to listen and let your body rest — this won’t last forever, but it’s important for your recovery!

7. Pickup a SITZ bath (and don't forget the SITZ bath soaks too)

Speaking of SITZ baths, here's the one I used!

If you're not even familiar with what a SITZ bath is, it's a shallow pan that you place on your toilet seat, fill it with warm water and a soothing bath soak (this soak is THE MOST soothing) — then you sit and let your lady bits soak feeling the relief from pain, itching, and inflammation.

Now, technically, you can also do this in your bathtub. However, if your bathtub isn't cleaned very well, you could risk the chance of getting an infection down there, which, nobody wants that.

Lastly, if you end up with hemorrhoids, a SITZ bath can help with those too!

As you can see, lots of win-wins here for using a SITZ bath after birth regardless of your delivery method!

8. Put a peri bottle in EVERY bathroom in the house

You'll likely get sent home with a peri bottle from your hospital (if you had a hospital birth).

If not, make sure to order ONE FOR EACH BATHROOM. Yep. It will make your life SO much easier keeping one stocked and ready in each bathroom you may be using; plus keeping one in your purse if you ever have to leave the house and use the bathroom elsewhere.

So why a peri bottle? Think of it as a travel bidet. When you use the restroom after birth, your downstairs is going to be sore. You're not going to want to wipe. So, the solution to staying clean is by using your peri bottle!

Simply hold, aim, squirt, & pat dry!

Experienced postpartum mama of two tip - Add some of the Witch Hazel, if you have any leftover after making your padsicles to your peri bottle before using the bathroom! I experimented with this little trick after my 2nd birth and it helped me feel relief so much!

9. Numb that pain away girl!

If you've tried all the pads, soaks, ice, and still aren't finding relief, using Dermoplast spray will definitely do the trick!

What makes Dermoplast so awesome is it pretty much instantly numbs you down there. So even though it isn't 'helping you heal' it is helping you feel a lot more comfort.

I use to use this as part of my bathroom ritual which went something like this:

  • Use bathroom
  • Rinse with peri bottle (warm water + witch hazel combo)
  • Use SITZ bath (I only did this occasionally, not every time)
  • Spray with Dermoplast
  • Line discreet undies with witch hazel pads (or set up a padsicle)
  • Go on about my day

Pretty simple, right?

10. Give your bottom some extra support with one of these super soft donut pillows!

I'm going to be 100% honest with you here, I didn't use mine except for once!

It's not because it didn't work or help, it definitely helped take the pressure off my lady bits, it's just I always forgot to carry it around with me from room to room (for whatever reason I travel rooms a lot LOL).

However, if you can remember to bring this little pillow with you ANYWHERE you plan to be sitting, get the donut pillow!

One thing another mom told me, which sounds like an amazing idea, is she would keep hers in the car since the movement of the car hitting her bottom side really agitated her healing process.

Like I said, I didn't get to try it that way, but I've heard it works wonders in the car and on those more hard surfaces!

11. Journal your feelings

Journaling is an excellent way to manage challenging and difficult feelings associated with the postpartum period. Some of the ways journaling can be beneficial is because:

  • It helps you identify specific emotional triggers
  • Helps identify fears, worries, or problems
  • Can help visually work through a resolution
  • Help to prevent triggering events
  • Is a way to practice reframing negative thoughts

If you think journaling could be a helpful tool throughout your after-birth recovery, you can snag my Ultimate Baby Preparation Guide here which has a page just for journaling in addition to some journal prompts!

12. Wear comfortable (and breathable) clothing

I'm a cheap clothes kind of girl. What I mean is, it takes A LOT to make me spend more than $35 on anything.

However, when it comes to comfortable postpartum clothing, I learned my lesson the first time around and it's that its ok to splurge if its worth it — and girl, it's worth it!

Wearing comfortable clothing after giving birth not only feels good on your body, but it also can help with breastfeeding (because tight/uncomfortable bras/shirts can potentially occlude your milk flow and cause a clogged milk duct).

After giving birth, my wardrobe primarily consisted of:

As you can tell, comfort is the name of the game, so be sure to splurge every once and a while if it means you can be more comfortable during this healing process.

13. Be prepared for the bleeding

That's right, no matter if your delivered via cesarean or had a vaginal delivery, there will be bleeding.

The best way to deal with this is to stock up on some of the larger sized maxi pads.

I personally hate maxi pads, so I opted to purchase discreet panties instead. I found these to be a lot more comfortable and very absorbent.

14. Show your incision some extra TLC (for cesarean deliveries)

Oh mama, if you had a cesarean delivery, I so wish you a smooth recovery! I can only imagine trying to carry baby around and/or nurse baby while having. a healing incision.

Make sure to take extra care of your incision site by keeping it nice, dry snd clean.

Wear comfortable after birth underwear that won't rub or irritate your incision site.

And to reiterate the theme of this post, rest up mama!

15. Make sure to see a pelvic floor therapist

We made it to number 15, phew! This one is to seek out help from a pelvic floor therapist. Even if you don't think you have an issue, it's always good to get evaluated anyways.

Most of us will experience incontinence, a soft squishy belly, painful intercourse, but when these issues persist and become 'normal' for you, that's a big no-no.

You totally don't need to live your life with those kinds of issues at all. The solution? Pelvic Floor Rehab.

If you want to learn more about pelvic floor health, this article is SO helpful.

Recovering from childbirth can feel stressful and overwhelming, but by preparing with these tips you should be able to have a smooth healing process after birth.

Read more postpartum articles here:

15 postpartum recovery tips for mom

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