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A Doula’s Personal Postpartum Must-Haves

postpartum essentials

By the time I gave birth for the first time myself, I’d been a doula for more than 6 years and worked with over 60 families. I planned like hell for my postpartum experience—and ended up having what I consider to be a pretty positive one overall.

Part of my planning involved lots of practical, macro thinking— about my support system, about having realistic expectations, about building in rest as my main mode of being. But like any modern mama, I also knew the benefit of having some awesome postpartum products.

Here are my personal postpartum essentials. Of course, having the “right” products is only one piece of a positive postpartum—but I can definitely say you won’t be sorry you tried any of the items below!

  1. The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson: This book was my postpartum planning bible. Kimberly’s grounded and holistic approach to postpartum was my companion both before and after birth.  Covering everything from the pelvic floor to your relationship with your partner, Kimberly’s book has practical advice and useful framing for this giant transition of mind, heart, and body, one that is so often minimized in our culture’s urgency to “bounce back.” This book sets the groundwork for all other things that can be considered postpartum essentials, in my opinion.
  1. Haaka: A Haakaa “pump” (it’s not really a pump…more like a pressure catcher) is so great for the early days.  It’s basically a little tubelike bottle that suctions onto your breast and catches what leaks. It helped me relieve engorgement and built me up a little “stash” of extra breastmilk to freeze. 
  1. A soft robe that opens at the front:  I had a gorgeous black bamboo robe that I lounged around in for the first few weeks. A soft, special robe in a color or print you love, bought specifically for the early weeks of postpartum, can add a little comfort or even luxury. It’s great for breastfeeding or skin-to-skin and is easy to toss back on if/when you get visitors or don’t want to be topless anymore. 
  1. A Himalayan salt lamp: The rosy-comforting light of my salt lamp made it easy to check on my baby throughout the night and latch him on during middle-of-the-night feeds. Much more pleasant and calming than actually turning on the light!
  1. Rosehip seed oil: As someone with fairly oily skin, I was shocked at how dry my postpartum skin was. An esthetician I saw soon after birth recommended rosehip seed oil and it worked wonders for me. Bonus: I also used it on my stretch marks and I swear it worked wonders on them, too. 
  1. My Breast Friend pillow: I know the Boppy is the most popular baby and breastfeeding pillow, but I knew about the MyBreastFriend and chose it over a Boppy. With a handy clip, phone pocket, and indentations for a baby head and butt, it feels much more substantial than a Boppy. Plus, since you clip it to your body, it’s easy to adjust. I found feeding on it (rather than a regular pillow) really helped my back. 
  1. Blanqi leggings: Blanqui’s postpartum compression leggings had just the right amount of “holds you in” for me after birth. They made me feel strong whether I was lounging around the house or out and about on those first few postpartum walks. 
  1. FridaBaby MomWasher: This tool, designed to clean your vagina after you go the bathroom, is AMAZING. I could not get over how amazing my vagina felt when I used it, ha! In fact, I ended up using the MomWasher for weeks, just because I loved the refreshing vibe. I also enjoyed filling it with herbal sitz bath mixture to really up the healing factor. Definitely one of the most important postpartum essentials!