All of we mothers tend to focus exclusively and perhaps a bit obsessively on our little miracle baby. I know, it’s hard to take your eyes away, but you need to care for yourself as well.
If you’ve had a vaginal delivery, then you need great postpartum pads. You’ll soon realize that this discharge is more than you’d see with any menstrual period. There’s also a raft of other happenings you may not have expected.
Postpartum pads are like menstrual pads, only more absorbent, and they cover more acreage. You’ll soon learn to be grateful for the difference. You might need this kind of protection for weeks. Hard to tell; we’re all different after all.
Read on to discover some of the issues and their solutions for a postpartum mom. This article will examine seven leading brands for the best postpartum pads.
A New Mom’s Guide to Postpartum Care
The total of postpartum care of mom is a rather long list. Fortunately, we have a list just as long for addressing every issue.
Your vaginal area might be extra-sore if you had an episiotomy. That’s an opening the doctor made with a scalpel behind the vagina in the peritoneal area to help baby’s head exit the vaginal without tearing. It may be that you had a tear that occurred during the birth. No matter which wound you have, it might take a few weeks for the soreness to go away. Of course, longer tears will probably take longer. Here are some tried-and-true ways to help with the pain.
- Be careful where you sit! A pillow or padded ring can help accommodate a nursing session without extra pain.
- When you urinate… take an empty squeeze bottle and fill with warm water. The kind of plastic bottle used for catsup or mustard is perfect. While you are urinating, squeeze the water onto your perineum.
- A nice, warm bath is a delight. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold. When you hit the Goldilocks temperature, you’ll sigh in relief. Warning: cool or cold water may be more to your taste. You only need to fill the bath enough to cover your buttocks. Five minutes is long enough to help. You can repeat several times during the day.
- An ice pack or a chilled witch hazel pad placed between your wound and a sanitary napkin can be greatly relieving. Witch hazel, from a tree of the same name, is a wonderful product that isn’t used enough nowadays. It looks like alcohol and is usually on the same shelf in the drug store. It has a pleasant odor and won’t sting. Simply pour the witch hazel onto a disposable mini-pad and place in the refrigerator or freezer. You’ll be glad to know you can get other uses from the witch hazel. It’s great on insect bites and sunburn.
- Postpartum pain doesn’t call for prescription pain medications. Just use the over-the-counter brand you usually use for discomfort. There are sprays and creams you can get from your doctor.
- Constipation is no fun at any time, but, just after childbirth, it is painful in the extreme. You can ask your doctor if you can use an over-the-counter stool softener or a gentle laxative that will prevent constipation.
- If your pain increases, is severe, or you experience a fever, call your doctor immediately. You may have an infection.
After you deliver your infant, you will begin the shed the lining that you used to allow Sam or Susie to live and grow large enough to live outside on their own. You shed the superficial mucous membrane and blood, called lochia, for several weeks. At first, your discharge will be heavy and red, like a heavy menstrual period. It then becomes more liquid — the color changes from the pinkish brown to yellow-white. If your bleeding is so heavy that you are soaking a pad in less than one hour, call your physician’s office. A call is even more urgent if you also have a fever, pelvic pain, or tenderness in your uterus.
Afterpains is the name for these contractions that last only a few days after delivery. These feel like menstrual cramps. They are good for you, honest. They compress the blood vessels in the uterus which prevents excessive bleeding. Afterpains often occur during nursing because of the release of your oxytocin. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Incontinence is the inability to retain urine. It might dribble out, leaving you with wet undies or pad. You might release some urine if you laugh, sneeze, or cough. The dribbles will improve, probably. For some women, it is a lifelong struggle. The reason is that childbirth stretches or weakens your pelvic floor muscles. There are effective exercises that you can do anywhere and anytime that are called Kegel exercises. They will tone up your pelvic floor. While you are doing whatever, pretend you are trying to stop your urine flow. Hold for as long as you can, then release. After a few moments’ rest, repeat.
Hemorrhoids and Bowel Movements
Many women develop hemorrhoids while they are pregnant and after delivery. If you have itching, bleeding, or pain during bowel movements, you very probably have hemorrhoids. While they heal up, use an over-the-counter cream for hemorrhoids or a suppository with hydrocortisone. Here is another use for the chilled witch hazel pads. It will help if you soak your anal area in plain warm water for up to 15 minutes a few times each day. Keep your stools soft High-fiber foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit will help.
When and Why Do I Need Postpartum Pads?
You will need these pads from the time of delivery until your discharge, which may last a month, is light enough to use a regular sanitary napkin (not a tampon!).
How Many Pads Will I Need Each Day?
Like menstrual pads and tampons, there is no average. Every woman has their own needs, and it won’t be the same even for her subsequent children. Since we can’t guess, let’s buy the big bag and pass it along to a sister or friends when their time comes.
Which Is Best: Cloth vs. Disposable?
You may not know that you can use reusable cloth postpartum and menstrual pad rather than the disposable kind. Our foremothers all used the cloth option, so something must be right. You can even make your pads or buy them from home business. You only need a half dozen or so, and they can be of varying thickness. The advantages are considerable:
- One-time cost
- Easy to wash by hand in a sink
- No worries about running out
- Easier on the skin
- Environmentally friendly
Disposable pads are convenient and only require disposal. They are costly, however, and running out is a constant worry (by your partner who is probably the one going to the store). Each option has advantages. It’s up to you to choose the right one for your situation well in advance of need. Your hospital will probably send you home with a kit, however.
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We are all familiar with Always Maxi pads. Those of us with heavy flows find the Overnight version to be very effective. I’ll admit, I used these as postpartum pads after the third day, and they worked great. The trick here is to use the right size. Use the chart to pick the size that will work best for your body.
The Always Maxi Overnight (check price on Amazon) has wings to encompass the edges of your panty crotch to prevent slipping and stains. Add that to a LeakGuard Core that gives up to 10 hours of protection, and you have an excellent product for postpartum needs. In size 5, for instance, the back is twice as long as the regular Maxi with Wings.Check Price on Amazon
Seventh Generation has become ubiquitous in every grocery chain and online. They are known for A+ effort regarding their products and ecological awareness. These Maxi Pads (check price on Amazon) have no leftovers from chlorinated hydrocarbons including dioxin. There are no fragrances or dyes in this product.
I raise my hand when they call out “Blondes with sensitive skin to the right.” I find all the Seventh Generation products to never irritate my skin or that of my Jack or Alice.
In the Maxi Pad department, you might want to wait for a week or so. The pads are ultra-thin, and women report that they are relatively short, so they don’t cover as well in the critical back area. Ladies say they are very comfortable for heavy flows, even calling them pillow-like. Seventh Generation is a good product to use if you are a smaller woman.Check Price on Amazon
Best Maternity Pads
These Natracare Organic Maternity pads (check price on Amazon) are made specifically for new moms. They are extra-long and super-comfortable. They are serious about their organic pledge. Even the packaging is 100 percent plastic free. Of course, the pads themselves are not only plastic-free but has chlorine free pulp and a certified 100 percent cotton cover. What’s not to like?
Using Natracare, you are kept in comfort while avoiding any unnatural substances whatsoever. The pads are biodegradable and compostable. Natracare would be a great pad for the serious-minded ecologist who wants to be in comfort and protected at the same time.Check Price on Amazon
Best Organic Pads Best Budget Buy
The Organyc pads (check price on Amazon) are a feminine hygiene product that is suitable for both menstrual periods and postpartum use, so now you see that you can use menstrual pads just as well as larger postpartum pads. It’s a matter of how heavy your flow turns out to be.
Organyc makes the pads from 100 percent biodegradable and compostable organic cotton. Organyc uses no chlorine in bleaching the cotton. The topsheet, next to your skin, is 100 percent organic cotton with non-woven biodegradable biopolymer on the backsheet. The company touts its products as the only complete line with all-organic cotton and biodegradable. Women with sensitive skin and want to avoid chemicals can find a product here that might meet all their needs, both cleanliness and comfort.Check Price on Amazon
These Poise pads (check price on Amazon) are not for postpartum bleeding. They are incontinence pads, which means if you have trouble with bladder leakage after your postpartum discharge term, this is the product to investigate.
They offer Poise Ultimate Absorbency, Long Pads to handle gushes rather than drips and leaks. Their 3-in-1 protection offers comfort, odor control, and dryness. The sides have Leak-Block with an Absorb-Loc Core. They are supposed to handle postpartum bleeding or any post-maternity woman who has heavier bladder leakage. This product has a long length for better coverage.Check Price on Amazon
Best Add-On Value
The Kindred underwear (check price on Amazon) is explicitly made for postpartum women whether they’ve had a Caesarian section or vaginal birth. These panties are made to hold in your abdomen and all the accompanying cotton bits. If you’ve had a C-section, it will hold your abdominal dressings in place. It’s also an excellent cover for your postpartum pads.
The panties keep everything in place. Kindred makes the panty with nylon (95 percent) and Spandex (5 percent) so it will hold your tummy in without being too tight. Snug and secure are the watchwords. You can use these for even a year after delivery. It promises no muffin-top, no bulky bands, and no Velcro. It comes in three colors to match your mood, and three sizes, small through XXX-large.Check Price on Amazon
These Ultra Extra pads (check price on Amazon) are certainly good for heavy menstrual bleeding and can also handle postpartum discharge. They have 9 percent organic cotton and 84 percent plant-based material. Users report that these are the longest pads they’ve ever used, so this will certainly be on many shoppers’ minds.
You do need to change these more often because they don’t have much gel inside to absorb large quantities of fluid. That is true of any organic product. Another user reported that this pad is excellent for postpartum use. Price became an issue with some users.Check Price on Amazon
And the winner is…
Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Maxi Pads (check price on Amazon). Seventh Generation’s cache in the organic home products space is bound to attract women who trust their brand implicitly. They have all the features we’ve come to expect from the company; no dyes, no fragrances, and no chlorinated hydrocarbons or dioxin. These are great pads to use after the supply from the hospital runs out. They should take care of things as your discharge becomes a bit lighter in the second week or so. It might work well if you would buy one pack of heavier use pads, then switch to a larger quantity of The Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Maxi Pads for the remainder of the time you need coverage.