With so many items on the market, it can be overwhelming figuring out which postpartum essentials a natural mama actually needs. Are nursing tanks overkill? Which baby carrier is best? And what on earth are padsicles? In this guide, I’m answering these questions and more! Whether you’re a first-time mom or looking to bolster your recovery tool kit, this list is for you.

A few quick notes:

  • I’ve opted to DIY several of the items listed, but will offer ready-made alternatives in their place.
  • When an item was purchased, I included a link to the exact product I used.
  • This list is geared toward recovering from a vaginal delivery, but is equally suited to a cesarean recovery. Be sure to add salves and essential oils for scar healing and any other items (i.e. gauze) that your doctor recommends.

Get your bins together!

Before we dive in, I want to encourage you to organize your items by type (i.e. bathroom, breastfeeding, etc.) into transportable bins. This allows you to seamlessly transition from bedroom to living room – or your preferred lounging space – without having to make multiple trips back for forgotten items. It will also keep everything organized and within arms’ reach.

For help in organizing your bins, check out my Perfect Postpartum Planning Worksheets.

Buying on a Budget

The cost of preparing a well-stocked postpartum can add up quickly. It may not be realistic to have everything on your list and that’s completely okay! If you are planning to have more children in the future, know that some of these items are long-term investments. Ultimately, there is no one right way to assemble your postpartum recovery kit. So, feel free to amend my list to suit your needs!

Here are a few tips to make the most of your budget:

  • Identify the items that you feel are most important and focus on purchasing those.
  • Include postpartum items on your baby registry.
  • When appropriate, seek out second-hand items.
  • Try to DIY some of the items on your list.
  • Make a purchasing schedule to spread out the cost of preparing for postpartum. (I recommend dedicating the second trimester to your postpartum needs.)
  • Look for a similar product that is less expensive.

This article contains affiliate links. You will not be charged extra when purchasing through the links provided in this post. A small portion of the purchase will support this website.

Bathroom & Pain Management

An obvious need during those initial days postpartum is gentle bathroom supplies. While the amount of pain experienced can vary among mothers, bruising, swelling, and tenderness is to be expected across the board. The more you can do to support tissue healing and regeneration, the quicker you’ll be back to wiping and sitting without a problem.

Healing Salve

A gentle healing salve renourishes the tissues and accelerates the healing of any bruising or tearing. If you have access to a bulk herb store, salves are incredibly easy to prepare at home, but can also be purchased inexpensively. Many local herbal shops will also prepare custom blends or offer locally made options. Look for a salve that includes Calendula, which is especially beneficial for tissue regeneration. Apply after each trip to the bathroom.

Suggestion: Organic Perineal Balm by Earth Mama | Naturally Cooling Herbal Salve for Pregnancy and Postpartum Relief, 2-Fluid Ounce

Peri-Bottle & Warm Water

I never would’ve thought of a peri-bottle as a must-have, but it made a significant difference in my ability to urinate following delivery.

Instructions: Begin spraying your urethra and vaginal area before starting the flow of urine. Continue spraying until you have finished and follow up by patting the vaginal area with soft toilet paper. Do not wipe. Warm water is preferred.

Quick note: If you had any tearing or stitches, it is recommended to add a squirt of iodine to the water before using it. You can purchase it at the drug store or online inexpensively.

Suggestion: MEDLINE Perineal Irrigation Bottle

Wet Wipes

Wiping can be extremely traumatic for bruised and inflamed tissues, but there are some times that it must be done. Keep a pack of wet wipes on hand to utilize when cleaning up from a bowel movement. Baby wipes are more than sufficient and are most likely something you already have on hand.

I recommend: Babyganics Wipes

Numbing Spray

Sitting can be uncomfortable the first few days after delivery and many moms have found relief through numbing sprays. You can easily DIY an essential oil blend that supports pain relief and healing or purchase a natural option.

What I included in my essential oil (EO) spray: Lavendar EO, Tea Tree EO, Copaiba EO Frankincense EO, Hyliochrysum EO, sterile water, and alcohol-free witch hazel.

Suggestion: Herbal Perineal Spray by Earth Mama | Safe for Pregnancy and Postpartum, Natural Cooling Spray for After Birth, Benzocaine and Butane-Free 4-Fluid Ounce

Soft, Chlorine Free Pads

Another obvious addition to the postpartum tool kit. Just purchase whichever disposable pads you typically purchase.

Can I use cloth pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup?

While you theoretically could use cloth pads, I recommend having disposables available to minimize laundry during the first week(s) following delivery. Feel free to switch to cloth pads once you are back on your feet.

Do not use tampons or a menstrual cup following delivery.

After a vaginal delivery, your tissues are bruised, swollen, and, in some cases, torn. It is important to give them an opportunity to heal before sticking anything into your vagina. (This is also why you need to avoid sex until you have been cleared by your care provider.) Anything that is stuck into your vagina before your tissues have fully healed increases the risk of prolonged healing time, further trauma, infections, and pelvic dysfunction – including urinary incontinence.

What are padsicles and do I want to use them?

Padsicles are popular among moms who are looking for natural pain and swelling relief. Simply drench heavy or ultra pads in alcohol-free witch hazel, add a few drops of essential oils, and freeze. Wear the frozen pads as normal during the first few days or weeks postpartum to provide pain relief. (If you’re interested in trying this, head over to Pinterest for recipes!)

My two cents: I’m definitely the odd-mama out, but I did not like padsicles and won’t be using them this postpartum. I found the relief to be minimal, lasting for only 10-15 minutes, and an increase in discomfort after the numbing wore off. That said, a lot of moms love these. So, it’s worth giving them a try!

Belly Wraps

The concept of postpartum belly wrapping dates back centuries, but is a relatively new concept to modern moms. Not only does belly binding provide much-needed support for the inner organs as they heal, it also facilitates in eliminating water weight, restoring the core muscles, and shrinking the postpartum pooch. Several styles of postpartum belly wraps exist, leaving it up to the wearer to decide which style she prefers most. Just make sure your chosen wrap provides support to both the abdomen and hips. Plan to don your postpartum belly wrap immediately following delivery and continue to wear it for at least eight hours every day during the three months following delivery.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Bengkung belly binder, a traditional Ayurvedic wrap that provides support from the hips up to the rib cage. This is very easy to DIY. If you can sew a seam, you can sew a Bengkung! There are several tutorials available online. Be sure to watch a tutorial on how to wrap the Bengkung, as it can be a bit tricky at first.

Additionally, I like to have a second, low-profile wrap on hand for days I don’t feel like tying the Bengkung or are going somewhere special. Again, these are easy to order from Amazon.

Suggestion: Postpartum Belly Wrap 3 in 1 Belt, Postpartum Belly Girdle Support Recovery Waist Pelvis Band, Body Shaper Postnatal Shapewear Beige

Here’s where you can buy a Bengkung.

Essential Oil Roll-Ons & Cream

Essential oils can be formulated into custom roll-ons or added to lotion for easy application. I’ve also had great success in making massage-like oils that dispense from a reusable soap dispenser.

“Magic” Cream: 1C Lotion + 10 Drops Lavender EO + 10 Drops Peppermint EO (If breastfeeding, swap Frankincense) + 10 Drops Patchouli EO

Massage Oil: 1/4 C Coconut Oil + 1/4 C Olive Oil + 1/4 C Avocado Oil + 10-20 drops of EO

Looking for a reputable source for essential oils that is also affordable?

I recommend Aromatics International. This woman-owned company is run by Certified Aromatherapists who are dedicated to essential oil sustainability, education, and quality. They even harvest and process some of the oils themselves! You will not be disappointed by their products. (And neither will your wallet.)

Herbal Bath

Herbal baths support tissue healing and alleviate pain, specifically in the first few days following delivery. Plus, newborns love bathing with mom! Feel free to bring your little into the bath with you.

Suggestion: WishGarden Herbs – Afterbirth Sitzbath, New Mother’s Healing Respite, Organic Herbal Tincture, Post-Birth Soother (3.5 Ounces)

Arnica & Cell Salt

Unsurprisingly, natural mamas tend to avoid NSAIDs as much as possible. (And for good reason!) Homeopathic pain relievers can be extremely helpful in managing postpartum pain. Arnica came highly recommended by my midwife.

I’m using: Boiron Arnica Montana 30C 3 Tubes (80 Pellets per Tube) Homeopathic Medicine for Pain Relief

Another option: Bioplasma Cell Salts Tablets by Hyland’s, Natural Homeopathic Combination of Cell Salts Vital to Cellular Function, 1000 Count

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Personal Care

Personal care items can easily be overlooked when preparing for delivery, but are really important for maintaining basic cleanliness and self-confidence during the early postpartum days and weeks. Excessive postpartum sweating usually begins a day after delivery and can last several days to a week, leaving an already milk-soaked mama feeling sticky and gross. Finding a time shower is its own challenge. Fatigue, soreness, cluster feeding, and lochia (postpartum bleeding) can diminish a new mom’s desire to move, making a transportable personal care bin invaluable.

Dry Shampoo

If dry shampoo isn’t part of your personal care routine, it will be after you have your baby! This product adds body and volume while decreasing oiliness and smell. You can easily DIY this with items that are already in your cupboard or purchase a premade version.

Suggestion: ACURE Dry Shampoo – All Hair Types | 100% Vegan | Certified Organic | Rosemary & Peppermint – Absorbs Oil & Removes Impurities Without Water | 1.7 Fl Oz

Deodorant

It is extremely important to make sure that you are using a non-toxic deodorant. Toxins and chemicals can leach from your armpits into the breastmilk, exposing baby to things that his/her system is not capable of eliminating properly. I’ve found the best, natural deoderant to be the one I make myself, but you can easily purchase a safe option online or at a store near you. Check the Skin Deep Database or the Think Dirty app to make sure your current product is safe.

Suggestion: Primal Pit Paste All-Natural Deodorant – Aluminum & Paraben Free – Lavender Deodorant Jar

Deodorant Wipes or Spray

There are times as a new mom where you should jump in the shower, but doesn’t. This is the perfect time to whip out wipes or a deodorant spray to quickly cut the stickiness and smell. Even baby wipes can work in a pinch!

Suggestion: EO Organic Aluminum Free Deodorant: Spray and Wipes Combo Pack, Tea Tree, 3 Count

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Even natural body wash has the potential to disrupt the skin’s microbiome. This disruption increases the amount of sweat and odor you experience, thereby shortening the time between one shower and the next. Apple Cider Vinegar Spray is an easy, inexpensive DIY product that you can use after sudsing up to restore the skin’s microbial balance. Simply spray on the mixture and rinse before exiting the shower. (It’s also great for hair!)

1:1 Apple Cider Vinegar and Water – Add 15-20 drops of essential oils, if desired. Add to a spray bottle and keep in the shower.

Breastfeeding

The last thing a new mother needs when breastfeeding is to struggle with subpar clothing and coverings or pain. Thankfully, it is easier now than ever to find breastfeeding gear. Here, we are going to break down the must-haves in my breastfeeding toolkit.

Nursing Tank Tops

DIY nursing tanks are really popular among moms. After all, nursing tank tops can cost a pretty penny! I started out my breastfeeding journey with a DIY hack, but found that nursing tanks are truly superior when trying to breastfeed a squirming baby in public. (Not to mention the significant wear and stretching my non-nursing tanks sustained after only a few weeks of wear.)

Why invest in nursing tanks? They make any shirt breastfeeding friendly (hello layers!) and double as convenient loungewear. Keep an eye out at thrift stores and on eBay, as these tend to pop up in excellent used condition regularly.

Suggestion: SUIEK Women’s Nursing Top Tank Cami Maternity Shirt Sleep Bra for Pregnancy (Medium, Black+Charcoal+Grey(3pcs))

Wet Wipes

It is hard to predict what is going to happen during a nursing session, especially during the warmer months or with a squirmy baby. By keeping wet wipes handy during nursing sessions, you can easily clean up any messes and avoid smelling like sweat or sour milk. No need for anything special. A pack of baby wipes in your breastfeeding bin is more than sufficient!

I recommend: Babyganics Wipes

Water Bottle

Breastfeeding and thirst go hand in hand. Many moms comment that they feel extremely thirsty during nursing sessions, making a water bottle a must for any breastfeeding bin! Select a water bottle that is made from non-toxic materials and includes a straw, for easy access.

Silicone Breast Pump, Breast Pads, & Milk Saver

I once thought that breastfeeding accessories were luxuries, but have since learned that they can provide significant benefits when used properly. While all three of these items may seem excessive, I encourage you to purchase at least one of them to catch or collect milk from the breast that is not currently being fed on.

The silicone breast pump serves as a milk collector and manual pump. This is a favorite among natural moms and can even help stimulate greater milk production when used regularly.

I’m using: NatureBond Manual Breast Pump Silicone Breastfeeding Milk Saver Nursing Pump | All-in-1 Pump Strap, Stopper, Cover Lid, Carry Pouch, Air-Tight Vacuum Sealed in Hardcover Gift Box. BPA Free

Most likely, you’ve heard of breast pads. They are inserted into the bra to prevent leaking at any point throughout the day or night. Depending on your flow and force of your letdowns, you may need to look for a heavy-duty version or double up.

I’m using: Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads – 14 Washable Pads + Wash Bag – Breastfeeding Nipple Pad for Maternity – Reusable Nipplecovers for Breast Feeding (Pastel Touch, Large 4.8″)

Milk savers are similar to breast pads, in that they collect leaked milk, but should not be worn continuously. They are a discreet way to collect and save any milk that leaks during a nursing session.

I’m using: Breast Shells, 4 Pack Nursing Cups, Milk Saver, Protect Sore Nipples for Breastfeeding, Collect Breastmilk Leaks for Nursing Moms, Soft and Flexible Silicone Material, Reusable

If I had to choose just one? I would go for the Silicon Breast Pump and plan to have a plethora of burb clothes available to use as makeshift breast pads.

Hair Ties & Brush

There’s nothing like hair in your face during a nursing session! Keep a brush and a few hair ties in your breastfeeding bin for quick access.

Nursing Pillow

While you can get away with a regular pillow on your lap, a specialized nursing pillow is going to make the journey much easier. There are a variety of styles, so do some research before purchasing one.

I’m using: Boppy Bare Naked Nursing Pillow and Positioner

Breast Pump

Is a breast pump a must-have for you?

It depends entirely on your unique situation.

For moms returning to work or school: A breast pump is a vital part of the natural tool kit. Reference Making More Milk for details on how to maximize your supply and establish a routine for pumping. Opt for an electric breast pump for maximized output.

For moms who stay at home: A breast pump can be useful, but isn’t a necessity unless you are regularly separated from your child. If you aren’t pumping regularly, a manual hand pump or the silicone breast pump, as discussed above, may be sufficient.

If you’re planning to be apart from your child frequently, for a significant period of time, or would like to establish a freezer stash, then an electric breast pump will be the best option.

What is the best electric breast pump?

It depends on you and your personal preferences. Many moms love the Medela or Spectra breast pumps. Others swear by a rented hospital-grade pump. Additionally, there are a series of discrete, hands-free pumps on the market that allow you to pump while doing other things. Ask around and do some research on different models before selecting on.

Nursing Cover

Whether or not you cover while nursing will depend on your personal preferences and the environment. Nursing covers come in a variety of styles and patterns. Ask your friends for recommendations and, if possible, borrow a few before purchasing.

What is a discrete alternative to nursing covers?

It’s no secret that nursing covers can be cumbersome, draw attention, and cause older babies to squirm. An easy alternative is to wear a nursing tank top underneath a regular shirt and simply pull up the top layer when it comes times to feed. Just be sure to keep a burp cloth nearby to catch any spray, should baby suddenly unlatches!

Nipple Cream

Ideally, you shouldn’t require much, if any, nipple cream. That said, it is useful to have some on hand while troubleshooting a latch issue or dealing with discomfort while pumping. Pain while breastfeeding is never normal, despite what other mothers may tell you. If you are experiencing pain, bleeding, pinching, or chafing during or after feeding, please consult an experienced IBCLC to identify the root of the problem. The sooner you address a problem, the less likely your milk supply will suffer.

Suggestion: Motherlove Nipple Cream (1oz) Organic Lanolin-Free Herbal Salve – Soothe Sore Nursing Nipples, Moisturize Dry Skin, Use as Pump Lubricant – Unscented Ointment, No Need to Remove Prior to Breastfeeding or Organic Nipple Butter Breastfeeding Cream by Earth Mama | Lanolin-free, Safe for Nursing & Dry Skin, Non-GMO Project Verified, 2-Fluid Ounce (Packaging May Vary)

A Vegan Option: Nipple Crack Nipple Balm 1.8oz, Organic Lanolin Free Breastfeeding Nipple Cream for Nursing Mothers, All Natural, No Need to Wash Off, Safe for Baby and Mama…

Recommended Reads: Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding

It is extremely helpful to have a breastfeeding guide on hand for when you need or want to look up something. Kellymom.com is an additional resource that you can seek out for on-the-go information.

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding: From the Nation’s Leading Midwife – A straightforward guide that is a great cover-to-cover read for new and expecting moms.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated 8th Edition – A comprehensive encyclopedia of breastfeeding and breastfeeding challenges.

What about galactagogues, lactation cookies, and the like?

While there is definitely a place for milk-boosting supplements and foods, it is best to hold off using them unless they are absolutely necessary right from the start. The improper use of galactagogues, supplements, and lactation cookies can cause supply issues down the road. Please consult an experienced IBCLC and/or Making More Milk for guidance on how to use these products.

Bedroom

In all of the excitement of preparing for baby, the bedroom can be a neglected space. Be sure to bring your breastfeeding bin with you for quick access in the night. Additionally, prepare the following items for maximized sleep.

Towel(s)

Leaking during feeding and while sleeping are common. Many a mom has shared about “wetting the bed” due to an oversupply of milk. Be sure to keep a towel handy to clean up any messes. A waterproof mattress pad topped with a few towels is another great way to contain a mess and minimize cleanup in the night.

Pillows

It can be difficult to get comfortable the first week or so following delivery. Keep a few spare pillows nearby to help make sleeping a bit more comfortable. These will also come in handy to make yourself comfortable when breastfeeding your baby. Two or three pillows behind your back and supporting pillows below your arms can help make middle-of-the-night feedings a little easier.

Should I invest in nursing pajamas?

If you’ve seen a Pink Blush ad, I’m sure you’ve asked this question. In the early days of your breastfeeding journey, it can be handy to have a pair or two of breastfeeding-friendly pajamas to wear during the day, but it is not necessary. A nursing tank top is more than sufficient in providing quick access to the breasts. During the night, it is often more convenient to sleep shirtless or, again, in a nursing tank top. This allows for quick access to the breasts and minimizes the chance of a plugged duct.

Supplements

Now that we’ve tackled the practical items for a natural postpartum, let’s dive into the supplements that will enrich your milk, facilitate weight loss, and minimize your risk of postpartum depression. Keep taking your prenatal vitamin, but also consider adding in the following:

DHA

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is beneficial for brain development. It can also play a role in the mental health and cognitive function of a new mom. If your prenatal doesn’t provide this nutrient, be sure to supplement.

Suggestion: Seeking Health Optimal DHA

A Vegan Option: needed. Omega-3 Supplement (Powdered) or SOURCE NATURALS Vegan Omega-3s Epa-Dha 300 Mg Vegetable Soft Gel, 90 Count

Vitamin D

If you live 37 degrees north or south of the equator, then it is not possible to obtain enough Vitamin D from the sun at any time during the year. By supplementing 6000 iu of Vitamin D per day, you will provide yourself and your baby, via breastmilk, your daily need of this essential hormone.

Suggestion: NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU (1 Year Supply) for Healthy Muscle Function, Bone Health, and Immune Support Non-GMO in Cold-Pressed Organic Olive Oil Gluten-Free (Packaging May Vary) [360 Count]

Digestive Enzymes

Pregnancy and childbirth put significant strain on the digestive tract. It can take a while for digestive patterns to return to normal. Not only does a high-quality digestive enzyme minimize the strain on your body, it also helps to maximize the nutrients available to your baby and minimizes early postpartum constipation.

I’m using: Seeking Health Pro-Digestion Intensive Chewable

Additional Digestive Support for Mom & Baby

Digestion can be a challenge for both mom and baby. Thankfully, the same remedies that work for mom also work for baby! A breastfeeding-safe essential oil blend that is geared toward digestion can be diluted and used externally to alleviate discomfort. Gripe water is another remedy that has a long history of use for both mom and baby. Additionally, you can make a tea of digestive-support loose herbs to sip throughout the day.

Recommended Read: Postnatal Depletion Cure by Dr. Oscar Serrellach

Mothers frequently struggle with rage, depression, anxiety excessive hair loss, and stubborn weight following delivery. Medical professionals routinely assess moms for postpartum mental health disorders, but the rest of these complaints often are overlooked as unavoidable side effects of pregnancy. Thankfully, there is something that can be done to eliminate all of these challenges. A doctor out of Australia has discovered that all of these, and more, are symptoms of severe postnatal depletion. He frequently treats mothers in his clinic and finds that they are able to overcome the challenges quickly when on the correct protocol. His book outlines a variety of protocols for different postpartum problems and is a must-read for postpartum wellbeing.

The Postnatal Depletion Cure: A Complete Guide to Rebuilding Your Health and Reclaiming Your Energy for Mothers of Newborns, Toddlers, and Young Children

Snacks & Beverages

Are there foods you can eat to speed up healing? Absolutely! Let’s quickly run through some of the essentials in my postpartum pantry. Feel free to customize this list to fit your dietary preferences. For ideas on what to prepare, check out lilynicholsrdn.com and the recommended read at the end of this list.

Broth & Braised Greens

Bone Broth is especially mineral-rich and provides 10g of protein per cup! It is also easy on the digestive tract, making it an optimal food to consume after childbirth. Bone broth is also a great source of collagen, which speeds up the healing of tissues and ligaments.

Dark, leafy greens are an incredibly nourishing food to consume, as well. They provide a substantial amount of vitamins A, C, E, and K when freshly picked, and some even offer a variety of B-vitamins. Braising the greens in broth is a simple way to minimize the amount of work required to digest the plant fibers. Simply place the greens, along with any aromatic herbs, in a skillet or pot and cover with broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes before serving. These can also be frozen or chilled in the fridge to be eaten later.

Nutrient-Dense Proteins

Animal proteins are the easiest to digest and have been a staple in cultures around the world for moms during the early postpartum period. Pasture-raised and grass-fed animal products provide the greatest amount of nutrients. Opt for cuts on the bone and slow cook them in bone broth to minimize the amount of effort required to digest them.

Eggs are incredibly nutrient-dense and are an easy thing to prepare for new moms. Their nutrient-profile has been likened to liver. Additionally, they are considered one of the easiest foods to digest. Opt for pastured eggs as often as possible.

Also, consider including organ meats in your postpartum meal plan. While they may not appear especially palatable, there are significant benefits to consuming the whole-animal, as opposed to just muscle tissues. Organ meats also tend to be lighter on the wallet while simultaneously providing the most nutrient-dense punch for your buck. If eating them plain is not palatable, you can mix them into minced meats to hide the taste and texture. Another option is to take desiccated or frozen liver capsules. You’ll still benefit from the nutrients without having to chew the organs.

Suggestion: Perfect Desiccated Liver Capsules, 100% Grass Fed Undefatted Argentine Natural Beef Liver Supplements, 120 Capsules, 750mg per Capsule

Wild-caught fish is another excellent addition to the meal list. Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all easy to acquire and prepare. Smoked oysters, muscles, and clams are also incredibly nutrient-dense and often available in ready-to-eat portions. Wild-caught fish also offers the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to brain health. Aim to include fish once or twice a week, or more, during the first few weeks postpartum.

For Vegetarians and Vegans

Nutrient-dense protein sources are a little bit harder to come by on an animal-free diet, as the nutrients in legumes, nuts, and, seeds are more difficult to assimilate. It will require a bit more effort on your part upfront, but can be achieved if done properly. By rotating the type of protein source, as well as the preparation method, you can minimize the load on your digestive tract and satisfy the needs of you and your baby. Sprouted, soaked, and fermented protein sources will greatly minimize the effort required to digest a protein.

Legumes can be presoaked, slow-cooked, and frozen ahead of time in preparation for early postpartum meals. One note of caution: Do not sprout lentils, as they can cause digestive irritation in that form.

Traditionally fermented soy is another excellent option to include, as it is significantly less irritating to the digestive tract that whole or unfermented soy.

A variety of nuts and seeds can also be incorporated. While seeds do not fare well with soaking, nuts are much easier to digest if allowed to soak prior to consumption. You can presoak and dry these in a dehydrator or on a low setting in the oven when preparing your postpartum meal plan.

Additionally, it is worthwhile to consider a plant-based collagen supplement. Many companies now offer a plant-based collagen protein powder in a variety of wonderful flavors.

Coconut Products

Full-fat coconut products are anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, and anti-bacterial. They are also a significant source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been found to enrich breastmilk. MCTs are also extremely beneficial for the health of skin and hair and support digestive function, while simultaneously helping to keep hunger under control.

Liberal amounts of coconut oil, full-fat coconut milk (canned), and unsweetened coconut are great to include in the postpartum meal plan.

What about dairy? Isn’t it a great source of fats?

While dairy does contain high-quality fats and proteins, some of it’s proteins are passed through the breastmilk, irritating the digestive tracts of many babies. It is impossible to know if this will be a problem for your little one until after he or she is born.

In addition for many moms, dairy also tends to be difficult to digest, causing increased levels of inflammation in the body. This can exacerbate postpartum mental health challenges and slow down the timeline of healing following delivery.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate dairy into your postpartum meal plan, if it is part of your regular diet. Just be on the lookout for any signs that your little one is responding poorly. (This can include excessive fussiness, colic, reflux, rashes, projectile vomiting, distended abdomen, poor stool output, and sleep disturbances, beyond what is considered normal for an infant. How, exactly, a sensitivity presents depends on your baby and can range from mild to severe.)

If you do choose to incorporate dairy, opt for the highest quality, full-fat dairy available to you.

Lightly Steamed, Sauteed, and Roasted Vegetables

Again, our goal is to prepare foods that are nutrient-dense, but also easy to digest. By lightly precooking our vegetables, we can minimize the effort of digestion so that our bodies can focus on more important things: healing and breastfeeding.

Aim to incorporate a wide variety of vegetables. Stews and soups are especially nourishing, but you can also enjoy the cooked vegetables however you normally would. Just avoid anything preparation that is breaded, cheese-covered, or drenched in hydrogenated or low-quality vegetable oils.

Muffins, Biscuits, etc.

Quick sources of carbs that can be consumed one-handed are invaluable during the early postpartum days. Many mothers have noticed an increased, and urgent, need for carbs during a breastfeeding session. This is most likely due to the increased need for carbohydrates that comes with making milk!

Sweet and savory muffins can include hidden vegetables for an added nutrient punch. Oatmeal, bran, and brewer’s year have all been found to increase milk supply and can be incorporated into muffins, as well.

Biscuits or breads prepared in a muffin tin can be topped with nut butter, meat, or eggs for a filling snack. Egg muffins with a biscuit base can also be prepared with vegetables and breakfast meat. A variety of vegan “egg” muffin recipes are also available online!

All of these are easy to prepare in bulk and freeze for when needed. Just be mindful not to go too heavy on the white flour and white sugar, as both can spike your blood sugar and aren’t especially beneficial to recovery. Whole grains, especially when sprouted or soured, are a much better option.

Fresh Fruit, Dates, and Fruit-Bars

Fruit, especially fresh, juicy fruits, are relatively easy to digest when the digestive tract is not running at an optimal level. They are a source of carbohydrates, which is important for a consistent milk supply, and are relatively gentle on the blood sugar, thanks to a generous amount of fiber. Just be mindful not to solely consume fruit, as it lacks protein and high-quality fats.

Fermented Foods

Probiotics are always a great idea and incorporating them into the postpartum meal plan is a good way to make sure your body is getting what it needs during recovery. Rotate the type of fermented foods you are consuming to make sure you are receiving a rotation of probiotic strains. Fermented beverages, such as kombucha and water kefir soda, are great to have on hand when you need something other than water to drink.

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea can be brewed fresh daily or prepared for three to four days and chilled. Not only does this provide a water alternative that is sugar- and caffeine-free, but it also nourishes your body with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Some herbal tea blends have also been found to boost milk supply. Seek out an organic herbal tea that is specifically formulated for breastfeeding mothers.

Herbs to Keep on Hand

If you’re familiar with herbs and use them regularly in your routine, then there are a few to keep on hand for early postpartum:

Catnip, dill, anise seed, and fennel are all great digestive aids.

Red raspberry leaf, nettle, and alfalfa provide a host of vitamins and minerals.

Chamomile and lavender are calming for both mom and baby.

Dandelion is excellent for supporting liver function and also can enrich milk production.

Of course, this is only a sampling of the herbs that can be beneficial during the early postpartum period. Consult an herbalist, Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness, or Making More Milk for a more complete list.

Recommended Read: The First Forty Days

Need help figuring out what to plan for your postpartum meal plan? This book will introduce you to cultural lying in practices and guide you in selecting foods to best nourish your body.

The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother

What about placenta encapsulation?

For a variety of evidence-based reasons, I do not recommend placenta encapsulation and am working on a thorough overview of the research findings to share soon.