POSTPARTUM

The Best Postpartum Pads for the First Six Weeks

No matter what kind of birth you have – vaginal, cesarean, un-medicated, etc. – these are the best pads to use for your postpartum recovery.

No matter what kind of birth you have – vaginal, cesarean, un-medicated, etc. – bleeding for a good portion of the first six weeks postpartum is pretty standard.

After birth the uterus is tender and healing from a large wound where the placenta was previously attached.  This wound is where the blood comes from.

Postpartum cramps are normal and the body’s way of preventing hemorrhaging.  By contracting down (cramping), it prevents the wound from bleeding too much.

No matter what kind of birth you have – vaginal, cesarean, unmediated, etc. – bleeding for a good portion of the first six weeks postpartum is pretty standard.

Tips for Postpartum Bleeding and Recovery:

  • It’s important to pay attention to the amount of bleeding.  Sometimes after doing too much in one day, bleeding will increase.  This is the body’s way of saying “slow down!”.  Listen to the body, it is wise.
  • A few days after birth, you should not be soaking a pad quickly (within an hour).  Contact your care provider if you are experiencing this.
  • Golf ball sized clots can be normal.  Keep in communication with care provider to make sure clots are within normal range.
  • There should be no foul smell coming from the vagina, on the pad, or in the blood. Contact your care provider if you think this is happening.  This is an indication of infection.
  • Change pads 2-3 times per day, or more often as needed.
  • If applicable, choose a pad with minimal top weaving to maintain the integrity of stitches.
  • Don’t use tampons, menstrual cups, or take baths.  Keeping things out of the vagina aids healing and prevents infection.
  • Change pads 2-3 times per day, or more often as needed.
  • If applicable, choose a pad with minimal top weaving to maintain the integrity of stitches.
  • Don’t use tampons, menstrual cups, or take baths.  Keeping things out of the vagina aids healing and prevents infection.

Here are the best postpartum pads for the first six weeks after birth:

Week 1, Part 1:  Maximum Absorbency Adult Diapers

In the first week or so, bleeding is heavy, especially the first couple of days.  Adult diapers are the way to go!  There’s no worry of leaking with an adult diaper.  It’s so easy!  When it comes to postpartum, I’m a big fan of easy.

My favorite adult diaper for postpartum is the Depend Silhouette for Women.  They are soft and less bulky than the average adult diaper.

SHOPPING TIP:  Buy 1-2 packs of 12 adult diapers for the first week. 24 adult diapers should be more than sufficient and you’ll likely have leftovers.  Gift your leftovers, along with your postpartum pad tips and tricks, to another mama due after you.  She’ll be so appreciative!

Cold for Bruising, Pain and Swelling

An adult diaper makes using padsicles super simple. First put on the adult diaper, and then place the frozen pad in the adult diaper and you’re good to go!  With an adult diaper there’s no worry of the padsicle melting and making a mess in the sheets.

When the padsicle melts, or you need a new pad, simply throw the pad out and replace it while re-using the same adult diaper.  There’s need for a new adult diaper unless it has become soiled.

If padsicles aren’t for you, many moms love reusable ice packs made just for postpartum.

If you need something even easier, try disposable ice packs they work amazingly well!

Mesh Panties + Maternity Pads

Many moms rave about mesh panties coupled with the big bulking maternity pads. Personally, I wasn’t a fan.  I found the pad to slip all over the place, and because it didn’t have wings I leaked on the sheets!  No, thank you.

I highly recommend using adult diapers in the beginning in lieu of the mesh panties.  I have a hunch that if parents had both  Depend Silhouette for Women and mesh panties in the bathroom, in the end the Depends would win.

NOTE:  Some moms that give birth by cesarean do prefer the mesh panties over the adult diapers because there’s less pressure on the incision site.  That makes sense!

Week 1, Part 2:  Extra Heavy Flow Overnight Pads

After about 3-7 days, adult diapers become overkill because bleeding has slowed considerably.  Congratulations!  Your body is healing and you are ready to graduate to a heavy flow pad!

I love the Always Maxi “purple pads” which are their overnight extra heavy flow pads.  These are the big guns, but don’t feel too big or bulky when wearing them.

SHOPPING TIP:  Buy two packs of 20 “purple pads”. 40 overnight extra heavy flow pads should be more than sufficient.  If you have any leftovers, gift them to another mama due after you.  This is how you make mom friends!

Week 2-4:  Regular Pads

After a week or so of wearing heavy flow pads, you’ll be ready to wear a regular sized pad and possibly something heavier for nighttime.  Good job!  Your body is continuing to heal!

For daytime I recommend Always Ultra Thin Pads for Daytime.

For nighttime I recommend Always Ultra Thin Pads for Overnight.

Week 3 – 6:  Panty Liners

For the remainder of the six-week period of time following birth, unless you’re pushing the body too hard, you’ll likely only see brown spotting.  This is the perfect opportunity for panty liners.

Organic/Environmentally Friendly Postpartum Pad Options

If conventional pads aren’t for you, but cloth pads don’t spark joy either, you may be interested in a more natural postpartum pad.

Natracare Maternity Pads

Natracare’s pads are great for that first week with or without an adult diaper.

    • Extra soft long and breathable
    • Comfortably padded
    • 100% plastic free
    • Biodegradable and compostable
    • Chlorine free

Seventh Generation

I love Seventh Generation pads.  They are what I use normally!

Wondering how many seventh generation or environmentally friendly postpartum pads to buy?  I recommend:

What About Postpartum Cloth Pads?

Before I wrap up this post about the best postpartum pads for the first six weeks, I know many of you are wondering about cloth pads.  Let’s talk about the pros and cons of using postpartum cloth pads!

PROS:

Environmentally friendly

Better for those with stitches (hopefully you don’t have stitches because you read my post about how to prevent tearing at birth!)

Free of chemicals found in conventional postpartum pads

Can be used long-term when postpartum cycles return

Won’t run out (assuming washing is kept up with)

CONS:

Expensive upfront purchase

Bulky

Moves around in underwear (cloth pads don’t have adhesive)

Needs to be washed

Less socially acceptable

If you are accustomed to using cloth pads there’s no reason to think that they wouldn’t work postpartum as well.  Make sure to have a good stash of cloth pads with a heavy/overnight absorbency.In the first few days when bleeding is heaviest, an adult diaper may still be the best way to go.  It’s one less thing to think about, wash, and helps avoid leaks. When bleeding slows some, that’s a great time to begin using postpartum cloth pads.

How Many Cloth Postpartum Pads to Buy?

The number of cloth postpartum pads to buy depends on how often parents plan to do laundry.  Assuming adult diapers are used for the first few days and laundry is done every other day, here’s what I recommend:

10 heavy flow/overnight postpartum cloth pads for the first 1-2 weeks

10 regular flow postpartum cloth pads for weeks 2-4

5 light flow/cloth panty liners for the remaining 4-6 week

A version of this article originally appeared on www.motherrisingbirth.com

Xo, Ruth

 

 

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