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8 Postpartum Essentials for the New Parent in Your Life—From Helpful Tips to DIYs

Postpartum can be a challenging time in a new parent's life. These sustainable essentials can help ease your transition.

postpartum essentials
Written by
Calin Van Paris
A new
is easy to talk about, endlessly and animatedly. They're cute, squishy, and new to the world, and helping them to arrive here is an exciting, joyful time. For birthing parents, though, the time directly following childbirth can be a complicated one. This period is known as postpartum, and it's a bit more difficult to discuss.
Fortunately, planning ahead and stocking up on (or gifting) a selection of sustainable postpartum essentials can help to provide some much-needed ease—or, if not ease, at least some peace of mind.

What Is the Postpartum?

postpartum essentials
Postpartum is a term for the weeks (or months) directly
following childbirth
. Though the word is often followed by "depression," the two things are not necessarily synonymous.
"Postpartum is really different for everybody," says Brightly founder Laura Wittig. "It’s a period of just—craziness." Said craziness comes courtesy of the enormous change in lifestyle (They're just letting us bring the baby home?), as well as hormonal shifts, physical and emotional adjustments, and more.
Postpartum depression—aka the
"baby blues"
—is a mental health condition that manifests as a feeling of emptiness or lack of connection. While some experience postpartum through a lens of depression, others find their anxiety levels reaching new highs.

How Can You Prepare for Postpartum?

While a new baby brings many variables that are out of your control, there are some simple steps that you and your loved ones can take to help ease the burden a bit.
Prioritize rest
, ask for help, take things slow, spend time with family and friends, and invest in these eco items to help you heal physically, emotionally, and more.
Here, eight items to add to your list of postpartum essentials.

8 Postpartum Essentials for the New Parent

1. Meal Prep or Delivery

postpartum essentials
"I would say what was the most helpful for me was
meal prep
, or ways to make quick and easy nutritious meals," says Wittig. "Gifting someone a meal prep kit or ingredients, or even prepping meals for them, is really important."
Before baby arrives, cook up a selection of meals that are healthy and easy to freeze and reheat. Or, if someone you love has recently given birth, send a selection of nourishing eats their way from a sustainable
meal delivery service

2. Soothing Pads

postpartum essentials
To soothe pelvic areas while protecting panties, pads infused with essential oils can provide cooling and relief—Wittig favors
these pads
from Honeypot.
For an easy DIY, add a few drops of mint and lavender essential oils to an organic cotton rag or reusable sanitary napkin to achieve a similar sensation sans any waste.

3. Bamboo Towels

postpartum essentials
Wittig notes that the most common items on baby registries are common for a reason. Bamboo towels, for example, are a must for the quick and easy clean-up of all sorts of messes.
Bamboo fabric
has a much smaller water footprint than cotton. Plus, since cotton represents about
10% of pesticides and 25% of insecticides
used globally, going the bamboo route is a healthier choice for your little one and the planet.

Bamboo Crib Mattress Protector

Shop All Kids & Baby

4. Calming Teas

postpartum essentials
To ease physical sensations and take a beat, invest in (or craft) a selection of calming
organic herbal teas
. Opt for mint, chamomile, to ease anxiety, kava root to relax muscles, or ginger to aid in digestion.

5. Ice Packs or Heating Pads

postpartum essentials
Again, pain is a reality of pregnancy. Reusable ice packs and heating pads can help in treating back, shoulder, and stomach aches, and any other sort of surface-level physical discomfort.

6. Bath Salts

"Epsom salt baths help with recovery, but I don’t know a lot of people who have a lot of time to be sitting in the bath," says Wittig.
If you can find the time to enjoy a soak, however, do so—and be sure to add soothing bath salts to your tub for maximum physical and mental relaxation.

7. Herbal Tinctures

postpartum essentials
Whether purchased from a local apothecary or thoughtfully crafted at home, herbal tinctures are a natural and sustainable way to treat mental and physical issues.
Talk to your doctor or naturopath to see what herbs, teas, and tinctures make sense for you.

8. Comfy Undergarments

This is a no-brainer: ramp up your collection of high-waisted, cozy
granny panties
. Because staying comfortable is the key. Opt for organic cotton, which aside from being sustainable also has
natural moisture-wicking abilities