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12 Moms Share What They Need to Survive Postpartum

Photograph by Twenty20

Postpartum heaven, postpartum hell … and back and forth it goes.

The days and weeks after a baby is born oscillate between both worlds. I know all too well having been there twice before, and today, once again, with my 8-day-old son. Throughout my postpartum experiences, I've learned a handful of tricks that have made surviving realistic. Maybe even enjoyable? I wouldn't go as far as to say that I happily anticipate the postpartum phase, albeit nothing beats the newborn baby scent and sweet snuggles, but I have come to appreciate this time for what it is.

To survive the postpartum phase, preparation is essential. Even if you know what's coming based on previous experiences, there are always new things coming out that your fellow mamas might be ready to rave about. So, ask. Poll your circle of brilliant mamas, take a peek at my friends' advice below, and get ready for your next postpartum round to be your best yet!

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I posed this question to a group of mamas and I'm positive you'll love their postpartum survival tips: "What can't you live without in your first few days after baby? First few weeks? How do you survive that delicate time where you're adjusting to life with a new baby while allowing your body to heal?"

"Grandma!" - Erika T.

"Freezer meals!" - Charissa F.

"My friend was amazing and set up a meal train. No visitors to entertain and I had dinner for 2 weeks—it was the best!" - Aimee W.

"My husband—he did all the grocery shopping, made my daughter feel special, took care of me and did all the housework for the first couple weeks. A meal train was also amazing this go around because we didn't need to think about dinner plans." - Katie M.

"Comfy robe, slippers, loungewear, cooling gel nipple pads, my fave foods/snacks, good reading material, and my closest friends and family (in moderation). I loved having visitors at the hospital and at home, as long as it wasn't nap time. Nap time is a must!" - Alexis F.

Maxi pads the size of surfboards.

"Simple Wishes hands-free pumping bra, Motherlove nipple cream, Kind bars, belly binder, nursing tanks, the help of family/friends, dry shampoo, microwave sterilizer bags, Bamboobies, Always Discreet underwear, Prep H wipes, all the lactation supplements (Honest Company lactation pills, Motherlove More Milk Plus Special Blend), Colace and Kleenex with lotion." - Dana P.

"Grandma, for sure! And stay in bed for 3-5 days. Literally DO NOT get up except to go to the bathroom and stretch your legs. My mom came over and did everything for me for 3 or 4 days. I healed so much faster than with previous babies and I tore for the 3rd time, so same wounds. For those days, all I needed to concentrate on was eating and hydrating and nursing my new precious baby!" - Kristin N.

"Belly Bandit Postpartum Tummy Wrap." - Jill S.

"Netflix." - Madeline H.

"Those awful mesh undies. They aren't glamorous, but God bless 'em. Also sitz baths for days." - Lauren H.

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"Maxi pads the size of surfboards. In Holland, you get a day nurse for a week who does everything for you, from cleaning to shopping to taking care of your other kids and of course guiding you in breastfeeding and other things ... and letting you sleep. Need that." - Tracy H.

"Bouncy seat. That thing was my salvation. It gave my arms a rest and kept my son sleepy so I could relax or take care of stuff around the house. And a baby swing. Same reason." - Bryanne S.

And to all these words of wisdom, I'll add the Milkies Milk-Saver for catching let down from the breast you're not nursing on, arnica for postpartum bruising and swelling, and cabbage leaves for reducing initial engorgement. I also love and adore padsicles—overnight maxi pads soaked with water and witch hazel and then frozen to later lay in your undies. A Nook or other e-reader is a wonderful companion for late-night feedings too!

What have you found to be helpful during your postpartum days?

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