We love a good onesie as much as anyone, and many newborn essentials are indeed essential, but some of the best gifts for new or expectant moms aren’t on the baby registry.
Many overlooked items can make pregnancy and postpartum infinitely more comfortable for a mom or mom-to-be. Of course, if you haven’t been through childbirth yourself, you’re probably not in the know about perineal spray or lactation products like nipple butter.
That’s where we come in. To make your holiday shopping a little easier, our providers rounded up some of our favorite products for pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding — our areas of expertise here at Ruth Health.
There’s no shortage of ways to use an exercise ball (aka a birthing ball) during pregnancy and childbirth. It can relieve lower back pain, reduce pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, and, as an exercise prop, help the body prepare for delivery.
And it also comes in handy during labor, delivery, and postpartum pelvic floor recovery.
“One of my favorite doula hacks for calming a fussy newborn is to bounce on a birthing ball while doing skin-to-skin,” shares Raye Parris, a doula and lactation specialist at Ruth Health.
The easy-to-inflate URBNFit exercise ball comes in five sizes and is widely praised for its anti-slip coating.
Pregnancy back discomfort is real, so we’re giving you another option to help mama-to-be soothe those aches and pains.
During pregnancy, there are additional considerations with heat therapy. (Generally speaking, you don’t want too big an increase in core body temperature.) A heating pad is a great tool since it allows the user to target specific areas of the body.
This option from Pure Enrichment is made of soft microplush fabric and offers six different settings. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t call out the 9-foot cord, which allows for easy use while lounging in bed.
Bonus doula hack from Raye: use the heating pad as needed while breastfeeding or pumping!
We’ll spare you the specifics, but as you can probably imagine, pregnancy and childbirth can cause a fair amount of irritation down there. Perineal spray eases soreness, tenderness, and swelling in the perineum. (It’s okay if you need a second to Google it.)
We’re big fans of Earth Mama’s herbal spray, because, after pushing out a baby, there’s nothing quite like a quick spritz of cooling witch hazel and cucumber in your most sensitive areas.
Pregnancy and childbirth can really do a number on the pelvic floor muscles, and while postpartum recovery looks different for every mom, just about anyone who’s delivered a baby can stand to benefit from pelvic floor training.
This pelvic wand by IntimateRose enhances the healing process, decreasing pain in the tightest and most sensitive areas. By improving flexibility in the muscles, it also reduces pain during sex. Its smooth silicone material allows for comfortable insertion and removal.
Pads are essential for all women after childbirth, starting basically as soon as baby’s born. (Without getting into all the physiological changes that occur in early postpartum, let’s just say there’s a lot of bleeding — much more than a typical menstrual cycle.)
As you can probably guess from the name, postpartum pads are specifically designed for this time. For maximum comfort and peace of mind, our providers recommend organic cotton products. You can’t go wrong with Honey Pot.
You might be familiar with the traditional Chinese medicine practice of cupping from watching the Olympics — many athletes swear by it for increased blood circulation and pain relief — but did you know it’s also an incredibly useful technique after childbirth?
When used to massage the scar tissue from a c section, silicone cups can decrease discomfort, help with scar appearance, and, ultimately, get mom back on her feet more quickly. They can also help with the back and shoulder pain that often comes during postpartum recovery.
This set from MAFLY has everything a new mom needs to start cupping.
Speaking of c section recovery, never underestimate the power of a high waistline. For moms who delivered by cesarean, chafing-proof postpartum underwear is a must, preventing scar irritation.
This option from Nyssa features a unique pocket design that can hold ice or heat therapy at the site of c section incision, between the legs, and around the back.
The early weeks of breastfeeding can be more painful than many people realize. And while everyone’s experience is different, most breastfeeding moms experience sore or tender nipples along the journey.
Nipple butter offers some much needed moisturization on those difficult days. You want a product that’s both soothing for mom and safe for baby. Earth Mama’s certified-organic, preservative-free balm is our go-to.
“This product is a total game changer,” says Kimberly McFerron, our Head of Birthwork. “It’s amazing for breastfeeding transitions and pumping lubrication.”
From clogged milk ducts to engorgement and breast tenderness, you’d be surprised by all the challenges that can arise during breastfeeding.
This battery-powered lactation massager by LaVie offers relief for so many of them, improving milk flow and reducing discomfort. “It’s my favorite tool for clogged ducts,” Kimberly says.
But that’s not all it can be used for. “It’s also a great way to release tension in more tender parts of the body,” Kimberly adds. “I love to use it around the neck, jaw, and high shoulder attachments by the collarbones.”
It’s not easy cradling a newborn in many breastfeeding positions during round-the-clock feedings.
A nursing pillow can be a vital support tool, and the My BrestFriend original is one of our top picks, with comfortable cushioning and an adjustable strap. (Bonus: there’s a side pocket for bibs, wipes, water, and anything else that mom or baby needs.)
It gets a big thumbs up from Raye. “This was my favorite as a plus-size postpartum person,” she says. “So comfortable and I LOVED the bonus pocket.”
The final item on our list: expert care from Ruth Health during pregnancy or postpartum. Our one-to-one virtual services include pelvic floor training, c section recovery, and lactation support. We also offer text message support from doulas through a subscription membership called Ask A Doula.
Sign up to receive your Ruth Health welcome gift packed with advice you'll actually use.