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After I gave birth to my first baby, my postpartum recovery was marked by night sweats, tears, exhaustion, ravenous eating, sore nipples, anemic fogginess, and blistering sore lady parts. I used the Lidocaine spray I was given at the hospital vigorously, thankful for the brief relief and numbing it offered. But otherwise my lady bits caused me major discomfort.
I was more than thrilled to be a new mom, but, to say those first weeks were blissful conceals the fact that physically it was a HARD transition to motherhood.
Armed with experience, the next time around I was determined to savor those precious moments with my second daughter by being better prepared for the physical postpartum recovery. An essential part of this was the DIY padsicle.
A padsicle is a large maternity pad soaked with all sorts of healing ingredients that you put on your lady bits to help with recovery. It's SIMPLE to make and very helpful to have on hand. It's a great distraction, too, so you can take your attention off the proverbial pot that is your belly and focus on something else while waiting for your baby to come.
Padsicles can be prepped anytime before baby is born and stored in the freezer for future use. They make great baby shower gifts as well -- especially for new moms.
So here's a list of what you'll need and how to put these bad boys together:
Items you'll need (many of these might be hanging out in your bathroom already):
- Big, overnight period pads: Look for ones that have the most soaking capability like Always Maxi that are nice and long. I found some off-brand ones for less than $5 for 20 pads at Walmart.
- Aloe vera: I used this sport kind with Lidocaine we had hanging around. Pure aloe is what I'd suggest if you are buying it.
- Witch hazel: This can come either as an astringent with 14 percent alcohol or a toner with zero. I used the 14 percent astringent and it did not sting and was less than $2 at Walmart, but if you're concerned about that you can buy Thayer's Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel.
- Essential oils are optional: I used what I had in my supply cabinet. Lavender oil, rosemary oil, and tea tree oil. You can ask a doTerra consultant or another brand you trust to see what is recommend for healing and soothing.
- A small spray bottle: I mixed the witch hazel and essential oils together in this to spray the pads and BONUS I now also have a perennial spray ready to go for my lady bits.
I like the length of this pad and that it secures to your panties in two locations.
- Open the pad without taking backing off.
- Release the two tabs, but save the backing so you can put it back on.
Make your witch hazel/oil spray.
- This is a one-ounce bottle- I had to refill it three times for 20 pads (I'm a pretty liberal sprayer). You might have a different size and that's okay.
- The formula can be adjusted based on the size of your spray bottle.
- Fill half your bottle with witch hazel.
- Add your essential oils (5-10 drops depending on how strong you want it).
- Add the rest of your witch hazel to fill the bottle.
- When you are done spraying on the pads you can refill your bottle and use it to spray directly on your lady parts. A little trick is to take out the straw in the bottle so you can spray it upside-down.
You don't have to measure the aloe vera perfectly, but a tablespoon or more should do the trick. I made sure to start at the front and work to the back. After the baby comes you might have hemorrhoids, and having aloe and witch hazel back there will be nice as well.
Use the pad's inner liner pattern as a guide or keep the aloe in the center. You don't want it gushing out the sides later as it melts. You will also be bleeding on the pad so you don't want to saturate the pads too completely.
Take your spray and squirt all the way down your pad. I was pretty liberal with the spray, but you can do as much or as little as you like. It's going on so finely that I wouldn't worry too much about overfilling your pad, but do keep that in mind.
Take a little foil and cover the area you've just sprayed and spread with aloe. I've seen this done without the foil, but I didn't want to have any problems with it sticking to itself later.
Grab the tabs you've set aside and close it all back up.
This is what an individual pad looks like all folded. Just place them next to each other in a gallon-size zip-top bag. They will freeze into shape.
20 pads should fill two gallon-size zip-top bags. I decided 20 should be enough for me, but if it's your first baby you might want more (maybe 30). If you don't use them you can always gift them to another mom.
This is what they look like after spending a day or so in our deep freezer. The foil comes right off and I'm excited to have something prepped and ready postpartum. Some folks say to wait and let the pads melt a few minutes because they might stick. I say, even if they do stick a little they will melt so I was never concerned about that.
I was really thankful to have these pads ready to go with my second baby. I had a much easier postpartum recovery with her. In part because of some of my postpartum preparation and partly because she was an easier birth than my first.
This post was originally published in January 2017
All photos by Kelly Wilbanks
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.