The bounce-back myth is one we refuse to perpetuate — the reality is that pregnancy and postpartum turn the typical “before” and “after” on their head. In the “before,” when we’re sharing our body with a baby, self-care is the rule. On matters of diet, movement, wellness, and beauty, we’re conscientious to a fault. But with a quick snip of the umbilical cord, our focus abruptly shifts. Despite being sore and misshapen, overwhelmed and exhausted, we channel our every ounce (sometimes literally) into our precious newborns. And with a little luck — and a lot of Harvey Karp — we transform into swaddling, dream-feeding ninjas. We are changing diapers in our sleep, thank you very much.
In this “after,” we haven’t showered in days; our hair is nearly as frayed as our nerves; and our body’s former pleasure centers now radiate the most exquisite pain. While there is no equivalent to swaying and shushing for new moms, there are, according to the gurus on our nominating committee, excellent postpartum products that boast similar soothing powers. From a transcendent calming oil that feels like luxury in a bottle to Italian-made, sterling-silver cups that heal overworked nipples, these award winners promise to put you first.
We at Romper only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Best Calming Oil
You may not have time for a spa visit or a yoga class in those first weeks or months, but you can find moments of chill in the postpartum period — even if it’s a quick whiff of this oil while the baby sleeps. “As a sleepless zombie during those early days with a newborn, I’d find myself applying some of this oil to my temples, hands, neck, and feet before bed,” says Alex Taylor, co-founder of Perelel. “It felt like such a lovely extravagance at the time.” Made with chamomile, geranium, sandalwood, clary sage, and the OG of calm, lavender, the oil has a grounding, herbaceous scent that’s lightly floral. It absorbs relatively quickly, Taylor adds, so it shouldn’t interfere with skin-to-skin time.
Best Perineal Spray
Look, no one said beauty had to be glamorous, and some of the most essential postpartum products are things you wouldn’t necessarily feature in an artfully arranged shelfie. Taylor calls this perineal spray “the essential that no one talks about.”
Perineal spray can be used during pregnancy or postpartum to soothe hemorrhoids and reduce any burning, itching, or other weird sensations. This one is made with cucumber, witch hazel, and other soothing ingredients like peppermint and lavender. It has a clever top too which can spray upside down, so you don’t have to contort your wrist or call in reinforcements to spray it where you need it.
Best Postpartum Ice Packs
Take a cue from Kaitlin Cubria, deputy style and experiences editor at Elite Daily, who says she loaded up on these for the first month postpartum because it was the only thing that gave her any relief after giving birth. One of the coolest (sorry) things about these ice packs is that they don’t need to go in the freezer, so you can take them with you to the hospital or if you find yourself on-the-go. Instead, they’re “crack-and-cool” (kind of like a hand warmer, but cold), so you massage one and almost instantly chills.
Not only is it an ice pack, but it’s also an absorbent pad, so there’s no need to choose between a burning sensation or leaking. Sometimes lovingly called “padsicles,” this premade option is a whole lot easier and less messy than dunking maxi pads in water and freezing them.
Best Postpartum Hair Mask
This treatment pack (an impressive-sounding name for a hair mask) is made using ingredients you’d be just as likely to find at a juice bar, like spirulina and aloe, that give strands a glossy shine. It also contains castor oil, which is deeply hydrating to dry hair, a common occurrence in the postpartum period due to — you guessed it — hormonal changes that alter oil production. Celebrity hairdresser Sunnie Brook says this treatment “gave life” to her dry, frizzy hair after pregnancy.
Each pack has about four treatments inside, which you can use on wet hair in place of conditioner, because who has time for an extra step?
Best Postpartum Beauty Device
This microcurrent device aims to address several common skin issues, including texture, fine lines, and early sagging. It may sound kind of intense, but it doesn’t actually hurt at all, and it comes with a hyaluronic acid gel to use in tandem with the device for added hydration (though it’s best to skip any oil-based products when using the NuFace).
The key with a device like this is consistency, even if it’s just a few minutes a day while feeding your baby. (May we suggest tucking it in the caddy where you keep all the new baby necessities, so it’s easy to pull out during one of those endless feeding sessions?) As beauty blogger Jenny Wu says, “I use it religiously — at least five minutes a day — and within a month, I noticed a nice lift to my face.”
Best Postpartum Nipple Cream
Lansinoh lanolin was definitely a favorite among our panel, and for good reason. This multitasking product contains just one ingredient: lanolin, an oil derived from sheep’s wool. It works for healing wounds that are moist (aka cracked nipples that still have to feed a baby), and the fun doesn’t have to stop with nipples. As beauty editor Parizaad Khan Sethi says, “I used it on chapped everything: cuticles, nipples, lips, and even on my nails. It’s great even if you’re not nursing or pregnant.” This multitasker is safe and non-toxic if it gets in a baby’s mouth, but it should be avoided by anyone who has a wool allergy.
Best Postpartum Nipple Healing Tool
If you’re not into nipple cream or you or your baby is sensitive to lanolin, beauty editor Janell M. Hickman-Kirby recommends Silver Cups — “trust.” She says that they don’t leave residue that the baby might ingest and are “by far the best way to moisturize/heal.” Some studies are with her on this one: Silver has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help calm skin and aid in wound healing. Look for cups from a trusted brand, like these, which are handcrafted in Italy by licensed silversmiths.
*For a full explanation of any ingredients we’ve noted, click here.
Photographer: Graydon Herriott
Art Director: Shanelle Infante
Set Stylist: Amy Elise Wilson