Do you want to know how to make your postpartum healing journey so much better? Padsicles.
Things get quite swollen and sore down there after your baby is born and cold therapy (padsicles!) are as close to bliss as you can get immediately after birth. While your hospital may provide cold packs for you during your stay (you probably should check this during your hospital tour) you’ll need some at home to keep you comfortable.
That’s where padsicles come in: frozen maxi pads with added witch hazel and aloe vera gel to promote healing.
Trust me – you’ll want to make these padsicles immediately and have them stashed in your freezer for at least the first week, maybe two, after birth.
In This Post:
- What Are Padsicles?
- Essential Padsicle Ingredients
- How to Make Padsicles
- How to Use Padsciles for Postpartum Healing
- Padsicle Alternatives
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More on Postpartum Healing
Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.
What Are Padsicles?
Padsicles are easy to make at home – they’re basically just frozen maxi pads with a few extra ingredients that promote healing and soothe your sore bits.
This recipe includes these ingredients to help with your postpartum healing:
- witch hazel – made from the witch hazel shrub, this herb has many uses but is used here to soothe itching, pain and inflammation (swelling).
- aloe vera gel – often used as an after sun skin soother, aloe vera gel is used to soothe irritated skin.
- lavender oil – not only a nice scent, lavender oil is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help soothe your skin and promote faster healing.
Cold therapy is really helpful when you’re feeling swollen and sore after birth and it can give some relief without resorting to pain meds (though there’s nothing wrong with taking the meds too.)
Essential Padsicle Ingredients
- organic, chlorine free maxi pads – there’s been some interesting talk recently about the chemicals found in feminine hygiene products and whether they absorb into the skin and cause health issues. If there’s any time that I’d be worried about this it’s directly postpartum when you’re (potentially) dealing with tearing or grazing externally as well as having an open wound internally where the placenta was attached. That’s why I picked up some organic, cotton, chlorine-free pads.
- witch hazel without alcohol – while it might take some searching to find a witch hazel without alcohol, it’s worth it. Some moms do make their padsicles with the alcohol containing version, it’s possible the alcohol might burn inflamed skin or irritate your stitches.
- aloe vera gel – choose organic (if possible) and 99-100% aloe. I tried to find the gel with the fewest additional ingredients possible.
- lavender oil – choosing essential oils is so hard! If it weren’t for the fact that I wanted my lavender oil now, I would’ve talked to a friend of mine who sells Doterra oils.
- spray bottle – I definitely recommend getting a spray bottle if you don’t already have one at home as it’s much easier to apply the witch hazel (mixed with lavender oil) evenly across the entire maxi pad by spraying. I’ve seen one recipe for padsicles where the witch hazel was spooned over the maxi pad and I can’t think that that would make for a very good application.
- freezer bag (for storage) – I love freezer bags for everything… so why not grab a big batch pack if you don’t already have some at home? I recommend using a big one to store all your padsicles in (no need to individually bag them up!) and you can use the rest of your freezer bags for make ahead freezer meals and lactation smoothie packs.
How to Make Padsicles for Postpartum Recovery
- Fill your spray bottle with witch hazel and add 5-6 drops of lavender oil. Shake gently to mix.
- Sterilise a spoon in boiling water.
- Open your maxi pads, leaving them attached to the plastic backing.
- Spread aloe vera gel the full length of the pad. Yes, the full length. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it when you need it most.
- Use your clean spoon to help spread the gel evenly across the full length of the pad.
- Spray with the witch hazel and lavender mixture until dampened.
- Wrap the pad back up (try to remember how the wings sat – I forgot how it was when I made them in the video… oops!)
- Store in the freezer in a ziploc bag.
Note: I accidentally bought ultra thin night pads for the video rather than maxi or maternity pads, so I’ll make sure to wear these with Depends or on top of another pad (at least for the first few days).
How to Use Padsicles for Postpartum Healing
Now you’ve made the padsicles, how do you use them?
- Take one of your padsicles out of the freezer, you can leave it sit for 5-10 minutes to defrost slightly if you like or use straight away.
- Go change your pad like normal and apply the padsicle instead.
- If you like, you can wear your padsicle on top of another pad in case of dampness wicking from the defrosting padsicle.
Note: most hospitals will provide cold packs while you’re in there, but this is something you could check before your baby is born (so you know whether you need to bring some padsicles with you.)
If you don’t have time to make your own padsicles, here are some ready to buy options for you:
Padsicle Frequently Asked Questions
How Far In Advance Should You Make Padsicles?
I recommend making these when you’re relatively close to your due date – maybe a month to 6 weeks out. You don’t want your padsicles to deteriorate in the freezer.
What If I’m Allergic to Aloe Vera?
You can try using coconut oil or Vitamin E gel instead or go without, it won’t be quite as soothing without though.
How Many Padsicles Should I Make?
It depends on how long you want to use them and how often you use them! And also if your hospital provides cold packs or not.
In the first 24-48 hours after birth you pretty much want continuous cold therapy. As the days pass, you’ll need fewer padsicles to get through the day comfortably.
I plan to make up 2-3 packets of pads (so, 24-36)… and don’t forget you can always make more if you run out!
How Long Does the Padiscle’s Coldness Last?
I think my padsicle’s coldness will last about an hour, but I’ll get back to you on that in a few weeks time.
Do You Take the Padsicles Out of the Freezer And Defrost A Little First?
You don’t really need to defrost them first – there’s not that much liquid in the pad so it won’t be frozen solid. You might find it more comfortable to allow the pad to defrost slightly for 5-10 minutes if the initial cold shock is too much. Definitely don’t need frostbite down there!
How Long Do You Use Padsicles For?
Padsicles are incredibly helpful for the first 24-48 hours after giving birth. That’s when you’ll be most sore and swollen. You’ll want to continue using them for 1 maybe 2 weeks at most.
Is Using Padsicles Messy?
It depends how much liquids you put onto the pad – some moms have found their padsicles get a little soggy. Plus, you might also have to contend with defrosting condensation that could make things a little damp.
Test it out for yourself and for the very early days you might want to try using a padsicle inside Depends or disposable underwear (at least, that’s what I’m planning to do!)
Do padsicles still work like pads or do you need to wear with more protection?
Yes, padsicles still work like pads! You don’t need to wear them with any additional protection
Can You Use Padsicles if You Have a Lot of Tearing and Stitches?
You’re best to check with your doctor first – the ingredients should be safe, however, it’s best to get a doctor’s opinion on it! If you find the padsicles make you uncomfortable or give you any side effects, stop using them.
Can I Use a Scented Product for the Padsicles?
No – it’s best to avoid artificial fragrances (especially in such a delicate area that needs to recover.) I’ve tried to keep ingredients as natural, organic and with as few additives as possible.
Can you make Padsicles in adult diapers?
Yes, you sure can!
Can you use fresh (real) aloe vera gel in the padsicles?
Although I’m a fan of all natural, minimal ingredient things… I wouldn’t be comfortable with this – simply because of the infection risk. I actually like the fact that the aloe vera gel you buy has been processed and should be safe from contaminants that could cause irritation or infection.
Do You Have to use 100% aloe vera gel or is 99% ok?
99% is fine and that’s what I used to make mine (if I could find 100%, I would’ve used it, but sometimes you’ve just got to make do.)
Can you mix all the ingredients together in one spray bottle to apply to the pads?
You could give it a try – the problem will be the aloe vera gel. It’s a little thick to spray properly.
Do you need to use lavender oil?
No, you can skip it if you’d prefer.