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There is one thing you must have in your freezer before giving birth.
Making natural padsicles (aka postpartum pads) ahead of time and having them ready in your freezer will help immensely for a speedy recovery down there.
What are Padsicles?
Padsicles are pre-soaked maternity pads you place in the freezer and take them out as needed for postpartum recovery. They’re also known as postpartum pads or witch hazel cold pads. Padsicles are essential for healing after birth and can help reduce swelling from perineal tears and episiotomies.
These postpartum symptoms can be painful but remember it’s temporary. Our bodies are designed to give birth and they have an amazing ability to heal.
You can buy premade padsicles here, but I recommend DIY. It’s more natural, cheaper and super easy.
How to Make Postpartum Padsicles (with No Aloe)
What you need:
- Organic super-absorbent pads (check out the Natracare pads found here)
- Organic pure witch hazel
- Airtight container to store in the freezer
That’s it! Here’s a step-by-step and there’s also a video below. Keep reading to see why we recommend skipping aloe vera gel and essential oils.
STEP 1: Unfold pad and remove wing tabs (save tabs for later).
STEP 2: Soak pad with Humphrey’s organic witch hazel (about 2 tablespoons).
STEP 3: Reseal wing tabs and refold pad.
STEP 4: Repeat process for all pads. Place in airtight container, cover and store in your freezer.
How to Use Postpartum Padsicles:
When you’re ready and need relief, take one padsicle out of the freezer and use it as you would a normal pad. Expect a very heavy flow postpartum, and always change pads as soon as they are fully saturated.
Side note: Why I don’t use aloe vera gel and essential oils for padsicles:
Many DIY padsicle recipes include aloe vera gel and essential oils. Here’s why I skip: aloe vera can become a sticky mess and it doesn’t always agree with some mamas. And, although essential oils are sometimes soothing, sometimes they’re not. They aren’t for everyone and a few drops spread along a pad won’t do much for healing.
So, save your money and just make the padsicle that has the most essential soothing and healing ingredient: organic witch hazel.
Are padsicles safe?
Yes, natural post-partum padsicles are considered safe. Adding full-strength essential oils can be a concern near an open wound, which is why I don’t suggest using them. My recipe of using organic witch hazel only makes these padsicles safe.
Having an allergic reaction to witch hazel is very rare, but discontinue using these pads if a rash or any other irritation occurs. Always consult with your doctor or midwife before using this or any treatment I suggest.
Are padsicles worth making?
My personal opinion: absolutely 100% yes. Padsicles are quick to make, easy to use and fairly inexpensive. They provided me with relief during my postpartum times.
And even if you happen to not end up using them, they won’t be wasted because you can just use them like a regular pad later on.
Here are a few responses from other mamas:
“YES! I loved them so much I made some for my sister after she had her baby. She said I was her favorite person in the entire world after she tried it the first time!” (source)
“Yep, worth it :)” (source)
“I absolutely needed them, the pain and swelling are real.” (source)
“Made them with my first…. Totally worth it! I’m planning to remember to take a few to the hospital this time too. I think they were a major part of my healing success!” (source)
Do I need to use organic pads for padsicles?
While organic pads are typically higher in cost, there’s no better time to use them than postpartum.
Conventional cotton has been referred to as one of the dirtiest crops in the world. In addition, most feminine hygiene products are bleached in chlorine. This can lead to the creation of dioxins. The World Health Organization has flagged dioxins as having the capability to disrupt hormones and damage the immune system when exposure levels are too high, and in extreme cases could cause reproductive and developmental issues.
Feminine care brands aren’t required to disclose ingredients. Scary stuff, so choose a trusted brand.
The Natracare pads found here are certified organic cotton, plastic-free, chlorine-free and compostable.
How many padsicles should I make?
Make at least 25 padsicles. Expect your flow to be very heavy after birth and change your pads often (usually every 1-3 hours the first few days).
Remember, even if you don’t need them all, they can still be used as regular pads. In this case, it’s always better to have more than not enough. And should you need more, you’ll be a rockstar at making them.
Can you use aloe with lidocaine on padsicles?
Can you use jojoba oil on padsicles?
Yes, you can add jojoba oil to your padsicles. Jojoba oil is considered a safe oil and is known for its healing properties. Go with cold-pressed, unrefined organic jojoba oil. (I’ve never added it to mine so let me know if it’s helpful!)
Can you use padsicles for hemorrhoids?
Yes. In addition to postpartum relief, padsicles can also be exceptionally healing for hemorrhoids.
And please avoid Tucks. Tucks is a common brand for hemorrhoid relief. Why I don’t recommend:
- The witch hazel is not organic.
- The inactive ingredients include methlyparaben and propylparaben, which are two ingredients you should avoid whenever possible.
How often should I wear padsicles?
This will depend on your comfort level and healing journey. There is a wide range postpartum for mamas: some only bleed a little, some a lot. Some have hemorrhoids, some are lucky not to.
How long do padsicles last in the freezer?
Indefinitely. Most likely you’ll be making padsicles in your third trimester. As long as they’re in an airtight container, they’ll be fine. And don’t wait too long to make — you never know when your little one will choose to make their appearance!
Do I still need padsicles if I’m having a C-section?
Yes, padsicles can still be very helpful with a C-section. If you’re not sure you will have vaginal or C-section, have them pre-made.
If you’re having a planned C-section, some have reported they’re helpful to place right on the incision. And hemorrhoids are still possible with a C-section, so they’ll be healing for them.
Can you use witch hazel with alcohol for padsicles?
Yes. Use a pure organic witch hazel for its known healing properties as a true antiseptic. Genuine witch hazel extract will naturally contain 14% alcohol because of the way it’s distilled.
Many suggest an alcohol-free witch hazel for postpartum padsicles. I disagree and here’s why:
Ingredients for a popular alcohol-free witch hazel :
Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Certified Organic Filet of Aloe Vera), Glycerin (Vegetable), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Made from Certified Organic Witch Hazel), Citric Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract.
The actual witch hazel is pretty far down the list so we’re not sure how therapeutic it would actually be.
You can find more details about the process of making genuine witch hazel here.
What’s the best witch hazel for padsicles?
Use a genuine pure organic witch hazel for padsicles with no fillers. My favorite is Humphrey’s Organic Witch Hazel.
Cost of the best postpartum pads/organic padsicles:
(prices are accurate at time of publishing)
About 2 Tbsp. of Humphrey’s organic witch hazel (make sure you get the pure witch hazel option) $1.25
So, about $2.12 for an all-organic padsicle. Not too bad for some serious postpartum relief.
That’s all mamas, hope this helps! Congrats on taking one more easy step toward living a greener life for you and baby.
Peace love & baby kicks.
Care to share?
About the Author
Jen Brady — Chief Green Mama
Mom of two. Wife of one. Holistic nutritional consultant. Amateur biohacker. Guide of the Green Yourself Pregnancy Challenge. Author of the Green Your Baby Registry Guide.
I'm wild about pregnancy and babies (in a sane way) and I need to steer you away from harsh chemicals and hormone disruptors. Stick with me to keep it lean and green.