Of all the postpartum essentials, padsicles may end up being one of your favorite postpartum recovery items.
A padsicle is basically a soothing, frozen pad that’s been prepared with aloe, witch hazel, and healing essential oils for use on your swollen and sore lady parts after birth.
As a labor and delivery nurse – and fellow mom – I know first hand the importance of taking care of yourself down there after birth. And padsicles are an excellent line of defense in this department!
I always like to tell my third trimester mamas to stock the freezer with some of these before they’re due. But, if you’re already in the throes of the postpartum days don’t fret, they’re super easy to make for some quick relief!
Here you’ll learn exactly what you need to make DIY padsicles, the steps to get it done, and where to turn if you just want to Amazon that sh*t 😉
If you haven’t already, please feel free to join over 390k new moms and follow me here on Instagram for awesome pregnancy + birth tips!
What are padsicles?
So yeah – padsicles are absorbent postpartum cooling pads made from the same pads you might use during your period.
These ice pack pads for postpartum are intended to soothe your sore and swollen vagina and perineum while still helping minimize leakage after birth. It’s basically a pad AND an ice pack all in one!
You can think of them as sort of a DIY perineal ice pack or diaper ice pack for postpartum (because that’s pretty much all they are!).
Usually, your hospital will provide some instant perineal ice packs which certainly help, but DIY padsicles are made with aloe and witch hazel to up the soothing and healing relief.
Why use padsicles instead of perineal ice packs?
Don’t get me wrong, the perineal ice packs they give you at the hospital are great. I love them. But the really great thing about DIY padsicles is the addition of witch hazel and aloe. Beyond that, you can add essential oils such as lavender and other ingredients too.
Let’s take a closer look at why these additives make all the difference!
Adding witch hazel to your padsicle
The key “extra” ingredient to a DIY padsicle is witch hazel, which is a powerful homeopathic remedy that has been used for centuries. It works against inflammation, soreness, and can even relieve itch.
Witch hazel pads, like Tucks, are routinely recommended for use on painful hemorrhoids and a generally sore and swollen perineum and vagina before and after childbirth. So, adding witch hazel to a padsicle only makes sense!
Essential oils for padsicles
Essential oils can add extra healing properties and bring a nice smell to your postpartum padsicle. Here are some common options:
- Lavender: This is definitely the most common choice. Lavender is known to reduce swelling
- Frankincense: This essential oil can prevent scarring and promote tissue regeneration. If you had some tearing during birth, frankincense is a great addition!
- Geranium: This helps to heal broken capillaries and conditions the skin
- Rosemary: Rosemary is known to fight infection and inflammation as well as strengthen muscles
Aloe vera for padsicles
Aloe vera is considered a DIY padsicle staple. Its cooling properties are really helpful to many women, and it has been shown to help with healing in tears and episiotomies. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties making it perfect for those sore and swollen parts down there!
When choosing an aloe vera gel to use on your padsicle, make sure you pick one that is fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and has no color added.
Ingredients for DIY Padiscles
All right, now that you understand the why behind the ingredients, are you ready to learn how to make them?
You’ll need the following for your DIY padsicles (specific recommendations/shopping list far below):
- Extra large absorbent pads: Really, the bigger the better here. I like to use the Always Maxi Overnight Pads
- Witch hazel
- Aloe vera: Remember, you’re looking for dye and fragrance free. The clear kind as I like to say!
- Essential oils (optional)
- Large Ziploc bags
How to make your DIY padsicles:
Once you have all the ingredients together, the steps are simple:
- Unwrap the pad: Remove and unfold the pad from its package or wrapper (if applicable)
- Add witch hazel: Dispense 3 tablespoons of witch hazel onto the pad right down the middle. You want to soak the pad about halfway, but not so much that it’s soaked and dripping
- Apply aloe vera: You want to apply a generous amount, but again not so much that it’s dripping
- Add 5-10 drops of essential oils: This is optional, but does add some extra healing properties (and smells nice!)
- Close it back up: Fold and reseal the pad, so that it looks new
- Put it in a Ziploc: You can either put them into individual sandwich-size baggies, or put a whole bunch of them in a gallon-size Ziploc
- Place them in the freezer: I do recommend waiting 3-5 minutes before freezing to make sure the aloe vera has a chance to absorb into the pad
It really is super easy! If you’re more of a visual learner, I did a padsicle demo over on my Instagram stories. It is saved to my PP Recovery Highlight.
Pro-tip: Before you use one, let it sit out for a minute or two so that it becomes a little more flexible before you use it.
Related: 7 Postpartum Recovery Tips
Where to buy padsicles for after birth
So if you’re not up for the DIY route, you do have some other options. Like I explained earlier, the DIY padsicle is going to pack the most punch because of all the goodness you’re able to apply to the pad before freezing.
But I get that you might not time have the time to make it happen! Let’s take a look at some other options:
I have not personally used these, but from what I can tell, this is the closest thing to a DIY padsicle on the market. It’s basically a pad that’s already infused with witch hazel. It doesn’t have the aloe and essential oils, and isn’t exactly an ice pack per say, but you can pop them in the refrigerator for an extra cooling boost.
They recommend pairing them with their Frida Mom Instant Ice Maxi Pads, which are an ice pack and maternity pad in one.
So yeah, in short, if you don’t want to to go the DIY route, these two products paired together are going to be pretty dang close!
Even though these perineal ice packs aren’t infused with witch hazel, they are very similar to what you’ll get from the hospital and they are absolutely better than nothing!
Alternatively, these ones have the awesome benefit of being reusable, which is a huge time saver. Keep in mind that the cooling might not be quite as thorough as with the plastic and silica combo of the perineal ice pack that ISN’T reusable.
These little pre-moistened witch hazel medicated pads are how most mamas turn any maternity pad or perineal ice pack into a witch hazel maternity pad.
Your postpartum nurse will show you how to get the job done in the hospital, but you’re basically going to line them up on your maxi-pad almost like you’re making a deli-meat sandwich.
They do slide and move around which doesn’t make them quite as good as a padsicle or the Frida Mom option above, but has been the go-to before other options came on the market!
These Tucks medicated pads are a really great alternative to making your own padsicles. They are one of the few witch hazel pads for postpartum readily available via mainstream pharmacy stock.
This sitz bath formula contains witch hazel among several other things that are designed to help the body heal from either hemorrhoids or maternity issues.
It’s not a pad obviously, so it won’t go around the house with you and continually soothe your painful vaginal area. With that said, at the end of the day a bit of a soak might be just the thing to put the fire out and allow you to catch some sleep while you can.
Frozen witch hazel pads for postpartum care — DIY Padsicles in review
So what do you think, mama? Ready to check “make padsicles” off of your third trimester to do list? With the ingredient list and how-to guide in this article, you should be ready to get the job done!
And while you’re in postpartum prep-mode, check out these related articles:
- 40 Postpartum Essentials You Don’t Want to Forget
- 7 Postpartum Recovery Tips to Live Your Best Life
- Third Trimester Checklist to Get You Totally Prepared Before You’re Due