Padsicles: A MUST for Postpartum Pain Relief

As mamas, we focus a lot preparing for the birth of our little ones. From packing our hospital bags, to painting the nursery, to stocking up on cloth diapers, our little bundle has everything he or she needs to enter this world. But despite the excitement of prepping for baby, mama needs to do a little prepping for her recovery, too! You may have heard that padsicles are a must-have item for any postpartum checklist. But what exactly is a padsicle?

In this post, we’ll answer that question for you! Plus, discuss:

  • Why you should make padsicles
  • What you need to make padsicles
  • And easy recipes for making DIY padsicles

What Is a Padsicle?

The word padsicle is one of those made-up words that’s just fun to say. In the linguistics world, the word padsicle is technically called a “blend,” which is a mash-up of two words to create a new word with a new meaning.

In this case, padsicle comes from blending the words: pad (as in sanitary pad) + popsicle = padsicle.

Padsicles, or frozen sanitary pads, are intended for easing discomfort down there after childbirth. Some mamas swear by padsicles for hemorrhoid relief, too.

What’s So Great About Padsicles?

Alright, so we’ve established how the word padsicle came into existence, but why did it come about? After childbirth, mamas have a couple immediate needs, and one of those needs is a sanitary pad to help with postpartum bleeding. But mamas also need something to soothe swollen labia (ouch!). A padsicle allows mama to have both a pad and an ice pack at the same time.

If you have a hospital birth, the nursing staff will give you those super attractive mesh undies and a sanitary pad/ice pack combo, but a padsicle has one big advantage: A padsicle has additional ingredients that can help you heal.

To facilitate the healing process after birth, padsicles:

  • Soothe swollen tissue
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Provide pain relief

There’s also some evidence padsicles can help prevent infection, especially when prepared with healing herbs. In one study, healing herbs like tea tree and eucalyptus had promising antimicrobial effects against staphylococci, streptococci, and candida. (See a list of more postpartum healing herbs here.)

What You Need to Make Padsicles

Around the time you are stocking your freezer with freezer meals for the postpartum period, you can also stock your freezer with padsicles. When you are ready to spend an afternoon making padsicles, make sure you have the following supplies:

1. Maxi pads

When you’re creating your postpartum stash, you probably have some sort of overnight pads for bleeding, but you can use those same heavy-duty pads to make padsicles. Most mamas opt for overnight options that are designed to hold more fluid—this is especially important for padsicles, since you’ll be adding other liquids (aloe, etc.) to the pad.

Remember: You don’t have to forgo natural options just because you need a maxi pad! Here are some great options:

2. Witch hazel

Fun fact: witch hazel (which is made by infusing the bark and leaves of the Hamamelis virginiana plant into alcohol) is actually a very old practice, but has remained a popular ingredient because of its anti-inflammatory properties. (source) According to an article published in Midwifery Todaywitch hazel also has astringent proprietaries and is safe to apply directly to the perineum area. (source)

Luckily, witch hazel is available in alcohol-free versions! Try this one.

3. Aloe

If you’ve ever walked into a pharmacy during the summer, you’re probably familiar with the bright green bottle of aloe, but unfortunately may of those aloe products are tainted by artificial dyes and preservatives. When you’re looking for aloe, look for an aloe gel (like this one) that’s made without all of the unnecessary ingredients. Or better yet, purchase a big leaf or small plant from a local health food store or plant nursery.

Aloe is super soothing, and real aloe (aka the one that is not bright green) has been proven to speed up healing after episiotomies! (source)

4. Healing herbs

Using herbs therapeutically is an ancient practice and is becoming more widely accepted again. Modern research is starting to show that complementary and alternative medicine has a valid place in the medicinal world. (source)

For centuries, midwives preserved their healing recipes by handing them down from midwife to midwife (no cloud storage back then!). Luckily, we have the internet, which makes sharing and researching recipes much easier these days! Many herbal recipes for postpartum care involve thyme, goldenseal, rosemary, lavender, and comfrey.

  • Thyme is used for its antimicrobial properties, (source)
  • Goldenseal is used for its astringent and antimicrobial properties, (source)
  • Rosemary is used for its antiseptic qualities, (source)
  • Lavender is used for its antimicrobial properties, (source)
  • And comfrey and calendula are also used for anti-inflammatory properties. (source)

5. Spray bottle

Since you don’t want to completely saturate the pad (you want it to be able to absorb some blood, too), don’t pour too much healing ingredients directly on the pad. Instead, you can:

  • use a spray bottle to have more control of liquid and you can get a nice thin and even coat of healing ingredients on the pad
  • or for a more therapeutic dose, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of solution directly on pad

Experiment and see what works for you.

6. Baggie for freezing

You’ll need a clean place to store all those padsicles while you wait for baby to make his/her grand entrance into this world. Get jumbo freezer bags (like these) to store the goods.

How to Make a Padsicle

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to start making your DIY padsicles! Here are a few ultra-soothing padsicle recipes:

Recipe #1: The Sitz Bath Turned Padsicle Recipe

This recipe provides the same healing benefits as a traditional sitz bath, but in padsicle form.

Ingredients:

To make the padsicles:

  1. Steep the herbs listed above in a gallon of hot, filtered water for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Strain out the herbs and let the solution cool.
  3. Pour the tea into a spray bottle, then spray a thin, even layer on menstrual pads. (They should feel wet, but not completely saturated.)
  4. Fold the pads back into their protective wrapping, place in a freezer bag, and store in the freezer until ready to use.

Note: This therapeutic tea may also be used a perennial spray to use after using the restroom.

Recipe #2: The Old Standby: Lavender and Witch Hazel

This is one of the most popular recipes—and for good reason! It smells nice, it is easy to make, and it’s super soothing.

Ingredients:

  • Overnight sanitary pads
  • 4 tablespoons witch hazel
  • 1 tablespoon aloe
  • 1 cup of lavender tea, seeped for 20-30 minutes
  • Spray bottle
  • Freezer bags

To make the padsicles:

  1. Mix witch hazel, aloe, and 1/4 cup of the lavender tea (drink the rest!) in a spray bottle. Shake to combine.
  2. Spray a thin, even layer on menstrual pads. (They should feel wet, but not completely saturated.)
  3. Fold the pad back up, place in a freezer bag, and store in the freezer.

Recipe #3: Hydrosol Padsicles

This recipe makes use of a hydrosol, or botanical waters, that are remain after steam distillation. Though gentler than essential oils, these essence waters do carry some of the same healing properties. (source)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of Calendula hydrosol
  • 2 ounces of Lavender hydrosol
  • 2 ounces of Rose hydrosol
  • 8-ounce spray bottle
  • Overnight sanitary pads
  • Wooden spoon
  • Aloe

To make the padsicles:

  1. Mix calendula, lavender, and rose in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray a thin, even layer on menstrual pads. (They should feel wet, but not completely saturated.)
  3. Using a wooden spoon, spread a thin layer of aloe over the pad.
  4. Fold the pads back up carefully.
  5. Fold the pad back up, place in a freezer bag, and store in the freezer.

Tip: Store any unused hydrosols in the fridge.

Recipe #4: Herbal Spray Padsicles

This recipe involves making an herbal tea and using that as your liquid for your padsicle recipe.

Ingredients:

To make your base, combine 2 tablespoons of each of the following herbs:

To make the padsicles:

  1. Boil two cups of water, and let cool slightly.
  2. Take two teaspoons of your above herbal base and place in a large mason jar. Steep tea overnight.
  3. Strain and pour into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray a thin, even layer on menstrual pads. (They should feel wet, but not completely saturated.)
  5. Fold the pad back up, place in a freezer bag, and store in the freezer.

Alternatively, you could use this tea as needed and spray directly onto your pad before wearing. Store the tea in the fridge; use within 3 days.

How to Store Padsicles

Tightly wrap padsicles in the sanitary pad’s original pouch and store the baggies in the freezer.

Be sure to write the date on them: You should use padsicles within six weeks of making them since the ingredients can start to lose their potency.

How to Use a Padsicle

When you are ready to use your padsicles, follow these guidelines.

  1. Change your padsicle at least every four hours. You many find that you need to change it more often, depending on blood flow.
  2. Use up to four padsicles per day. If you find that the padsicle is a bit too cold right out of the freezer, let it “thaw” for a few minutes before using it.
  3. Use padsicles for up to six weeks, or until your lochia has stopped.

Note: If using padsicles to help treat hemorrhoids, some mamas use them for up to four months. Alternatively, you could also use peri sprays to target persistent hemorrhoids.

Sitz Bath Spray

What if you can’t make padsicles or don’t have access to a freezer? You don’t have to miss out on all the healing goodness! You can either grab a peri spray or make your own spray:

  1. Fill a small travel spray bottle with witch hazel, aloe, and lavender tea.
  2. Give yourself a spritz when you use the restroom, or as often as you need it.

How About You?

Did you make padsicles? What was your favorite recipe?

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

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