- Fridababy, the company that makes the NoseFrida, has launched a new line of postpartum recovery products for women.
- The Frida Mom line includes disposable postpartum underwear, cooling pads, witch-hazel-infused pad liners, and healing perineal foam.
- The products are available at Amazon, Target, and Buybuy Baby.
We're all a little too squeamish about discussing postpartum care. In fact, when Frida Mom, a line of postpartum products for new mothers, tried to air a commercial during the 2020 Oscars ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned the ad for being "too graphic." (You can watch it here and judge for yourself — right now it has more than a million views on YouTube.)
But we all should be talking about the postpartum experience more, so it's time for some blunt truths: It's crazy what new moms are told to do after they give birth. First, there's the mesh postpartum underwear — it's stretchy, but not very soft, and certainly worse than any Granny undies you've ever seen. Then, she has to figure out a way to put ice, sometimes straight from the hospital vending machine, into it — perhaps by trying to keep it contained in a newborn diaper that's been ripped open for these purposes.
After that, she's got to find something to absorb the bleeding, like the thickest, roughest maxi pad you've ever seen. And on top of that, she needs something for the swelling. The only item available? Hemorrhoid pads, which only come in circles designed to go up the bum, so she has to line her maxi pad with them like she's making some kind of weird, open-faced salami sandwich.
When she's all done, she has to fit that all between her legs into a very raw and sensitive area — but how?! — and then sit on a doggie wee-wee pad so that the melting ice doesn't make a puddle in her bed. Then, the next time she has pee, she has to cross their fingers and pray that none of it has shifted, so she doesn't have to dig around and find a loose hemorrhoid pad stuck to God-knows-where.
When she finally gets to leave the hospital, to re-create this all at home, she'll have to go to about seven different aisles in the pharmacy to collect all the different products she needs to make her postpartum recovery sandwich. And that's only if she managed to sneak some of the mesh underwear out of the hospital to take home. (At my hospital after I gave birth, they kept them under lock-and-key and doled them out once a day.) And this is all while dealing with sleep deprivation, fluctuating hormones, and, oh, yeah, a newborn baby.
It's literally insane.
Thankfully, Frida Mom — the same company that tried to air the Oscars ad — has stepped in and launched a line of postpartum recovery care products that are actually, specifically designed for women to use after they give birth. (You may know the brand from its Fridababy products, like the parent-beloved NoseFrida.) With Frida Mom products, new moms can ditch the loose patchwork of hacks and work-arounds, and instead get products that solve a lot of the pain points new moms feel in their recovery.
There are a few ingenious items available in the line: The disposable postpartum underwear is latex-free, sturdy, more comfortable than its mesh counterpart, and stretchy enough to fit everything else that has to go in it. It holds an instantly cooling maxi pad, which is both super-absorbant and able to stay cold for 20 minutes without any ice, the way a first-aid ice pack stays cool without a freezer. That gets topped with a witch-hazel-infused cooling liner, which replaces the circular hemorrhoid pads, and it comes in one, long strip so you don't have to worry about losing one of your salami slices in the toilet. And then for extra pain relief, there's also a witch hazel cooling foam, which gets absorbed into the body instead of into the pad the way a spray would. It all fits together, and goes in between a woman's legs without too much extra bulk. (Because there's always going to be some bulk.) Frida Mom is even offering some labor-and-delivery items, too, like a hospital gown that snaps all the way closed in the back, in case you want to walk around to help your labor along, but don't want to flash your tush to everyone else in the hall. (It even has pockets!)
The line is the brainchild of Chelsea Hirschhorn, CEO of Fridababy and mom to kids ages 5 ½, 3 ½, and 9 months. Hirschhorn was motivated to create it once her second child was born, and research and development took her through her third pregnancy. "After my first baby, I didn't know what to expect, and everything was new, raw, and unfamiliar," she says. "As a second-time mom, I felt just as unprepared. I knew what I wanted, because I had been through it before, but there was nowhere to get it. I had to wait to go to the hospital to try and get the underwear. There were no postpartum recovery sections in any stores."
After that experience, Fridababy set out to solve the problem, although she quickly found out that she was alone, blazing a trail for postpartum recovery products. "We learned that there are 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year," she says. "There are also countless brands that service those babies and make baby products like baby food, baby wipes, baby swaddles, everything you can imagine for newborn care. But there are maybe two brands that service the 4 million moms who are also born. That was really eye-opening for us."
If you're thinking, "Why hasn't anyone done this already?" it's because developing these types of products for retail stores wasn't easy. "It's really, really hard to make such premium products disposable at a universally accessible price point," Hirschhorn says. Take, for instance, those salami-shaped hemorrhoid pads again: Hirschhorn found that there are only a few manufacturers in the world who make wipes, and there are only a small number of shapes and sizes of wipes that the machinery was able to cut; it was charting new territory to make one, long pad liner that could cover a woman's whole perineal area.
Getting the products onto store shelves was another hurdle, since, again, there's no postpartum recovery section anywhere, and the line doesn't quite belong with the feminine care products or the baby products. Plus, first-time moms might not know what they need. "Very few women actually share with each other about their physical recovery experience," she says. "It's also not a part of prenatal care, and it should be. There's no way to systematize or universalize people's postpartum experience, since everyone is slightly different, but there could be a little more openness about the fact that that 80% of women get stitches, or 72% of women get hemorrhoids the size of chestnuts and can't sit properly." Luckily, Hirschhorn found that retailers were open to creating a new postpartum section in their aisles, and the Frida Mom products are carried at Target, Amazon, and Buybuy Baby.
The result is a faster, more comfortable recovery experience for women. "We want first-time moms to feel as informed and prepared as a first-time mom," she says. "It's such a delicate time in a woman's life, and it's one of those times that knowledge is confidence. And the more confident you are, the better you're able to recover and take care of another life."
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