Are you making a list for the hospital to bring everything you’ll need postpartum? If so, you may want to remember to include a peri bottle.
Peri bottles, also known as perineal irrigation bottles, are critical to the postpartum self-care routine. A peri bottle will help keep areas affected by childbirth, like your perineum, safe from infection and help to foster a quicker recovery. Cleansing with the peri bottle is gentler than toilet paper after childbirth.
We’ve rounded up the best peri bottles so you can find the right option for your healing process.
- With waterproof storage bag
- BPA and phthalate free
- Long spout for easy targeting
- 15 ounce capacity
- Easy to clean
- Simple design
- Multiple spray streams
What’s the Perineum?
If you don’t know what the “perineal” stands for in perineal irrigation bottle, don’t be embarrassed. I had no idea what the perineum was before I had a baby and found out the hard way.
The perineum, or your perineal area, is the diamond-shaped soft tissue that runs from your urethra, around your vagina, and back to your anal canal. It’s critical to maintaining the structure of the pelvic floor, which keeps gravity from pulling on some of our reproductive and urinary organs.
For the visual learners out there, check out this cool video to learn more about the female anatomy “down there.”
Childbirth and the Perineum
Childbirth is usually divided into three different stages — the labor stage (divided into latent, active labor, and transition), delivery of the infant, and the passage of the placenta. It’s during the second phase, while the baby crowns, that your perineum is most likely to tear.
By the end of your first stage of labor, your cervix should be about ten centimeters wide and you’re probably feeling the urge to push. Your body is telling you that it’s time to deliver this baby!
As you start to push, your baby will move into your vagina and begin to “crown” — exiting your body, head first (hopefully!) into the world. Although most babies are small, your perineal area will still need to stretch significantly to allow your baby’s body to pass through. Which it is what the perineum is made to do.
Sometimes, especially if this is your first labor or your baby is bigger than average, the perineum can tear naturally during childbirth. Other times, if your baby is struggling to make it through the birth canal, the doctor can perform an episiotomy — an intentional incision in the perineum, to ensure delivery continues to progress safely (1). Surprisingly, it’s better to tear than to be cut, it’s easier for the perineum to heal naturally after tearing.
This sounds painful, and it is. However, woman to woman, some form of perineal tearing happens to most of us during childbirth, so it’s probably something you should prepare for.
How a Peri Bottle Can Help
Even if your perineum doesn’t tear during childbirth, it will still be sore and swollen for a few days after delivery. If you did have some tearing or lacerations, it could be painful for several weeks.
Regardless of the degree of tear or its location, the most important thing you can do to recover quickly is to regularly clean and soothe the perineal area. This will ward off any infections and will also help to make it as comfortable as possible when going to the bathroom. Peri bottles are given to you by the nursing staff after the birth of your child, the staff will show you how to use it.
A peri bottle is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to regularly clean the perineal area. They are small and super easy to use. This makes them perfect for throwing in your purse once you feel like getting out of the house — helping you to avoid any discomfort when using the bathroom in public.
To use a peri bottle, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands to make sure they are germ-free when in contact with the area.
- Fill the peri bottle with warm water. You may also use cool water for soothing if that feels better for you.
- Remove any peri-padding you may be using to absorb vaginal discharge after birth.
- Squeeze the peri bottle to spray the area with water, moving from the front to the back.
- Gently use toilet paper or cotton wipes to pat the area dry from front to back.
- Get back to cuddling your precious new baby!
It may sound strange, but trust me, my peri bottle became like my new best friend after childbirth. I used it for weeks and couldn’t believe how good that warm water felt.
The Best Perineal Bottles of 2021
Here are 3 great peri bottles to consider.
1. Frida Mom Upside Down Peri Bottle
This peri bottle was designed to make cleaning as easy as possible. Its biggest advantage is the angled neck, which uses hydraulics to ensure a steady flow of water to the area. The neck is also designed to be narrow — making it easier to navigate down there.
If this is your second child, you could be on the go sooner than you were with your first baby. Your older one still needs to be cared for and loved, which means you may be healing while staying fairly active. This peri bottle comes with a carrying bag to keep it clean and sterile in your diaper bag.
To use the peri bottle, fill up the reservoir with warm water — it can hold up to 10 fluid ounces. Screw the top back on, keeping one finger over the silver valve. Turn it upside down, point it at the area you need to clean and remove your finger from the valve.
For anyone that isn’t happy with the product, the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.
- One-way air valve to avoid any air bubbles that could break the continuous flow.
- Smaller size for portability.
- Retractable neck for easy carrying.
- Some moms say it leaks after use.
- It doesn’t hold as much water as some other bottles.
2. Ninja Mama Postpartum Peri Bottle
With the Ninja Mama Postpartum Peri Bottle, you can go longer between refills. It has a 15 ounce capacity so you don’t need to refill it every single time you go to the bathroom. Rest and relax, knowing there’s a large enough capacity to see you through for longer.
The seven-inch spout helps you target the affected area much easier. No more awkward maneuvering to get into the right position.
We love that this bottle is super portable and even discreet. So you can take this with you anywhere and no one will bat an eyelid. The long spout is retractable, leaving the total height of the bottle only eight inches. It looks like any other water bottle, so you can keep it in your backpack or purse and take it with you to work, a friend’s house, or out shopping.
- BPA and phthalate-free.
- Long spout for easy targeting.
- Retractable spout so the bottle is compact and discreet.
- 15-ounce capacity.
- Water pressure could be better.
- Leaks while traveling, so it needs to stay empty.
3. Perineal Irrigation Cleansing Pack
For moms who don’t need anything fancy, but just want to get the job done, these peri bottles are simple and effective. They come in a pack of three and are similar to the standard issue bottles you may get from your hospital. They work really well.
These bottles hold eight fluid ounces of water when full. To use them, you fill with water and screw the top back on. Place the bottle directly below the area you want to clean and squeeze. The top is adjustable to allow for different pressures of water flow.
To clean, unscrew the top. Most standard size bottle brushes will fit through the opening. This ensures that you scrub hard-to-reach areas.
You may also soak it in soapy water to clean it. Because you’ll have extra bottles, you’ll have the time to do that.
These bottles also come with a plastic carrying bag for portability. Additionally, because you get three at a time, you can also keep one in different areas of the house so you don’t get caught without one.
- Easy to clean.
- Simple design for easy use.
- Multiple spray streams mean you can clean more quickly.
- Some moms noted the material didn’t seem very durable.
- No neck design can make it difficult to navigate the perineal area.