I was really excited to learn this past weekend that a fellow sister at Church is pregnant. This news brought back fond memories of my pregnancy with our little darling. Then, I started thinking of how can I help this soon-to-be mama? I approach her after service to congratulate her and offered to help in any way I can without overwhelming her with all the same questions that I was once bombarded with back in the days when people found out I was pregnant. In retrospect, people only ask A LOT of questions because they care 🙂 I remembered being a nervous soon-to-be Mama myself, but my only source of information for anything pregnancy & baby related came via google & parenting magazines. Now that I’m a mama, I realize that once the baby arrives nothing can ever prepare you on how to care for a little one. You just have to do your best on this wonderful journey called Motherhood.
But before that big day comes, you can prepare your hospital bag! This was my list that I compiled and packed for my hospital bag. The items that are in bolded highlights are items that I wish I knew to bring with me.
***Keep in mind that every hospital and birth centres does things differently, so ask ahead of time during your labour & birthing tour what they will supply and what you need to bring from home.
Essentials For Mama:
- Flip Flops – Useful for pacing back and forth in the corridors to help get labour moving along.
- Warm Socks – Hospitals can feel like the arctic at night, especially after delivering a baby.
- A Robe or Pjs – Bring something that can be unbutton in the front for easy breastfeeding
- Breathable Underwear – Big comfortable underwear will be a God sent post deliver.
- Loose, comfy clothes to wear home – A brightly coloured oversized dress will be comfortable and look great in all those post-delivery photos with your new baby.
- Lots of Hair elastic – If you have long hair, you will want to tie it back.
- Loose Swimwear (If you plan to use the Jacuzzi) – My water broke at home, so by the time we got to the hospital. I was not allowed to use the Jacuzzi for fear of infection but take advantage of this mini luxury if your hospital offers it. Once you become a Mommy,taking a bath will become a thing of the past and getting a quick shower will be like a mini-vacation.
- Toiletries; toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens case & solutions, travel size 2 in 1 and facial cleansing cloths
- Lip Balm – During labor, your lips gets really dry. I used a natural vitamin E stick because the paranoid mama in me didn’t want to get any chemical stuff on my baby’s cheeks from all the kisses I gave her afterwards.
- Your Birth Plan – Your OB will usually ask you to submit this before the big day but in case things get lost in translation. Bring a copy with you to the hospital.
- Camera/Video Camera – Don’t forget to bring a charger, despite how unbelievably exhausted you will be, you’ll want to capture every precious moment and not miss a thing.
- Phone & Charger – My Labour lasted 36 hours, there was a lot of waiting around time, so thank goodness for smart phone apps & games.
- Prepaid Calling Card – In case your hospital doesn’t allow cellphone usage in the maternity ward.
- Your Own Pillow + Colourful Case – Don’t rely on hospital pillows to get you comfy, bring your own!
- Your Favorite Worship Music/Songs on ipod – There will never a better time to keep your focus on Jesus in between labour contractions.
- Notebook & Pen – If you end up having a long labour like mine, there will be a lot of downtime.
- Sanitary Pads – Most hospitals will offer pads in your post delivery kit but it is always a good ideal to bring an extra package of your favourite brand in case you run out of the hospital ones in the middle of the night and the night shift nurse is nowhere to be found. (true story)
- Nursing Pillow – Not just super useful for breastfeeding baby, this comes in handy for propping yourself up or giving daddy a better cushion to nap on.
- Donut Cushion – This may be applicable only to Mamas who end up having a vaginal birth. I apologize in advance for freaking anyone out. But ladies, there is a good chance that you might get a tear down there and depending on the severity of the tear you will need stitches and that will prevent you from sitting for a few weeks. Enough said.
- Food Cooler – Most hospital will provide meals for the Mommies but Daddies will have to fend for themselves and depending on how long you have to stay at the hospital, post delivery. The cost of buying food does add up quickly and good luck finding anything healthy in the hospital food court. Plus you don’t want a dehydrated, hungry daddy looking after you. If they bring some snacks and drinks with them, they can stay with you, rather than leaving the room to search for food! Things that will keep well in a cooler for 24-48 hrs; includes hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter & jam sandwiches, apples, oranges, bananas, hummus & baby carrots.*tip* if you freeze juice boxes and put them in the cooler it will serve as ice packs and a nice cold drink once it’s thawed out.
Essentials For Daddy:
- A change of clothes – If your labour room has a shower, use it. It might be a while before Daddy gets another chance to have a shower after baby arrives.
- Toiletries; toothbrush, toothpaste and travel size 2 in 1 shampoos
- Bendy straws – to help you to have a drink during labour.
- Smart Phone with app to time contractions – Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, the app that we had on our smart phone had really helped with timing contractions.
- Eye Mask & Earplugs – Unless you get lucky with a private room, these will come in handy in a noisy postnatal ward.
Essentials For Baby:
- Approved infant car seat with the base properly installed in your vehicle – Most hospitals won’t discharge you without it properly installed in your vehicle.
- A going-home outfit – Leave the fancy stuff at home, stick with soft, stretchy & comfy. Trust me!
- An extra sleepsuit – Accidents happen, this will be first of many 🙂 . Bring extras and stick with soft, stretchy & comfy.
- Baby Socks – Bring a few pairs, I guarantee you will lose one or two before you get discharge from the hospital.
- Baby Mitts – Babies are born with sharp fingernails. This will prevent them from scratching their face.
- Cozy 100% Cotton Blanket – Hospitals can get chilly and your baby may be extra sensitive to the cold.
- Big Package of Newborn diapers – Base on our own experience, a newborn baby can use up to 11 diapers within a 24 hr period.
- Package of Unscented baby wipes –
- Soft 100% Cotton Washcloth – In retrospect, these would have come in handy for wiping baby’s delicate bum with warm water instead of the cold baby wipes.
Things That We Didn’t Use:
- Pacifier – Our lactation consultants had advised against the using pacifiers until breastfeeding is fully established, usually after 8 weeks.
- Breastpump – The use of the breast pump was discouraged by our nurse until baby establishes a good latch and breastfeeding goes well.
- Nipple Cream – Your breast milk has natural healing properties, after feeding baby rub a few drops on your sore nipples and let it dry.
- Breast Pads – These didn’t come in handy, until a few weeks later
- Nursing Bras – Walmart sells the Wonderbra brand for $20bucks, but its best to wait a few days for your milk supply to come to make sure you buy the right size.
This list is base on my birthing experience, I’m sure there are other essentials for different birthing experiences. Feel feel to leave a comment, telling me what you found essential in your hospital bag.