Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hospital Bag Essentials for Mama and Baby

       I recently finished packing our bags for the hospital. I have enjoyed looking over different hospital packing lists on the Internet as I've been preparing for baby boy's arrival. Using some good ideas I found online and after finding some new products to try, I made my list and started packing my bags. I also took into account some of the things that I packed or forgot to pack with Owen and have changed some of the things I have packed based on those preferences. My bag is packed mainly for a normal woman who expects a vaginal delivery. I didn't pack a lot of natural labor devices like birthing balls and massage tools because I found that most didn't help me when I was in labor with Owen. And I left out a lot of items that the hospital provides because I never unpacked my ones from home from my bags with Owen. I am generally a bit of an overpacker, but I feel my bags are a little more stream-lined this time around. I also recommend making a list of last-minute things to pack so you can throw those things in your bag as your rushing out of the house to the hospital and not forget anything majorly important (like your camera!).  
       Everyone's needs are a little different and each person's labor experience is different (for instance, I can't recommend anything for a C-section mommy), but I thought it would be fun to share my list. 

My Bag:
1. Labor and delivery gown: I am not sure of my hospital's policy when it comes to wearing a gown from home, but even if I can't wear it during labor I can wear it afterwards so that I look cuter in photos. I didn't buy one of these with Owen and have seen so many people's pictures on Facebook where they had cute delivery gowns on so I splurged this time around. This is absolutely not a necessity though. 
2. Pajamas and robe: After delivery, I mostly wore pajamas after having Owen. They were more comfortable than anything else. I have both a nightgown with a robe and a pair of maternity pajamas to wear. Both are nursing friendly and comfortable. I will wear the nightgown first after I have my first shower because it is more accessible for nurses who have to come back to check me after delivery. 
3. Flip flops or other flats: These are just comfortable to wear when walking around the hospital. While lots of people like to pack socks in their hospital bag, I prefer having bare feet most of the time. But I don't want to walk barefoot on a hospital floor either so having some type of slip on shoe is great.
4. Comfy panties: The hospital provides mesh boy short panties after you give birth vaginally that I used after having Owen, but I like to be prepared with some of my own just in case. I love the hip hugger maternity panties from Motherhood Maternity. They are the comfiest. But then again, don't pack anything you don't mind getting stained. 
5. Nursing bras: I packed two different nursing sleep bras that I used with Owen. I recommend no underwire in the early days when your milk is coming in and you may become engorged. 
6. Notebook and pen: I made sure to bring a small notebook and pen when I was in labor with Owen so that we could keep track of my labor and write down things to remember. It's a great way to be able to look back at your progress and helps when you want to remember little details about your labor later. We also use it once the baby is born to track feedings and wet/dirty diapers. 
7. Toiletries: You know, the usual. I pack little travel sized bottles as if I'm going on vacation. The hospital may have stuff for you to use, but after being through labor before, that first shower after Owen was born was the best of my life (regardless of the fact that I was so sore I could hardly stand and Tim had to help me) and it was nice to use quality products that I enjoyed the scent of. Remember shampoo and conditioner, lotion, soap, face wash, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush, make-up, shaving cream and razor (if you feel like shaving), and a couple hair ties or headbands. I also bring lip balm. I bought a toiletry kit from Love and Toast and then bought travel sized of everything else I needed so I didn't have to pack any of those things last minute. You may even want to bring your own wash cloth or a shower pouf. Some people like to bring their own towels, but I never used mine with Owen and it takes up a lot of space. 
8. Hair dryer/straighener: These are things that I pack at the last minute. But ones that I definitely used since I wanted to feel like a normal human being again after labor. 
9. Snacks: This was something that I did not bring with Owen and something that I definitely wished that I had. I was starving after Owen was born, but hospital food is not that great and if you give birth in the middle of the night your choices are pretty limited anyway. I am bringing snack bars, nuts, and a bar of chocolate to the hospital. 
10. Postpartum Care and Nursing Accessories: Because I had a vaginal delivery with Owen, I am expecting the same with this baby. I am packing Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Spray to help soothe my downstairs area after having the baby. I didn't know about this product the first time around and honestly, I had no idea how much pain I would be in after giving birth (silly me thought all the pain would be during labor). The soreness and pain from giving birth to an almost nine-pounder combined with my episiotomy made for some definite discomfort. I highly recommend some type of cooling spray or something like Tuck's witch hazel pads. Also, if your hospital has these icepack-type things that you crack like a glow stick and put in your panties, definitely use those and steal any extras to take home with you. They should also give you a peri bottle to use after going to the bathroom, which you should also take home with you. In addition to postpartum care for me, I am bringing some items to help with breastfeeding, including Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream (lanolin-free and safe for babies to ingest, plus it kind-of smells like chocolate). I am also bringing some Mother's Milk Tea and Milky! supplement which helps with breast milk supply. My supply took four days to come in with Owen so I'm hoping I can coax it to come in earlier this time. I am also bringing my copy of "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" because it has a lot of helpful check-lists in the back. The one that I particularly may want to reference is the one that tells you what to do to keep your supply up and prepare for breastfeeding even if your baby won't latch right away. We had issues with this with Owen and I believe there were several things we did or didn't do that lead us to fail at breastfeeding. 
11. Pads: Gigantic overnight maxi pads. The hospital also supplies these and I used them with Owen so I don't know if I will use the ones I packed. But in case I don't like the hospital ones this time around, I will have a few of my own with me. Whether you pack them for the hospital or not, make sure to have some at home. 
12. Going home outfit: You will need an outfit to wear home from the hospital. Be aware that you will not automatically be your pre-pregnancy size and that you may still be in pain from either a C-section or a vaginal birth (I was still really sore the day I went home). Also, your belly will still be pretty big and feel like a deflated balloon so you will want to avoid anything too tight. This time, I am packing the super comfortable maxi dress above to wear home from the hospital. 

Here are some other things we will pack that I didn't include in the photo: camera and charger, extra camera card, video camera, laptop, cell phones and chargers. We also need to bring our pre-registration forms that we have filled out for the hospital already. I may also take a pillow from home (if you do so, pack one that is colored so it doesn't get mixed up with the white hospital pillows). 

Baby's Bag:
1. Baby clothes: I am bringing four different outfits for the baby: one gown for easy diaper changes, one pair of pajamas that his Nana bought him, a cute outfit with a onesie that says "Little Brother," and the cute striped one piece in the above photo. I didn't bring any clothes (other than a going home outfit) for Owen when he was born and just had him wear what the hospital provided. Clothes are totally not necessary to pack, but I just like the idea of him having clothes that we or other family members have bought for him. Four outfits is probably overkill, but I had trouble just narrowing it down to four. All outfits are size 0-3 months because we just don't bother buying newborn sizes since Owen was so big at birth. I will also be doing a lot of skin-to-skin contact with baby so he will probably be mostly naked a lot too. 
2. Baby mittens: Owen had some super long fingernails when he was born and scratched his poor little face so I packed a couple pairs of newborn mittens to protect his skin until his nails are cut. 
3. Hats: I didn't put hats on Owen much once we brought him home from the hospital since it was warm, but in the hospital they are great. Especially for poor vaginal birth babies who have major coneheads. I bought the above elephant hat to match the pajamas that my mother-in-law bought him. 
4. Socks: I brought socks to match each of the outfits that I brought for the baby to wear. 
5. Blanket: My mother-in-law bought this blanket for the baby and it is very similar to one that we had for Owen when he was born. Owen's had lions and this baby has elephants. 
6. Diapers and wipes: This is not necessary to bring as the hospital will provide diapers and wipes. But because we area switching to cloth, I decided to bring some of our small stash of The Honest Company diapers and wipes to use right off with the baby. We have two packs of newborn size and we need to use them quick before he outgrows them. They are so tiny! 
7. Swaddlers: There are eight thousand different types of swaddlers and receiving blankets. We prefer Aden+Anais swaddling blankets. They are super big which makes them great for swaddling and a dozen other things and they are really soft. For this baby I bought the four pack of Liam the Brave prints. I can also use them as a nursing cover if we have visitors. 
8. Mambino Mommy and Baby Bonding Kit: I packed this kit of baby skin care products to use after the baby is born. It has baby wash, lotions, massage oils, diaper cream, and more to use on the baby. 
9. Burp cloths: We are bringing two Aden+Anais burpy bibs. They make great burp cloths because they are so large. 
10. Breastfeeding pillow: We have a Boppy, but any breastfeeding pillow would be great. I can imagine that this is especially helpful to C-section mommies to help them hold the baby. 
11. Going home outfit: Our baby is going home wearing this super sweet outfit my mom bought from Janie and Jack. Owen went home in something a lot more simple, but this time I wanted something a little bit fancier. 
12. Carseat. Not pictured, but a necessity for taking the baby home. We are reusing the carseat that we used with Owen, a Chicco Keyfit 30. 
Optional: Pacifiers. The hospital supplies these, but we aren't bringing any because we want to avoid them as long as possible while the baby is learning to breastfeed. 
       Owen honestly has no clue what this whole big brother thing is about and he has shown a little bit of anxiety when we are at the doctor's sometimes so I wanted to have something to give him at the hospital to entertain him. We will say it is a gift from his little brother. 

Owen's Big Brother Gift:
1. Books: Owen loves Barefoot Books so we bought him two more to add to his collection. We got him "We All Go Traveling By" and "Driving My Tractor." He already knows the songs that go with them because we listen to them on Youtube, but I know he will be psyched to get them in book form. I am excited to read them with him after I have the baby when I get to see my firstborn again. I have never been away from Owen for very long and my hormonal pregnant self gets kind-of emotional thinking about being away from him while I'm in labor. He will be in good hands though with some local friends and then my parents once they get into town. 
2. Green Toys Tractor: This is a newly released toy from Green Toys. We love these great recycled plastic toys and Owen is so into all types of vehicles right now. He had a ton of fun playing with some tractors at his great-grandma's house in Montana so I thought he would enjoy having a tractor of his own. 
3. Mudpuppy Puzzle: Owen already has a 7-piece puzzle from Mudpuppy that he has mastered so I figured it was time to give him the next harder puzzle from the same company. It is a 12 piece puzzle and I figure it will give him something new to play with and something new to learn during the first several weeks with the new baby where he might not get as much one-on-one attention as usual. 

          So there are my packing lists for the hospital. Tim will pack his own bag at some point. I also packed a bag for Owen since he will be going to our friends' house until my parents get into town. I packed him a couple outfits, a pair of pajamas, diapers and wipes, toiletries, and a drink cup. I am so happy to have packing finished because I have no idea when I will go into labor and after going into labor early with Owen, I am trying to have everything ready by 37 weeks just in case. 

1 comment:

  1. I keep thinking that I have "time" left to do this, but you are right, we are both getting so much closer to our due dates, its better to be prepared than stress later. I have a few things put aside, but certainly not much. I love your list and need to for sure get a few new toys for Aiden from his brother :)