Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Preparing Your Hospital Bag

     Pregnant and giving birth anytime soon? My sister in law just currently asked me what to pack in her hospital bag and I just realized that I have posts about labor, childbirth and pregnancy, but totally forgot to include this list! Now here it is ;)
    What to pack in Your Hospital Bag:

   1. Birth Plan - Don't forget this! A birth plan is discussed with your doctor prior to the actual birth but it also serves as a guide for the nurses and doctors on call at the time you arrive in the hospital. And if you are in pain due to labor, there will be no more time for talking and explaining so this is the best way for you to communicate your preferences for the birth.
   Check out my post about how to make your own birth plan.

   2. Doctor's Request Form - Your doctor will give you a Doctor's Request Form in one of your final checkups so do put it together with your Birth Plan.

   3. Mother's Info Sheet with Baby's Name - It's a good idea to prepare an Information Sheet about yourself prior to the birth to make it easy for you or your husband to fill out hospital information forms. It will serve as your guide in case you forget some information related to your pregnancy which the nurses will ask, and at least your husband won't be clueless either if this task is suddenly left to him. I also suggest that you put your Baby's Name at the end of this information sheet so that if your husband fills out the info about your newborn baby, he won't be making any spelling mistakes! 
    Here is a sample Mother's Information Sheet that you can use as your guide.

   4. Labor Notes and Notebook - Since I was aiming for a natural childbirth in my last pregnancy, I prepared a very detailed guide to labor and childbirth which became very useful during the early stages of labor. I included it in this list in case your husband will be taking on the role of your childbirth coach, as mine did. My notes were in outline form and typed on index cards which I placed in a photo album together with photos of Audrey and our family so my husband could show me every time labor was getting more and more difficult. 
     Do bring an extra notebook for jotting down your breastfeeding schedule when baby comes. This will be very helpful in tracking feeding times and answering your pediatrician's questions about the baby when she visits.

   5. Face Towel - If you know you will be doing some hard work during labor, do bring a face towel. I know I used mine quite often - labor wasn't a walk in the park, it felt more like a marathon!

   6. Music - If music relaxes you, do prepare a playlist of songs on your phone or any device that plays music. It can help you relax while in labor.

   7. Snacks - This is mainly for your husband haha! Depending on where you are in labor when you arrive at the hospital, you need to think about how Daddy will eat as well. Labor could take a few hours to several hours so it's good to make sure your husband isn't going hungry because you will want him to have enough energy to assist you and take care of your baby when he or she arrives.

   8. Massager or Tennis Ball - Labor is usually hard on your back so it's a good idea to bring a massager or used (but clean!) tennis ball (it's softer). This will help alleviate the pain and stress on your back while you are undergoing labor.

   9. Maternity Napkins - Usually the hospital provides (and charges you for these) but it's always a good idea to bring your own maternity napkins - even just one pack as backup.
  10. Toiletries, Toothbrush, Toothpaste - If you want to bathe in familiar scents, do bring your own shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Don't forget your toothbrush and toothpaste too! You want your breath to smell fresh for baby! ;P 

   11. Nursing Cover - Although hospitals usually provide a nursing gown, it's still good to bring your own nursing cover especially when you need to feed baby while you have visitors.

   12. Comfy Clothes - Make sure to pack comfy and nursing friendly clothes in your bag. You can use them for photo ops, a special dinner with your hubby (like what Asian Hospital offers parents of newborns) and for going home.
    Check out some breastfeeding fashion ideas here.

   13. Undies - This should be a no-brainer! Please don't forget to pack underwear! And pack more than usual just in case! :D

   14. Nursing Bra - Please be ready with your nursing bra at least a month before full term (as your breast size will be as is when you give birth). Don't forget to pack a few to match your comfy clothes (i.e. bandeaus for strapless dresses and strapped ones for shirts).

   15. Nursing Pads - With nursing bras must come nursing pads! Whether you prefer disposables or reusables, just make sure you pack them in your bag too. Leaks aren't cool! :o

   16. Nipple Cream - New moms will need all the help they can get with breastfeeding, and based on experience, lanolin nipple creams are a must. It's hard to get sore on the first few days of feeding your newborn (or ever that is!) so you want those nipples to be protected.

   17. Slippers - You'll want to be comfy while walking around your hospital room and bathroom so bring slippers!

   18. Soft pillow or cushion - Moms who give birth vaginally and have had episiotomies may find it difficult to sit on hard chairs. This isn't a necessity though but it can help you feel more comfy. 

    Now onto my favorite part... baby's bag! :)

    What to Pack in Your Babys' Bag:

   1. Baby's clothes (Sigh!! I love this part the most :) ) - I pack around 2 sets of outfits for my baby - A special going home outfit and a backup (which apparently was useful the last time because we had a free photo shoot care of the hospital) ;)  Outfits can include onesies, pants, and overalls with beanie and socks.

   2. Baby blankets - I also pack at least two baby blankets for swaddling! Nowadays though rooming in your baby right away is required so you might want to bring more than two even if the hospital provides some.

   3. Newborn diapers - The hospital usually provides these but you can bring a few extras in case, since newborns use up a whole lot of diapers per day

   4. Cloth diapers or Lampin - You can bring cloth diapers so when you are carrying or feeding, you're protected from spit ups and can easily wipe baby.
    Among the other items that hospitals provide are baby wash, cotton balls, and alcohol so you won't have to bring those.

    Other Reminders:

    1. Don't forget to install your Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat already. We used this baby head support pillow Diono 2-in-1 Head Support, Grey and we love it because when baby grows, you can take out the smaller head support and leave the bigger one.

    2. Get baby's crib or co-sleeper ready so it's all set when he or she gets home.

   3. Get your sterilizer ready and prepare all your breastfeeding storage cups. These Avent Via Breast Milk Storage Kit 1 kit storage cups were very helpful in my first few days as a breastfeeding mom because I would hand express my excess milk into them and store them in the freezer for future use. None of my precious milk goes to waste! haha! I use these cups because it's so hard to hand express milk into plastic storage bags. Also remember not to pump milk until after the first month so as not to get engorged.
        You can check out my Breastfeeding Essentials and Tips here as well :)

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