Must Haves in your Hospital Bag
A super exciting place to start, right?! But seriously, bring everything, if you are anything like me.. I pack everything. Must have are IDs and any intake paperwork. If you have a birth plan, get it all down on paper so you can give it to the staff and a birth plan is important to give to your doctor well before your due date, so everyone is know of YOUR plan.
It might be a little tough for you to articulate your plan with all your labor hormones and emotions swirling, so having it all written down in advance can save you the trouble.
You may also want to bring your medical records from throughout your pregnancy, especially if there is something that needs attention.
2. Nursing Top, Bra, and Nursing Pads
Colostrum (the first super-rich, antibody heavy milk that comes in before full breast milk) can start to leak right after birth. It may take longer (which is totally fine and normal!) but you'll want to be prepared anyway.
Whether you're planning to breastfeed or not, your breasts don't know the difference yet! Bring a comfortable Nursing top with no built in underwire or built-in bra, and some nursing pads too. Nursing pads slip into your nursing bra (which should also be seamless and wire free) to absorb any leakage so your clothes don't get wet. Wire-free keeps your breasts relaxed, helps avoid clogged ducts, and will be most comfortable considering you just had a baby!
Don't forget a nursing hoodie for when you are on your way out of the hospital and need to stay warm, but need quick breastfeeding access.
3. Non-Skid Socks and Flip Flops
Whether it's before to induce labor or after to get you out of bed (or both), you will be walking around the hospital ward. Walking will help with labor and contractions. Bare feet are not encouraged. Cosy non-skid socks keep your toes warm and are way easier than shoes.
Bring non-slippery flip flops so you can wear them in the hospital shower. There is nothing grosser then forgetting your shower shoes
5. Your Favorite Toiletries
Shampoo (dry shampoo: a mom must have), conditioner, and natural body wash, so you can shower during and/or after labor. Plus lip balm and lotion (or coconut oil for face and body). Try to stay away from heavily fragranced anything. You and your baby may find them overpowering and it's not recommended for any skin to skin time as it can rub on the baby.
Don't forget deodorant! Don't forget your glasses or contact solution!
You may think you're hair is going to stay all Pantene Pro-V commercial like, but it's not sista! Keep some hair bands and ties in your toiletry bag to keep your hair out of your eyes.
If you can bring a phone/camera/vlogging camera/ drone, don't forget your chargers!
You will never want to forget these moments, the raw emotion and the joy when you finally get to meet your little one.
6. Breast Pump/ Breastfeeding Coach
If you have one, you may want to bring it. Some hospitals have someone come to your room to help you and show you how to use it. If breastfeeding is something you want to try, someone hospitals have nurses who will come and teach you tips and tricks, and help you with your latch.. just remember, this is new for the BOTH of you.
7. Whatever will help you relax!
Stress balls, your own pillow, music, magazines, a comfort blanket, your journal, back massager...whatever works for you. Stay away from snacks pre-labour (unless recommended by your doctor) and focus on things that will make you physically or mentally more comfortable. A rice pack you can heat in the microwave is a great relaxing tool. You could stuff a tube sock with tennis balls too. Put it in the small of your back to help with cramps.
8. Cash and Change
The hospital cafeteria may only be from 9-5, but vending machines are forever! What if you're craving something? You will be hungry. not all rooms let skip the dishes or Urban in!
9. Extra Undies and Heavy Flow Absorbent Pads
This is where things get super sexy. Some new moms love the infamous 'mesh' hospital panties and you either love em or hate em. They're disposable so you're not wearing someone else's undies, but it totally okay to prefer your own clothes. There will be bleeding after labor though, so bring cotton underwear you don't mind throwing away. A pack of absorbent pads is a major necessity. Make sure you have plenty at home too.
If you can make it happen, prep some pads (aka "padsicles") with aloe vera gel and witch hazel, stick them in the freezer and bring them with you in a high quality insulated bag that keeps things ice cold. Keep extra for when you arrive home.
Here is a link to watch how to make them: Padsicles
10. New Human
Yes, as crazy as it may seem, the hospital is going to let you go home with your new human! Make sure you have everything you need for them. Carseat. Outfits, wipes, diapers, swaddles, Pacificer, toques, mittens.
They will need to pass the car seat test and have a poop before the hospital will discharge you.
Okay, so full disclaimer. I had help, I have never given birth in a hospital or at all for that matter, but my besties have!
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