The essentials for your hospital survival kit.
Are you all set for the big day? Packing your hospital bag when you’re expecting your first baby can be tricky. And as babies don’t always come on schedule it’s best to have your bag packed and ready to go early. Having gone through two hospital deliveries I’ve learned what items I really needed and which ones were just taking up space. Here’s my list of essentials items you must add to your hospital bag packing checklist.
Essentials to pack for Labour
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Labour can take hours and it’s very easy to get dehydrated during that period. For my first baby, I didn’t drink enough water and ended up needed IV fluids to re-hydrate. A water bottle with a straw was on the top of my list for when I went into labour with my second (my husband was also tasked with making sure I actually drank the water). I like this one as it’s easy to open and close, doesn’t leak when closed and placed sideways in a bag, and comes apart when we put it in the dishwasher.
There’s something about labour which dries out your lips. Bring chap-stick because even if you don’t apply it during labour you’re going to want it afterwards.
When you’re in early or the beginning of active labor you should still try to eat something especially as this stage can go on for quite some time. Small high calorie snacks are best such as energy balls, trail mix etc. Fruit is another snack to consider. I like bananas as they’re not too messy to eat. As well, consider a pouch. I know they’re meant for babies but they’re often packed with nutrition and super easy to eat.
Essentials to pack for Postpartum
If you plan on Breastfeeding
While you may have gotten some fancy lace nursing bras leave those at home. What you want for your hospital stay are comfortable nursing sleep bras. They’re far easier to use than the clip down bras and way more comfortable. Your boobs with thank you.
What no one tells you is breastfeeding can get messy. While your baby is nursing on one side it’s possible for you to be dripping milk from the other breast. Nursing pads can ensure that you’re not getting soaked.
Front opening shirts
Along the theme of easy nursing are front opening shirts. If you don’t plan to remain in your hospital gown bring several comfortable front opening shirts. I bought a mixture of button-down shirts, PJ’s and button-down nightgowns. Learning how to breastfeed is hard enough you don’t need to be fighting your clothes as well.
This will be a godsend to you for the first month of nursing. Use it after every time you nurse to prevent getting chapped nipples. Your hospital may provide this but it’s on my list because it is so essential. I used Lanolin as it’s what my hospital provided for me (when I had no clue it was something I needed) but there are organic options as well.
Other Postpartum Essentials
You’re going to bleed after giving birth – a lot. While the hospital provides pads I found them very thick and uncomfortable. I preferred a heavy absorbent overnight pad as they were much thinner and easier to sit on.
Chances are that before becoming pregnant you’d never heard of a Padsicle. However, this sucker is going to be your lifesaver in your first week (or two) postpartum. I highly recommend having some (maybe 20) made up and ready to go. You won’t need to bring all 20 to the hospital but you’ll still want to use them when you get home.
Essentially a Padsicle is an overnight maxi pad coated with aloe vera, witch hazel and essential oil (optional) which is then frozen. Your nether regions are then treated to the soothing properties of these ingredients while also getting the relief the cold pad brings.
To Make: Create the Padsicles by first unfolding the maxi pads (but don’t take them off their wrapper) and spreading about a Tablespoon of the aloe vera along the length of the pad. Then add a Tablespoon of the witch hazel. Add 1-3 drops of your essential oil if you choose to use any and wrap the pads back up again. Store in a large ziplock bag in the freezer until needed.
If you don’t get a chance to make your own you could also use these and just tuck a few inside your maxi pad as needed.
This is an ingenious little bottle you’re going to need. You’re going to be really sore if you’ve just had a vaginal delivery and wiping after using the toilet will not be an option. This little bottle will make sure everything says clean down there. Check first if your hospital provides them (ours does) before you go out and buy one.
Again, check with your hospital before buying anything as this was another item our hospital provided. I didn’t bother using the hose feature but I did use the bath itself several times a day for the first few week postpartum. I can also highly recommend adding Epson Salts to your Sitz bath. Anything that gives you some additional pain relief and will help reduce the swelling consider using!
Essentials for your Hospital Stay
Chances are your baby is not going to wear any clothes until they are ready to go home. At our local hospital, all the babies were encouraged to have a lot of skin to skin contact and they were just swaddled in blankets when not being held. The first time either of my babies wore actually clothing was when they were discharged. And yes, you could bring a cute doing home outfit but I always opted for the much easier one-piece sleeper. Getting a baby dressed is tricky enough; dressing a newborn for the first time can be terrifying.
Slippers or flip flops
If you’re going to walking around the hospital at all then bring some comfortable footwear.
One of the first things I did the morning after I had my babies was to take a shower. This may not be the case with you but I suggest bringing shampoo, facial wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste a brush, hair ties and possibly a little make-up at the very least. I know having that shower made me feel more like myself.
Phone charger (and phone)
Make your partner remember this one.
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