If you missed it, I posted on Monday my list of things I’ve packed in baby’s hospital bag. I know it will differ from a lot of womens’, but as I’m going more natural with everything the things I have packed really reflect that.
The same is true for my own hospital bag. Because we are also preparing to move to a new apartment, I wanted to make sure my bag was packed well in advance in case we end up mid-move and have to go to the hospital. But I will say, compared to my bag for the birth of Sweet Girl, my bag is significantly lighter. For one thing, I don’t plan on being in the hospital any longer than I have to. I want to be able to come home and sleep in my own bed and just be our new family of four. And I hate being woken up every few hours because the nurses are checking on me and the baby.
In the last post (Baby’s Hospital Bag), I took pictures of most everything I had in the bag. But I won’t be doing that with this one. I just don’t think I want to take pictures of my very large underwear and posting it for the whole world to see. So here it is:
Important Papers – Some hospitals will ask that you fill out certain papers and bring them with you to the hospital. Others will have you do a pre-registration appointment to do all that a few weeks before your due date. Either way, these things will need to get done. And the sooner the better, because who really wants to be filling out paperwork and answering dull questions in the middle of a contraction?
This is also where you could include your birth plan. As I’ve said in a previous post, there are so many things to consider when figuring out your birth plan that it can seem overwhelming, especially when you have no idea what you’ll really want. My suggestion is take a class (or several, if you feel like you need to), read some books and make the best decisions you can with the information you have. Remember, your birth plan is not set in stone. Things could change and an emergency c-section is necessary. Or you could say you want to do a completely non-medicated birth only to realize halfway through labor that you really want that epidural. Don’t feel like you are stuck because of the plan you’ve laid out. It is your labor and birth experience and you are in charge. Your body, your decision.
This is nowhere near what my first birth plan looked like (this one is much more condensed), but I feel like it gets the most important things across and is very straight forward. At the top we have baby’s name, parents’ names, and our midwife.
When putting your own birth plan together, keep in mind that a lot of nurses will be looking over this page, so keep it short – you want them to read it. You don’t need to expand every thought. Use bullet points; separate it in sections so it’s easy for them to find the information they need based on where you are in the process. Not sure what you need to be considering as you put yours together? Google is your friend. You can find all kinds of free templates and worksheets that will help you know what your options are. Or you can always ask your doctor or the hospital you plan to deliver at. They will be able to point you in a direction consistent with what their care plans look like.
Wallet – This one is incredibly important. You will need your photo ID, your insurance card, and the insurance information for baby if it will be different from yours. It is also a good idea to have a few dollars or some change so you can send your support person to the vending machine if they get hungry (or you just want to get rid of them for a few minutes).
Comfortable Nursing Bras – You may be thinking you won’t want to wear any kind of bra, especially if you’re going to be whipping out your boobs every hour or so anyway. But I will tell you this – you will want it! Baby suckling is a totally new sensation and it does strange things to your nipples. You will not want anything rubbing on them because it will feel weird or just be painful. Keep those things locked up in a very stretchy, or even sleep nursing bra. Something easy to move around in as you navigate this new activity and that will be super comfortable at all times of the day.
Nursing Pads – I didn’t take any nursing pads with me the first time around. I knew it would be a few days before my milk came in. But this time, I’m planning on taking a pair of cloth nursing pads I’ve purchased in case my milk decides to come in before we get home from the hospital.
Underwear – Some women will choose not to go this route simply because they want to take as many hospital mesh underwear home with them as possible. And I don’t blame them one bit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those. They are so comfortable and super stretchy. And, really, you are not going to be concerned about what you look like down there – you will more than likely want to not think about what it looks like down there. But as I’m striving to limit my trash output, I figured I would buy some very large underwear specifically for the postpartum period. That way they won’t squeeze anything and they will be large enough for my very big postpartum cloth pads and the padsicles I made.
Cloth Pads – These will really only get used on the car ride home. Like I just said, I am trying to limit my trash output, so these are going to be more eco-friendly than the mesh undies you get after delivery. I bought mine from a shop on Etsy and love them already, and I haven’t even used them yet. (I know, I’m weird.)
Going Home Outfit/Comfortable Clothes – I would like to say I will only need a going home outfit. Something loose and stretchy and extremely comfortable. But I want to be prepared in case I need to stay a couple days (I want to be out of there within 24 hours, if possible). So I threw in a couple extra things I will be able to wear around the hospital that aren’t a hospital gown.
Hair Ties/Bobby Pins – I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. No woman wants hair all over her face when she is sweating and more uncomfortable than she’s ever been before in her life. Just pack them. You’ll thank yourself later.
Soap – In the last few months I’ve started using homemade soap I bought at a little store downtown. And I absolutely love it. So much better than body wash or store bought soaps. So this will be coming with me. And it smells absolutely amazing!
Body/Hair Spray – This is a concoction I put together recently. With summer and the stupid humidity I cannot use lotion. But my skin is always dry. So I threw together some water, witch hazel, apricot kernel oil, and a few drops of lavender essential oil, and spray this all over my body and hair right after a shower. It smells great and gives my skin just enough hydration to get me through the day.
Contacts/Case & Glasses/Case – Really, I just want to be able to see. Those of you who don’t have to worry about this step, lucky you.
Sitz “Tea” Spray – I wrote about this earlier this week and I have to say I’m excited to use this. I have a feeling it will be so soothing to use it. Check out the previous post and see just how I put it together.
Arnica Cream – I have read on so many natural mama blogs that they used arnica to help post birth. It is supposed to help with healing of bruises and swelling, so it’s perfect to use to help your uterus heal after delivery.
Magnesium Supplements – I’ve recently read that magnesium can be used as a natural stool softener. And I hate to say it, but you will definitely want something to help you out in those first days or weeks after having a baby. Things just won’t work right for a while. I haven’t talked to my doctor about them, yet (I will at my next appointment), but I’m hoping these will be a good alternative to over the counter options.
Phone/Charger – Again, self-explanatory. Pictures, baby announcements, entertainment.
Energy Bites – I know, I know. Everyone says not to eat during labor. And they are all crazy. My first labor only lasted 3 hours and I was starving halfway through. Honestly, after the nurses left I told BJ to grab me one of the energy bites I packed in my bag. And it was fantastic! So I will definitely be packing them again this time around. For your own bag, throw in a couple quick and easy high protein snacks. They are great to munch on and help to keep your energy up during the marathon you are going through.
I realize now that this post got really long, really fast. So for that, I apologize. But I hope that this will help you as you pack your own hospital bag. You really don’t need a whole lot because the hospital will provide you with what you need. Just focus on a couple snacks, something to keep you entertained during a long labor, and something really comfortable to wear home. Keep it simple. You’ve got more important things to think about.