FLASHBACK: Packing your bag and stocking your cabinet--things to know BEFORE labor and delivery!

Posted by  | Wednesday, January 25, 2012  at 4:40 PM  

**I often send this information to friends having their first baby, so I thought it might be helpful to post it again today. This post originally ran in October 2009.**

Before my first child was born, a dear friend gave me a list of things to pack/not pack in my hospital bag. After my first child, I added my thoughts, and started giving it out to all my friends who were having babies. Hope you find this helpful!

What you DON'T have to pack in your hospital bag:
• diapers
• wipes
• baby clothes other than an outfit to bring the baby home—the hospital will provide tiny little white shirts for your little one
• baby blankets—the hospital will provide receiving blankets
• sanitary pads
• lots of underwear for you—the hospital has disposable underwear that you will, strangely enough, come to love after labor and delivery;-)
• multiple pairs of pants for you
• nursing pillow, unless you just want to have it; the nurses will assist you with helping the baby latch on using hospital pillows, etc
• bottles for the baby, unless you plan to bottle feed and want to use a particular bottle
• jewelry—you may have to take it off, and you don’t want to risk losing it
• long distance calling card—some places in the hospital say no cell phones, but the nurses do not mind you making the occasional call
• pillows—hospital has plenty!

What you DO want to pack in your hospital bag:
• hairband or clips to hold your hair back, if necessary
• anything that helps you relax for delivery and afterward—an IPod with your favorite music, a book, a scented lotion
• change for the snack machines or a bag of snacks (especially for your hubby)
• at least one nursing bra (a sleep bra is a must, and maybe another one to wear coming home)
• nursing pads—during the first few days, I would recommend Lansinoh Brand Ultra Soft Nursing Pads (Babies R Us carries them). They are more expensive, but they are the softest I have found, and when you start nursing, your breasts will appreciate the softness of those pads. You will be able to move to other pads later
• Tums if you are prone to heartburn. I was not prone to it, but had horrible acid reflux during labor. The nurses would not give me anything, but I could have taken the Tums if I had some with me
• camera, extra batteries/charger, film (each hospital has different regulations about videography during labor, so check for their policies)
• cell phones and chargers
• comfortable, loose tops or short nightgowns. Look for something that buttons down or is big enough to pull up for nursing ease. Pants/bottoms are not necessary—you will be bleeding enough after the delivery that you might mess up the bottoms anyway. A light-weight robe is nice—I used a short robe that I pulled on over a tank top, and that worked great
• moisturizing body lotion—if you should have an epidural, your skin may itch as it wears off. Lotion helps!
• flip-flops for the shower
• your favorite toiletries (i.e., scented shower gel from Bath and Body Works if you like that), your makeup, lotions and perfume—anything that will help refresh you and make you feel better
• slippers or socks—the hospital floor can get cold!
• name of the pediatrician you plan to use—they will ask you this in labor and delivery
• book/magazine (something light and fluffy) for you; book/magazine for your husband—you may need this during labor and delivery while you “wait” to dilate, or to help you relax at the end of the day when visitors and family have left
• list of people to call with their phone numbers
• outfit to bring the baby home
• outfit for you to wear when you leave the hospital—look for comfortable, loose fitting separates: you will not be able to fit back into your pre-pregnancy sizes immediately! Though it is no fun to wear them after the baby comes, maternity pants may feel the most comfortable (or something with a drawstring waist)

Coming Home from the Hospital:

Have someone fill your pain prescription as soon as you get home—taking the medication regularly will make a huge difference! The day that you leave the hospital you will feel sore—it will be the first time you have moved around so much since the baby was born, so expect to be tired, sore and emotional.

Make sure your bathroom cabinet is stocked with these items:
• sanitary pads (no tampons)
• moistened, unscented wipes *optional*(this sounds crazy, but Pampers makes a Sensitive Skin baby wipe that works great—you just cannot flush them)
• Tucks Hemorrhoid pads *optional*--Tucks pads are cooling and calming
• Pericolase medication (stool softener and gentle laxative)—helps keep you regular and prevents your bowel movements from being painful
• Spray bottle (from hospital) for cleaning yourself
• Dermaplast (also from hospital), a topical numbing spray that is such a blessing when you are sore

Your first night home from the hospital will be really rough, but you will survive! Expect to cry a lot at first. Know that every woman experiences these emotional ups and downs, and it is normal. The baby blues last through the first couple of weeks and then things stabilize—but they will suddenly pop back up at random times! It’s normal to cry, however, if you feel like your baby blues are unmanageable, or are lasting a very long time, please reach out to friends and family for help.

In your budget, you may need to plan for an additional expenditures in doctor’s co-pays (this varies according to insurance plan depending on if you have a co-pay for well-visits/maintenance visits). Your baby will visit the doctor approximately 4 times in 2 months (though this varies by office): 72 hours after discharge from hospital, 2 weeks, 1 month and 2 months. Each of these visits will cost you an office co-pay, and if you do not plan for those fees, it can catch you off guard.

Above all, relax and enjoy this time. Labor and delivery may be painful, but it is the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. It is exciting! Look forward to it with anticipation and joy, and know that your friends and family are praying for you, supporting you and ‘cheering you on’ during this wonderful time.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Yay!! I'm packing my bag for delivery #3 and I am amazed at how many things I've forgotten. Perfect timing!!! Thank you!

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