Photo courtesy of http://www.curiositiesbydickens.com/tag/childbirth/
On the countdown to the last weeks of pregnancy, you may probably be thinking, “baby, come out any moment now!”. But wait, have you thought about what to bring to the hospital yet (for those giving birth at a hospital / birth center and not “mid-wifing” at home) ? There are lots of “hospital checklists” on baby related sites and here I would like to highlight “the why” for some of these essential items that you may wish to consider bringing while you still got time to read my blog.. haha.
1. Pyjamas and Slippers for Mom and Dad
After you give birth, you will be staying in the hospital for at least a day or two. Giving birth is a big event and you may feel exhausted or very excited after it. While you are at the hospital, you still want to be able to catch some sleep in between the baby crying as rest is very important for post-partum recovery and making breastmilk. Hospital bed is not too comfortable to sleep in but you still want to wear your own comfy pyjamas to sleep in it and walk around after giving birth. Also, it is important to have dad around and he needs to sleep too so pack his pyjamas for him (he will most likely not remember). You probably don’t want to wear your outdoor shoes when in the hospital room so you may want to take your slippers or loafers there too.
2. Toiletries for mom and dad
As the birthing event is like going on an overnight trip, you will need to bring toothbrush, soap/shampoo as if you are going on a mini trip. Sometimes labour can last many hours so after it is done, you may want to freshen up 🙂 Also, if you intend to take pictures with baby at the hospital, moms may want to bring makeup to avoid looking too exhausted (if that thought crosses your mind). I have seen some pictures where moms look very very exhausted and some that are totally glammed up as if a makeup artist went and did a makeover for her.
3. A hat, onesies, newborn diapers for the new little one
The new joy of bundle will be wrapped in hospital cloth (yes, cloth) after it is born. After the first night, a hospital photographer may come and take photos for the baby and you may want to dress your baby in new clothes :). Also, baby needs clothes to go home in a car seat! A stretchable hat is important to keep the little head warm as newborn’s body is not established yet to produce enough body warmth at the beginning. Hospital may provide the first diaper and hat but afterwards you will need to use your own or purchase a “hospital bag” with some of these essentials for baby. You may bring around 20 diapers if you will be out within a day or two.
4. Peri-pads / Maxi pads
There will be quite a bit of post-partum bleeding after giving birth as the uterus continues to shed lining from tears from placenta. You will need some maxi pads (large size) for this. Hospital may provide them sometimes.
Time to charge up your digital camera and have an extra battery pack to bring to the hospital. This is something to do ahead of time as you may probably forget when it is time to go to the hospital. You can use your cellphone if anything but you probably want to snap the fine details of those little hands and feet in a proper camera 🙂
6. Food and Nutritious Drinks for after labour
Labour is an energy-burning process and you would want to replenish it after giving birth. As soon as you you go into labour, you cannot eat and can only drink water or clear juice. This can go on for hours or the whole day depending on the progress of the labour. What’s more important is that what you eat and drink will help you produce breastmilk. I have heard from friends who didn’t know that meals after giving birth was important for producing milk and it had delayed their milk production. This is also often not mentioned in other baby related websites or blogs about what to bring to hospital. Establishing breastfeeding can be a frustrating process so it is important to eat well and have good amount of liquid soon after labour. It’s good to bring some food and drink and store it in the hospital fridge. I think most birthing rooms are equipped with a fridge.
Drink – Milk, Soy Milk, or Gatorade
I remember bringing a box of soy milk which had added vitamins to the hospital as that does not require fridge storage. Energy drink like Gatorade would be a good choice too. You need nutrients to make milk so soft drinks or caffeinated drinks are probably not a good idea.
Nutrition facts of Silk Soy Beverage: http://www.drinksilk.ca/products/organic-original-soy-beverage
New moms should have nutritious meals after giving birth. I would say probably this is something to keep in mind as long as you are breastfeeding. The hospital will probably provide meals for as long as you are there after giving birth but I wouldn’t depend on the hospital to provide nutritious meal. They know you have given birth but they are probably not going to provide a buffet of food. If you have family or friends who can bring some homemade meals, it would probably be the best option. Otherwise, get your partner or family to order some food to be delivered at the hospital. Maybe time to satisfy some sushi craving?
7. Infant Car Seat
Depending on the country you are giving birth, some may require you to have a car seat for baby before leaving the hospital. Have your partner or someone to sit this up in the car where you will be taken to give birth. The nurses at the hospital will not show you how to setup a car seat or get your baby in one. It’s best your partner or those accompanying you get familiar with how the car seat works. Hospital can dispatch you and baby only if you have baby safe in a car seat.
8. Entertainment for yourself
Books, puzzles, cellphone (games) will be good to have if you are the calm type who can silently go through labour and waiting for baby to come. There may be some boring moments while the wait is happening.
Other general tips:
- Try to pack light as you don’t want to spend a lot of time to pack the things back to go home. Hospital is not a comfy place where you want to spend a lot of time at. With a new baby, you may forget things to bring back home as you will have to take care of the little one.
- It’s OK to forget to bring things. Just keep your family or friends in the loop after you go into labour so they are prepared as well to come and bring you things that you need afterwards.
- The hospital will probably baby shampoo and babies are generally very clean so don’t worry if you didn’t bring it to the hospital.
- Try to pack this hospital bag 2 months in advance in case baby decides to come out earlier than expected. Let’s hope it stays in there until 36 weeks at least.
- You don’t need to follow exactly what websites suggest to bring. In most cases, majority of the items may not be needed while you are at the hospital. Bring what make sense to you.
I am sure you will find tons of other websites for hospital checklists. I hope reading mine added some more useful info for you!