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Flush with excitement about the impending hospital birth, many expectant mothers are completely bewildered by the decision of what to pack in preparation for the delivery suite. If you feel this way prior to your first baby’s arrival, just remember that you are in good company amongst other pregnant women!
In truth, many of the items you think you need, you don’t actually need. In this article, I will list the essentials and tell some raw truths about labor and postpartum care, which will hopefully help you achieve the best delivery experience possible and give you some peace of mind!
Yes. Not the most glamorous item, for sure! However, whether you deliver via Cesarean delivery or a vaginal delivery, you will experience a copious amount of bleeding after the birth of your child – equivalent to a very heavy period. This bleeding will continue for several weeks post-delivery (and can be worse following a Cesarean section). The delivery nurses will provide you with a pad which is woefully inadequate for this amount of bleeding.
You will need some large, “grandma” Depends – trust me! It will make your birth experience much easier! You need to swallow your pride and get on board with this. No one else is going to tell you!
2) Pumping Bra
One thing that vanishes quickly when you have a new baby is your modesty. It is true! Even though most hospitals provide private rooms (or operating rooms) for the birthing experience, you will be seen in various states of nudity by many different people during labor and beyond, from nurses, to physicians, and even perhaps some family members. If you would like to preserve some privacy following your birth process, you will need a pumping bra. Many newborns do not latch (this may take practice, sometimes over weeks), and pumping is required to produce milk and preserve supply. A pumping bra will help preserve modesty and also enable a hands-free experience as well.
I personally used this pumping bra:
3) Nursing Nightgown
Another must-have! A nursing nightgown is essential for comfort and also to provide ready breastfeeding access for baby. He/she will need it every 2-3 hours! I highly recommend this nursing nightgown from Motherhood Maternity:
An essential! Members of your care team in the delivery unit will take most of the birth pictures, but you will want the right choice of camera to preserve those precious memories for posterity.
I use this camera for my blog pictures, and this is the one we took to the hospital (although ANY camera will do!):
You don’t think about this automatically. The thing is – if you arrive at the hospital at 5 a.m., you are not allowed to eat until delivery. The reason for this is due to the possibility of C-section. You may not deliver until late at night when the hospital cafeteria is closed. You will be starving if you do not have snacks, as will your significant other. A simple thing, but it’s vital not to forget this!
6) Infant Car Seat
This is a big one for baby care! You must have a way to get baby home from the hospital, and holding him/her in your arms is neither safe nor legal. I highly recommend the car seat be installed prior to arriving at the hospital. Your significant other will be too busy changing diapers and helping with the baby to do this prior to discharge. Especially if it is your first child, I especially recommend that you have your local fire station inspect installation to ensure all is correct.
7) Baby Neck Pillow
You would not typically think of this one. The baby is so tiny that its head will flop from side to side on the way home without the stabilizing influence of a neck pillow.
1) Breast Pump
This is NOT essential. Most hospitals provide (hospital-grade) pumps to new mothers for the duration of their stay. However, if you would be more comfortable with your own pump, you can certainly bring it. My all-time favorite breast pump is the Baby Buddha – see full review here! As always, the lactation consultants are your friends.
2) Fancy Outfit for Baby
Again – not essential. Most people take the official newborn pic while the baby is swaddled in the wrap provided by the hospital. However, if you have a special outfit for the occasion, go ahead and bring that. I would not recommend taking more than one as you probably won’t have time to take pictures of your newest addition in multiple different outfits.
Hope this post is helpful to new parents! Until next time!
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