Some expecting parents may have their "go-bags" ready for days before they go to the hospital. Other parents wait until the last minute, then wing it, hoping they have grabbed everything mom may need.
Fortunately, some hospitals make this information available to parents-to-be. But, your mileage may vary, or YMMV in text-speak. One doctor may nix those cute slippers while another doctor tells patients that they are necessary. Who to believe?
As a result, moms getting ready for labor may over-pack, putting too much into their bag. So that, when they are in the labor room, they can't find the item they needed. It's buried under everything else she chucked into the bag.
Nursing-friendly gown, baby books, slippers or comfy booties, the boppy, a few light snacks (shhh!), large, dark bath towels, chapstick, makeup, a few toiletries, hairbrush, a BPA-free water bottle, glasses and loose-fitting pants may make up that list. Of course, other items may be included—it's all up to the discretion of the family, doctor and hospital. Some hospitals absolutely forbid snacks during labor.
If mom is going to be in the hospital for any length of time, she might want to take a small craft that keeps her occupied when baby is napping and nothing on TV is entertaining.
15 Comfortable Undies
While the hospital may give these to new moms, they may not be. . . ahem, the right size. There's almost nothing worse than sitting in bed, shifting from side to side to pull up the droopy elastic.
Moms just need to remember they won't regain their pre-pregnancy, svelte body right after having the baby. That won't happen for the next month, if not longer. So, the cute boy-cut undies, bikinis and even thongs should stay in the dresser. Besides, she's going to be wearing those thick, diaper-type menstrual pads, anyway. So, the more coverage she can get, the better.
Le sigh. Yes, new moms are going to have to opt for those granny-style undies. The kind with no high-cut leg openings, that go all the way up to the waist. Bo-ring. But, it'll only last for a while.
14 Nursing-Friendly Bathrobe
Hospital rooms (and halls) can be cold. New moms may want to cover themselves up when they are walking up and down the hall during labor and after birth. If they want to stay warm, that extra coverage will come in pretty handy.
When mom is looking for a maternity bathrobe or a nursing-friendly one, she needs to make sure that it's accessible for her needs.
Also, it should be in agreement with the season (who wants a heavy, fleece robe in the middle of a hot summer?)
Does the robe have openings that allow baby and mom to commence with nursing? If she gets a robe that has a zipper, thinking she can just open it that way, she needs to stop. The zipper teeth can irritate baby's tender skin, should they make contact.
13 Warm Socks Or Slippers
Those bare, tile or linoleum floors can get pretty darned cold. Moms who remember to bring along slippers or one or two pairs of thick socks have it all over those who don't. She should just make sure that she's not going to slip and fall as she walks down the hallway or in her room. This means that socks with anti-slip grips on the bottoms are the best choice.
Television shows and movies often show laboring mothers wearing socks when they are in the delivery room, giving birth. Again, hospital rooms and birthing suites can be pretty cold as well. Mom is already uncomfortable enough with contractions and back labor, if she is getting this. She's smart to try and give herself even a small amount of comfort for her feet.
12 Light Snacks
Bring them along. Even if you won't be allowed to eat anything while you're in labor, those little foods will be most welcome after you've had your baby. Your body will be craving badly needed nutrition, after working as hard as it's ever worked during labor and delivery.
Your blood glucose will be low, probably sparking feelings of illness, dizziness and even a headache.
Listen to your body and grab the trail mix or chopped fruits. Some women equate labor as running several marathons back-to-back.
In fact, give in to your chocolate craving. You need the calories. And, if it's dark chocolate, so much the better! Thirsty? Toss some coconut water into your bag as well. You'll only be giving your body what it needs: nutrition, replacing what you lost earlier. (And why hospitals still stick to that antiquated "no-food" rule? Who knows?)
11 Baby's Going Home Outfit
(Confession: My beautiful granddaughter went home in the most gorgeous long gown and headband.) She was sound asleep the entire time she wore her outfit. . . but it's memorialized in family photos!
Out of respect for the season, moms and dads have to choose the right kind of outfit. A short-sleeved onesie may be sufficient, but put a receiving blanket, at least, over baby in the car seat. During winter months, a cute little sweatsuit will meet their need for warmth. If the sweatsuit also has a hood, raise that around baby's head.
One suggestion: Moms and dads won't know until baby is born how much they weigh. So, it's a great idea to bring two clothing sizes: newborn and 0-3 months. Hopefully, they have gotten lots of beautiful new onesies, sleepers, pants, shirts, short sets and sweet little dresses, so they have to make the right choice!
10 A Phone Charger
Pregnant moms should just admit they are going to be using their phones a lot. They may not use them during labor—Facebook? Instagram? During labor? Pfft! Get outta here!
Once the baby has been born, though, that trusty phone will come in pretty handy. Mom will catch baby making the cutest expressions and. . . "snap!" Or, she'll get tons of congratulatory phone calls. . . about those. She should silence the ringer or shut the phone off entirely when it's time for her to sleep. After all, the Time of Little Sleep is just beginning.
And, the charge on her phone will go down. Having her charger handy will make it possible for her to have it available for the times she's awake, wanting to chat or take pictures of her baby.
There's always Facebook if she's bored. . .
9 The Dad
While he's scared, he's going to be a great source of encouragement and love as labor moves along. Even though people would still insist on asking if dad is really needed in the labor and delivery rooms, his attention to the mother of his baby will be invaluable.
While some dads are a little bit less, well, involved in pregnancy, they may want to be there during labor and birth. Other dads are right there for the entire pregnancy, noting everything along with mom.
After all, he's going to help mom when a contraction is really hard. "Okay, breathe with me." Back rub, anyone? Dad to the rescue! Ice chips? Send dad to the ice machine. Then, when the baby has been fully born, he can cut the umbilical cord.
8 Mom's Going Home Outfit
Moms need to take care of themselves just as much as they need to think of the baby! She should take only one or two maternity outfits or, if she's comfortable in them, sweatpants or maternity yoga pants. Her top should be something she's comfortable in. She's going to be tired and she may still hurt just a bit.
If parents have any doubts about returning to their pre-pregnancy state, they should think of princesses Diana and Kate. Both of these moms still had the rounded belly of pregnancy when they walked out of the hospital with William, Harry, George and Charlotte.
"Hmmm, I think I'll celebrate not being pregnant with my skinny jeans." If a mom is thinking this, she is going to regret it, hugely. Especially if she underwent a C-section, she's going to hurt if she tries to zip the jeans closed over a still-swollen belly, not to mention that gigantic, still-sore incision.
7 Magazines Or Books
Mom won't be taking care of her newborn every second of the day. If the baby's sleeping and she is awake, she needs something to do so she won't go stir-crazy.
It's unrealistic to think she's going to be able to focus on the plot of that rom-com during labor. But once the baby is born, she'll have a few minutes here and there to pick up the book. "Here's my arm for the blood work or blood pressure." Of course, when she gets sleepy, rest takes precedence.
When the baby is taken to the newborn nursery for blood tests or other medical exams, this is a great time for mom to read, if she's feeling up to it. It's a for-sure thing that, if she's worried about something wrong with the baby, a good book or mag can help distract her until the doctor comes back.
6 Comfortable Blankets And Pillows
Hospital blankets and pillows aren't as comfortable or warm as those mom and dad have at home. Being able to put an extra cover on the bed means mom can be a little warmer. Also, if she is in labor over the night, hubby needs to be comfortable when he crashes on the hospital cot or couch.
The pillow in the hospital has been used—a lot—by other patients. This means that, if mom (or dad) want to be comfortable, they should bring their own.
It doesn't matter whether it's winter or summer. Even if it's 95 or 112 degrees F. outside, hospital rooms can be downright chilly. Along with hubby's old shirt, a comfy blanket and those loose sweatpants, mom will be much more comfortable now. And, so will dad.
5 Loose Sweatpants
Seriously. Mom won't be back to her pre-pregnancy shape when she leaves the hospital. In fact, she'll still look like she's about four months along. It's going to take a little time for that to go down as her uterus shrinks.
When she thinks of that thick, uncomfortable pad she's got in her undies, the loose pants are going to be a little more welcome. Also, she needs to think about how. . . uncomfortable. . . she would feel if she tries to stuff her new-mother body into her size 4 jeans. She won't feel good!
Along with the bump and the pad, she'll be wearing full-coverage undies. These will be visible (or at least the lines will) under snug yoga pants. Did she get a C-section? If so, there's no way on this earth she wants anything touching that scar!
For those moms giving the questioning looks, yes, makeup. You'll be admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours—you don't want to be without your cosmetics when phone cameras and regular cameras come out. Even if you only wear a little mascara, blush and lipstick, you'll be able to feel a little more attractive—a little more normal.
When family members beg for family photos of you and partner with the new baby, you'll feel so much better about that, knowing that you look less worn out.
Along with the makeup, bring your favorite brand of lip balm. During labor and delivery, you're going to be huffing, puffing, breathing and biting your lips. They'll dry out and get chapped. In fact, make sure that's as easily accessible in your go-bag as, say, your slippers or phone.
It's hard getting along without glasses for one hour, let alone two days! Mom, bring your glasses! If mom wears contacts, she's going to want to leave them at home. She'll be attempting to nap with her baby and trying to do so with contacts inserted is asking for trouble.
She'll have to be able to see to read and sign admission paperwork and paperwork that gives the hospital staff permission to carry out medical procedures. Being able to see the faces of the nursing staff and doctor (yeah, the funky-looking doctor with the reddish hair!) makes it easier to identify who did or said something.
Too, it's so much more enjoyable being able to see that sweet little face snoozing next to her bed if mom has her glasses on!
2 Hubby's Old Button-Up
This is ingenious! It's big and opens down the front for moms who are breastfeeding. She just needs to make sure hubby won't be wearing the shirt again. Why? Leaking nips. He's not going to want to wear that shirt to work ever again!
Another advantage of one of hubby's old shirts—long-sleeved shirts, when the sleeves are rolled up, may provide just a little bit more warmth to mom.
Plus, their larger size means they cover more of her body. If an unexpected visitor drops by, she doesn't have to worry about getting out of bed to get her robe and put it on. She just needs to close the front so that private areas are covered. This brings to mind baby getting hungry while visitors are present. The front opening and buttons mean that mom can cover the baby's head if she is breastfeeding.
1 Tank Tops
Mom should bring both her maternity and nursing tank tops. Again, she'll still look pregnant. Maternity tank tops provide coverage without being uncomfortable. And those nursing tops will easily allow her to breastfeed her baby.
If she's tempted to wear her cute, pre-pregnancy (as in tiny) tank tops, it won't work. The girlfriends are much too large, as is her tummy. So, she'll stretch out that beloved piece of clothing, probably rendering it almost unwearable.
The sleeveless style allows mom to present her bare arm for the countless pokes for this blood test and that. If she and her baby want skin-to-skin time, she won't have to take off a sleeved pajama top or sleep shirt.
If the hospital room is cold, mom can just slip into a sweater or even a light bathrobe to ward off the cold.
References: one-mother-to another.com, bump.com, romper.com, babygaga.com babygaga.com, U.T. Southwestern Medical Center, pinterest.com, Heidi Biddle's Doula, First Time Mom MN, Parent's Magazine, Parenting, dailymail.co.uk, El Santuario de Mariposa—A Butterfly's Haven, Well Rounded NY, Thyme Maternity, Shaping Up to Be a Mom, Packing Your Hospital Bag—A Little Help from Push Pack, Reader's Digest