Pregnant mothers have prepared all nine (give or take) months for the delivery of their baby. But, sometimes a birth plan does not go as expected... and even if it does, it is always smart to pack the necessary items that the hospital may not provide. Even if they do provide some of these items, a new mother may need more- depending on your length of stay.
Most mothers will read many articles and speak with many people who will give them a basic list of items to pack in the hospital bag; but rarely do they focus on the mother. There are the onesies, the baby wipes, and baby's going-home-outfit, but what about mom? Here, we have gathered the 10 essential things to pack, for mom, in a hospital bag. Read below to discover a few things you may not have thought of. But, don't worry! We have your back, momma!
10 TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE
Whether you have a one hour or forty-hour labor, you will want fresh breath as soon as that baby arrives. If you have or expect to experience a contraction, the amount of mouth-breathing you will do will dry your mouth up and cause a lot of bacteria to quickly grow.
The last thing you want when you meet your new little human is bad breath. And, keep in mind the visitors you may welcome in the hospital once you are all rested from the delivery.
Despite the excessive water you've been drinking and/or ice you've been chewing on, your stress hormones are quite high. You will want a fresh, clean mouth after your birthing experience.
9 ADULT DIAPERS
Oh, yes. The notorious adult diaper that everyone is (finally) learning and talking about. You have packed those itsy-bitsy new-born sized diapers, but aren't told that the baby will not be the only one going home with a diaper on!
Postpartum bleeding can last anywhere between four to six weeks after delivery. Especially during the first few days after birth, pads may not hold enough blood. Your body also may not be back to it's "usual" size (and shape) for a few months, too. Don't rely on your normal-sized underwear to be as comfortable as they were during pregnancy.
Whether your baby was delivered vaginally or through cesarean, you will need more than just a 12-pack of postpartum, adult diapers. For the delivery itself, pack at least 6-12 pairs in your hospital bag for good measure.
8 A COMFORTABLE BRA
You may have planned to breastfeed once the baby arives or stick to formula-fed until further notice. Whatever and however you decide to feed your baby is your business. Fed is best, don't forget.
With that said, your hormones are still going through a lot of changes once your baby has been born. Your breasts may begin to swell. You will most definitely want a comfortable bra before, during and after labor.
If you are able to pack a few (1-4 pairs), ensure that your breasts are able to pop out if you would like to try breastfeeding. There is nothing like the initial latch, but the last thing you need is the hassle of a bra that lacks comfort and access.
7 COMFORTABLE HOMECOMING ATTIRE
As mentioned previously, your body will not "snap back" right away. Your body has experienced a lot of changes in a very short amount of time. Many people and professionals do not warn you that your abdomen area, specifically, will be very tender after vaginal and (especially) cesarean deliveries.
Many mothers will keep in mind that this outfit may be photographed for memory's sake. This idea could influence an outfit choice. Always remember: in this situation, comfort is key. You may still be high off adrenalin from the delivery, but the last thing will want is the attempt to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy pants after you have had your baby.
Opt for a loose fitting dress or stretchy high-waisted pant, weather permitting. The last thing you or your baby will mind is your going-home outfit.
6 NURSING PADS
Luckily, there are many options when it comes to nursing pads. You can purchase them quite inexpensively at your grocery store in disposable form, or online as reusable.
Nursing Pads ensure a leak-free feeding. Even if you have decided not to breastfeed your infant, nursing pads are still an essential item to pack in your hospital bag as your breasts may leak due to hormones.
Depending on your medical professional's advice, snacking is said to be safe while in labor up until the point of delivery.
Snacking not only provides the mother energy, but it may just allow that mother to focus her attention somewhere other than her body- even if it's just for one second. And in a long and drawn out labor, no one wants to be stuck eating just hospital food.
As said before, the amount of hormones that your body produces while in labor and delivery is enormous.
Because of the stress that your body endures, you will want to throw a stick of deodorant in your bag. Even if you have time for your first, postpartum shower, these hormones may linger well until you are done breastfeeding.
3 HAIR ELASTICS/HEADBAND
Some mothers may have time and energy to prepare and get themselves "together" before leaving for the hospital. Even if you have, you will want to throw some extra, emergency hair supplies in your hospital bag.
Despite a planned cesarean or sudden vaginal delivery, a hair elastic or headband can go a long way when you are laying down, sitting up or bending over in order to get that baby out of you.
2 BODY SOAP/SHAMPOO
Most hospitals will provide a baby-shampoo for your infant's first bath in-hospital if you opt for one. Many nurses will like to show first-time-parents the proper way to bathe a newborn, and will provide the necessary soaps and cleansing products.
For the mother, you will want to pack your own, preferred cleansing products. Whether you are insured by your medical benefits for delivery or not, the cost can differ when it comes to birthing costs. With this in mind, you may be able to sneak into the shower or bathe with the rest of your newborn's given soap... but why risk it?
Pack your own shampoo, conditioner and body soap. There is absolutely nothing as glorious as your first, postpartum shower after delivery. You will be grateful for your own products.
You may not have control over your hospital room's temperature. Whether you are in a shared or private room, you will want to pack some cozy socks to slide on to stay warm.
Keep in mind that if you are going through contractions, you may ask for the room to be cooled. If the temperature does not change, you will find the room to be a bit brisk once you have delivered.
Socks are an absolute necessity in your hospital bag. Because don't forget, comfort is key.