Guest Post by Mamaway…
Packing for a first-time labour is never an exact science. In my first one-and-a-half hour delivery I didn’t need my colour meditation notes, or the two giant packs of isotonic drink powder I was sure I would use. But everyone is different. You see, one woman’s ‘maybe’ is another woman’s ‘must’, so scan the lists below and pick the things that matter to you.
What items definitely go in your hospital bag?
– Your birth plan.
– Slippers for roaming the corridors. Flip-flops if the bathroom is communal.
– Glasses/contact lenses if you need them.
– Your usual medications.
What might be a good idea to take?
– A garbage bag to sit on in the car if your waters break heavily. Replacing a car seat is expensive! Also, towels to soak up waters (that’s what all those towels are for in the movies).
– Socks. Your feet can feel like ice in labour! My friend insisted her feet were freezing, even after the epidural took hold.
– A loose T for birthing.
– A hairband.
– A kimono or gown for the corridors.
– Massage oil, lip balm. Your lips can dry out during a long labour.
Then there’s after the birth:
– A going home outfit. You’ll still have a baby belly so something comfy (not your pre-pregnancy super skinny jeans!)
– Nursing and breast pads. Why breast pads? Once your milk starts producing you can find it hard to keep dry. Try disposable pads in the hospital, and take a look at the wide range of reusables once you get home.
– Lanolin nipple cream.
– Disposable undies. Black men’s undies are a good alternative, because they are roomy enough to hold a pad.
– Maternity pads -. If you had a Caesarean, go for granny undies that come well above the wound. Never mind the indignity. – – – – Remember, your dignity is in your marvellous new state of motherhood, not your underwear.
– A nursing pillow. I didn’t use one the first time, and I felt like I was building the shoulders of a 400-metre butterfly champion.
– If you have a Caesarean, getting out of bed is something you only do if you absolutely have to. Take dry shampoo, mouthwash or mints, and face wipes or toner so you can freshen up from bed.
– Many Mums take a fibre gel product for constipation, and an anti-sting product for urinating.
– It’s a good idea to pack liquids to sustain you during labour, too (but check with your medical team first.) An electrolyte-replacement drink will keep your energy up without straining your body. Dilute apple juice is a good choice, or barley sugar to suck. Take a non-spill sipper bottle with a straw so it’s easy for someone to administer it to you.
– Some Mums even take books, music or games to help pass the time, although if your contractions are far enough apart for reading-time, the hospital may tell you to stay home.
– Your mobile telephone will be off-limits as it can interfere with sensitive hospital equipment. You may need to resort to the old-fashioned coin method for making calls, so take change or a phone card.
And don’t forget baby!
– Baby clothes and wraps.
– Nappies, wipes and soiled nappy bags. (though check with the hospital first, as they may provide some of these)
– A dummy. There will be 100 things you said before birth you wouldn’t do but end up doing anyway, and using a dummy could just be one of them. Pack one just in case.
– A professionally installed baby car-seat.
Packing for Dad
Many Dads feel useless during labour, and it’s not a feeling they like. Suggest your partner bring the following:
– A stopwatch (most smartphones have these) is a good way for him to contribute as he times contractions. It’s not just a distraction; the gap between contractions is useful information for the medical staff.
– A change of clothes.
– Toiletries and a towel.
– Comfy shoes.
– A sweater for the cold air-conditioning.
– A book or music.
– Snacks for when hunger strikes.
– A camera and/or video recorder.
– Maybe a tennis ball to rub on your back.
– The all-important address book to spread the good news!
And one last thing you might want to pack for when you’re walking out the hospital door – a small box of chocolates for the hardworking nurses!
This post was contributed by Mamaway.
Bio: Mamaway was created by Deborah Liu, a Mum just like you. During her first pregnancy and when trying to breastfeed, Deborah struggled to find clothes that were comfortable, looked good and made breastfeeding easy. Deborah decided to take on the challenge and created what you see now as Mamaway. After opening 40 stores in Taiwan – and having 2 more children – she brought her passion for maternity and breastfeeding clothes to Australia. Deborah continues her passion for Mamaway, by sharing advice to expectant and new parents.
Mamaway has everything you need for that trip to the hospital from maternity and, nursing wear to baby clothes, post pregnancy belts, baby slings and blankets.