Around the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy, you’re working to make sure that everything is prepared and ready for the arrival of baby. You’re in full mommy mode, with your checklists and your spreadsheets. You know exactly what you need and where it needs to be placed, and you drive your partner crazy along the way.
However, until you actually have a baby, you don’t realize how much you over plan in some areas, and under plan in others.
When you’re pregnant, the wish is always for a successful uncomplicated pregnancy. But, if you’re extra like I am, you always lead with a contingency plan and prepare yourself for the “what ifs” of life.
As a first time mom I went overboard with the packing of the hospital bag. Baby outfits, diapers, wipes, washclothes, baby bottles, you name it.
Slow your roll before you go packing all of these things. One, you’re just going to overwhelm yourself, as the more things you pack, the more things you’ll think of to add to the packing list. Secondly, the time that you’re spending on putting all these things together, you should be using to just rest your body.
The hospital where your baby will be born, or taken to after birth (if you have a home vs hospital birth), will provide your baby with diapers, wipes, clothing and the basic needs.
So take a minute and consider a few items that are essential to your well being.
There are a few less remembered items which you’ll need in your hospital bag. Below are just a few.
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Let’s start with snacks because, well a girl has got to eat! It’s not that the hospital won’t feed you three square meals, but high energy snacks are important to give you some extra endurance which you’ll need during ….um..labor. Avoid snacks high in sugar as these will give you a sugar high, or a strong burst of engery followed by a sharp drop in your energy levels.
Instead, focus on snacks which are digested slower and can therefore keep your blood sugar levels from spiking quickly. This will help maintain your energy levels. Here’s a list from Livestrong.com which gives some great examples of Healthy Whole Grain Snacks.
Take a minute in packing your hospital bag and ensure that you have packed items which are essential for YOU.
Cooling pads are an essential if you have a vaginal birth.
Consider packing a few of these in your bag. They work in a similar manner to an ice pack and provide a cooling soothing effect, which also works to bring down swelling as well.
Functional Underwear and Personal Care Items
Swap out your beautiful undies for more funcitonal ones
Personal hygiene products such as tweezers, shavers or whatever grooming products you rely on should make it into your bag as well.
This is important both during, and for the day you leave the hospital as you’ll feel the need to look your very best for baby’s trip home. Adding a pack of heavy duty pads to your bag as well is highly recommended.
This is one of those items that you won’t realize that you need until your body tells you. Take one step ahead and fit these into your bag.
A few basic make up essentials
On the day that you leave the hospital, one of the most memorable events which will happen is a baby’s “take me home” photo. If you wear makeup, carry a few basic essentials with you so that you can look your very best in your special photo.
You will find yourself looking back on this photo for years to come so it’s quite okay to put some extras in your bag just for this special day. Autumn from It’s Always Autumn, gives great tips on how to take great newborn hospital photos.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack your flip flops. These are important for walking down the hospital hallways to get ice chips, and also so that your feet don’t have to touch the bathroom floors.
This is one of the least thought of hospital bag essentials. However, when you’re going to the hospital to have your baby, or when you have a significant other, friends or family who will be visiting you back and fourth to the hospital prior to you and the baby being discharged, there will be a need for hospital parking passes in advance just to make movement to and from the hospital more seamless and easy.
You can contact the hospital where you’ll have the baby and ask whether you can pre-purchase a parking pass.
An extra bag
Have I gone mad? Asking you to bring another bag in addition to the hospital bag you are already going to be rocking? By extra bag I mean something that is foldable and soft that can be neatly tucked into your main bag without taking up too much room.
As you do your packing, consider rocking your hospital bag with 20% of items for baby, and 80% of personal care items for you. The hospital will provide you with more baby stuff than you’ll know what to do with.
This is where the extra bag comes in, for carrying all the wonderful gifts, supplies and useful information which the hospital will give you as departure gifts.
What do you consider the most essential in this list? Tell me in the comments below.
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