Okay, so this is WAY off the renovating topic. But honestly, I wanted a break form writing/thinking/dreaming/talking about the house at the moment. Plus I have several girlfriends who are going to give birth in the next month or two (!!), and I’ve been promising each of them a list of things to pack in their hospital bag. So instead of emailing them all individually, I thought I would write a blog post about it, in case this could help anyone else!
Obviously everyone’s birth experience is different, so not all of these things will be essential for every mummy-to-be. But this list is essentially what I took and what I WISH I took to the hospital.
3-4 shirts that open at the front: I gave birth in summer, so I took summer dresses. Big Mistake. Huge. Every time I fed, I had to completely de-robe. Not ideal when visitors come-a-knocking!
2-3 maternity bras: I would buy 3 different sizes, as you never know how big you are going to get when your milk comes in! I have a small frame – but could have given Pamela Anderson a run for her money in those first few days.
1 black and 1 white maternity singlets: These can be a replacement for maternity bras. I still wear these ALL THE TIME! They are great because you can wear them by themselves, or under another top. Perfect for breastfeeding. Target have them.
2 sets of PJs: Bring ones that open at the front for night-time feeds – Sussan’s have some winners that button down the front like this one…
Black undies: Don’t ask. Just do. You can buy 5-pack cotton undies from Target. Might be worth buying the reeeeally attractive, high wasted, Bridget Jones ones… in case you end up having a caesarean, the elastic won’t press on the scar.
Baby outfit: The hospital will provide all your nappies, wipes and clothes for the baby during your stay. So just pack a little outfit for them to travel home in. Oh. So. Cute.
Heat Pack: I made the mistake of buying a small square-shaped one. Next time I would buy a long rectangular one. The heat really helped with the contraction pain, so I say the bigger, the better!
Massage Oil: So your better half can ease some of the pain by giving you a rub-a-dub-dub.
DVDs and Computer: I would advise against watching “The West Wing” for the first time during labour. You are not exactly in the headspace to concentrate. Take a series that is easy to watch. I took the first season of “Nashville” which I had already watched a few years ago. It’s pretty soapy, and I didn’t need to worry about missing a scene or two during a contraction, as I already knew what happened. Boom!
Magazines: My excellent hubby bought me a few trashy mags from the gift store. I just flicked through the pictures as I wasn’t in the frame of mind to read. It was a good distraction.
Hair elastic: Because your hair is not something you need to be dealing with.
Breast Pads: Because when that milk arrives, oh it arrives. I used them for the first few weeks after birth, so buy a few packs. I needed to change them every day, at least.
Hydrogel Breast Discs: These were a lifesaver for me! Here’s the thing. When you first start breast-feeding, your colostrum is quite sticky. And that means, your nipples will most likely stick to your bra… and let me tell, it really hurts to pull them off! These little gel discs act as a soothing barrier between your nipple and your bra. THESE THINGS WERE AMAZING! They look like this:
Lansinoh: Our precious little cherubs are just learning how to suck, and can often graze our poor nipples in the process. You can apply this lanolin gel before and after feeding, and it will help protect and heal any grazes. This is what it looks like. It is the bomb.
Nipple Shield: Another life-saver for me. I used it on and off for the first week or two while learning to breast-feed. It gave my sore nipples a break from my little chomper. Just buy them from the chemist.
Ice-Packs: They will provide these for you in hospital, but it’s good to have a couple in the freezer for when you return home. Engorged breasts are not your friends ladies. I didn’t know about these fancy ones below, but I wish I had!
Hospital Ward Living:
Ear plugs: Something I totally forgot to take, and should have! It’s hard enough waking up in the wee hours of the morning to your baby. Let alone someone else’s as well. I was in my own room, and still heard other little ones crying.
Ugg boots: For walking around the ward, you are not allowed to go barefoot, and bending down to do up shoes can be a little painful after labour.
Snacks: The hospital I went to had awesome food – but that food didn’t always come when I was starving! (Like, at 3am when I was feeding Jack.) So take a few snacks with you. I took a bag of apples, some chocolate and a packet of musli-bars. Every time I needed a midnight snack, I gave myself a high-five for being so awesome and organised.
Toiletries: All the standard stuff. But I urge you to take your favourite shampoo and conditioner, as the shower you have after labour is just about the best shower of your life!
Recovery Shorts: I swear by these things. After giving birth, my tummy muscles were very lose. These shorts helped hold in those muscles, and reminded me to do my pelvic floor and stomach-sucking exercises. My stomach went down quicker than I anticipated, and I credit it to these shorts and the post-natal exercises.
Hair and Tippy-Toes: Call me a princess if you will. But the week before I went in to hospital, I spoiled myself with a pedicure and haircut. I figured I was not going to get the chance to pretty-up my toes for the month after giving birth, plus it can be painful to lean down that far for a while. As for the hair, it meant I didn’t have to worry about it for all the photos that were being taken, and since it was blow-dryed, it was really easy to manage.
Breastfeeding Help: I was given this DVD a couple of months before giving birth. It is made by renowned Sydney Lactation Consultant, Kate Hale and it was the single best thing I could have done. It gives you hands-on, practical instruction about breast-feeding, expressing and storing milk, bathing, dressing and wrapping your baby. My hubby and I watched it in the days leading up to birth, and I watched sections of it several times over the first few weeks after I had Jack. It is awesome and I can’t recommend it enough! You can either buy the DVD or download the individual chapters you want to watch at www.breastfeedinghelp.net
To be honest, I’ve put off writing this as I thought I would find it awkward and embarrassing. But once I got going, I was on a roll! Hope this is helpful to you and yours. Feel free to share it, or send it to any friends that are pregnant at the moment.
I’ve got lots to share about our house renovation too, so I will post some more pics this week.
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