What’s in your birth bag?
Depending on who you are, packing your “go bag” for the hospital can either be a ton of fun, or a bunch of stress. No matter what category you fall into, you’ll be glad you got our input! Baby Caravan has put together the following list of items that you might not have thought of, but you'll be so glad you did.
Pillows from Home
Pillows can change your life - really. We have all been in hotels with terrible pillows and that can make or break a vacation. Don’t let this happen during the most important sleepover of your life. After nine or more months of uncomfortable sleeps and hours of labor - give yourself the gift of a good night sleep and pack you pillows from home. If you’re boobs aren’t too sore, you may be able to enjoy your first night of sleep back on your stomach (if you’re into that sort of thing).
A Swaddle Blanket with Velcro
Unless you have years of experience swaddling a baby - the blankets they give you at the hospital can be hard to use, and directly after birth it may be difficult for you and your partner to master the blanket swaddle. We've used the Helo newborn swaddle in the past because it gives the baby's legs room to move and it zips from the bottom up so you can check the diaper without unswaddling the baby - but there are all different newborn swaddles out there so do your research. We suggest Velcro because you just put down the baby's little arms, criss-cross the fabric, and it Velcros into place - presto - your baby is swaddled and sleeping.
Even if you have a private room at the hospital or Birthing Center, you can still hear other babies crying in your neighbors rooms; nursing staff in and out of your room or gabbing in the hallway and you NEED a good night's rest before you get home with your baby. We've used ear plugs, not to drown out the sound of your new baby’s cry, but the extra noise in the hospital or Birthing Center. Make sure there is someone else in your room before putting the ear plugs in and unplugging because you will want them to wake you so you can tend to your newborns every cue, especially if you're breast feeding - this will help establish a good latch and a good milk supply.
Make sure you don’t leave the hospital or Birthing Center with anything more than your baby. Dealing with a foot infection is definitely the LAST thing you’re going to need in the first days of motherhood.
You definitely want to pack Gatorade and coconut water to drink during and after labor. Have your doula or partner give you a sip between every contraction during labor so that you are nice and hydrated.
Remember, hospital food is NOT GOOD and you need good healthy snacks for after labor because you could go without food for HOURS!! Also, you may not have many choices if you give birth in the middle of the night (which is VERY possible). Lots of good protein is key to getting your strength back, so make sure you are prepared.