This second pregnancy has been a flash and it is hard to believe that this baby could arrive at any moment. Still, I had been trying to avoid packing the hospital bag. Samuel was born a few days after I started putting together the suitcase and I was afraid that this baby would arrive as soon as the bag was packed. Still with the due date fast approaching and some very noticeable, and frequent, Braxton-Hicks, I thought it was time to let go of a petty superstition and give that bag a go.
I have done a checklist that you can download here of what for me are essentials to bring to the hospital but these are some of the highlights:
Clothes & Shoes
In my opinion cotton dresses or stretchy pants are the way to go. First, if you spend more than one day at the hospital you do not want to be in your pajamas or dressing gown all the time. Day clothes will make you feel more human and alert. Second, I had a caesarean before and my maternity pants were pretty uncomfortable because the waist was right at the level of the incision. This time around I have a few dresses packed with maternity tights if the weather is cooler. Don’t forget to make sure the clothes allow for breastfeeding. I am also bringing lots of comfortable but cheap underwear that I do not mind throwing out afterwards (there are always lots of bleeding happening).
Regarding shoes, I am all about flip-flops or sandals. If you have to take drugs some of them will make your legs and feet swell so your comfy slippers might not be all that comfy after all.
I am bringing my own body-wash, which will work as a shower gel and shampoo, a face and body moisturizer, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrush and floss, massage oil (to be used during labour), and a baby balm that will work as a nipple cream during those first few breastfeeding weeks.
Last time I did not had much energy and spent the first days feeding my baby, sleeping, and welcoming visitors. Still, I feel better bringing a few items to entertain myself. The laptop, mobile, and e-reader with respective power cords will be the electronics I am taking. I also have a notebook and a pen if creativity strikes.
Why an e-reader instead of a regular book? You only need to use one hand with the e-reader so you can use your other arm to hold the baby.
It is important not to forget to bring a few baby items according to the seasons. The hospital normally provides diapers, blankets, and a hat. I am bringing some little suits, socks, and my favourite baby blanket.
Make sure the car seat is all assembled before hand.
Hospital and insurance cards, prenatal records, birth plan, stability ball, laptop load-up with music, hair clip, breast pads, maxi pads, and a stability ball (to be used during labour) are a few of the items I will be bringing with me.
Each hospital or birthing center have their own rules regarding drinking and eating during labour. I found it pretty important to eat small snacks during early labour and drink through the all process. My lunch box will have fruit leathers, dried fruits (mango, raisins, dates), chocolate, and coconut water (which is packed with electrolytes). I also made some nutritionally dense popsicles to help with hydration and energy.
Finally, if you have a partner, family member, or friend helping you during labour remind him or her to bring a couple changes of clothes, a tooth paste, toothbrush, and snacks. It might be a long and messy affair.