So sorry to be MIA for a bit! Between the holidays and getting ready for this little man’s birth day, I’ve been busy! I hope and pray that your Thanksgiving was a blessing full of lovely people, good food, even better times, and grateful hearts. And now it is time for all kinds of holiday cheer! (This is ABSOLUTELY my favorite time of year – without any doubt!) We found our tree last night, most of our decorations are up, Christmas music has been on repeat, the house smells of winter, and very soon I will be attempting my annual gingerbread house (from a purchased kit because I am not THAT talented!)
I’m getting prepared for Christmas early this year (most of the gifts have even been purchased – hooray!) because my baby boy will be here so soon! This week I will be 39 weeks along, and I am SO beyond ready to hold the little nugget and kiss his sweet cheeks. His nursery is finished (See the final product here!) and his clothes have all been washed and tucked away. Now we wait until he is ready! Hopefully soon!
Because we have chosen a natural birth at a birth center, the essentials that I pack in my “hospital” bag are somewhat varied from a traditional packing list. I wanted to share my favorites that I am including the second time around. I overpacked last time, so this is my slimmed down, essentials list! (Of course, I’m sure the hubby still thinks I’m overdoing it this time! Ha!) Read on then comment below with anything you would add!
It is always important for me to remember that pregnancy, labor, and birth are natural and normal processes. They are not illnesses but are rather states of wellness in a woman’s life when uncomplicated. I appreciate this view that the midwives and staff at our birth center hold and the approach that they take when managing natural births. ♥
Little B’s was born at this center and her care was managed by extremely competent midwives. For our second child, we are returning to this center to give birth. As a nurse, I feel a peace of mind to have well-qualified medical personnel on site with the necessary equipment for any unforeseen problems. A local hospital is also very close by to the center in the event that an emergency transfer were deemed necessary.
During labor, I am most comfortable in a sports bra and either a beach cover-up or nightgown. This allows me to not have to navigate taking pants on and off while still feeling an element of privacy. I even wore these dresses into the tub during my last labor! Since it will be winter this time, I’m also bringing along a long-sleeve motivational shirt from Nike: “See you at the finish…” Indeed, little one, I shall!
One of my favorite tricks that we learned from our birthing class prior to my last labor was to bring a metal water bottle to the birth center. Heat pads were immensely useful during my labor but the rice socks cooled down too quickly and took too much effort to reheat (since there wasn’t a microwave close by.) Hubby was a champ at refilling this bottle with hot water from the tap. It worked so well and took no time or effort to keep it warm! The key is to find a bottle made of aluminum with thin walls so that the heat can easily transfer through it.
I also am bringing along several hair ties, bobby pins, headbands, etc. to keep my hair up and out of my face. Sometimes, it was the little things that I found to be super annoying during labor.
I plan on having some music during labor as well. I haven’t decided on what I would like to listen to, so any suggestions would be awesome! (Comment below if you found any particular type of music to be helpful!) I’m sure that during some part of labor, I’ll be listening to IHOPKC’s prayer room. You can check it out here!
I also created several motivational cards for myself. On them are Scripture that I can focus on when the going get tough. You can view them and even download copies for yourself here!
Labor and Postpartum Snacks
At the birth center, I am allowed and strongly encouraged to consume calories and LOTS of water. I didn’t feel like much of either with little B and consequently received an IV since I was so dehydrated. This time around I am going to try to stay hydrated by bringing my Rooker insulated cup for water (with a straw – it makes me drink more!) I’ll also be packing some Zico coconut water for extra electrolytes.
Clif bars are a personal favorite and Greek yogurts are easy on my stomach and have good protein. In order to be discharged home, the midwives want to see that the new mama is eating and drinking, and yogurt was the perfect item for me last time.
And gum – you know… for stinky breath.
At the birth center, new mamas and their babes are allowed to go home in as soon as 4 hours after delivery if everyone is happy and healthy. Because the turn around time is so quick, these postpartum/nursing favorites are MUCH abbreviated from my at-home favorites. Nevertheless, I still need some things at the birth center.
In the postpartum time, I prefer to have comfy clothes. Because of skin-to-skin care with my newborn, there are many moments sans clothing; however, it’s nice to have options such as a loose-fitting t-shirt, pj pants, and my nightgown from one of the previous photos. Honestly, because the nurses check for bleeding after birth, pants aren’t really a great idea, but it’s good to have them on hand – just in case. I’m also bringing along fuzzy socks and a fleece jacket since it’s winter time, and I don’t know what the temperature will be.
I’m also bringing a small container of my BB cream, chapstick and mascara (not pictured). Last time I brought nothing to freshen up with and although I was too tired to care, I do look back on my photos and wish that I had brought a few items to make me feel a bit more put together. Ha!
For nursing, I have a very stretchy, comfy front-closure bra, one set of breast pads, and a nursing cover. I am waiting until after birth when my milk comes in (generally a few days postpartum) to buy a good quality nursing bra. Breast size changes a lot in the first week, and I’d like to have a good fit for the long-term once my body has normalized. Most likely, I won’t use the nursing cover at the birth center, but I like to have the option in the event that any visitors try to visit (we don’t invite people to the center but prefer to get home and settled before seeing family and friends.) The breast pads aren’t hugely important either (because leakage tends to happen after the milk comes in a few days postpartum,) but I like to be prepared!
I wholeheartedly embraced Depends for the first couple of days postpartum. Thankfully the birth center provided me with the ones I needed there, so I will be saving my stash for when I come home.
The birth center also provided a peri-care bottle to use after elimination. Toilet paper and new mamas are not friends. Be warned!
I know this photo looks extremely basic, but there aren’t many things needed at the birth center for the new baby. I am bringing along two outfits (but the intended outfit is the top one – so cute!), a muslin swaddle blanket, and a hat. The birth center has newborn diapers to use and pacifiers are not recommended until breastfeeding is well established to avoid nipple confusion.
The car seat will be installed in the car (and will have been checked by a person certified in car seat safety! You can find more info about car seat safety here.)
Going Home Essentials
To head home, I will be bringing along loose-fitting and comfy clothes. Read: non-maternity clothes that still fit when I’m pregnant. Post-baby bodies are not always forgiving…
As expected, I’ll also be bringing along my wallet with IDs, our phones and chargers, and any other essentials that might be working for me at home when I labor. It’s hard to know what will be working until the actual moment of truth.
And for hubby, I am packing him an extra set of clothes in case he gets into the tub with me. I’ll also bring some snacks for him. He’s such a help during labor but the poor guy’s gotta eat too.
Little B’s Essentials
Little B will be staying with my dear mother-in-law while we are at the birth center. For her bag, I am packing the things she may need regardless of the time of day or night that labor starts.
- Pack-n-play and sheet
- White noise maker
- Video monitor
- Diapers and wipes
- Food pouches
- Cheerios in a snack cup
- Sippy cup
- Clothes (and pjs)
- Shoes and socks
- Carseat (not pictured)
For now these are the essential items that I plan to pack in my “hospital” birth bag. Can you think of anything I have left out? I’d love to hear your perspective! Comment below! I’m so excited to introduce the new little man to you all!
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