Happy Labor Day! This is my first Mommy Must-Have Monday post! Whoo-hoo! In honor of Labor Day, my focus will be products for labor and delivery! I feel like I can speak expertly here…I got to endure many, many hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing and a c-section all in one birth! Here’s hoping the next time I’m prepared for anything! Some of these things will make you say “Well, duh!” But seriously, if you are thinking that right now, write it down so you have a list later, especially if you’re forgetful. I know I am!
I actually did not bring my own, nor did I even think about bringing chapstick. I hate the stuff. Makes my face breakout almost instantly, ew! But after 16 hours of laboring in the hospital and pushing (combined) and not allowed to even drink water…I’m pretty sure I borrowed Daddy Bear’s once or twice. Don’t have a fave? I’d be shocked to hear of someone who HASN’T tried Burt’s Bees. If I had to pick a chapstick, that would be it! It’s natural, has a nice mild minty tingle, and gets the job done.
Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Tube, .15-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 4)
2)Your favorite pillow
No, I am not joking. Hospital pillows suck. They smell funny and they’re just not that pillow from home you sleep with every night. Let’s be honest. You could be stuck in that hospital bed for a long while, especially if you got an epidural. You don’t need to bring your whole bedspread. Just something from home. My favorite pillow is actually a pregnancy pillow, but I slept with it every night for 15 months not pregnant AFTER being pregnant and loving it. The Boppy Total Body Pillow is the bomb! It has a nice little piece at the “top” I use for my head, and then I twist and flip the larger, bottom piece towards me to put between my knees…plus it gives pregnant belly support too. I also used it INSTEAD of an Original Boppy, or Newborn Lounger…I think this product deserves a whole product spotlight page for all of its uses. I’ll have to dig out some OLD pictures, but seriously…this thing was worth the money for me!
Boppy Prenatal Total Body Pillow
3) A bath robe
Don’t pick the fancy, pretty brand new one you bought with that bottle of wine that you’re going to enjoy by yourself the second you are no longer pregnant and/or breastfeeding and your child is sleeping through the night. Save that luxury robe for a cleaner occasion. Trust me. Pick your trusty old one that you’ve had for 5 years, or the one you accidentally swiped from a hotel, or pick up a cheap one if you must. After a c-section it was the ONLY thing I could wear in the hospital that I brought that didn’t sit on my incision. But even without thinking about my c-section I plan to bring the same robe this December and wear it after birth no matter the outcome. It was SO easy for breastfeeding and skin-to-skin, easy to take on and off as needed, it covered everything (no open butt when doing my walk around the maternity ward!) and was easy to adjust for more/less air flow to maintain a comfortable temperature.
4) Your own toiletries
Such as: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, make-up remover…whatever you would hope to take with on an out-of-town trip. The hospital may have, or claim to have these items. I think they provided a 3-in-1 (wash, shampoo, conditioner) at my hospital…that was it. I DID think ahead and bought travel sizes at Target including a pretty spiffy travel toothbrush. I’m not one of those ladies who would bring a train case full of makeup…I just know it felt really nice to leave baby with Daddy for 10 minutes while I freshened up after birth. Note about deodorant: I can’t imagine it was just me…but I sweat my butt off for a couple of weeks after delivery. If you don’t use an antiperspirant deodorant, you might want to consider one.
This seems like a no-brainer…but I didn’t even have mine packed. I grabbed it as an afterthought on my way out the door…uncharged. So don’t be silly like me, plan ahead. Grab one that uses batteries if you have one. Get a disposable. Bring your charger. It’s the birth of your child! How many times is that going to happen?! Even if you only get one or two, I’m sure they’ll be worth it! And of course you don’t have to have pictures of all gory details if you don’t want them!
6) Entertainment. Whether it’s a deck of cards, a book, a portable DVD player, music player…doesn’t matter. If you get an epidural there could be HOURS of boring “down” time. If you’re laboring without meds and you went in fairly early you might just like the distraction!
My hospital wouldn’t let me eat anything…and a lot of women think it’s unfair and rude for their husband/significant other/support person to eat when they can’t and haven’t all day. But I personally would have rather watched him eat Thanksgiving dinner in our room than have him leave at all. Luckily Thanksgiving was the day before. ;)
8) Good hair ties
I could have grouped this in with the toiletries, but it’s THAT important for us long haired mamas. If you’ve got longer hair, you can probably list more situations where long hair is annoying when in your face than you have fingers and toes. Let me just tell you…Labor and pushing is one of those times. And you don't want to have to stop to constantly fix it or pull loose strands back again. At a minimum I would suggest putting it up for the pushing portion of labor, and these will come in handy if you have super long hair and plan to breastfeed.
9) Breast pads
Another one that could have been thrown in with toiletries, again…too important. Even if you’re not breastfeeding. I have heard it so many times. Moms who formula-feed or who just didn’t expect their milk to come in while they were in the hospital still. Leaking can be messy business. While it’s not the end of the world a soaking wet bra and shirt can be rather uncomfortable!
10) Comfortable go-home clothes I know that heard your sister’s best friend’s brother-in-laws wife left the hospital in her pre-pregnancy skinny jeans…but it’s just not realistic to expect you will too. Think black yoga pants and a cute (possibly nursing) top. I’m not trying to scare you, but anything can happen. I’ve experienced that reality. If I had brought skinny jeans I would have been screwed!
Your confidence. What? Did she really just say that? Yep. I totally did. You may have to stand up for yourself, your choices, your baby…No one told me I could “fire” people in the hospital and it isn’t something you think about going in. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you’re not okay with something they’re doing or to ask for other options or another doctor’s opinion if you need to go there. It’s easy to have the “but they’re the nurse/doctor/etc” mindset…But you know yourself best and they cannot read your birth plan from your mind!
Just remember that there are times where there are no options (or time to argue about them), so it IS important to be open-minded that things can change and during a true emergency is not the time to argue with your birth team.
So if you're expecting, good luck both with getting everything packed, as well as with your labor and delivery experience! :)
If you're not expecting, but have been-there-done-that...what items would you recommend to first time moms to bring to the hospital for labor and delivery?