by Josh Moore from Diaperdads.org
Packing your hospital bag can be one of the most exciting parts of preparing for your new baby. It’s getting real! But as exciting as it is, many first-time parents feel stressed about what to pack and bring. The Fed is Best Foundationprovides infant-feeding education and can help ease parental jitters. Then you can focus on the fun parts — packing your bag like a pro and visualizing your ideal birth. Read on for tips about how to get started.
Your baby’s first need is you.
The list of baby supplies can feel overwhelming, but try to remember that you are what your new baby needs most of all. The first hour of skin-to-skin contact with your baby has powerful physical and emotional benefits. The comfort and love that you provide your baby immediately after birth are more important than any supplies you bring to the hospital.
That said, there are a few things that you should pack for him or her, such as onesies (including a full body suit), a swaddle blanket, a beanie, and (most importantly) an installed car seat to take your little one home. Your hospital or birthing center usually provides diapers and wet wipes. But keep in mind that if you do forget anything, a friend or relative can bring it to the hospital for you, so there’s no need to pack your baby’s entire future wardrobe.
Plan for the unexpected.
Even if you have your birth plan dialed, did the childbirth classes, and have been practicing relaxation techniques to make labor go smoothly, unplanned circumstances occasionally happen. Consider packing for a few unexpected situations. For example, include three to four pairs of soft, low-cut underwear that will not irritate your incision (in case you have a cesarean delivery). Or, you can bring a cozy throw blanket and pillow from home if the hospital bedding is uncomfortable — just don’t bring an entire set of bedding and your duvet!
Even if you only plan to stay in the hospital overnight, pack a few extra changes of comfortable maternity clothes in case you have to stay longer. A delivery gown, nursing pajamas, soft recovery pants, oversize shirts, and nursing bras will make you feel more comfortable. When packing your toiletries, bring what you would need for a weekend trip, but include a few special items like breast pads and a soothing witch hazel spray for recovery.
Prep your partner.
As you get closer to D-day, all the focus will be on you and your baby. It’s easy to overlook what your birth partner will need while supporting you. If you don’t have a romantic partner, consider asking a close friend, a trusted relative, or a doula to be your birth partner. You’re more likely to have a positive birth experience if all three of you — mom, baby, and partner — are working together.
Talk through your birth plan with your partner and discuss what they will need. Then have him or her pack a hospital bag of their own with some essentials, such as a few changes of clothes, toiletries, extra snacks, a water bottle, your insurance information, a copy of your birth plan, and a phone charger. While your partner can always pop out for anything they may need after the birth, you want him or her to be fully present (and well-nourished) during labor.
You can start packing your hospital bag at any time during your pregnancy but aim to have it ready to go by 34 weeks. Being prepared will not only ensure that you have everything you need but will also help you feel more relaxed. Then, when it’s time to head to the hospital, you’ll be able to focus on the joy of meeting your newborn baby.
For safe infant feeding resources and more, look no further than The Fed is Best Foundation website!
Check out Josh’s blog at diaperdads.org.