Childbirth has always been one of the most important and emotional events in life for the prospective mother and father. The couple desperately waits for almost 40 weeks to finally hear the coos, cries, and witness the sleepy sighs and tiny yawns of the infant they’ve given birth to.
The journey from conception till childbirth is soaked up in mixed up emotions of stress, anxiety, curiosity, and happiness. It ends by making its way for the mood of celebration and homecoming of the newborn.
Packing the maternity bag is one of the bizarre qualities that the expecting mother naturally possesses. Since normal labour can take place anywhere between 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy, it is always a fairly good idea to pack the maternity bags in the 37th week of gestation just to avoid the last-minute confusion and rush.
It is a nice idea to pack two bags during the preparation for the delivery, one for items required during the labour (say, Bag 1) and the other for the items required after the baby has been delivered (Bag 2).
However, the problem is, a mother who is expected to undergo labour, doesn’t already know what will be her delivery, labour, and the total duration of the hospital. So here is a checklist of things listed in the order of priority that you must keep while packing your maternity bags and to keep your stay at the hospital comfortable and hassle-free.
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Packing Things for the Expecting Mother (Bag 1)
- A photo ID (for ex. driving license)
- Insurance card, hospital paperwork and any previous reports
- The birth plan (if any). A birth plan is a document that tells the medical team assigned to you during delivery about your personal preferences of how you would like your labour and delivery to be managed. However, there is absolutely no need to freak out in case you don’t have one!
Although the clothes provided by the hospital are quite comfortable, some expecting mothers prefer to bring their own clothes to the hospital. If you decide to do so, make sure that you keep a clean set of a comfortable
- bathrobe, a front open
- nightgown (preferably sleeveless or has loose sleeves), and a pair of socks for the delivery. In addition, keep a pair of extra-large (over your normal pre-pregnancy size)
- flippers or flip-flops and you will realize during D-day’ that those are actually your saviour. Extra-large flip-flops are recommended because feet can bloat up and your normal flip-flops might not fit anymore!
Think about the items that help you relax. Your favourite music? The
- pillow you sleep on?
- Your favourite photograph? Packing such reassuring items may help you relax while you are preparing for the underway labour.
Spectacled Mothers who wish to see herself giving birth to a child often bring glasses or a pair of contact lenses for clear vision. (Tip: Glasses may become foggy during delivery, therefore it is advised that you bring a pair of contact lenses to witness childbirth.)
Who doesn’t want to capture the joyful moments of childbirth?
Keep a camera or a camcorder to capture the big moments of life. Make sure to keep a battery charger in addition to the cable cord just in case the hospital, don’t let you use the plug. (Tip: Do not forget to keep the mobile charger!)
Packing Things for the New Mother (Bag 2)
Although it’s likely that you would prefer to wear
- A kimono-type gown that the hospital provides you with after the baby is born, some women prefer to wear their own nightgown. Keep an extra pair of clothes that you would like to wear while going back home.
- (Important: Do not forget to keep a lot of pairs of Maternal Underpants even though the hospital provides you with mesh underwear and sanitary pads! The best is to have a set of disposable or use-and-throw underpants available in the market.)
Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, face and body wash, soap, lotion, moisturizer, makeup and other personal stuff, without which you can’t do.
Nursing or feeding bras and breast pads. Whether you decide to breastfeed the baby or not, it is likely that your breasts will become a little swollen and tender. So a comfortable bra is a must!
Undergoing labour is a hard thing to do! And it’s likely that you will feel hungry after delivering the baby. So Pack up snacks (dried fruits/nuts/crackers/granola bars) that you would like to have. Just make sure that it doesn’t conflict with the diet that you are suggested to have after the delivery.
Cell phone charger, books on breastfeeding or newborn baby care, a notepad or a pencil to document the feelings, baby book, gifts for the postpartum nurses and those who assist you during childbirth
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Packing Things for the Infant (Bag 1)
Have an installed car seat to drive your baby home.
Don’t forget to keep a pair of clothes you would like the baby to wear while going home. Keep a pair of booties or socks. Make sure that it is a full dress, enough to cover all the body parts of the infant.
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If the weather is cold, make sure to keep a receiving a blanket to wrap your baby in the car even if the hospital provides one.
Don’t you want to welcome your little one from the hospital nursery into your hospital room? How about some colourful balloons, Welcome Banners and other decorative items? Bring them with you beforehand so that you don’t have to rush about here and there at the last minute.
What not to bring to the hospital?
Jewellery and other valuables:
The delivering mother will be asked to get away from them, anyways! So it is always better to leave the jewellery or other valuables at home and not to carry them to the hospital. Chances are that amidst all the hustle and rush, the expecting parents might end up misplacing or losing them.
Lots of cash:
If extra money is needed at all, credit and debit cards will do the trick! Why risk losing the money, if not required in huge amounts?
An expecting mother should always consult a doctor before taking any medications just before and after the delivery. It is advised not to carry any medications to the hospital in your maternity bags. If any additional medicines are required at all during the hospital stay, those can be made available from the hospital itself.
Just one or two baby diapers are enough to be carried along with just in case those are required while travelling from the hospital to home. The hospital will provide the bulk of diapers for the baby during the stay.
The hospital can provide one if required during the stay.
If possible, double-check all the items before finally leaving for the hospital and don’t worry about anything else. The brand new journey is about to begin.
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