Part 3 is up! This time, our new mom (you can read part 1 here and part 2 here) offers advice on hospital bags. What to pack and bring to the maternity ward with us? What proved useless, despite the recommendations?
Of course, every mom-to-be is different, so this list isn’t universal, but personal experience is a good starting point to decide what you might need when you get there :). Series written by Ágnes Szabó.
Many have provided me with a variety of advice during pregnancy, before giving birth, about things I should or shouldn’t acquire. I think this, too, is a thing to be considered based on one’s own habits and needs. Here I’m going to detail what has worked for me, and what proved superfluous.
Let’s start with pregnancy. Since I have a summer baby, most of the weight gain happened in the summer, so I never needed a maternity coat. But if you’re going to have a baby in January, trust me: you’ll need one.
My first purchase (90% of the stuff I bought during pregnancy and as a new mom are second hand, since like that I could get all the necessary things at a fraction of the price) was a seat belt adjuster. There are some who don’t use these at all, and some only do when their tummy is getting big. For me, the fact that the seat belt wouldn’t press on my belly when breaking was already comforting in week 8. I bought it second hand for 2000 HUF, and I think it’ll be useful with the siblings later as well. Since my job required me to drive much during pregnancy, it’s worth ten times its price.
The next thing I bought was a nursing pillow. Not that I was breastfeeding back then, of course. This pillow is banana-shaped, approximately 150 cm long, and filled with polystyrene beads. Starting from the first trimester, I could only sleep on my right side, so this pillow has done a very good job protecting my side as much as possible during these almost 8 months. If I remember correctly, it cost 3000 HUF including shipping (also second hand). It didn’t really work for me in its original function, but I know women whom these pillows have helped find the right nursing pose.
I bought relatively few clothes, most of these, too, were second hand. Usually I like to wear one-piece dresses with leggings or tights. These clothes, thanks to their material, kept stretching together with me even in the last days (and now they fit just as well, they don’t sag or anything). Particularly useful pieces of clothing were the maternity jeans (so my plumber crack didn’t show when sitting down) and –leggings, maternity tights and –pajamas. The clothes I bought apart from these (a few funny T-shirts, a couple of skirts and dresses) were mostly there to keep me from wearing the same clothes all the time.
In June, my husband got me an awesome grabber as a present. He bought it at the non-food department of a foreign grocery store. It’s not an arcade prize grabber machine, of course. This grabber can be used to pick up objects from the floor. It most closely resembles trash pickers. On one end it has the grabber mechanism, complemented with a small magnet, in case you’ve dropped your keys. On the other side, it ends in a handle and a shoehorn. It’s very handy, although I’ve used it relatively little, but during the last weeks of pregnancy, it was excellent to pick up socks with it, which have been dropped during hanging. One of my friends told me that around the end of her second pregnancy, she just kicked socks she’d dropped throughout the day into a pile, and only bent over once to pick up everything. That’s something I can relate to.
I also bought and used tummy oil and cream. These smelled nice, and using them was a pleasant evening ritual, but that’s about it. In the last few weeks, I also used perineal massage oil, but it didn’t yield spectacular results for me (I still needed episiotomy).
The next exciting step was purchasing the stuff that went into the hospital bags. We started packing quite early, around the 30th week (and the bags kept growing). It all started with downloading a list from the internet, and figuring out what I’ll really need of the items in it. Even so, there were things I ended up not using, and some that would have come in handy, but neither did the list have it, nor did I think of it.
Things that really did prove useful for me:
1. Front button nighties. I brought four of these to the hospital. Maybe I could have done with a fifth. I used one during delivery (I didn’t get one in the hospital), which I sent home afterwards, so I was left with three of them for three and a half days. In the end it was OK, but after different ”accidents”, I sometimes had to put one on still a bit wet.
2. Disposable panties (based on my own experience, I recommend buying one size larger than you wold otherwise wear) for the first few hours after birth (one pack contains 5, and I only needed two). Granny panties for the hospital days. Pack two of these for each day if you don’t want to do washing (and you’ll not want to do any washing).
3. A bigger pack of pads (around 24 pieces). For me, overnight pads were more than enough, but I also heard that some women actually need diapers in the beginning. It varies from person to person, obviously. I didn’t have diapers (not for myself, at least), and I didn’t need them.
4. At least 3 or 4 towels. One for the clean-up after delivery, one for drying hands, and one for the parts below.
5. Hygiene products. Out of these, I didn’t use the shampoo and the conditioner at all, as I weren’t in the mood the least to wash my hear (fortunately I have very good hair, it’s enough to wash it once every two weeks anyway). I didn’t need much shower gel (I mainly used it ot wash hands because I didn’t have soap). Supposedly, babies don’t like scented stuff (I’m not sure about that, my baby hasn’t commented on this, despite being 2 months old already), but I didn’t really want any scents around me in the first days either. The intimate wash, however, proved useful, I recommend taking it to the hospital. Toothbrush, toothpaste, of course. In everyday life, I don’t use too much lotion to begin with, but after giving birth I never even thought about lotions and hand creams, so I didn’t miss them.
6. Toilet paper (and wet wipes), paper tissues, paper towels (I brought a small towel instead of these). Me and my baby had a single-bed room with its own bathroom, which had toilet paper, but I think the toilets in the corridor belonging to multiple-bed rooms didn’t have this luxury, as I’ve seen new moms „running around” with TP in hand.
7. Slippers. I brought one pair, for me it was enough, although they’re made out of rubber, so I could use them for bathing, too. If you want to wear furry house slippers in the room, you should probably take an additional pair…
8. Bathrobe. I didn’t really feel the need of it in the summer heat, but I wore it when going down to the cafeteria and the pharmacy on the first floor, since I didn’t want to walk around wearing nighties (this is up to one’s own temperament).
9. In the maternity ward I was in, I had to bring my own dinnerware. Since I didn’t have plastic dinnerware at home, I bought a cute bamboo set (dinner plate, soup bowl, spoon, fork, glass) that the baby could use later. The spoon and fork were quite small, so instead of these I brought my plastic cutlery set I’d used for camping before, and a knife. I didn’t bring detergent, but I could keep my set clean with warm water.
10. I wasn’t prepared for these because I never needed them, but in the end I did need hemorrhoid products (cream and suppository). Fortunately, there was a pharmacy on the first floor, so for you it’s also probably enough to get these if you really need them. I only realized at home that a travel pillow filled with polystyrene beads makes sitting down tolerable. Of course, you do not put it around your neck; you put it on the chair… In the hospital I folded and sat on the nursing pillow to make sitting more comfortable. Someone later suggested to use a swimming ring, I guess that works as well, but I never tried one, so no comments on it.
11. I brought a book with me, but it’s up to you to bring what relaxes you. The room had a TV, but since I haven’t had a TV for 12 years, it never occurred to me to turn it on.
12. You’re provided with food in the hospital, and visitors will bring food, too, an amount that would feed a family of 5 for a month, but you have to devour all of it in 3 days. I didn’t bring breastfeeding tea, in retrospect I would put it in the hospital bag.
13. What I hadn’t bring, but wound have been useful, is a breast pump. I asked about it in the hospital, they told me I wouldn’t need it. I’m sure there are some who really don’t need it, but my milk came in quite late. I used the pump quite much at home which did help, so on the next occasion I’ll make sure to bring it, just in case.
14. Still related to breastfeeding: silicone nipple shields. I started using one roughly after two weeks, but it would have saved me a lot of pain if I’d gotten it in advance. I also brought nursing cream, which proved useful even though it wasn’t a brand-name product. For home, my husband bought a better quality, more expensive one.
15. We didn’t need to bring too many things for the baby, she received clothes in the hospital. What was needed is a small pack of newborn diapers, a prescription bum cream (suggested for the meconium), baby wipes, burp cloths, alcohol and cotton swabs to treat the cord stump, a couple of nursing bottles, and a baby cup. We used the bottles to store water and infant formula when a supplement was needed. And the baby cup was there to avoid using the nursing bottles to feed the baby. Unfortunately, my milk came in a bit late, so I needed these products, but luckily she quickly realized it’s much easier and better to feed the natural way.
16. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring clothes for leaving the hospital (or prepare them at home). No problem with that, even though my outdoor slippers finally ended up being left at home (I sent them home since I didn’t need them in the maternity ward). So, on the day of leaving the hospital, I went to get my stitches removed (at a private clinic) wearing pretty clothes and rubber slippers…
Source of featured image: flickr.com
Translated by Ádám Hittaller