Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What not to pack

I recently came across this post, detailing what to pack in your hospital bag, but even better- what she would pack if she could go back now and get a second chance. As an OCD mama, I've read lots of hospital packing lists, but this was one of the only that had me smiling and nodding, so I have to share. Futher excerpts from her post, with my comments in blue.

When we got to the hospital and I finally went to my bag in actual need, I felt like I picked up the wrong bag on the way out the door. 

"All this shit is useless!" 

Live and learn. 


+ Don't bring nursing bras. Especially ones with underwires because they are uncomfortable and poke you in the boob and the baby in the face while you're trying to get to know each other. If you're like me and don't want every visitor seeing your nipples through your gown, bring a nursing tank instead. 

Oh yes! I didn't pack any official nursing bras, though I did bring one sleep bra I could nurse in. Next time, I would skip em all and stick with a nursing tank. Simplicity is -key- in those early hours and days. A nursing tank would keep me covered for visitors and various wandering staff, but also have easy access for nursing. Once you get good, you can nurse in a turtleneck. Don't make it that difficult when you're learning. 

+ Don't bring tons of nursing pads. You wish your boobs would leak, but they generally don't until you get home. 

+ Don't bring a black trash bag and skanky towel if you're going to be induced because you won't be leaking on your husband's leather seats after all. 

Ahh, but on the ride home, you may be a loser like me, and be worried that you'll leak through your clothing and onto the seats. Steal a chux pad from the hospital, they are wonderful. 

+ Don't bring the Belly Bandit if you're like me and ordered your pre-pregnancy size because you couldn't justify buying the size up for the four days it would fit. You won't be getting into it until you get home either. 

Also, don't bring your favorite sweats as a going home outfit. True you may feel good in them, but if you're too worried about bleeding on them and end up wearing your PJ pants home, it's a moot point. Bring something dark. 

+ Don't bring music or books or movies or journals--you will not be thinking about any of that. 

So true. One ipod and you're covered. I had visions of this peaceful time post-birth where I would watch my sleeping infant cradled in the crook of one arm while simultaneously journaling, reading and doing a crossword with the other. Suffice to say, I played games on the ipod for 10 minutes. That was all the free time I had. 

+ Don't bring baby fingernail clippers or files. Their fingernails haven't grown off their skin yet and you will just make the baby mad trying to file their fingers down. 

+ Don't bring girl shit if you're having a boy. Duh. 

+ Don't bring going home outfits that don't have legs for the car seat. The nurses will judge you (again) with their judgy eyes.

+ Don't bring your own underwear. You will be a fountain that spurts red for days and days (and weeks and weeks) so use those ridiculous mesh panties they provide. Use the hell out of them. 

This one I disagree with. Mesh panties made me feel like a patient. I did not want to be a patient. I highly recommend Depends though. Say what you will, being (somewhat) confident in your non-leakage is worth it. AND you don't ruin your own panties. 


+ Do bring your breastfeeding pillow. It will be your only comfort during that 3AM feed where the baby won't stay awake and you think you're going to drop him because you should be sleeping but you're not and all you can say is, "At least I don't have a crick in my neck from holding this child up myself." 

Yes! I thought this was silly. Plus, I didn't even have a nursing pillow. A few weeks post-birth, we were given a Jolly Jumper pillow. I used it a few times, but overall, found it more annoying. Then, Boppy donated me a pillow for use with my Doula clients. Game. Changer. Even though Tenley was 7 months or so when I used it with her, I could tell immediately that it would have been a huge help when she was tiny. So I'm advocating for the nursing pillow- specifically a Boppy. I didn't put Tenley down in the hospital, like at all. Instead, we piled 18 pillows around me. The Boppy would have saved my back and neck. 

+ Do bring your own pillow from home. The ones at the hospital are pancake thin--let your husband sleep on those. 

+ Do bring a tube of lanolin and apply it to your entire boob (I kid, just the nipple) after EVERY feeding for at least three weeks. You'll avoid cracked and bleeding nipples that way (I did). 

Yuuuuuuuuup! Bleeding nipples = Not fun. 

+ Do bring a robe in case you decide to stay in your hospital gown. That way your ass isn't flapping in the wind every time you go to pee. 

+ Do bring a warm outfit for the baby to wear during the first night, even if the hospital website LIES and says they provide one. The nurses will be all, you didn't bring an outfit what a bad mother you are he'll freeze to death. Onesie, pants, socks, hat, do it. 

I packed my hospital bag all in the name of simplicity. I figured outfits were redundant, since they supply gowns. Except that we tried to put a gown on her once, and it was a joke. The arms are 8 feet long and 1/2 inch wide. My 8lb8oz baby wouldn't fit in it. And they were scratchy. Bring at least one outfit other than your 'going home' outfit. 

+ Do bring baby mittens to keep them from scratching themselves (and your boobs) with their sharp claws. Mike had to run out on Day 2 to get us some because the nurses were judging us again whenever they saw Everett's poor face.

Meh. We brought mittens but Tenley hated them and they never stayed on. 

+ Do bring plastic flipflops for the shower. Our bathroom was straight up nasty.

+ Do bring snacks. I ate on a bag of trail mix and nutrigrain bars the whole day. I would have been sicker if I hadn't eaten than if I'd barfed it all up (I didn't). 

Yes. And pack the snacks you think you need, and then double them. And then a few days later, go back and double them again. Better yet, enlist someone beforehand who is on call to bring you a good meal after the birth, regardless of the time. We were sooo hungry post-birth, but felt awkward getting someone to bring us food. If we'd arranged it beforehand, we wouldn't have been as worried. 

+ Do bring your baby memory book or journal and ask the nurses (nicely?) if they'll stamp your baby's footprint in it while they're doing the birth certificate.

We didn't do this, and it still makes me sad :( Though they didn't do prints for a birth certificate either, I wish we'd done them sometime in the first few weeks. 

{and remember, all this was just my experience. if it makes you feel better to bring something, bring it!}

Alright. So, this was a small portion of my list. Also included... 

Comfortable clothes for afterwards, but also to labor in. And then wear them! I packed clothes, but then ended up wearing the hospital gown sort of by accident. Not only does it make you feel like a patient, which sucks, but I hate the way it looks in all the pictures :(

Bring several pairs of socks. I wanted to walk around during labor, and bare feet + hospital floors are ick!

Lip Balm. You will kill for this post pushing!

Hairbrush, hair ties, and a headband. Even better if you have an awesome doula like I did, who will fix your hair for you when it starts to fall out during pushing. 

Luxurious soap, shampoo and conditioner for post birth. Oh. My. Goodness. I can't describe how restorative that first shower felt! My husband cuddled with baby while I got to sit in the hot shower and pamper myself with the most wonderful smelling Aveda products. They even took the hospital smell out of my skin. 

Bring a laundry bag. It is so nice to be able to throw all your dirty things into one place and then directly into the washer when you get home. Having to sort through yucky hospital smelling clothing when you're 2 days postpartum would not be fun. 

If you're going to do a bath at the hospital (we opted not to), bring your own baby-friendly products and lotion. The Johnson's shampoo the hospital uses is heavily scented and harsh on their skin. Coconut or olive oil make nice massage oils for baby's skin. 

A magic bag/rice sock can be... well... magic both during the labor for aching backs, and post-birth, for extra comfort or a sore tailbone. 

If you're like me, and not fond of hospitals, essential oils do wonders for freshening up the air. Lavender is also good for calming, Clary Sage for clearing the mind, and Peppermint for helping you pee post birth!

Bring a bathing suit for the shower/tub if you have access. A top you'll be comfortable in, with tie side bottoms, because you probably won't feel like lifting your leg to step out of them!

Hospital water cups hold approximately 4oz. Bring your own water bottle or cup!

Obviously there's other basics I didn't list- don't forget your carseat, your toothbrush or the list of phone numbers you need to call after the baby is born. 

And speaking of, that baby is calling. Gotta go!