Crack open the non-alcoholic champagne this Mama has finally reached 39 weeks! I am certain I have been pregnant forever, in my local village familiar faces and neighbours give me that “still?!?” look. And while I have been staring down the end of this pregnancy for awhile it just recently hit me that it’s actually going to happen and that there are things I need to do apart from waiting.
The most sensible of them being: pack my hospital bag. Now, I’m not planning to stay in the maternity ward for long - I’ll be coming home as soon as they’re satisfied we’ve ticked all the boxes (hopefully within 24 hours - or earlier would be great!) So my needs are pretty simple but I do have a swag of products which I’m NOT leaving home without, most of which will support me during labour as well as in the immediate hours postpartum.
Obviously everyone’s journey is unique and your hospital bag will reflect that, I view my hospital bag as an extension of my birth plan. What comfort measures are a priority for me in those 24 hours, what makes me feel safe, and confident? What do I need to begin to thrive?
My hospital bag, therefore, is divided into 3 top priorities (each of which have been heavily influenced by the experiences of my first birth and the learning that has taken place since).
- Save my va-jay-jay
- Save my nips
- Save my sanity
So without further ado, let’s get into it - or as my son would say - Let’s go rock and roll!
Save My Vajayjay
My number one priority for this labour is an intact perineum. No stitches! So, of course the BodyICE Perineum Pad is the first thing I’m packing! Are you guys sick of me harping on about the brilliance of this heat/ice pack yet? Too bad - it’s the best and no birthing Mama should be without it. I’ll be using this cheeky lady in early labour as a warm compress, folded in a v and placed on my pubic bone. My birth plan is solidly geared towards a water birth, but the Perineum Pad will be an important back up in case I’m unable to deliver in the bath - still used as a warm compress and placed on my Perineum to protect the area, encouraging softness and offering some pain relief. Once bubs is in my arms (squuuueeeeeeee!) It’ll go straight in the freezer and I’ll place it back on the perineum cold to soothe swelling.
Next to go in is my trusty Perineal Irrigation Bottle. She’ll get filled with luke warm water to take the sting out of those first trips to the bathroom. She’ll also assist in keeping my perineum clean and dry - reducing any risk of infection and irritation.
- Technically not for saving my Vajayjay but my BodyICE Hip and Lower Back Heat/Ice Pack will be coming in with me. Hospitals can be a bit thingy with using kettles and microwaves (not all - but some - ask at your ante-natal visit!) but I need not worry, all she needs is hot or cold/ice water. The pack is designed to provide warm or cold compress - wait for it - hands free! Which is brilliant for labouring Mama’s with freedom of movement high on their list of birth preferences.
Save My Nips
A pair of seamless, soft cup fully flexible Nursing Camisoles and Nursing Bra. This one is pretty self explanatory. I choose Cantaloop nursing wear for the BBFB range. Namely because of the quality of the material and comfortability whilst wearing. Little one will be nursing frequently and I’ll need to be comfortable at all times.
Nipple Balm. My balm of choice is Sal Remedia Nipple Balm - handmade, natural and simple nourishment and hydration. Here’s the best bit about having a Summer baby is the opportunity to let the girls hang out! (apologies in advance to my maternity ward roomie!) Allowing the nipple to air dry, in the sun is even better, prior to applying any balms or fabrics/pads will go a long way in protecting your precious nips! While initial discomfort is normal Mama’s, put your foot down and say no to any painful cracking or bleeding - reach out to a trusted IBCLC Lactation Consultant to ensure there’s no underlying issues. Rule #1: Look after those nips!
Bamboo Re-Usable Breast Pads from Milk and Cookies by Jewels. Now it’s unlikely that my supply will burst forth in the first 24 hours, but these re-usable breast pads are oh so soft, they’ll provide an extra layer of comfort as well as catch any early leakage if I need it.
Save My Sanity
I respond really well to touch in times of stress and discomfort so the pure and simple Body Oil by Sal Remedia is not being left at home! A simple blend of Sweet Almond and Apricot Oil makes this perfect for massage in labour and every hour thereafter (demanding much!?) The exclusion of additional fragrances or oils means it’s completely safe to use for Mama.
Eco. Aroma Essential Lavender Oil. For calm and relaxation in Labour. Say no more! A drop or two on my Kayelle Aromatherapy Necklace will diffuse my favourite scent for as long as I need it. Find what makes you feel at home, safe, alone and peaceful and bring it will you.
Bad Ass Birth Affirmations by Angie Bee Holtz. Because laughter is what I live for, I fight stress and worry with humour and these affirmations are exactly what this foul-mouthed, goofy Mama needs. Equal parts of both focus and hilarity.
And that’s it! Of course the ol’ toothbrush will come along as well as my Maternity mattresse-pads, I mean pads. Oh and pants *note to self: pack pants. Stay tuned for what I’ll have waiting for me at home!
I hope you’ve found my checklist useful - especially if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with a seemingly endless list of items to bring! Of course all items*** are available online here at Bouncing Back From Birth, don’t hesitate to shoot any questions about these products and their benefits in labour or postpartum in the comments, via email, social media or carrier pigeon - whatever you prefer Mama!
Now go forth and birth your babe like the glorious goddess you are - you’ve got this!!
*** Except for these beauties
Bad Ass Birth Affirmations by Angie Bee Hotz
Aromatherapy Necklace by Kayelle
BodyICE Hip and Lower Back Pack by BodyICE Recovery