Friday, April 6, 2012

What you got in that bag?

I am not a super organized person, but I like to be prepared. I had my hospital bag packed over a month before my due date. Like a good little mommy-to-be, I had everything on the checklist. I didn't use half of it. Here is my take on what I used and didn't use. If you are pregnant maybe this will help you decide what to put in your bag. But if you're like me, you'll pack everything anyway. It's ok, go ahead if it helps you feel more prepared. Whatever you pack, it will end up sitting in a pile in the corner of your bedroom for a week after you get home anyway.

Things I was glad to have:

Your own toiletries and towel - it felt wonderful to take a shower the next day with my own great smelling shampoo and conditioner, and the hospital towels are kind of small and scratchy.

Makeup - I know you're thinking, "Yeah right, like I'm going to bother putting makeup on as in recovering from delivery!" It's funny, because most days I don't even wear makeup unless I'm going to church or dinner, but it felt so good to put some on and feel pretty after putting my body through some pretty gross trauma.

Headbands and ponytail holders- didn't use during labor, but they were convenient during my postpartum stay.

Snacks and change for vending machine - especially for the middle of the night when you wake up starving, and for in between hospital meals. My family was also happy I had packed snacks (pretzels, goldfish crackers, lance crackers, juice boxes, granola bars, etc), and they used the vending machine a lot for drinks.

Camera - Of course! How could I not capture all those precious first moments? I put my sister in charge of the camera during labor and delivery.

Your own pillow - For sure. The hospital pillows are pretty flat. I made sure it was in a case distinguishable from the hospital's white cases. Mark also had one.

Lansinoh Lanolin cream - YES! Your nipples get so cracked and sore from the first few days (even weeks) of nursing, even if you have a correct latch. This is a MUST.

Boppy pillow - for nursing

iPad - I only used it a few times to check/update facebook and send some email announcements, but Mark and my other family members used it a good bit.

Going home outfit for me and baby - Scarlett wore the same gown that I went home in when I was born. I
wore stretchy pants and a maternity tshirt. Sorry to disappoint, but your maternity clothes will still fit you, and your regular clothes will not.
Things that never left my bag:

Robe and slippers for walking the halls in labor- didn't happen. I was in active labor right away, and even if I didn't have the bed-confining epidural, there is no way I could have been walking around through the pain.

Nightgown and pajamas, comfy clothes - just stayed in the hospital gown the whole time. It was easier, especially since they have to keep checking you every few hours. Plus, my own stuff didn't get ruined from postpartum bleeding.

Nursing bras - just went bare under the hospital gown, also easier

Socks - my feet were never cold

Chapstick because they say hospitals get very dry - never had this problem

Magazines/Book - I was too busy enjoying my new baby, talking to visitors, and trying to sleep to bother with these

Big cotton panties that you don't mind getting ruined - just used the lovely mesh disposable ones that the hospital provided. But I did use them when I got home for a few weeks. Trust me, you don't want thong underwear getting all up in your traumatized lady bits.

Maxi pads- the hospital provided these, but you do need them for home. Go ahead and get at least two big boxes.

Some other tips for your postpartum recovery:

In the hospital, don't feel bad about letting the nurse take your baby to the nursery and bringing her to you for feedings. Going in, I was positive I wanted my baby with me at all times. But the second night Scarlett was not as sleepy and needed more soothing. Mark and I hadn't slept much and were sooo tired, but Scarlett was crying every few minutes. Finally around 1:30 am we called the nurse to take her. I was crying as she wheeled her out in the bassinet. I felt like a bad mother. But the sweet nurse told me what every new mom should hear, that your baby NEEDS you to get some rest. It will be better for both of you. The nurses will take good care of her!

The hospital will probably provide you with a stiz bath. Take it home! You'll need it for the next few days. They should also give you a spray bottle you can take home and fill with warm water to use every time you go to the bathroom. Also, if the hospital doesn't give you an inflatable or foam donut pillow to sit on, have your hubby go to the drug store and buy you one. Your bum will thank you.

Buy some Tucks and witch hazel. I also picked up this tip from another blog to make "padsicles."
Soak some maxi pads in witch hazel, wrap them in plastic, and put them in the freezer. These will be so soothing on your poor battered bottom.

Go ahead and put some of those gentle baby wipes in the bathroom. Rough toilet paper is not your friend right now.

Let someone do everything for you. Now is not the time to worry about dishes or laundry or anything else but eating, sleeping, healing, and taking care of your baby. Line up some help. I seriously don't know what I would have done if I didn't have my mom for the first ten days.

Breastfeeding is hard at first. It took a while for Scarlett to figure it out. In the hospital she would suckle for just a few seconds and then fall asleep. I was so worried she wasn't getting enough, but I was grateful to the nurses who assured me she was ok. In the first 24 hours or so, the baby is still thriving on nutrition from the placenta, so even if she only takes a teaspoon or two of colostrum, it's ok. I'm so glad they just kept encouraging me and didn't try to push a bottle. Scarlett eventually got it. But when my milk came in a few days later, I was so engorged that she couldn't latch and would become even more worked up. My mom described it as trying to suck on a blown up balloon! I figured out I had to pump really fast to soften the breast for her and get her good and calm before nursing. I remember standing in the bathroom with the water running (the white noise soothed her) while getting her to latch, then once she was calm and on the breast, carefully moving to a chair. Your milk will eventually regulate and your baby will get the hang of it. Don't give up! It will be hard at first, and you'll be so tired, but you just have to nurse through it. Within a few days, Scarlett was breastfeeding like a champ!

Hormones are crazy. You will cry. Your baby will cry. You will cry while you hold your crying baby. It's ok. It will pass.

I hope you find this helpful if you are expecting. If not, well these ate just my notes to myself for next time. :)

1 comment:

  1. Great advice about letting babies go to the nursery. I would have loved to have sent my twins away for an hour or two of rest while I was in the hospital. I delivered in a military hospital that had no nursery- all babies room in with mom. I ended up having to stay for 4 days after my c-section for treatment for pre-eclampsia, which left me confined to my bed. I don't think I slept more than 6 hours the whole time I was there.
    One thing I wish I had known to do was to ask the nurses for help with the babies. I only really used them for taking care of my medical issues. I will definitely put them to work next time! I wore myself out to the point where my doctor was threatening to sedate me. Once I got home, I was able to rest so much better.