Maternity Tips: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
As you approach the 36th week, it is best to have your suitcase ready for the maternity ward. You can provide two bags: one for delivery and the first hours after the birth of baby; the other for the following days.
If you go to the maternity ward by car, you can leave the second bag in the trunk of the car.
The Bag for the Future Mom
- A bathrobe (It will be useful to walk in the corridors of the maternity ward while waiting for delivery and after. Prefer a light model because it is sometimes very hot in maternity wards)
- Socks (It may seem anecdotal, but some women have cold feet during childbirth)
- An old nightgown or an old t-shirt that you will not be afraid to spoil during labor
- A protective balm for the lips
- What you care about: books, magazines, games, music, etc.
- A headband for hair or accessories to attach (You may want to tie them if they are long)
- A pillow (Motherhood may not be enough to make you feel comfortable)
- A toiletry bag with all its necessary
The Bag for the Future Dad
- A mist of water or a fan to refresh you during the work
- Comfortable shoes (To support going back and forth in the corridors of the maternity ward)
- Extra clothing
- A watch indicating seconds to measure the frequency of contractions
- A digital camera
- A cell phone or a list of phone numbers to contact your loved ones
- The mobile phone charger
- Money to drink a coffee, pay a parking meter
- What to eat and drink (The wait can be long in the corridors of the maternity ward)
The Contents of Your Suitcase after Delivery
- An outfit to go home (Plan large, comfortable clothes for your stay at the maternity ward and back home. It will take a little while before your belly gets flat again, so you will probably wear your maternity clothes when you return home)
- Breastfeeding bras (Plan two or three)
- Nursing pads
- Sanitary napkins (Bring two packages)
- A nightgown or a t-shirt (The models that open on the front are practical for the first days of breastfeeding)
- Towels and washcloths
- A hair brush, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a day cream, soap, shampoo
- Old panties or disposable panties (In case of cesarean section, try to provide wide, comfortable panties that will not interfere with your scar)
- Arnica to reduce swelling after childbirth (The effectiveness of arnica is not proven, however, many women say it helps reduce edema and heal)
- Hearing protection plugs if maternity is noisy
- A sleep mask to help you sleep if you are sensitive to light
The Contents of the Suitcase for Your Baby
- A baby car seat installed in the family vehicle
- An outfit for the return home (choose preferably for an easy to put on)
- Two or three pajamas and vests that you can put to your baby when you are at the maternity ward
- A little baby blanket to wrap baby if necessary
- A lot birth diapers
- One to two pairs of socks or slippers
- A cotton hat
- A coat or different layers if you give birth during the winter
Important Documents to Carry
- Vital card
- Mutual card
- Blood group card
- Family record book
- ID card
Baby Coming Home from the Hospital
In general, term and healthy babies (born at least 37 weeks of pregnancy) leave the hospital between 24 hours and 48 hours of life. Some low preterm babies (born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy) may also be healthy enough to go home after a very short stay in the hospital.
Babies born by caesarean section (and their mothers) or who have health problems usually stay in the hospital a little longer.
The babies born before 34 weeks pregnant need more prolonged hospital care. If your baby is born so early, you may feel particularly nervous about bringing him home. Your healthcare team will work closely with you to develop a plan to help you understand your baby’s health needs and make you feel comfortable taking him home.
How to Prepare For the Arrival of Baby?
A lot of parents take prenatal classes before the birth of their first baby. These courses help you prepare for delivery and provide information on basic newborn care. Each course is different, but usually it includes tips on diet, common health issues, daily care, and car seat safety.
You must make other decisions before giving birth like:
- If you want to breastfeed (breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby)
- If you have a boy, if you want to have him circumcised
- The facilities for sleeping
- How to prepare animals and siblings for this addition to the family
- If you want to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers
Busy days following delivery are not the best time to make these decisions. If you talk to your spouse in advance and you are happy with your choices, you can focus on your baby rather than on these issues.
If you plan to come back from the hospital by car with your baby, you will need to have a rear-facing car seat installed. Make sure you know how to tie your baby securely.
What Will Happen When I Get Home With My Baby?
Before leaving the hospital, the staff will make sure that your baby:
- At a normal temperature
- Do not risk getting jaundice
- Wet his diaper and have a bowel movement
- Has received all the necessary medications, including vitamin K to prevent bleeding and an ointment to prevent eye infections
- Has received the necessary vaccines (like the one against hepatitis B)
- Feeds well and had at least two normal feeds
- Has undergone all screening tests for certain diseases that can be treated
If your baby is premature, doctors will also check:
- If he breathes well
- If his body temperature is stable
- If he regularly gains weight
Your doctor will also check if you are in good health. New mothers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of complications they may be experiencing, feel comfortable caring for their new baby, and begin to feel well during breastfeeding before leaving the hospital.
Do not feel rushed to leave the hospital. Make sure you have all the answers to your questions before going home.
It is normal to feel nervous when you arrive home with your baby. Try to live this time in the privacy of your family, to get used to all the changes.
Newborns become easily sick. Try to keep your baby away from people who have cold or flu symptoms.
Wash your hands often to protect your baby. Ask everyone around to follow your example.