Hospital Bag Checklist

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post.  The weather has turned beautiful so we have been enjoying being outside whenever we can!  🙂

With the arrival of summer, I know several people who are expecting their bundles of joy soon and that has made me start thinking about hospitals and delivery.  My daughter is turning one in a couple weeks so that might have something to do with it too.  I find myself thinking about how much has happened since little E came into our lives.

So with all this thought on hospitals, I figured my blog wouldn’t be complete without a “Hospital Bag Checklist” so here it goes!

What to take to the hospital.

The thing to remember is that every labour and delivery story is going to be different, and the length of your stay in the hospital may be different than someone else’s.  I had a c-section so I was in the hospital for 3 nights.  But I think that these things listed here would be nice to have regardless of how long you are in the hospital.  There are lots of lists on the internet to help you pack your bags, and here are my suggestions to add to it!  🙂

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FOR MOMMY:

  • hairbrush, hair ties, hair clip, bobby pins – After going through the entire crazy day, I was so grateful to be able to brush my hair and make myself look presentable again!  I looked a little worse for wear the night my daughter was delivered!
  • face wash, face lotion, make-up – I am one of those types of people who doesn’t feel completely like myself if I have a greasy face or without a bit of eye shadow on.  And I’m able to look back on the pictures feeling like I look at least somewhat decent.
  • shampoo and body wash – Some hospitals may provide this, but I took my own.  That first shower after delivery was fantastic!  I was able to wash off all the sweat and just felt so clean again!
  • toothbrush and toothpaste – A key part of feeling human again!
  • sleep nursing bra – I packed this and I’m glad I did since those silly hospital gowns really don’t provide all that much privacy when you are trying to breastfeed for the first time!
  • nursing pads – Just in case things start leaking a bit.
  • pajamas – I did bring a new set of pajamas that I had bought for the occasion, but I didn’t wear them.  I was so swollen from all the liquids they had pumped into me and the elastic on the pants hit my c-section incision rather uncomfortably.  I think next time I’m going to see if I can either find something that will be more comfortable after surgery or make one of those gowns that I’ve seen on Pinterest.
  • panties – Again, because of my c-section incision, I didn’t use the ones I had brought.  The hospital ones they provide are ridiculous looking, but they sure are comfy!  Next time I’m going to actually ask for a couple pairs to take home with me for the first week post delivery.  However, if I hadn’t had a c-section, I would have been more than happy to be back in my own normal panties again!
  • socks – Didn’t use them until I got dressed to go home, but I know that some women like to wear them during labour.
  • going home clothes – I took a super comfy pair of maternity sweat pants and a nursing top with me.
  • paper/pen – I had a small notebook that I used to record gifts that were brought when people came to visit.
  • camera and charger – Obviously. 🙂
  • cellphone and charger – I liked being able to share those first pictures and announce to the world that my daughter had arrived.  It was also nice to have to be able to stay in contact with my family and friends since I was in the hospital for a little longer than expected.
  • slippers/flip flops – I took slippers with me, but my feet were so swollen they didn’t really fit.  And I leaked blood on them (gross) when I got out of bed the first time.  I think next time I’ll take a pair of flip flops instead.
  • pads – I used the hospital ones during my stay, but they were rather thick so it was nice to have a thinner one to wear on my way home.
  • wallet – Not so much for the money or credit cards, but for the ID and Health Cards.

FOR BABY

  • going home outfit – I took two.  The ultrasound tech had told us we were having a girl, but on the off chance that she turned out to be a boy we took a girly sleeper and a gender neutral one.  The baby won’t need an outfit for in the hospital since s/he will probably just be wrapped up in a blanket most of the time or laying on your chest skin to skin.
  • hat – I forgot one, so the hospital provided one after E’s first bath.  It made a cute keepsake.
  • cloth diaper – This one is totally optional!  I’m pretty sure the hospital will give you a disposable diaper for your baby if need be, but I brought one of my cloth diapers since I was SO excited to use them.
  • car seat – At our hospital they did a safety check once E was strapped in, just to make sure she was in there properly.
  • blanket – Even though it was the beginning of June and beautiful weather, we still put a blanket over top of E so that she was nice and cozy.
  • soother/pacifier – Some people say not to introduce a soother too early, but I’m glad we brought them.  E was able to be soothed and I was able to get some sleep.
  • Vasoline – I brought some but used the tube the hospital provided instead.

FOR DADDY

  • pair of clothes – Just in case he got spit up on or something.
  • snacks or money for the vending machine – He might get hungry and the hospital doesn’t provide his meals.

Basically you’ll be taking what you would take for an overnight trip.

Hope you found this list helpful!  What’s in your hospital bag?

 

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My Top 5: Things for a Newborn

Here is my first post for My Top 5 “series”.  🙂  Every so often I’ll be posting my top 5 favourite/most used/just plain awesome things for a specific topic.

Today’s topic: Newborns

Here are 5 things that I found to be super useful when E was a newborn.

# 1. SwaddleMe

I strongly believe in swaddling a newborn.  Here are a couple reasons:

  • They are used to being nice and tight and cozy in Mommy’s belly so being all wrapped up tight helps them feel like they are safe and “home”.
  • Newborns also have very little control over their arm movements so the swaddle keeps from startling themselves awake.

Please note that I swaddled my baby, E, when she was sleeping or when she was too overwhelmed by this great big world.  She had lots of unswaddled time to practice moving her arms and legs.  Also, we never swaddled her hips so tight to create a problem.

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E all snug and ready for bed

At first we swaddled using receiving blankets and then moved on to large flannel blankets my mom had made.  The blankets worked great for her naps, but at night she was managing to get her hands out and startle herself awake.  I finally splurged and bought a SwaddleMe.  She LOVED them!  She would often be crying very hard while we were getting her ready for bed, but as soon as she was snug in the SwaddleMe she calmed right down.

The feature I love most about the SwaddleMe?  The velcro!  So easy to keep her snug all night long!

The SwaddleMe comes in different sizes.  We bought the Stage 2 variation in both the small and large.  I would often tell my husband that if/when I go to any future baby showers a SwaddleMe will be included in the gift!

# 2. Avon Sensitive Skin Bubble Bath

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Who know that this would get out baby poop?

This one might seem a bit strange to have on a list like this, but believe me, it is a product that every mom needs!  You know how everyone seems to be offering advice as soon as they find out that you are pregnant?  Even if it might drive you crazy, if you actually listen sometimes you get some good tips.  This was one of those times.

That mustard yellow baby poop stains everything!  And Avon Sensitive Skin Bubble Bath gets those stains out as easily as can be!  How awesome is that?  🙂

# 3. Soother

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E with her Wubbanub pacifier

A soother/pacifier seems to be a bit of a controversial item.  Some parents are worried that the baby will become too dependent on it, other parents worry about it affecting the baby’s teeth and jaw.  I, however, think that a soother is a wonderful invention!

In a previous post, I mentioned how we avoided having a colicky baby and one of the reasons was because we used a soother!  E was a sucker.  At first she was using me as her pacifier and, despite warnings of developing nipple confusion, we introduced her to a soother a couple days after she was born.  Maybe we just got lucky, but there were no issues for going between the soother and breastfeeding at all.

It took awhile to find one that she liked, but when we did (thanks to a gift from a friend), she was a happy baby!  We used the soother for about 6 months and stopped using it once we started sleep training.  I was a bit concerned that she’d start sucking her thumb instead (and you can’t take a thumb away), but it didn’t happen.  Luck again?

If/when the next baby comes around, we’ll definitely use the soother again, but once the baby is past the 3-4 month age, we’d probably restrict it to just naps and bedtime.

# 4. AngelCare Baby MonitorIMG_3395

There are so many monitors available now, but we decided to go with the AngelCare system because of the motion sensing mattress pad.  The pad goes under the mattress and detects the slightest movements of the baby, including breathing.  If movement stops for too long the alarm sounds.  I found it very reassuring as a new mom, knowing that if my baby stopped breathing for some reason I would know about it right away.

There was a recall on the monitor systems recently, because there is a cord connecting the sensor pad to the nursery unit.  All I had to do was request a kit to fix the problem.  The kit came quickly and using it I am able to keep the cords away from my baby’s curious hands.

When the time comes to purchase a new monitor, I will probably go with AngelCare again, although I’d like to get the version with the video.

I did have a problem with the parental unit going blank, but AngelCare sent me a new unit.

# 5. Nursing bras

Ok, this isn’t really for a newborn, but definitely something I’d recommend if you are going to be breastfeeding!  One time my nursing bras were all dirty so I was wearing an ordinary one.  I ended up having to strip down, taking my bra off completely, so that I could nurse.  Not so convenient since I was visiting my parents at the time.

It is recommended that you go a few weeks before your due date to get properly sized for a nursing bra.

And while you’re shopping for your bras, consider buying a sleep nursing bra.  I really appreciated having mine.  It was nice in the hospital because it kept me a bit more covered up than the hospital gown and once I was home it offered support at night as well as held nursing pads in place so I didn’t leak all over the bed.

Ok, there you have it, five of my favourite things to have for a newborn.  And just because it is awesome too, here’s a bonus.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is just a wonderful thing.  It has SO many uses.  For a newborn it works great as a diaper cream (cloth safe even), a moisturizer, and it helps get rid of cradle cap.  E was starting to get cradle cap and so I slathered her head with coconut oil about 10 minutes before her bath.  I took a soft bristled baby hair brush and brushed her hair…ok, I brushed her scalp, she didn’t have THAT much hair.  Haha!  Then rinsed it out.

Coconut Oil works great as a nipple cream too, so don’t just save it for baby.  🙂

Hope you found this helpful!  Moms out there, what did you love using when your baby was a newborn?  Please add your comments below!  🙂

 

How we avoided having a colicky baby!

Colic is the term often used to refer to a fussy, crying baby that seems to be crying for no reason.

I cannot count the number of times I was asked if my baby was a “good baby”.  (I would always laugh inside at the question, because a baby is a baby – she can’t be good or bad since that implies that there is a deliberate decision that is made.)  I was tempted to answer with something silly like “she is such a bad baby – always pulling the cat’s tail, not following any instructions, won’t change her own diapers”, but instead I’d just smile and say that yes, my baby was a good baby, answering the real question that people wanted to know – was my baby fussy and crying all the time?

I remember this one lady who had asked me that question.  After I had replied that E was a happy baby, her response was that I was SO lucky.  Her son had been such a crying baby and it nearly drove her crazy!

The great thing about having friends and family who have had babies before you, is that you have the chance to watch and learn and pick up lots of helpful tips.  My sister, the mother of two boys with another baby due in July, introduced me to the first book: The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Carp.IMG_3383

What is fascinating is that in his book, Dr. Carp mentions that colic is a first world problem.  It doesn’t happen in third world countries.  I hadn’t really thought about it until I read the book, but I grew up in Indonesia and I only remember happy babies.

Dr. Carp figures that babies are born 3 months too soon.  They really should be in the womb for those months, but because of head size, they can’t wait that long to be born or they’d never get out!  Colic stops around the 3 month mark.  Hmm.  Interesting.

He has five techniques (he calls them the 5 S’s) that he suggests to calm a baby.

1. Swaddling – tight wrapping

2. Side/stomach – laying a baby on her side or stomach (While supervised!  NOT WHILE SLEEPING!)

3. Shushing – loud white noise

4. Swinging – rhythmic, jiggly motion

5. Sucking – sucking on a nipple, finger, soother, etc.

There were many times when E would be fussy.  She was fed, clean, good temperature, etc, but was still crying.  We’d then swaddle her in a blanket, hold her on her side, bounce her gently up and down (the natural movement that one does when holding a baby), give her her soother, and then make a loud shushing noise close to her ear.  It wouldn’t take long before she would calm down.  It was like magic!  🙂

If  you are dealing with a baby who cries for no apparent reason, definitely pick up this book and read up on the techniques!

IMG_3376The second book that has been fantastic for dealing with fussiness is The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program by Polly Moore, Ph. D.  This book isn’t about colic, it’s about sleeping, particularly naps, but it was a real eye opener.

The main concept of the book is that all babies go through a 90 minute alertness cycle.  That means that after about 90 minutes from the time she wakes up, she will be ready to go back to sleep again.  It seems obvious now, but I honestly didn’t realize that E wasn’t able to stay awake for longer stretches of time without getting fussy.  Before I read the book, I was noticing that E would get cranky about 60 – 90 minutes after she had woken up.  I was so confused because she had just woken up it seemed.  After reading the book, we started putting her down for her naps an hour and a half after she woke up and the fussiness disappeared!!!

As she has gotten older, E is able to stay up for longer amounts of time, but we try to put her down to sleep in increments of 90 minutes.  For example, at the 3 hour mark or the 4 1/2 hour mark.  We have found that if we try to put her down for a nap in the middle of an alertness cycle, she is much more resistant to going to sleep, even if she is exhausted.

The only issue I had with following this 90 minute cycle is that E started taking 30 minute naps and that has been a huge habit to break!  If/when we have another baby, we are definitely going to follow the 90 minute cycles, but at the same time work at taking longer naps right from the beginning!

Of course the real trick is getting the baby to do the reading.  😉IMG_3384