Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hospital bag – Essentials

Finally all the trimesters are over and the D-day is round the corner, you will be in labor and as if by magic everything will be fine! Well nice to know that! But hello!! We live in a real world with real needs, for the new mother and child! So than sending the family running out to buy stuff or even get things from home, make the most of your hospital stay, the first few hours and days with the newborn! Plan ahead! Simply!
Around the end of month 8, it is a good time to start packing your hospital bag tentatively.
Just keep putting in things, and finally when your final delivery date and schedule is confirmed by your doctor, pack the bag completely and ensure that your spouse or parent who is accompanying you to the hospital is aware of what all has been packed and in which order. So that you don’t have to divide your attention again, hunting for trivial things, when all you wish to do is give complete attention to your child!
If every trip, every journey requires planning and packing bags, this is a super journey for life, so packing and planning are very much a part of it!
According to the Indian belief, new clothes and baby things are not to be purchased before the birth of the child. But today we can clearly rationalize that this belief must have stemmed from a pure economic perspective, poverty and high infant mortality rate at that time. Today such is not the case, all your tests are periodically done, the fetal growth is charted methodically and medical care is always at hand, so keep aside your anxiety and fears and shop the basic essentials for your baby or gratefully accept hand me downs.
But do not overdo anything, all cute fanciful things, frilly clothes, shiny shoes…hold them all! The baby is going to be quite small, with extremely delicate skin, you need to select the softest and most firm fabric for your baby clothes. According to the season you can pack in more or less warm clothes, woolens, but do not omit them ever from your bag. Even summer babies, they need more warmth than grown ups!
Now to the actual bag packing, firstly understand that there will be two sections to your stuff.
One is clothing and essentials for the new mother, the other are clothing and essentials for the new born baby.
Hospitals will provide gowns and sanitary napkins for new mothers, but for your own comfort I would suggest carrying your own gowns and sanitary napkins.
Now here is the list of things for new mothers

List of Essentials for the Mother-To-Be

1.     2 nursing gowns
2.     2 nursing bras
3.     Minimum 3 pairs of Washable breast pads
4.     Maternity sanitary napkins
5.     Maternity sanitary pants
6.     Slippers
7.     Breast Pump (optional)
8.     Nipple Shields (if recommended-Buy only Madela)
9.     4 panties
10.  Disposable glasses
11.  1 Plate, bowl, spoon, thermos, knife
12.  2 ltr water bottle with water
13.  2 Face towels
14.   Bathroom kit (Soap, Toothbrush, Toothpaste)
15.  Cosmetic Kit (Comb, powder, cream etc)

This list is pretty exhaustive in itself. Do not add too many fancy items to this. You are not going shopping or travelling to a tourist destination, but going to a hospital. Focus on comfort and durability. It’s cute to have a light pink or baby blue gown n some neat polka dotted dress a la Princess Kate…

but no, recall your worst menstruation period, with heavy bleeding and magnify it thrice that is the kind of flow you might have after delivery. After all its 9 months of no periods, so is it some revenge! Nah! This is not your regular periods, this is lochia the blood loss you will have after delivery. It is more likely you will spoil your initial gowns, so have some sturdy cotton gowns with darker shades or big prints, in case of staining. After the first two or three days, once you gauge your fitness levels and lochia flow, bring on the pastel shades! J
If you need to add your mobile phone, your music player to this list you may do it! But I would suggest in the last week before delivery or at least 2 days before your due-date had over your phone to your spouse or parents, and focus on the major event in your life, do not be distracted by trivial and material pursuits which can wear you down. So generally avoid watching TV or getting chatty on the phone etc.
Now the list for the baby

 List of Essentials for the Baby-To-Be

1.     3-4 Full Jumpsuits( with socks)
2.     Minimum 6 onesies or baby shirts
3.     Minimum 6 cloth diapers or baby swaddlers
4.     1 Quick dry sheet
5.     1 mackintosh sheet ( for potty cleaning time)
6.      Diapers (New Born Size, Small pack)
(If in India prefer buying Huggies diapers, for the first 3 months because they fit well to the Indian baby’s smallish tush! ;))
7.     4 pairs of mittens
8.     4 pairs of socks
9.     5 cotton sheets for baby cribs/ bed (washed and free of any residual soap etc)
10.  3-4 baby caps
11.  1 small bowl and spoon, 1 small bottle for feeding in case latching takes time
12.  Cotton Bundle / Baby Wipes for cleaning potty
13.  2 Baby wraps/ Swaddle cloths
14.  Baby’s Mosquito Net (Applies if there are mosquitoes in your region)
15.  Bathroom kit ( baby soap, cream, oil, diaper rash cream, hair brush, powder)
( Soap, oil, cream,
 diaper rash cream, Powder )
16.  Cotton sheets  for cushioning the baby cot ( to cover over  what the hospital provides)

You should also ask your spouse to pack charged camera batteries, camera equipment, essential contacts list on paper, list of people you wish to first inform about your baby’s birth and also all your hospital records neatly filed and kept aside for emergency reference. This is very important that this file is handy for your doctor to refer. You may keep a cardigan or knitted jacket for your own self in case you feel cold after delivery.
Also request your visitors, friends and relatives to avoid coming in for the first 3 days after delivery if possible. So you have maximum time for your baby to bond, to let all the reality of parenthood sink into you. Also in case it is not possible, request visitors to stick to the visitor timings of the hospital. And never wake the baby when there are visitors, unless the child is awake. Young babies need a lot of sleep and rest in order to grow well. The baby has endured a long journey to be in your arms. Baby photos n displays can and must wait till about a week after childbirth. Also the very first pictures of your baby are indeed treasures! But on a side note, avoid using flash while taking pictures of your baby. Insist on that each and every time someone wants to click a picture of your child. The eyes of small babies are still adjusting to light, after being in the womb for 9 long months; they are still gaining control over their optic nerves. Sudden flash startles the baby and confuses the response generated. Hold off the flash until your child is about 6 months old and has a steady gaze.
So pack in advance, enjoy the actual trip to the hospital, cradle your most creative creation in your arms and smile! Rest a while, thank Mother Nature for this wonderful journey till delivery and brace for motherhood, the world’s most challenging and often understated job!
All the best!


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