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A lot of preparation is involved when you’re expecting, especially if it’s your first baby. As you await your new arrival, it’s only too natural to be nervous. One thing that can put expectant parents’ minds at ease is to make sure they have all of their essentials for the big day. Experts recommend making a baby bag also known as a hospital bag This is a bag that you will take with you to the hospital when you go into labor. It should be filled with things you need for before, during, and after labor to make your hospital experience a little better.
Once you’ve packed your hospital bag, keep it handy and ready to go once you’ve hit 36 weeks. You may go into labor early, and you’ll be glad you had your bag handy if you have to rush to the hospital.
Stay Comfortable and Cozy
Let’s face it, a trip to the hospital isn’t the most pleasant experience. It just doesn’t compare to the comforts of home. Make it more enjoyable by including a comfortable satin robe in your baby bag. A satin robe will let you feel feminine and is more pleasant than the itchy hospital gown. The self-tie belt lets you wear it and unwrap as needed for breastfeeding. If you’re feeding your newborn a bottle, a satin robe will allow a bit more privacy as you practice skin-to-skin-contact.
If you’ve ever spent a night in the hospital, you know that they often have cold tile floors, and it can be hard to shuffle around in just hospital-issue socks. Pack your own cozy snuggly socks to keep warm in bed. Don’t forget to add a pair of slippers for walking to the bathroom and down the hall.
Give yourself a comfortable bed by bringing in your own sheets and a small pillow, if possible. The hospital sheets and pillows aren’t known for being the most comfortable, and it can be hard to get good sleep if you’re in the final hours of your pregnancy. Make the situation a bit more pleasant with linens from home.
Personal care products are another essential for your baby bag. While the hospital or birthing center may have deodorant, tissues, and other grooming needs, they may offer a brand that could cause an allergic reaction. Grooming essentials can include the following:
- Regular or dry shampoo
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Lip balm
- Contact lens solution and case
The secret with toiletries is to look at what you use daily, then make sure that you have a duplicate in your bag. And don’t forget to add in a pair of adult undies to make your postpartum trip home a bit more pleasant.
We all know giving birth isn’t an exact science. The average labor time for a first-time birth is 7.7 hours. You may need to just wait around for things to begin, especially during the early stages. Depending on what time you arrive at the hospital, you and your partner may have a lot of down time. Bring something to kill the hours and keep your mind off the waiting. Pack a new magazine or a novel you’ve been meaning to read. Encourage your partner to bring a Kindle or iPad so the two of you can maybe watch a favorite TV show.
Speaking of electronics like a Kindle, be sure you pack a long charging cord — or better yet, a battery pack — for your phone and other electronics. As you text, Facetime, and call friends and family about the impending new arrival, you’ll quickly wear down your battery and need a recharge. While you’re in the above-mentioned downtime, you can let your phone charge so you’re ready when the big moment comes. You and your partner will be prepared to snap all of the photos you could want of your new bundle of joy.
Treats and Snacks
Unless you love hospital food, you probably want to pack a set of snacks and goodies in your baby bag. Sugar-free candies are great for sucking on when your mouth is dry, and trail mix or fruit bars help give you a bit of energy you need. Other snack options can range from savory to sweet. Try packs of mini cookies, chocolate candies, carrots, pretzels, and other little bites. Throw in a roll of quarters or some loose $1 bills as well so your partner can make a dash to the vending machine if a late-night craving hits. Most vending machines take cards, but you never know when you’re going to encounter an ancient machine that only takes actual currency.
As for what to pack for your baby, parenting experts advise parents to bring an extra bag just to collect the freebies your hospital will likely give you. These items will include diapers, wipes, baby combs, pacifiers, and even onesies. Toss in a cuddly blanket and your own set of onesies in your hospital bag, just in case. However, remember that the hospital bag is about your comfort as you go through one of the most exciting moments as you bring a new life into the world. After that, you absolutely deserve the comfort of a pair of slippers, a robe, or a soft pillow can bring. Good luck with your new little one.