Getting Ready For A Baby
Shaina Clemons Health Tips

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Getting Ready for Baby – Hospital Bag Must Haves

Hospital Bag

I’m sure that you have been going through your pregnancy thinking that you have all the time in the world before your baby comes out?! I mean 9 months is a long time, right?!

Well during your pregnancy, I hope that you have spent some time taking care of your body…

  • Lower back – the muscles around your back and hips need to be strong to support your growing baby
  • Pelvic floor – the muscles need to be strong and able to relax so that you can prevent any leakage or pain, as well as have a successful birthing time
  • Abdominals – such an important area that needs to be strengthened and educated on how to use these muscles to support our entire spine (and baby)
  • Neck – pregnancy is stressful and holding tension around your neck muscles is really common
  • Hips – strengthening our gluteal muscles helps our entire body be able to withstand our growing baby
  • And MORE!!

If you are looking for more specifics, check out our blog on Exercising while Pregnant? 

If you want to work with a pelvic floor physical therapist so that they can put together a personalized program for YOU, then give us a call!

Now that you have taken care of your body, we get to what are the essentials to pack for when you are ready to bring a new baby into this world?

Essentials for MOM:

  • Birthing plan – the nurses will ask you for this when you are checked into your room and it is always nice to have things written down because when it comes down to it, there can be a lot going on that prevents you from remembering all the little details of what is important to you
  • Insurance card, drivers license or identification
  • Flip flops – you don’t want to walk around the hospital and have your water break and drench your slippers
  • Robe or pj’s that button – this is awesome to put on as you commonly have family and friends visit even in the hospital (it is a nice way to cover up)
  • Check out the matching robes and outfits for newborns including a hat for pics, they are super cute!
  • Nursing tank tops if you are planning to nurse – this is an easy way to nurse around the clock without having to take off your top
  • Normally the hospital will have nursing pads if you start to leak, but if this is not your first time for a baby and know that your milk comes in fast…never hurts to pack a few
  • Nipple cream if you are planning on nursing – your nipples will be sore and this will make a world of difference
  • Coming home outfit for you that is comfy – dress in LAYERS
  • Be mindful of where the pants hit you on your stomach and make sure that are still maternity (I had some pants with one of my kids that put a lot of pressure on my c-section incision and then I brought a maxi dress for my next baby to make sure I was comfortable)
  • Our baby weight does not disappear when we deliver and you want to be comfortable with everything that your body just went through
  • Honey sticks – this is a great snack for a little energy during your birthing time that is safe to eat, even if for some reason you need to have a c-section and they don’t want anything in your stomach
  • Shot blocks by Clif Blocks are also another great option to give you some energy as long as your healthcare provider is okay with this (check first)
  • Water bottle if you are anyone like me who loves to drink a lot of water everyday and would like something bigger than the small pitcher they provide for water
  • Shower and hygiene
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair brush, hairband or headband (really helps when you are in labor to pull your hair back)
  • Deodorant and lotion
  • Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)
  • Glasses or contacts if you wear them
  • Cell phone and extra-long phone charger
  • Pillow – my favorite pillow, Pillowise has a travel version that is awesome for taking with you and making sure that your neck and body is supported while you are away from home
  • Check out more information here
  • Blanket – having your favorite one is awesome for snoozing in the hospital
  • Eye mask- the hospital rooms are so bright and it can make it tough to sleep when you have the opportunity

Essentials for BABY:

  • An outfit to bring your little one home in – my recommendation would be a newborn size outfit
  • You never know though, you could have a super tiny baby needing preemie size (someone could always run out and buy this for you) OR you may need 0-3 month outfit if you have a bigger baby
  • If you chose to have the hospital take pictures of your baby, then you want to bring a few outfits for this photo shoot
  • A couple of thick fuzzy blankets for baby – these are great when others are holding your baby or when you want to snuggle them in your arms and make sure that they are warm
  • WIPES – the hospital provides wipes that you can wet, but that tar poop is really hard to get off those little tushies and we have always appreciated having a pack of wipes on hand
  • Car seat in the car (if your baby surprises you, there will always be time for someone to go home and get the car seat, but always nice to be prepared)
  • Your pediatrician’s information – the hospital will ask you for this
  • Bottles if you plan to bottle feed your baby AND formula if you plan to use a specific brand of formula

Things that would be NICE to have for MOM or Birthing Partner:

  • Slippers – the hospital typically gives you non-stick socks, but you may enjoy slippers from your house for after baby is born when walking around your room
  • MUSIC – I have loved having an iPod or a way to listen to music (or hypnobabies tracks if you are planning to use this for your birthing time)
  • Candles and incense are things that you should check on depending upon where you are delivering to see if they are allowed
  • Snacks for your spouse or birthing partner – no worries if you don’t pack this because there is always a cafeteria
  • Towel – when you take a shower, the hospital towels are super thin and very tiny, but you can make do if you forget it
  • Mom diapers – the pads that they give you at the hospital are massive and some women prefer an adult diaper instead of underwear and crazy big pads
  • White noise machine if you enjoy this for sleeping purposes (and you can use this at home for your baby to help establish a sleep cycle)

Things that would be NICE to have for BABY:

  • Hats that you LOVE and want to put on your baby for pictures
  • Hand mits OR baby nail clippers – some enjoy putting these on their newborns so that they don’t scratch their pretty little faces with long nails
  • Swaddle blankets of your own if you prefer these over the hospital provided blankets
  • Velcro swaddle sacks to not have to mess with trying to get the perfect swaddle

At the end of the day, we stress about making this bag perfect and not forgetting anything.

However, the truth of the matter is that you can make do with very little. And hopefully you will not be in the hospital for too long of a time.

If you have a vaginal delivery, its fairly common that the hospital will only have you stay 24 hours after you give birth and it will be only hours if you have your baby at a birthing center. Before you know it, you will be home with everything that you need…

Before I had all my little ones, I loved making a big shopping trip to Target to buy all the essentials that I would need so that I could be stocked up (toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper and more).

What to buy or prep for when you come home for MOM:

  • Stock your closet with all the normal toiletries and hygiene products that you buy from the store and can’t get online
  • No one wants to run out of deodorant one week and then the next run out of toilet paper – stock up to make your life simpler
  • Pads, pads and more pads
  • Different sizes for heavy bleeding in the beginning, medium and then light bleeding
  • Witch hazel pads – this helps with hemorrhoids and swelling in the perineum after giving birth
  • Dermoplast or an anti-itch and pain reliving spray – they normally give you some in the hospital that helps to spray on your pad with the witch hazel pads so that it’s cooling for your perineum
  • Nursing tank tops or nursing bras if you plan to nurse
  • Breast pads – its really common to leak milk when you are breastfeeding and the pads help a lot
  • Disposable OR washable work great – your preference and I recommend disposable in the beginning and then transitioning to washable
  • Nipple cream if you are planning on nursing
  • Breast pump – you can normally get one through your health insurance and you may need a script when you have your baby to send over
  • Breast milk storage bags
  • Lactation tea – check in with friends who have nursed and they may even have some great lactation cookie recipes that they can make you to help support your milk production
  • Boppy pillow or nursing pillow – this helps so much to support your baby while nursing
  • Nursing app to track which side you are nursing on and make sure your baby is eating frequently enough (or use a hairband that you switch sides to where you finished your last nurse session)
  • Comfortable underwear that you can stick a big pad in
  • Squirt bottle – normally the hospital will provide you one that you can take home and will be used instead of toilet paper in the beginning to clean your perineum
  • Sitz bath – this is a great tool that you can put on your toilet and relax in warm water as you give your perineum a bath
  • An ice pack – I recommend a cervical ColPac and you can swing by Breakaway Physical Therapy to pick one up – it’s the perfect shape to wrap it along your perineum and helps a lot with swelling and pain reduction
  • Check out our online store too to find out
  • Your choice of pain reliever over the counter medication
  • Anything that helps you with regularity of bowel movements – stool softener, probiotics, water, fibers, fruits and veggies and more
  • If you are unsure, consult with your pelvic floor physical therapist on tips to prevent and ease constipation

What to buy or prep for when you come home for BABY:

  • Swaddle blankets OR swaddle sacks for getting that little one to sleep
  • Pacifiers or wubbanubs to try for soothing a fussy baby
  • Zip up onesies – the best outfits for all newborn because there is quick, easy access, which is what you want in the middle of the night when you are trying to change a little one being sleep deprived
  • Diapers and different sizes
  • Wipes – in many different places in your house, your diaper bag and I always leave a pack in each of our cars
  • Diaper rash cream – not essential right away, but eventually will need
  • Baby detergent is optional and a preference for washing baby clothes
  • Burb cloths – you may need a ton if you have a baby that spits up a lot or just a few
  • Baby shampoo for their new skin
  • Bottles for feeding

Then you need to start taking care of you and your little one. This includes allowing your body to heal and sleeping when your baby sleeps. Also getting help from family and friends so that you can get the rest that you need.

Then starting to think about your body and finding your new norm after baby.

This starts with some gentle kegels – gentle contractions of your pelvic floor to get these muscles moving again. If you have no idea what this means, check-in with our pelvic floor physical therapy team and we will be sure to guide on your way to recovery.

Looking to support your body and help you find your new norm, call us to schedule a FREE consultation where we can talk further about what is going on with YOU.

We have a family friendly office where you are welcome to bring your new little one or else meet us virtually to make things simpler.

I hope that you have a beautiful birthing time and just remember, a healthy Mom and healthy baby is what matters!

Stay tuned for our next blog on things that you should NOT have to deal with after having your babies!

Shaina Clemons

Shaina Clemons

Shaina is the founder and owner of Breakaway Physical Therapy.  She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland Baltimore, along with a Bachelor's degree from Towson University.   Shaina is an Ironman triathlete, with a love of all sports. Exercise is her passion, which plays an important role in both her personal and professional life.  In her free time, Shaina enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children.  Shaina's love of snowboarding led her to her career choice many years ago. 
Shaina Clemons

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