Preparing Your Hospital Bag: A Practical Guide For Expectant Pinay Moms -

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Preparing Your Hospital Bag: A Practical Guide For Expectant Pinay Moms

The last thing that you want to do, as an expectant mom on the day of your delivery is to pack things in a mad dash when you are already in excruciating pain, adding stress to yourself. The more you rush, the more you miss essential details and important items.Trust me, that’s the last thing that you want to worry during the most memorable passage of your life.

Being prepared is the most important key to consider when you are just waiting for the day of your delivery. Your hospital bag should have been neatly organized even long before the first signs of labor, in case that it will happen earlier than expected.

Truth is, I packed a lot of things in my hospital bag based on what I read from several blogs and found out that a lot of items suggested are not really necessary. So I made my own version, containing a list of items that are really, really needed and intended specifically for Philippine setting based on my personal experience just to make sure that the bulk of items that you will carry are the most required stuff before and after your delivery:

Note: Policies of hospitals vary so you might want to also ask your OBGYN or doctor beforehand on what you are allowed to bring inside the delivery room, or when you are already in your designated postnatal ward after the delivery to set expectations.

Kristine Bersola-Babao

First Factor To Consider: Yours

Things You Will Need While in the Maternity Ward

1.     Dressing gown- A comfortable or lightweight dressing gown is very essential in pacing the hospital corridors while you are in early labor so bring an extra one although a lot of the hospitals will provide you upon entering the maternity ward or labor room. Dark-colored dressing gown or with a pattern is preferred as it hides the stains.

2.     Slip-on slippers- During the different stages of dilation, most nurses or doctors will ask you to still pace or walk to speed up the opening so you need sturdy slip-on slippers which you can easily slip on and off. Actually, this is needed not only while in the maternity ward but all though out your hospital stay.

3.     Comfortable Maternity Panty- You will be pacing back and forth and the last thing you need is a tight, uncomfortable panty that will scratch your under thighs. Ensure comfort.

4.     Ponytails and headbands- You will be in serious sweat so you need to tame that wild mane during, or even after the delivery.

5.     Health Insurance Card, I.Ds and other Maternity Forms and Document-These are the most important ones. Make sure that everything has been neatly stacked in your folder. Photocopies of your ID’s (including your husband’s or partner’s), maternity forms and other document should have been completed and those portions which needed for you to sign should have been signed already, ready to be handed.

Note: If you are employed, and/or you have a health insurance, you will be given of a checklist of forms or document that you need to present to the hospital in order to apply for the maternity coverage and benefits accurately.

From my experience: When I was confined in the maternity ward, they asked me to take off the clothes I wore and asked to change in a dressing gown instead. They asked me to take off my jewelries, too so I suggest that you skip those or just ask your husband or partner to keep them for the mean time. They did not allow me to bring my camera, smartphone and even my lip balm so save them instead after the delivery.

Christine Reyes

Things You Need After The Delivery (Post-Natal Ward)

1.   Extra blanket- I had C-Section and had experienced some chills hours after I was brought in my room, a normal aftermath of the anesthesia used during the operation. Having a warmer blanket is very essential for warmth and comfort since most blankets provided by the hospitals are light-weight.

2.     Extra Pillow- Pillows provided by the hospitals are either too hard or too soft, so for the sake of comfort, bring your favorite pillow instead. Pillows help reduce the strain on your neck, shoulders and back.

3.   Toiletries- The kit should include tissues and wipes, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer or alcohol, also toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, hairbrush, and lotion, among others. It's best to put them into small decanters to save space in your bag.

4.     Towel and wash cloth- You need a fresh one and for sanitation purposes it is better to bring yours.

5.     Digicam, smartphone and charger- This is the time that you want to take photos and document this important milestone in your life. There will be a lot of texts, calls and messages from family, friends, colleagues who would like to share their happiness with you and your new born so this definitely is needed.

6.     Adult Diaper Pad- Some would recommend sanitary pads but then expect a heavy flow so I suggest that you use an adult diaper pad instead.

7.     A cardigan or a sweater- It might be a bit cold especially early in the morning so better bring a cardigan or a light sweater to make you warm. This is essential when going home, too.

8.     A shirt or nightshirt- I suggest that it is loose shirt preferably wide-necked or V-necked for comfortable breastfeeding.

Note: Every expectant mother should be aware of the Unang Yakap Campaign issued by DOH. This is known globally as ENC (Essential Newborn Care). This promotes a non-separation of the new born from the mother for early breastfeeding initiation and rooming-in just hours after delivery unless there are health and delivery complications determined either to the mother or the baby.

Things You Need After Birth (Going-Home Essentials)

1.    Going-home dress- Choose loose comfortable clothes to wear. Skip jeans and tight-fitting outfit, you have plenty of time to wear them once you are fully-recovered. I suggest that you wear a dress since it can be worn so easily.

2.     Ballpoint pen- Funny but I find this a must-have especially when you are about to go home. There will be a lot of document from the hospital that you need to sign so having this around will help you a lot. I remember a great delay of signing a paper because the nurse doesn't have a ballpoint pen and she has to go back all the way to the nurses' station just to get one. Hassle, eh?

3.  Maternity or Nursing Bra- This supports swollen, tender breasts as movement can be a bit painful especially when you just started breastfeeding.

Second Factor To Consider: Your Baby

1.   Sleep suits and vests.- Make sure you pack at least 3 pairs.

2.   Toiletries that include baby bath oil, newborn diaper pads, diaper wipes and petroleum jelly or diaper   cream.

3.   At least 2-3 pairs of mittens and socks.

4.   A hat to protect your baby from losing the body heat through his head.

5.   Feeding bottle and a breast pump- Now these are important as they go hand in hand. A lot of hospitals promote breastfeeding because of the health benefits to your baby especially the first flow of milk called colostrum. But then there are cases where mothers encounter challenges with latching like inverted nipple or small nipple and others for which milk will not flow. So it is best if you have a breast pump handy with you for an easier way of gathering milk in case it will not go well as planned rather than substituting it with milk formula that instant.

I am big supporter of breastfeeding and I have heard a lot of cases wherein babies were fed with milk formula when mothers cannot latch. I rather want new moms to use breast pump so that they still can feed their baby with breast milk even though it is through a milk bottle.

6.   Baby blanket- used essentially for swaddling and to keep your baby warm.

7.   Going home outfit like a onesie.

Third Factor To Consider :  Your Husband or Partner

1.     At least 2-3 changing clothes. He will do a lot of hospital errands for you so he needs extra clothes for the days you will spend in the hospital.

2.  Toiletries and other bath essentials like towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap (although he doesn’t need a separate one since you both can share).

3.    Gadgets like smartphone, digicam, tablets and chargers to document your birthing experience.

4.     Snacks and drinks- Believe me, your husband will be exhausted running a lot of errands and in taking care of you and your newborn so he needs to have a stash of snacks and drinks that even you can share.

5.     Comfortable shoes, if not sandals or slippers- For comfort for all the errands that he has to do.

If you will observe, I skipped a lot like the magazines, baby books, breastfeeding books and even birth balls (you can’t bring anything inside the maternity ward) and massage oils simply because you don’t really need these while you are in the hospital. Your time and energy often is focused on your personal needs as well as your baby’s so you don’t really have much time to read or even browse a magazine.

You will be overwhelmed with relatives and friends visiting you so breastfeeding books and even baby books can wait at home. Again, this is more of a practical and realistic guide for expectant Pinay moms out there.

It is best to have 3 overnight bags to separate each individual’s stuff so you can easily find the item that you are looking for. Organized bags can lessen the stress.

Packing and preparing your hospital bag gives you an assurance that you have everything you need ready to be picked just in case you will give birth anytime. If you feel though that you still want to bring some other items based on some lists provided by other articles, do so. Rely on your instinct.

I hope that this helped you jump start your journey to motherhood! 

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