Packing your hospital bag for the first time can be so exciting, and tainted with a bit of anxiety. I postponed packing mine for ages because I was unsure of what to bring and overwhelmed by all the lists I saw online.
Here are a few tips on the packing process
1. Don't wait too long to pack your bag!
Last thing you want is to be throwing a bunch of odds and ends into a bag after your waters have broken. Aim to have your bag packed and set aside at least a few weeks before your due date.
2. Don't stress or overthink about the bag you bring.
If you want to special order something from Etsy with your initials monogramed on it, be my guest. My husband and I used our carry on luggage which was easy and practical.
3. Pack light.
I didn't use half of the things I packed to my first birth! I felt like it was such a waste of space and time coming home and unpacking the bag.
4. Only take things you need or would really like to have.
5. Wash all your new and gifted baby clothes before you pack them.
1. Nipple cream.
This is a must! So many people carry on and on about the birth and recovery, but rarely talk about the struggles (and pains) of breastfeeding. My milk came in on day 2/3 (crazy fast!) and nipple cream was a savior for me. Remember to only use a little bit, as you don't want to unnecessarily clog the pores and cause mastitis.
2. TOM Organic Maternity pads.
These are made of ACO organic cotton, extra long, hypoallergenic and cruelty free.
3. Black underwear, sized up!
I bought a three pack of black BONDS undies, 2 sizes bigger than I normally wear. Black because it's forgiving with stains, and sizing up for obvious comfort and to have room for your maternity pads or ice packs to help the labia recover. I plan on putting my TOM organic maternity pads in the freezer to make my own recovery inserts.
4. My Eco Store chapsick.
Labour can really dry out your lips because of all the mouth breathing/panting.
Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hair brush, hair ties, natural deodorant, dry shampoo, bamboo face cloth, oil cleanser and moisturising facial serum. The basics... duh!
5. No fuss make up routine.
For me this means my organic BB cream, and my natural mascara and my highlighter to help make me look a little less tired.
6. Cosy, breastfeeding friendly loungewear.
Highly recommend packing some cosy, baggy, nursing friendly loungewear. And don't forget your thick socks and/or slippers for hygiene reasons!
7. Nursing tanks.
I'm no fashionista, and no surprise here, that didn't change after giving birth. I lived in these cute and easy nursing tanks, paired with my recovery shorts, maternity jeans and a simple something over the top like a cardigan or duster kimono.
8. Reusable water bottle.
I've heard so many nurses say the plastic hospital water jugs are a big no-no and not to use them. All the more reason to bring your own.
9. Your phone charger.
10. TENS machine for natural pain relief.
11. Bamboobies: these are reusable, washable nursing pads made of bamboo rayon velour with an absorbent inner cotton layer. After my first childbirth, I purchased the single use Advent nursing pads, but there weren't very breathable and not great for the environment either. I got two packs of the heavy, overnight Bamboobies and I'm so excited to give them a go!
1. Newborn nappies and baby wipes.
2. Baby Swaddle x 2.
I really like the Love to Dream ones! They are so easy to use (all the praise hands for having a zipper), and they are comforting for bub too.
3. Burp clothes
Just use cloth nappies! Cheap and easy.
4. First outfit! This is such a fun thing to decide on and pack. Be sure to give this to your midwife before you are in active labour so that it can be placed in the clothes "oven" making it nice and warm for bubba once they are earth-side.
5. Soothies x two
These dummies are the BEST! They are made of flexible medical grade silicone, are BPA free and easy to clean. We didn't use them in the hospital the first time around because we wanted to establish heathy attachment or "latching" for breastfeeding, but they are nice to have on hand.
6. Mittens for their hands, socks and a cosy beanie for their little head.
7. Anything you might want for that first photo, whether it's a Hello My Name Is sign, or a small letterboard, pink/blue blanket etc.
8. Car seat, or capsule, safely installed along with certificate (some hospitals will ask to see the certificate)!
9. Enough clothes for your time/stay in hospital because you won't be doing laundry.
1. Food/snacks/reusable water bottle to keep them going (and hopefully at your side) so that they don't need to run to the local cafe.
2. Their own phone charger and video camera or computer.
3. Swimsuit for when/if they get in the shower or birth tub with you.
4. Flip flops (at the bare minimum), preferably thick socks like Explorerers.
5. Pajamas for your first sleep over if your lucky enough to stay in hospital.
We are going private again because we had such a good experience, and that means that we are allowed 5 days in hospital. If it's your second baby, hospitals will often times send you to a hotel to recover instead because it's actually cheaper (believe it or not) to care for you that way with a midwife onsite. It goes without saying, but if you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, pack enough clothes for those days).
1. Essential oil diffuser and oils (if you're into that).
2. Journal/ diary.
My husband and I both wrote handwritten love letters to our daughter on the night she was born a few hours after she came into the world. I also wrote in my journal about my birth experience and jotted down things I really wanted to remember while it was fresh in the forefront of my mind.
3. Baby journal and a pen or pencil.
This is great idea because sleep deprivation is a thing! It's important to document the baby's pee and poo movements as well as feeding, and from which breast. The last thing you need to be doing in your postnatal fog is trying to remember all that information! Having a journal on your nightstand is a great way to document everything in a stress free way, and anyone can do it for you. Your partner, a visitor or even the midwife can jot it down if your hands are full or you are having a much needed nap.
4. Snacks for post-recovery.
You might give birth when the hospital kitchen is closed! Good things to bring are nuts, trail mix, apples, bananas, homemade banana bread (if you're organised), kombucha, sparkling water, etc.
5. Vitamins and supplements.
NOT in my bag, but honorary mentions
Massage Oil: (not actually in my bag like I said, but recommend having one if you like to be touched while in labour or want a back rub).
Annndddd, that's a wrap!
What did I forget?
Tell me what you MUST have in your hospital bag below in the comments!
My Five Manifestations
1. A calm and peaceful labour, but an ACTIVE birth
My first birth was surprisingly good, but I was not as active as I had imagined. An "active birth" is described as a birth where the mother moves about freely and finds comfortable positions for labour and delivery. My bub was posterior for part of my labour, which means we were rubbing spine to spine, and this was quite uncomfortable. I had imagined that I'd be walking up and down the hospital hallways and bouncing on the birth ball like the energizer bunny. In reality, I was in the shower for a long time during my early labour, and then I put on my TENS machine and spent a significant amount of time in bed, switching from my right to left side. Bouncing on the ball and rolling my hips around on all fours didn't give me the relief I was hoping for, so I kept listening to my body and just moved into positions that offered the most relief. If you want to know more about an active birth, then I highly recommend this book.
* I am manifesting a calm and peaceful labour where I am an active and moving to my heart's content.
2. A drug free labour
My aim is always to have as natural a childbirth as possible, and this mean little to no intervention. I believe in letting my body lead the way, and my mantra this birth is "pain with purpose."
* I am manifesting a labour where I trust my body implicitly and let her do what she was made to do, without the aid of synthetic drugs.
3. A natural birth
Also known as a vaginal birth. I had a vaginal birth with my firstborn, and I would like to avoid the major surgery of a c-section at all costs.
* I am manifesting that my baby enter the world, head first through my birth canal and will ring out the most beautiful song upon her first breath.
4. No stitches
I had to push for an hour in my first labour, and when the time came to get bub out because she was getting distressed, my doctor told me he wanted to do a half centimeter episiotomy. I was hoping to avoid this, but at the time it was the right decision and I was happy with the result.
* I am manifesting a quicker labour with time to stretch and grow, allowing my body and skin to move in such a way that I don't need stitches after the delivery.
5. Successful latching for breastfeeding
I had success with breastfeeding in my first birth, but I was thankful to be in hospital for five days under the care of the midwives. Breastfeeding was harder than I imagined and their support was invaluable to me.
* I am manifesting a big cuddle with my vernix covered baby as it's laid upon my chest, naked and burrowing for my breast with a successful and fervent latch.
What were some of your manifestations or goals for your labour and delivery?
Tell me in the comments below.
We have been in our new home for one week, and are nearly sorted, unpacked and organised. I've had to allow a bit of grace because we are also attempting to nest and prepare for this new bub simultaneously (#noteasy). It was a mammoth week that saw us move over three days with two different moving companies.
We only had one small bin of garbage (red lid for you NSW folk), and a large recycling bin FULL when the time came to leave, and that included all our waste from the week, not simply "moving house" rubbish.
Here are a few tips to help you achieve a low-waste move:
1. Keep your moving boxes
We kept all of our moving boxes from our previous move from QLD to NSW, and we only needed to purchase one heavy duty cardboard box for our kitchen pots and pans! We utilised the boxes we already had, suitcases, travel bags, carry on baggage and the like. We were able to borrow a van and use our cars as well for smaller items.
2. Hire moving boxes:
There are a lot of companies out there now that offer easy to use, stackable moving boxes. Movers like this option because they are compact and stack well. Companies like Boomerang Box (servicing Sydney and surrounding suburbs) will accept your online order, deliver your boxes, and then pick them up after your move is finished. For instance, you can hire 25 large boxes, one moving dollie, one marker, free labels and free zip ties for $119 for a week (and its $33 for each additional week).
If you don't have boxes already, and need cardboard boxes from Bunnings for example, their boxes run you $4-$20 EACH, depending on the size. A few other companies are Koala Box (Sydney and surrounds) and Eco Move (Melbourne).
3. Use biodegradable or composting padding
Bunnings sells biodegradable bubble wrap, I had no idea. Also, if you get the right kind of soft plastics, you can recycle them at your nearest RedCycle, or keep them for your next move. We also used beach towels and sheets to help with extra padding since they needed to be packed anyway. Newspaper is always an oldie but goodie for your fragile items.
4. Have a garage sale
This one requires a bit of effort, but it is a great way to pre-lighten the load and add a few bills to the back pocket.
5. Organise a hard rubbish pick up and donate to charity
Do as best you can to eliminate the waste in the house as efficiently as possible. This means recycling properly, and not simply purging everything into your garbage headed for landfill out of laziness. Plan ahead if you can and organise a hard rubbish pick up with your council. You'll probably be surprised how many things people will actually take before the council even arrives to dispose of your belongings. If things are in good nick, drive them to the local charity drop box, Vinnies or Salvos. It always feels to good to give to those in need, especially if you have some decent things that are able to be passed on.
Hope that helped, and that none of you have to move house soon, because man it SUCKS!
Any questions at all, just pop them below!
Before your imagination starts to run wild and you envision me tucking into my placenta on a dinner plate with a steak knife and glass of red while recovering in my birthing suite, think again.
What is the Placenta & What Does it Do?
The word placenta come from the Greek, meaning "plate" or "discoid." This is because the placenta resembles the shape of a dinner plate attached to the side of the uterus, with the umbilical cord connecting the baby's belly. Without a placenta, no fetus could ever survive.
The placenta has many unique and important roles. It can assist in the sharing of information from the mother to the baby and then back to the mother. Crazy, right?
1. Acts as a filter: with the help of the umbilical cord that is, allowing the goodness from mum to reach the fetus, all while keeping the toxins at bay.
2. Functions as a sensor: the placenta helps decipher what the fetus needs also helps to regulate the absorption of amino acids, fat, oxygen and vitamins.
3. Operates as a hormone factory: it produces high levels of oestrogen, progesterone and cortisol for mum and fetus.
The first time I’d ever heard of eating one’s placenta was many years ago when I was trying to fall pregnant myself. I stumbled across Jennifer Stano who had quite a social media following and was expecting her first child. From memory, I loved her pregnancy style, and followed her in the hopes of getting some helpful dress-the-bump tips.
A video popped up on my Instagram one morning, and the still was of Jennifer and her husband. She had delivered her baby, and she’d had a little boy. The video caught my attention because she was in a hospital but had a kitchen blender in front of her. Perplexed and curious, I proceeded to watch her make a placenta smoothie and with a chunk of her raw placenta, fresh berries and some other ingredients. The video was about the smoothie and getting her husband to drink it, which he did. When I saw this video I was absolutely appalled! Why on earth would you make your husband do that? Shock value? How ridiculous. And what was the point of a placenta smoothie in the first place? I couldn’t help but think it was a grab for attention at the time, and I shook my head, chalking it up to wanting likes and dropped jaws.
Fast forward a few years to when I finally had a bun in the oven and my world shifts. It’s funny how pregnancy makes you pull out all the stops and really look after yourself for the sake of your baby. I was at the end of my third trimester living in Melbourne and a girlfriend of mine had mentioned that she had her placenta encapsulated. I was thrilled to have someone close to me that I could actually talk to about the experience. After all, when it comes to matters such as these, we need to peel back all the layers of assumptions, fear, and disgust that stem from ignorance.
She told me about her great experience with Anna Papadakis from Opening To Life and I called her immediately. Anna is a birth attendant, birth educator, body centered therapist and trainer. She started placenta encapsulation in 2012, and now it's a core part of her practice.
I confessed to Anna that I didn’t know much about the process, how it worked, or anything for that matter. I hadn't even read the website yet, but I was close to giving birth and keen as mustard to learn more. I also alluded to the fact that I’d heard consuming the placenta was good for a mother’s recovery, and that was something I desperately wanted to know more about.
Anna and I spoke on the phone at length about the process, the placenta itself and how sacred it is. I don’t mean that in a spiritual way (although it is pretty magical), but I personally feel that it's such a misunderstood organ. So if you're at all like me, and curious about this process, I find it easiest to break it down into two categories, the WHY and the HOW of consuming your placenta.
"We need to peel back all the layers of assumptions, fear, and disgust that stem from ignorance."
- Erica Kickert
As a soon to be new mum, I was quite worried about postnatal depression, commonly referred to as PND. The idea of PND being a dark horse that doesn't discriminate really spooked me. I'd spoken to a midwife who mentioned that I might be at risk for a few reasons, in particular due to our lack of support and absence of family from either side due to our move up to Queensland when our baby would be a mere 7 weeks old. My husband's family live in Melbourne and my family live in California, and I knew I'd particularly struggle when my parents had to say goodbye to their only child and their first grandchild.
In the same way that you commit to eating well and getting rest for the sake of your unborn baby, I committed to making my recovery the smoothest it could be, and that started by working from the inside out.
Anna went over a few key benefits, which were:
- Increasing our iron levels, which will help to combat fatigue, give you more energy, and therefore less depression. It's often difficult to absorb iron from supplements. You ingest crazy high does and the excess is expelled via black poop (if you've ever been on these supplements, you'd know exactly what I'm talking about)! However, when it's your own iron, it's much easier to absorb.
- Some research shows that increasing Vitamin B6 combats post natal depression and helps to regulate mental process and mood.
- The placenta contains high levels of Oxytocin, which is commonly referred to as the "love drug." Increasing the levels of this hormone increases your sense of wellbeing and happiness.
- The placenta also contains Lactogen which has been shown to help increase breast milk supply.
Click here to read about more benefits and how/why they work.
In Anna’s case, she only handles one placenta at a time in her work space. I really loved that she had this policy, for obvious reasons! Once the baby and the placenta have been born, it's set aside in a plastic tub by the hospital staff and awaits pick up. I didn't even know Anna had been to collect the placenta, and then I received a sweet text message that she would be dropping by with my capsules all ready to go and was excited to meet me.
It's your decision how you would like it to be prepared.
Anna offers two methods:
I wanted the placenta to retain as much goodness as possible, and opted not to cook it. This form of encapsulation involves less processing and will yield more capsules for you too. Once the placenta is cleaned, accessed, measured and cooked/dehydrated, it's then ground up and placed into clear organic capsules. Anna then bottles it up and it's delivered to you within 48-72 hours with specific instructions about how many to take a day.
My experience was outstanding. I ask most pregnant women if they are going to eat their placenta, and I get a lot of sideways glances, but I also meet a few women who say "YES" or who ask me for more information. My milk came in on day 2/3, I bounced back so quickly, got my period a few weeks later and didn't have any baby blues. I genuinely believe the encapsulation was responsible for my speedy recovery.
One of my favourite yoga students from Melbourne, Anna D, had asked me about the process and decided to have her placenta encapsulated after her second birth. This is what she had to say:
"I thought about having my placenta encapsulated during my first pregnancy but I let myself be talked out of it. After the birth of my first daughter the baby blues hit me hard. I was so scared that I was developing postnatal depression. (I was lucky that my baby blues only lasted a couple of weeks).
Second pregnancy I went with my gut and organised to have my placenta encapsulated, and I’m so glad that I did! No baby blues at all after the birth of my second daughter, plus my recovery was so much faster which was great as I had an active toddler to keep up with this time. I also found I had a lot more energy in the morning despite having to wake several times for night feeds.
My husband was also really sick at the time and I don’t know if they helped, but I didn’t catch whatever bug he had. I’d happily encouraged placenta encapsulation to any Mumma’s to be."
- Anna D, Melbourne
I highly recommend that you read some testimonials to get a feel for what people are saying about the process.
It's a great place to begin if this is something you're weighting up.
Have you ever had your placenta encapsulated?
Would you consider having it done? Tell me in the comments below.
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