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What to pack for my labor bag?

Hi ladies!!  Its about the time that I should pack my bag for when I go into labor.  What did you find ESSENTIAL?  What item(s) just took up space in your bag?  I do not want to overpack, but I want to make sure that I don't have to send Evan back to the house for anything. 

A little background:
- Birth center (attached to a hospital) that is very forward thinking and mother friendly.
- Only 10mins from home.
- They can accommodate vegetarian/vegan diets no problem!
- Evan will not be spending the night as we still have Bella to tend to and do not want to board her.  *This might change depending on when/if my Mom can make it up (7 hour drive for her).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!  :flower:

button-front pjs if you're breastfeeding
laptop & camera
snacks for your SO
pads  - if you don't like the kind the hospital offers (I had a box of 'new mother maternity pads')
pillow from home

Good luck!

eta: regarding meds - be careful what you bring with you!  if you bring anything more than a prenatal vitamin, your SO will probably have to take it back to the house.. at least this is a state law in Maryland

Luckily, I'm not on any meds other than prenatals.  I wasn't planning on bringing a pillow, but I think I will and leave it in the car for Evan to retrieve after everything is said and done.  I keep trying to find plain cotton button up pjs with no luck. :(

I hate department stores, but I ended up finding 3 pairs at Sears.

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My baby was such a spew factory until he was 5 or 6 months old.  I hardly even thought about it at the time (other than when I was covered, and I mean COVERED, in it and had to change clothes).  I would just wipe it up every time he did it...so like, every 5 minutes...and I got used to having dried baby spew spots all over me until eventually he grew out of it.  And now when  I see a younger baby throwing up all over themselves or their parents I think it's disgusting, even though it was a way of life for me not that long ago.  I guess I'm weird like that.

I guess I'm weird like that too. :) Mine was a major spitter-upper until about 6 months. Like every 5 minutes too. I can't say I liked it, but I got over any "eww" factor really quick.

Now when I see a little baby spit up I think it's gross.

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i would recommend comfy clothes that are supper stretchy, you will still look pregnant after delivering!  I wore yoga pants and some loose t shirts to lounge in and sleep. 

ditto that hospitals usually provide t shirts for baby, also hats and blankets, I found that sufficient for the hospital stay, just bring an outfit or 2 to go home in.  and I recommend bringing a newborn size and a 3 month size.  All of mine were too big to fit the newborn outfit I brought.

Make sure you have your car seat installed and checked before you go into labor.  That way it is ready to go.  Definitely recommend practicing with a stuffed animal, otherwise it can be intimidating the first time you put a baby in it.  And bring the seat manual along just in case.

Bring glasses so you can take your contacts out, I found this much easier.

I would reconsider having your husband stay at the hospital and having someone else take care of the dog.  It it a huge help to have someone else to hold the baby or do changes, plus that bonding time is just as important for daddy as mom.  I ended up with C sections and my husband did all the changes and most of the feedings during hospital time.  He was super nervous but the nurses helped him out because I was so out of it.  It was amazing for him and gave him tons of confidence.

And I loved using my birth ball.  I bought one for myself because I am super tall, and was worried all the hospital ones would be in use already (they were)  I was high risk so had to be hooked up to monitors, IV etc but still used the ball a ton.

If you have  a breast pump that you plan to use bring it along, it can help get your milk in sooner, and if nursing isn't going well, you can pump to give milk in a syringe.  Hospitals usually have ones you can use, but if you have your own it can be helpful to have the lactation consultants advise you using your own machine.

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GFV ~

Evan staying overnight will be entirely dependant on whether or not we happen to have a family member up when I go into labor.  Unfortunately, there probably won't be anyone local (that I trust) that would be here to come let Bella out.... I guess we just gotta see how it all plays out.

I don't have a breast pump yet as I didn't want to make that pricey investment, if for some reason, breast feeding doesn't work for me.

I want to look normal after delivery!! :-\

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Some people fit into their pre-pregnancy pants right away! I hate those people. Breast feeding is hard at first. You'd think it would be instinctual, but it is painful and awkward, but persevere! You will be glad you did.

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In addition to everything everyone has said, I brought soothing music CD's (actually nature sounds, like thunderstorms and waves) and even brought Golden Girls DVD's that I watched in the first part of my labor (my water breaking was the first thing that happened and they made us go in). I also brought along pictures of my family to have close by to help me through. I gave birth at a hospital but gave birth naturally with no pain meds or epidural. The hospital actually made these great "pads" where they stuff ice inside of it and then it goes inside those huge undies they give you, they were a lifesaver for that burning pain afterwards! Even though the hospital provides pads, I had to have my mom bring me bigger ones that covered front to back more (she actually brought me poise pads for incontinence, but they were perfect!). We also brought some massage oil, it really helped in labor to have my SO massage my back and feet. I didn't bother bringing any food, the hospital doesn't let you eat and I had absolutely no desire to eat anything either. Don't forget your own pillow though!

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I want to look normal after delivery!! :-\

Breastfeeding really helps with that.  I was down to pre-pregnancy weight after 2 weeks.  (I put on 32 lbs total.) 

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I want to look normal after delivery!! :-\

Breastfeeding really helps with that.  I was down to pre-pregnancy weight after 2 weeks.  (I put on 32 lbs total.) 

Yes!!  You are totally inspiring for my "after delivery" experience.  I've got a lot to lose and I really hope breast feeding works out for me.  I know it is difficult though.

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One of the most important things to remember at first when breastfeeding is to stick with it! There will be times when you'll want to throw in the towel and you'll be frustrated to tears, but use your strength to push through. And ignore those that say "if you're doing it right, it won't hurt"...IT WILL! At first it will be painful and uncomfortable, but it's also wonderful and exhilirating. It took me about 4-6 weeks to really get into the swing of things and get "used" to it. My advice is to stock up on some good veg nipple cream and use it every time after you're done feeding. I too was in my pre-preg pants by about 2 weeks  ;)b

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"if you're doing it right, it won't hurt"...IT WILL! At first it will be painful and uncomfortable....

Luckily, I've got no illusions on it being easy (and I still really want to do it).  I've read up as much as I can and luckily the birthing center has lactation consultants on hand.  I've also got a couple of friends that I am super comfortable asking advice from that have "been there, done that".

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One of the most important things to remember at first when breastfeeding is to stick with it! There will be times when you'll want to throw in the towel and you'll be frustrated to tears, but use your strength to push through. And ignore those that say "if you're doing it right, it won't hurt"...IT WILL! At first it will be painful and uncomfortable, but it's also wonderful and exhilirating. It took me about 4-6 weeks to really get into the swing of things and get "used" to it. My advice is to stock up on some good veg nipple cream and use it every time after you're done feeding. I too was in my pre-preg pants by about 2 weeks  ;)b

100% agree!  We are on week six and it is just starting to seem natural now. 

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My baby would have been bottle fed if it weren't for the help we got from lactation consultants.  We had such a hard time at first...but I'm so glad we persevered and got him breastfeeding (took about 4 weeks to get him breastfeeding at all and 7 or 8 weeks before it was easy/natural).  But now he loves his boobs. :)

If you get discouraged with the breastfeeding, keep in mind how much easier/convenient it is than formula.  I'd rather spend a few stressful weeks of breastfeeding than have to worry about all the washing, sterilizing, measuring, and warming of formula.  Plus you don't need to worry about taking all the bottles and stuff with you when you go anywhere...as long as you're there, the baby will have food.  Of course breastmilk is healthier and cheaper too...but the convenience is the biggest advantage for the parents, IMO.

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I found that breastfeeding was actually way more stressful than bottle feeding, ultimately.  And I worked with lactation consultants for several weeks.  My  son wouldn't latch, even with nipple aids.  I also wasn't making any milk, even with attempting to nurse ever 2 hrs round the clock, and then pumping after feeding him a bottle.  After a few weeks even our lac. consultants said "maybe this isn't going to work"  In the end all of my 3 ended up on bottles with formula, and thats ok.

If you want to breastfeed, absolutely go for it, having good support is a must!  But just know that if it dosen't work in the end for whatever reason, its ok, too.

Too many times it feels like those who bottle feed are labled as those who are ignorant of breast feeding and selfish putting themselves before their baby.  Most times that isn't the case. Yes, breast is the best, but formula is ok.  (not the case in this post, but in others sometimes)

Whatever works out best for you and your baby is what you will be glad you ended up doing, however it happens.  Good luck!

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You have got a lot of great suggestions.  I'd also recommend bringing nursing pads and a nursing bra you can sleep in comfortably.  The hospital I selected was awesome, but their nursing pads were terrible. 

Also, don't assume you will have a nursing horror story to tell.  I know that some people have substantial trouble, but other than having way, way too much milk (leaking and spraying all over) it came naturally and easy for me.  That doesn't mean there is something wrong with you if you don't, but don't assume the worst.  Oh!  If you do end up with a very abundant supply and your baby spits up (vomits really) a lot, try only nursing on one side in a feeding.  Caitlin would nurse and then vomit up everything she had just taken in.  All the advice I was given was to burp her better.  I ended up getting the one side at a time advice from a lactation consultant online, and it worked great.  I guess when you have too much milk their little tummies get too full too fast which makes them vomit.  Joy! 

You might consider renting a pump for delivery or buying a cheap one.  Pumping is one way to help labor progress which can be useful in certain situations.  I know I would have ended up with a C-section at any other the other local hospitals due to slowly progressing labor. 

Baby-wearing devices, exercise balls, music, detangler if you have long hair, and more changes of clothes than you know what to do with are helpful as well. 

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GFV and lbarte ~

I'm open to seeing how it goes.  I know it can be difficult and I'm willing to put in the work.  But if it isn't going to happen then it isn't going to happen and I'm OK with that too.  I think whatever a woman decides to do with her body and her baby is her business.

music, detangler if you have long hair, and more changes of clothes than you know what to do with are helpful as well. 

Good call.  If I need more clothes I can just send Evan home (less than 10 mins away).  I'm determined to just have one small rolling bag with me (think overhead carry-on size).

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I wasn't trying to scare you with my breastfeeding stories...of course there are plenty of people who don't have any trouble at all, and maybe you'll be one of them.  In my case, I had read that it could be difficult but I didn't know anyone who had had problems so I didn't know just how difficult it could be.  I think it's more helpful to be prepared for some difficulty and hope to be pleasantly surprised if it turns out to be easy, instead of the other way around.  But hopefully you don't have much trouble.  And if it doesn't work out, formula is fine too.

Do you know how long you'll be in the hospital?  The hospital I went to lets mothers go home the same day if they want to, as long as mother and baby are both healthy and the baby has been fed (to make sure there aren't any problems with latching/sucking/etc).  I had to stay longer because of my emergency caesarean, but I would have preferred to stay just 1-2 nights.

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pg ~

You didn't scare me. :) I'd rather have people tell me things to inform me and not just to be alarmists (which surprisingly a lot of people will come out with the most RIDICULOUS pregnancy/birthing/baby stories ever and you know they are lying/stretching the truth).

Standard stay for a vaginal birth is 48 hours here.  You have the option of leaving earlier if it is what you want and your doctor OK's it.  I'm not sure how long a c-section recovery period is.... probably 4 or 5 days (I'm assuming).

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Yay this is SO exciting!!!How much fun, and the hard, scary stuff isn't so bad, and is of course so worth it!

Personally, I ditto the chapstick!! and then PJ's...You may want to bring a nightgown as opposed to PJ's because the most shocking part to me (not to be scary/gross because its fine), was all the blood afterward. Mabe it varies? But I had a lot of stiches and they would come in every couple hours, press hard on my stomach and examine the big huge pad thing that was shoved in there (which would gush blood, like a really heavy period).  They gave me these disposable underwear, which had big padish things and ice packs stuffed into them and I pretty much wore those for the first week (took some home with me too).  They also provide you with this squirt bottle thing to squirt yourself after you pee, which felt SO good! (again, these are not things you have to bring :))

So I would say things to wear that make you accessible for breast-feeding and V-jay-jay examination, yet also look decent enough for a lot of photos. Also for baby, I was so freaked out to change her into clothes, they cry and their limbs feel all tucked in, like you are forcing them into stuff.  So I brough all these cute outfits, and then just kept her in the gowns with arms but no pant legs while we were there, and pretty much the first few motnhs of her life. I brought tons of stuff that I didn't use at all! My list for next time would be....
***a few cute, comfy nightgowns and a soft, cute robe
***cozy slippers!
***nursing bras
***chapstick!
***nightgowns for baby
***ipod or music
***maybe a magazine
***cozy pillow from home!
***camera/charger!

if hubby stays, the bed for him may not be comfy, so a pillow/blanky for him too :)

So exciting, yay!!! Cherish (all but the laboring) parts of it, even though you'll probably be tired its the best feeling, and such a precious time!

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But I had a lot of stiches and they would come in every couple hours, press hard on my stomach and examine the big huge pad thing that was shoved in there (which would gush blood, like a really heavy period).

Holy shit.  Why would they do that!?  The blood should come out naturally.  I've actually just thrown together a small bag of stuff for the baby.  I don't own nightgowns, but I am bringing 2 sets of pj's. :)

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But I had a lot of stiches and they would come in every couple hours, press hard on my stomach and examine the big huge pad thing that was shoved in there (which would gush blood, like a really heavy period).

Holy shit.  Why would they do that!?  The blood should come out naturally.  I've actually just thrown together a small bag of stuff for the baby.  I don't own nightgowns, but I am bringing 2 sets of pj's. :)

I don't know, maybe to check for hemorraging? Either way, I wasn't saying it to scare you, because its really not so bad, it was just something I had never thought of happening, and I brought cute PJ's that I didn't even put on because of it....I stayed in the ugly hospital gowns because it was easier, and next time I think I will bring something from home thats like that.

SOOOOOO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Its gonna be amazing!

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