You probably thought I’d be doing a homebirth, didn’t ya??
I wish I was, actually.
But insurance being what it is, we’ve decided to stick to the hospital based midwife, as we have with our other two births.
I very much wanted a home birth this time, but it could be a lot worse. The hospital I’ll be giving birth in is extremely “progressive” from what I’ve seen anyway. Lots of the things other naturally minded mamas have to worry about with a hospital birth, are no problemo for me. So even though we’ll be in the hospital environment with nurses I’ve never met, possibly a midwife I don’t really like, and possibly an IV in my arm – I’m reminding myself I won’t have to fight for things like rooming in with my baby, or delayed cord-clamping, or intermittent monitoring (with a Doppler!), heck, they’ll even let me birth on all fours if I wish!
Because I have had the experience of giving birth in the same hospital for my first two babies, I’m super familiar with the routines and procedures and what to expect – and what I want to bring with me when this baby arrives! This experience with the hospital, and experience giving natural birth twice already, has lead me to my “Ultimate Birth Bag” list, and I wanted to share it with you. Because I’m pregnant, and pregnant women like talking about this stuff – and I know new mama’s are ever curious about it too.
The Third Time’s a Charm – Natural Hospital Birth Bag
1. My own Labor Gown – Um hello, the hospital gowns are gross and uncomfortable. And while I did use them the first two times, I’m not gonna this time. This looks waaaay more comfortable. And you know what, when you’re giving birth, every little bit of comfort counts. I chose this labor gown because it’s compliant with hospital regulations, has the nursing snaps, and it’s a soft jersey fabric (not a table cloth!), and it’s going to allow me the freedom of movement I desire. Oh and it’s closed on the backside, thank you very much! It will also be great as a nursing gown after the baby is born. And it doesn’t cost and arm and a leg like soooo many other “cute” birthing gowns. Ehem.
2. Essential oils and diffuser – You best be believin’ I’ll be bringing my trusty essential oil stash with me to the birth. I highly recommend you get the book, Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth, and Babies, it’s a wealth of knowledge from a midwife who uses essential oils in her practice. Here’s some of what I’ll be bringing,
- Grounding Blend – To help me stay focused, grounded, and calm (but not sleepy).
- Wild Orange and Joyful Blend – To help me stay positive and give me an energy boost if I need it.
- Clary Sage – To help contractions be more effective during labor, to encourage the placenta to be delivered and to help my uterus shrink back to normal following birth.
- Soothing Blend and Black Pepper – To help with any back labor pain.
- Frankincense and White Fir – To help with after-birth pains.
- Geranium – For perineum support.
*Not all essential oils are created equal. You can click HERE to learn more about my trusted brand of essential oils.
3. Focus items for Birth – One thing that I found super helpful during my first labor was having focus items. Things that had a positive association for me. This can be anything that makes you happy that you can fixate on while going through labor. I brought a framed picture of the ultrasound photo and we played ocean sounds. It helped me get into the kind of meditative state I needed to be in to deal with the contractions without medication. I neglected to realize how beneficial they actually were though and didn’t use those tools for my second labor – I could tell a big difference. So I’ll be doing this again for baby number 3.
4. Birth Plan – I’m a fan of birth plans. Even though our hospital is pretty progressive, I still like to put down a few things that maybe some of the nursing staff aren’t used to doing/not doing. I didn’t have one for my first birth, at the recommendation of my midwife, and it was a mistake (No, annoying nurse, for the 5th time, I do NOT want a mirror, thanks for badgering me about it while I’m actively trying to push this 8+ pound baby out…). I had a birth plan for my second and it went so much better. I think some midwives and doctors don’t like them because some women go overboard and become so fixated on the birth plan that they aren’t flexible when nature sends a curveball. But I’m not talking about a 3 page single spaced document here, I’m talking about 5-8 one sentence bullet points for you and 5-8 bullet points for the baby. Keep it simple, keep it brief, this way the nursing staff will 1.) actually read it, 2.) be able to remember it. If you need a good example of how to write a birth plan, I suggest this post from Mama Natural.
5. Snacks and Cash – Oh I don’t care what the hospital says, I’m gonna be eating if I wish to during labor. So I’m bringing my own snacks. I’m also bringing along some Raspberry Leaf Tea, to help support my uterus as it starts shrinking back to normal. You can read more about the benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea here. And if we end up needing to stay during a meal time, I’m not eating hospital food – it’s not nourishing and usually full of stuff that will give my baby gas. So I’ll be having gift cards or cash on hand to send my husband off to get me some good grub. I just gave birth – I will need it!
6. Lip Balm and Toiletries– I’ll be tossing in a couple of these homemade lip balms in the bag. When you’re main method of maintaining focus and meditation through contractions is yogic breathing…dry lips are so happening. Dry lips are no fun, and you never know how long this may take…Oh and you might want a shower afterwards…just sayin’ 😉
7. Perineum Spray – Without getting graphic, things are a bit sore down there… With my other births I’ve only ever had the little perineum bottle of cool water provided by the hospital. This mama hasn’t been impressed. I’m kicking up the self-care this time and bringing this essential oil postpartum vaginal spray with me. I’m positive I’ll be glad I did.
8. Robe, Leggings, and Grippy Socks – I’m hoping to get outta dodge pretty quickly after the wee babe is born – but if we should have any reason to stay at the hospital for a day or so, comfort is important to me. Um, hello maternity leggings! These items are comfy, but not frumpy, and let me tell you, that is important psychologically. I’m not a fixin’ my hair and doing my make-up right after birth kinda gal, but I do not want to be wearing that dang hospital gown for days (my birthing gown will likely be messy…). And amen.
9. Belly wrap – Okay, let’s be real here. Birthing a baby leaves your insides all kinds of wonky. Your internal organs have been squashed and smushed around inside you for months and now all of sudden you’ve got a cavernous space inside you. It can leave a lady feeling vulnerable, weak, and quite frankly – weird. So this time I’m using a belly wrap. Belly binding has been used by postpartum mamas for centuries, for these reasons and more – you can read more about it here. I’ve never used one before, but for all the above reasons, I’m using one this time (this is the belly wrap I’ll be using).
10. Nursing Bras, Nursing Pads and Tank Tops – After the birth, the biggest task ahead will be breastfeeding. Such is the natural course of bringing a new babe into the world. So take care of yourself! You’re gonna need support, protection from leaking, and easy access. These are my favorite nursing pads, they’re washable, durable, and they do a terrific job – oh and some of them are lacey! Pretty, reusable, leak-proof? They’re awesome!
11. Natural nipple cream – I apologize in advance for using the n word, but nipples are gonna be on your mind after birth. Because they’re gonna hurt. Even if the baby has a great latch, and even if you have no nursing issues whatsoever – the first 10 days will be painful. The end. This breastfeeding nipple cream featuring Lavender essential oil is soooo coming with me this time. It should go with you too. It will help you push through those first uncomfortable weeks and persevere to experience a rewarding nursing relationship with your baby
12. Serious Swaddles – Okay, maybe if people have “regular” sized babies, the hospital swaddle blankets will work. But my kids are big, and they are strong. Like for realz. So pretty early on I discovered that no ordinary swaddle blanket would do. Hear me mamas, you NEED a good swaddle blanket. You just do. And these are the best ones ever. Especially for summer babies. Even my herculean children can’t get out of these (especially when my husband swaddles them, he’s better at it than me 😉 ). So do yourself a giant favor, and ditch the receiving blanket asap and replace it one of these.
Bonus: Disposable Underwear and Pads – My hospital provides these, but I’ve heard a lot of hospitals are stingy about it and don’t give you enough. I’ll be keeping these on hand at home for my postpartum recovery, but you might like to toss them in the bag just in case you need them at the hospital.
So there it is. My ultimate natural hospital birth bag.
If there is one lesson I’ve learned from my first two births it’s this – Mama self-care is vitally important. And I feel like that’s truly reflected in this list. So take care of yourselves Mama’s. You’ve just done the most monumental thing your body can do – don’t neglect yourself afterwards!
What would you add to the list?? Tell me in the comments!
This post shared at: The Art of Home-Making