Packing Your Hospital Bag

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Read time: 4 minutes

TL;DR

  • Packing your hospital bag might seem like a small task, but preparation is key to ensuring comfort at the hospital during labor, delivery and recovery.
  • Be sure to have your ID, insurance card and credit card safe and easily accessible in your bag. Bring multiple bags to leave room for things coming home with the baby.
  • Bring comfortable socks, nightgowns and a cardigan for you, a maternity outfit to come home in, extra clothes for your partner and a coming home outfit for your baby.
  • Don’t forget phone chargers and camera batteries!
  • You’ll need comfortable underwear and absorbent overnight pads for postpartum bleeding, and your favorite shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste will be a must.
  • With the car seat buckled in and coming home blankies for baby, you’re ready to take your little one home!

 

Packing your hospital bag is one of the final preparations you will have to make before meeting your new little one. While packing the bag seems like a small task on your third trimester to-do list, we understand how overwhelming it is to choose what exactly should and shouldn’t come with you to the hospital. Our list of essential items to bring will help you decide what you will need during delivery and what items are better off left at home.

Pack More Than One Bag

While it would be nice if everything you need for birth could fit in one bag, but chances are that you will need more than one. A large suitcase or duffel bag for you and a small one for your partner will help keep all of your items organized. Many moms also recommend bringing an empty duffel bag along to the hospital as well for all of the diapers, supplies and samples that the hospital may give you to make transporting everything home easier.

Essential Information

Even if you pre-registered at the hospital, bring a copy of your insurance card and you and your partner’s photo IDs in a place in your bag that is easy to access. If you are choosing to use a birth plan, be sure to also bring extra copies along. A credit card for paying your hospital deductible or co-pay should also be packed in a safe location.

Clothes

The hospital will provide you a gown and sterile socks to wear during labor and after delivery. Most moms, however, feel more comfortable wearing their own clothes. The key is selecting clothes that are comfortable and you don’t mind getting stained. Pack several pairs of thick socks to wear while walking the halls and a comfortable nightgown. A soft cardigan and slippers are also good to have.

It will take time for the swelling and extra fluids to leave your body after birth, so pack maternity clothes with a soft waistband for a going home outfit, or wear the same outfit home that you wore to the hospital. A nursing bra without underwire should also be packed to help provide extra support to your breasts and help make nursing easier.

Though your baby will probably wear the hospital-provided gowns during his or her stay, your baby will also need a going-home outfit and blankets to come home in. An extra outfit and pajamas for your partner will also come in handy if he or she is planning on sleeping at the hospital with you.

Electronics

Prepare your phone or tablet ahead of time by downloading plenty of soothing music that will help keep you relaxed during birth. A set of speakers can also come in handy in order for you to hear your music above the hustle-and-bustle of the delivery room. Remember to also bring your phone charger, camera and any extra batteries necessary in order to capture your baby’s first pictures and to keep in touch with family. Consider packing these devices in your partner’s bag so that he or she can easily access them for memory keeping.

Snacks

Though many hospitals will only let you have ice chips during labor, you will likely be pretty hungry after giving birth. Be sure to pack some healthy snacks for both you and your partner – this is especially helpful if you deliver in the middle of the night and the hospital kitchen is not open.

Toiletries

One common issue that moms have stated during labor is dry lips. It is helpful to have your favorite lip balm on hand during labor. Though the hospital will provide shampoo and soap, you may be more comfortable packing travel-size tubes of your favorite toiletries for showering in the hospital. You’ll need supplies to take care of your hair and skin as well. Consider also packing an extra tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush and deodorant for your partner if he or she is planning on staying overnight with you.

Extra Underwear and Overnight Pads

After you have your baby, your uterus will begin shrinking, shedding its lining as it contracts to its pre-pregnancy size. Postpartum bleeding is much like a menstrual period and can last up to six weeks. The hospital will provide a mesh pair of underwear and a thick pad to wear after birth and for going home, but many moms find them uncomfortable and bulky. Packing extra-absorbent, overnight pads and extra underwear from home can help you feel more comfortable while at the hospital and on the trip home.

Car Seat and Blankets

Most hospitals won’t let you leave without ensuring that your baby has a safe way to travel home. Bring the car seat, with the base properly installed inside of the car, with you to bring your new little one home. Depending on the weather, extra blankets may be necessary to keep your baby warm while traveling.

We recommend packing your hospital bag at least three weeks before your due date and storing it close to the door to grab as soon as you need to go to the hospital. Preparing ahead of time for your hospital birth will make the process go smoothly and will help ensure that essentials don’t get left behind when you go into labor.

From packing your hospital bag to ordering your breast pump and bringing your new bundle of joy home, BreastPumps.com is ready to provide the support and resources you need throughout your parenting journey.

Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Read time: 3 minutes

TL;DR

  • Experts agree that breastfeeding your little one for the first year of his or her life will provide the best nutritional start, but different challenges can make doing so difficult.
  • If possible, experts recommend waiting until your little one is about two months old before introducing the bottle to ensure your milk supply is well-established and he or she has gained a steady amount of weight.
  • Though they seem similar, breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different tongue and facial actions, which can make it difficult for a baby who has been exclusively breastfed to figure out how to make the switch.
  • Combining breast and bottle feeding offers you the ability to go back to work or out for the evening while still providing your little one nutritious breast milk.
  • Using a breast pump can help you to keep up or increase your milk supply or, if you are unable to do so, introducing formula can help to ensure that your little one is getting the nutrition he or she needs.

 

Experts agree that breastfeeding your little one for the first year of his or her life will provide them the best nutritional start. Though many moms aspire to exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first year, different challenges can make doing so difficult. Combining breast and bottle feeding offers many moms the best of both worlds.

 

Reasons for Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

There are many different reasons to offer your little one a combination of the breast and bottle. These include:

  • Providing your little one nutrition when you go back to work.
  • Giving others the opportunity to feed your little one while you rest or are away for the evening.
  • Beginning to breastfeed when your little one has been given bottles in the NICU due to premature birth.
  • Allowing you to continue to provide breast milk for your baby during health complications or sudden life changes.
  • Giving you the opportunity to compromise if breastfeeding is extremely challenging without giving up nursing completely.

 

Ideal Timeline for Bottle Introduction

During the first six to eight weeks of breastfeeding, your body will adjust to making the perfect amount of milk for your little one based on supply and demand. Because of this, experts don’t recommend introducing a bottle or a pacifier during this time. If possible, wait until your little one is about two months old before introducing the bottle. This will ensure your milk supply is well-established and he or she has gained a steady amount of weight.

 

Introducing the Bottle to Your Little One

Many moms who have been exclusively breastfeeding for the first couple of months of their little one’s life may be surprised when they try to give a bottle to their baby for the first time and find that he or she won’t take it. Though they seem similar, breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different tongue and facial actions, which can make it difficult for a baby who has been exclusively breastfed to figure out how to make the switch. Try these tips for helping your baby adjust to the bottle.

 

Try Different Bottles

There are a variety of different bottles and nipples on the market. It can take several tries before finding the perfect one for your little one. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Additionally, check out the flow rate of the nipple. If you have a fast letdown, a slow-drip nipple will quickly frustrate your baby.

 

Wait Until Your Little One is Satisfied

It may seem strange, but it can be helpful to breastfeed your little one for a few minutes before trying a bottle. When your little one is screaming to be fed, he or she won’t be as willing to try something new as when their belly is full.

 

Try a Different Position

Many moms hold their little one in a “cradle hold” against their chest during breastfeeding. If you try to hold your little one in a similar matter for bottle feeding, he or she may be confused. Try holding him or her in a different position.

 

Ask for Help

By this point, your little one probably equates your face, smell and touch with food. If you’ve been breastfeeding for months, your little one won’t understand why nursing isn’t happening when you try to provide a bottle. Asking someone else to feed your little one a bottle can make the transition easier.

 

Choosing to Introduce Formula

If you go back to work, you can continue to provide your little one breast milk while you are away by using a breast pump. Using a breast pump can help you to keep up or increase your milk supply, so you can continue to breastfeed your little one at home. If you aren’t able to do so, you may need to introduce formula to ensure that your little one is getting the nutrition he or she needs.

Because formula tastes different than breast milk, your baby will need to adjust. If your little one is rejecting formula, try combining breastmilk and formula in the same bottle.

It’s important to remember that if you are feeding your little one formula, your milk supply will most likely dip. Breastfeeding or pumping as much as possible when you and your little one are together will help you to maintain your supply.

Combining breast and bottle feeding offers you the ability to go back to work or out for the evening while still providing your little one nutritious breast milk. Only you know what’s best for your unique situation and baby. Offering both may give you the”break” you need in order to reach your breastfeeding goals as your little one grows this first year.

Eight Ways to Use Your Nursing Pillow

Eight Ways to Use Your Nursing Pillow

Nursing pillows, also known as feeding pillows, can be a new mom’s lifesaver. Though there are different types, nursing pillows usually are U-shaped and are placed around your midsection in order to support your baby during feeding. Though the most common use of the pillow is for support during breastfeeding, you can get plenty of other uses out of your nursing pillow, making it a versatile must-have baby product.

1. Support Your Back During Pregnancy

If you received a nursing pillow as a baby shower gift, you don’t need for your little one to arrive to put it to work. The weight of your growing little one (and belly) can strain your back muscles during the last trimester of pregnancy. Use your nursing pillow for back support by placing backwards, so that it rests on your back rather than your stomach while sitting in your office chair or on the couch. The shape and size of the pillow make it the perfect support for your sore lower back muscles.

2. Bring the Baby to the Perfect Height for Pain-free Breastfeeding

Too many moms experience pain during the early days of breastfeeding. This is normally due to having an improper latch or muscle straining in the neck, back or arms. Your baby needs to be brought up to your chest and close to your breasts in order be able to latch properly.

A nursing pillow can be adjusted with straps or a folded blanket placed under the pillow in order to bring the baby to the perfect height for nursing and tummy-to-tummy contact, which can reduce the strain on your muscles and help you to focus on helping your little one latch properly.

3. Take the Pressure Off of Your C-section Scar During Healing

It’s a great idea to take your nursing pillow to the hospital with you. Not only will it help you while you and your little one are learning how to breastfeed, but it can help protect your sensitive scar if you’ve had a C-section. It will take several weeks for your scar to heal, which can make holding a squirming baby against it during breastfeeding uncomfortable.

Using a nursing pillow can protect your stomach while you heal, making nursing less painful. Place the nursing cover gently against your stomach during nursing. If you do take your nursing pillow to the hospital, consider buying a washable cover for it so you can clean it when you get home to protect your little one from any germs.

4. Bring Relief from Episiotomy Pain

If you had a vaginal birth, you may have experienced vaginal tearing or received an episiotomy. The stitches can make sitting for long periods of time pretty miserable. Sitting on your nursing pillow can relieve the pressure from your stitches while you heal.

5. Support During Bottle Feeding

Bottle feeding can also strain your arms and neck while holding your little one to feed him or her. Laying your baby on the nursing pillow will relieve this pain. If you are returning to work or want to go out for the evening, other family members can also use your nursing pillow to feed your little one a bottle. The routine of using a nursing pillow can help your little one adjust to others feeding him or her.

Pumping will allow you to continue to provide your baby breast milk if you are unable to nurse him or her while you are away. Most insurance companies will provide a breast pump at no cost to you. Contact your insurance company or fill out this form to see which breast pumps are offered through your provider.

6. Help to Relieve Your Baby’s Reflux

Many babies experience reflux or colic, which can cause him or her pain after eating. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when the milk your little one drank comes back up his or her esophagus, causing pain, spitting up and vomiting. Propping up your little one on your nursing pillow after eating can help prevent reflux from occurring,

7. Help Prop Your Baby Up During Tummy Time

If your baby dislikes spending time on his or her stomach, they are not alone. Many babies cry during “tummy time,” which can make it miserable for both you and your baby. Spending time each day on their stomach, however, is necessary to help your little one to develop their muscles, strengthen their neck and prevent plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, from occurring. This condition may occur if your baby spends too much time on their back.

To use your nursing pillow during tummy time, place your nursing pillow on the ground with a few toys in front of it. Place your baby gently on the pillow on their stomach, with his or her chest resting on the nursing pillow. Stay with your baby to ensure they don’t slip off and can breathe properly during the exercise.

8. Provide Support While Your Little One Learns to Sit

Between four and six months of age, your baby will begin to develop the muscles and strength necessary for him or her to sit up on their own. Your baby will love the new freedoms and views that sitting up will bring. While your little one is learning to sit, a nursing pillow can provide support and prevent them from hitting their head hard on the ground if they should lose their balance. Help your baby to sit up and then place the nursing pillow around their legs to keep them safe while they perfect this new skill.

With so many different uses, your nursing pillow will soon become one of your favorite baby products. Try using it in a new way in order to get the most out of your nursing pillow.

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