Article by Josh Moore
There are endless tasks to take care of in the months and weeks leading up to having your baby, and one that should be prioritized is packing your hospital bag. While there are some essentials to remember, it’s also important to know what you don’t need. Use this guide to help you pack your hospital bag and be ready for your big day. If you need extra guidance, birth and postpartum doula Liz Foster can help.
What you should bring
When it’s time to jump in the car and race off to the hospital, you’ll be far too distracted to carefully pack a bag. This is where preparation comes in: it’s a great idea to pack a bag at least two weeks before your due date so you can be ready when the time comes.
While each mother-to-be will have her own personal requirements, there are some big items that you can’t leave at home. One major must-have is a car seat: you’ll need a safe way to transport your new baby back home, and the hospital likely won’t even let you leave if you don’t have one ready to go.
A change of clothes is vital for your big day. Along with packing an outfit for the ride back home, you’ll also want comfortable clothes to wear in the hospital. Many moms opt for a special labor gown, which is a great alternative to the scratchy and unflattering gowns that hospitals typically have on hand for birthing moms. When you’re picking one out, try to find one that’s as comfortable as your favorite tee and that’s functional enough to be worn during labor.
It’s also a great idea to bring a nice top to wear in photos with the baby. It’s normal to feel pretty worn out after labor, so a flattering shirt will make you feel beautiful in photos. You can get a great top even if you’re on a budget — check online for an Old Navy promo code to get discounts when you buy.
Other important items to bring include any medications and special toiletries such as contact lens solution. Bring documents like your insurance policy information and driver’s license and a pen for ease in filling out forms. You’ll need a cell phone and charger to stay in touch with friends and family.
If you’re working with a doula, first check with her to determine what items you can leave out of your bag. For example, many doulas will bring comfort items such as massage oil, tea lights, and a portable speaker to make the birthing process more soothing. You may even want a book or magazine if you’re being induced as there may be some downtime.
What NOT to bring
Along with knowing what essentials to bring with you to the hospital, there are a few items that aren’t worth taking along. For example, the hospital will provide many items that are essential such as diapers. If you’re unsure, check with your hospital to learn what items they plan to provide for you and your new baby.
It’s not usually necessary to bring baby clothes to the hospital — they’ll likely send you home with a onesie. However, if your baby comes in the winter, you might want to pack extra blankets to keep them warm for the drive home.
Another item you might consider leaving at home is snacks. Many birthing mamas aren’t in the mood for snacks during labor. However, a couple of granola bars won’t take up too much space and could help your partner make it through the labor if you don’t have the stomach for it.
Packing for the hospital will likely make the birth feel far more real and imminent. While you may feel inclined to overpack, try not to load too many items into your hospital bag. A simple labor gown and comfortable clothes, plus a cell phone, charger, important documents, and ID cards will be sufficient. Just don’t forget the car seat.
Do you need some guidance as you prepare for the birth of your baby? Contact Liz Foster today to learn about her birth and postpartum doula services.
Throughout pregnancy, women experience many different changes, aches, and discomforts. A most common symptom is tired feet. A lot of pressure is put on the legs and feet as baby gets heavier. Not only does the baby attribute to more weight gain but so does the maternal physiology and metabolism: water, amniotic fluid and blood accretion, uterine and placental growth, and breast and fat mass. This is enough to convince anyone that a woman's feet are substantially underrated and undernourished.
The feet are the foundations of the body. They have reflex points for every organ. Modalities like reflexology can stimulate and balance the body. In the case of pregnancy, the body is going through a lot of changes so a foot massage can be highly beneficial in staying grounded and balanced throughout the process of growing a baby.
Benefits include: Increased blood flow, energy, and rejuvenation, reduced swelling, released tension and an overall happier mama!
The following is a SAFE foot massage that can be used all throughout pregnancy and for labor. It is good practice for the partner to have a supporting role in labor. And for all you single mamas out there, you can do this to yourself sitting in a cross-legged position.
**One caution: there is an acupressure point between the inner *ankle bone and the Achilles tendon, which, when stimulated, may produce labor contractions. This should only be stimulated when a pregnant woman is in labor.**
You may use essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil if that is preferred. Be sure to mix the oils together on your hands before massaging the foot. Safe essential oils for pregnant women are: Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Ginger, Geranium, and Bergamot.
Foot Massage for Labor
First, position the foot so that it is supported for the woman's relaxation and for you to work comfortably.
1) Using the palm of both hands, use firm strokes to massage from the toes to the feet, all the way up to the calf, and lighter strokes to massage back down the calf to the feet and toes. Repeat at least 3x up and down.
2) Gently squeeze (not twist) the entire foot with both hands like you're squeezing water out of a sponge at least 5x. Count to 5 between each squeeze for blood flow to return. Just like a sponge when you squeeze out the water, you wait for the water to soak back into the sponge.
3) With your fingers on top of the foot, use your thumb to press into the spot just under the ball of the foot. Hold for about 10 seconds and let it go. Repeat this about 5x in the same way as the sponge technique.
4) Use your thumbs to make small circles on the bottom of the foot.
5) Use your knuckles to massage the instep/arch of the foot.
6) Use your fingertips to make small circles around the ankle bone* and top of the foot.
7) Use your fingertips or thumbs to stroke from the top of the ankle down between each toe.
8) Gently pull or wiggle each toe.
9) Use your thumb and side of your index finger to press down gently on the top of each toe and release, like you would when you click open a retractable pen.
10) Squeeze the top of the foot with both hands at least 3x.
11) Squeeze the bottom of the foot with both hands at least 3x.
12) Make a Hand-Foot sandwich: With your fingers pointing towards the ankle, use both hands to firmly "sandwich" the foot. Hold firmly to a count of five, then lighten the pressure and pull hands away slowly. Repeat at least 3x.
Ladies and Gents, let me know your thoughts and how I can help!
Did you try it?
Ladies, did you love it?
Partners, was your mama happy with your foot work? What can you do to make it more enjoyable?
Ok gals, labor cookies...do they really work??
Well, I can attest to how well they work. And to how delish they are! I made these with my second child at 39 weeks. And I'm going to be blatantly honest here...
I ate 13 cookies
in one sitting.
Because when am I ever going to have the chance to eat that many cookies
EVER AGAIN in my life?!
I ate those scrumptious labor cookies and I ate them well. And get this, THEY WORKED!!
About 5 hours later, labor began...and 12 hours after that, we had a beautiful baby girl, who probably had molasses in her poop...no wait, that was meconium. Too much??
A side of caution: they may just cause indigestion...
What pregnant mama would say no to the request to eat a dozen labor cookies?
It couldn’t hurt to try, right?
They taste like Christmas!
Are you desperate to go into labor that you will try something a little crazy and make these cookies?
Are you going to give these cookies a try? Maybe ask your partner or mom to make them! Now go get those ingredients! I'll be here waiting...
I would love to hear your thoughts on how they tasted for you!
In the meantime, snag a FREE Labor Cheat Sheet at the bottom of this page.
Be well-prepared for the day that baby arrives.
And if you try these cookies, baby day may be closer than you think!!
2 1/2 c. flour