Thursday, August 06, 2009

I'm going to hospital to have a baby (by cesarean section) and I'm taking......

A bit like that memory game: I'm going shopping and I'm going to buy....Here is my hospital bag list (it's almost ALL in there too) and the reasons, as a second time mum, why I've chosen these items. Please, please leave your comment below if you have any other ideas, things you took, or wished you had, when you had your baby. Especially if you had a cesarean, this is my first time having one!

For baby:

My pouch sling. I want to carry the baby a lot anyway, but last time I was a bit confused as to whether it was ok to leave the baby in a cot on the ward while I went for a wee.....this time I will just take baby along! And I may still be on crutches anyway, I was last time, so carrying can be difficult when you need both hands for something else.

Several (blue, as my first was a boy, not point buying til we know!) vests and babygrows: some in “newborn” size, and some in “early baby” size: none in 0-3m. Even “newborn” didn't fit Boy for at least a month!

Packet of “nature babycare” bio-degradable, eco-friendly nappies. We intend to use cotton nappies when I'm feeling a little better after the op, and these are the next best thing (you can even put a few wet ones in your home compost bin: decomposing above ground does not produce harmful methane like landfills do. Just remember to not use nappy bags, (or use the nature babycare ones): they will take much longer to decompose, wherever you put them, wrapped in a plastic bag). They sell them in Boots and larger Tescos, same price a huggies & pampers, just not on offer as often.

Muslin cloths & nappy cloths (the inside bit of the nappies, which look like big dishcloths when not folded), for laying baby on to change nappies, to wipe up wees, poos, sick, milk, and to use as a shoulder-guard when winding baby upon your shoulder. An invaluable must. Still useful (essential!) at 20 months old.

Scratch mitts. Boy was a scratcher. We also may buy some babygros with mitts attached, (matalan) as they never stay on!


My usual toiletries, including a new perfumed (Bright Crystal) moisturizer my mum got me (in a set) to take to hospital to pamper myself. I wonder if I'll get time? What a lovely present, nonetheless.

Nettle & Peppermint tea: nettle for boosting milk supply, and peppermint for the painful trapped wind cesarean patients often get a few days after the birth. Don't want to be going through extra pain unnecessarily!

Brand new tommee tippee hand breast pump and little (closer to nature) bottle. We had breastfeeding difficulties last time, and I suspect a major operation will not make it easier...always be prepared! My Boy rifled through my bag the other day, picked up the breast pump (while I was on the phone) and said “toot toot!” into the boob bit, as though it was a trumpet! Almost dropped the phone.

Stretchy gauze hospital knickers: bought from the NCT website, most comfy things EVER! Apparently, can be washed up to 10 times.

Nursing bras in huge sizes. They were all too small last time....

Reusable breast pads

Lansinoh nipple cream...hoping to get it on prescription, it's quite expensive but oh-so worth it.

Maternity/breastfeeding nightwear. Don't bother with a dressing gown. Too hot on the wards.

Bottles of lucuzade & a bottle of cordial. I don't do water, and need to keep hydrated for breastfeeding!

“The Food of Love: your guide to successful breastfeeding” by Kate Evans. Checkout my review. Hospital bag essential.

For the operation:

Jane Green's new paperback (my 2nd fave chick lit author) for the possibly long wait for surgery. And, also useful for endless breastfeeding, as you have a free arm!

Blooming Birth by Lucy Atkins & Julia Guderian. It has a chapter on cesareans, and I found it invaluable last time to stop me feeling so scared of labour. It's an amazing read. Mine is excessively dog-eared, highlighted and stuffed with post-its.

Rescue Remedy pastilles & frankincense essential oil: to keep me relaxed as I have my tummy sliced open....

Travel sickness bands: for possible nausea caused by the epidural.

Camera & tripod: for taking pics minus the (inevitable) shaking hands. And possibly get one of all 3 of us, with timer, without having to ask the midwife.

Music: I've left it to HID to choose. He chose our wedding first dance and I loved it. So did the guests, although no one had ever heard of “The Bees”!

My birth plan.

Cesarean support belt (can be heated or cooled), bought for 99p from ebay!

Then I also had a genius idea of packing a second bag. Last time I stayed in for four days, and felt I came out too early, so this time, depending on how busy the ward is & how I feel, I intend to stay longer. But, HID is not great at being asked to bring extra things in (that require knowing where we keep the clothes and other apparently non-essential items), so I'm packing another bag, with “extra” everything in it, and mine and baby's going home clothes. (Just a tip, pack very baggy and comfy clothes to go home in. You will be sore and car journeys are not comfortable). So I can literally give him a bag full of washing (which he will probably get my mum to do), and ask him to bring in the other bag, knowing it will have spare nappies, maternity towels and everything, already in it. So he can't mess it up!

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At 3:12 pm , Anonymous gigi said...

Sounds like you're really prepared.
I would say, having had a c-section myself (unfortunately - it wasn't at all what I had planned) I was glad we had a digital camera so my husband could record the weighing of the baby - actually I wish he had recorded the moment they pulled K out from behind the screen too (sometimes I almostwonder whether he's mine and not some decoy brought in at the last minute...almost!) Also if you wear prescription glasses, bring a spare pair. I lost mine and couldn't focus for 24 hours till my mother brought me a pair of the peg. And don't forget to demand skin on skin straight after the delivery, I was so knackered and confused I didn't and missed out on a pretty precious moment.
Good luckxxxx

At 6:07 pm , Blogger zooarchaeologist said...

Gosh! How well prepared, im a disaster, I can never think what to take apart from bottles of water and sweets.
Good luck with it all! How exciting xx

At 7:48 pm , Blogger miss leslieanne said...

You sound super prepared!

I hada c-section too, but it wasn't planned, so I wasn't at all prepared - still have nightmares about the whole thing :(

My essentials though, were lolly pops (fast sugary energy!) & a handheld battery operated fan (good grief they keep it toasty on those wards!! :P)

Good luck - I'm all excited for you now!! :D xx

At 9:27 am , Blogger Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

The two things I really wanted and forgot to bring were bendy straws and hair bands. No idea if they're appropriate/necessary for CS, though!

Sounds like you're well-prepared. I might just get the baby clothes down from the loft and start sorting through things this weekend.

At 11:19 am , Blogger Kat said...

Ok, now officially stalking your comments section - please tell me to buzz off if I'm bugging you!

Sling: most wards won't let you walk around with your baby not even in a sling. This is beacause they are moving beds or rushing to emergency buzzers etc and you could get knocked baby dropped etc etc - check before you set your heart on it! I wheeled Monty everywhere with me as he screamed the house down if I was even more than two feet away.

Lansinoh: not so necessary second time around, I only needed one dose.

Breastfeeding cushion can help as hospital beds & chairs not comfy at all.

Take 0 - 3 just in case. We had a surprise giant baby who had to go naked until Mr Kat went home and found him some bigger clothes.

I know 'abdominal surgery' sounds like it will hurt and have a long ainful recovery but without the pre-amble of labour I found it absolutely fine. Was driving after three weeks.

So exciting!

At 7:10 pm , Anonymous Josie (porridgebrain) said...

Wow. That is one well packed bag. Or TWO well packed bags even!

I can think of one significant omission...

Confidence. Lots and lots of confidence. That all will be well, that early breastfeeding will go like dream, that you will recover quickly and be home in no time.

Oh and snacks. Cause hospital food sucks.

Good luck!! Will look forward to reading all about it soon.

P.S. Big fan of the Blooming Birth book here too!

At 7:56 pm , Blogger Fiona said...

I had 2 c-sections and was able to plan them in advance, so they worked out pretty well.

Breastfeeding was much easier second time around too, so good luck with that.

I would pack arnica and hypericum tablets to help minimise bruising, and speed healing of the wound.

As for carriers I loved the Moby or Didymos for the early days, post op. I liked that I could tie them high and tight so they didn't accidentally 'bump' my tummy area, like a sling seemed prone to. And stretchy wraps are so nice for teeny tiny babies too.

We also took along a small gift for my older daughter, that we gave her when she met her new sibling for the first time.

I had a small framed photo of my older daughter on my bedside cabinet too.

Good luck welcoming your new family member - such a joyous occasion.

At 6:58 pm , Blogger allgrownup said...

Thank you all for leaving such encouraging, helpful comments.
Fiona: been looking through photos of my big boy, deciding which one to take, and I must remember to pack the giraffe jigsaw the baby has "bought" him! I have a stretchy wrap I intend to use, may swap over at you comment, I was trying to save space with y pouch:-)
Josie: Thanks. As a 2nd time mum, I do feel more confident! And the b/f book I read increased that tenfold. Glad you enjoyed blooming birth, I lend it to all my pregnant friends :-)
Kat: mainly nervous as I generally don't heal quickly, checkout my post on my post-partum recovery....I'm going to hunt out some 0-3, but I'm 5ft nothing and hubby 5ft7, so don't think they'll be used for some time, lol.
Tasha: good luck!!
Miss Leslianne: I'm so sorry you had a bad time, I'm trying to avoid the stress by preparing as best I can, and your comment has helped me prepare, so thank you. My last baby was born at Christmas, and my dressing gown was unused even in mid-winter, I'm a bit concerned about hot wards!I've been in bare minimum summer clothes for well over a month now, rain or shine, this baby is my little heater!!
Zooarchaeologist: thanks!
Gigi: skin to skin is really important to me, I will make hubby very aware, and he can demand on my behalf if I'm a bit overwhelmed. He came up trumps last time, insisting I gave birth on all fours (birth plan) instead of the midwives forcing me to lie on my back (!??) when I was too out of it to argue with them.

At 12:24 am , Blogger Soph4Soph said...

would def take arnica tablets, I chomped down on mine for weeks after, I didn't heal well either after my c-section.. it was a 2nd op for me too!
also, the lansinoh cream was a god send.. I really needed it with Soph, she was really hard to feed and i got very sore trying to feed her, She was my 4th baby too, you'd have thought my nipples had desensitized by now!! haha!
I found rugby tackle feeding her was best as my tummy was so sore after the op too, or laying down and feeding!
At home i used the widget pillow and it was amazing for feeding, even now.. Sometimes we get it out to feed with!!
Good luck with the birth, Can't wait to hear all about it!

At 5:45 pm , Anonymous ella said...

You sound well prepared!

I took an eye mask so that I could try and get a bit of sleep in the hospital during the day whenever possible.

Good luck!


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