Monday, 31 March 2014

Preparing for the BIG day

During the last month of the pregnancy I was stressing a lot about several things - what to put in my hospital bag, what is a birth plan and how to recognize that the labor is starting. I have read so many stories for births that had happened everywhere else, but not in the hospital, that I was really worried not to miss the signs until it’s too late.

Eventually, after experiencing it all, I realized that the body knows best and we should just have faith in our instincts. Even if the hospital is trying to delay your coming by suggesting you to wait a few more hours, if you know it’s time, then it’s time. It’s better to be a false alarm and to make one extra journey to the hospital, rather than risking yours and your baby’s health by experiencing birth at home or in a car. If I am to do everything all over again, there are few things I would pay more attention to, when I am preparing for the big day.
Preparing the hospital bag   

I was really confused when it came to preparing the bag. Was it really necessary to take so many clothes for me and the baby as the baby magazines were suggesting? Yes, really is better to be prepared, rather than regret for not taking this or that. It is true that if you need to stay in the hospital for more than a night, you can relay on your partner or a relative or a friend to bring you extra things you need, but still there are few essentials you need to pack. Some hospitals might be keener to provide you with nappies, cotton wool or maternity towels. But it’s better to have them in advance, so you are safe. 

These were our essentials we prepared for the baby. I was wondering why cotton wool instead of wet wipes, but because baby’s skin is so sensitive, wool topped in warm water will be the best option  for cleaning your baby. You will be changing a lot of nappies during the first weeks, so it will be better to treat with something as safe as water.

Nappy cream is the next step for prottecting the sensitive skin of your baby's bottom and a great product is Sudocream.

Sometimes babies have really long nails, even from birth, so the mittens will prevent him from scratching his face.

Hat will keep his small and sensitive head safe.

The vest will act as underwear under the bodysuit.

If you are bottlefeeding your baby from the very start, there are great starter kits with ready formula and sterilized, ready to use bottles and teats. You will have everything you need ready to feed your baby.


Maternity towels and underwear are one of the most important things to pack, so you can leave the hospital feeling as much comfortable as possible.

Gown (or big shirt) and flip flops will make you feel comfortable while you are in the hospital and if you need to stay there overnight or more. Choose something with buttons so it’s convenient for you if you are breastfeeding.

Nipple cream – It’s better to start treating your nipples as soon as you start breastfeeding, because they tend to get sore very fast and once they get sore the nightmare begins. It’s painful and the more you are using the breast, the longer it will take to heel.  Lanolin is the best and most recommended cream.

Don’t forget to take few pictures with whatever camera device you have. The chances to feel like posing are slim, but in the end the tiredness and pain will disappear and pictures from the hospital will be cherished memories.

Birth plan

Even though I love planning, I kept questioning how you can plan an event as unpredictable as giving birth. When the midwife asked about my plan, I just told her I want safe delivery, as natural as possible, and with my options open – to take decisions as it is happening. Now I know that if I am to give birth again, I will clarify some things in advance, the most important one - pain relief!!

Once I read about all of the options, I decided I want to experience everything and not to have any pain killers, but when the contractions started and I felt the “out of this world” pain, I deeply regretted. Breathing and squeezing hands just wasn’t working. I realized how much will power, along with the physical power I will need to use. Things you learn when you attend antenatal classes. (Highly recommended! I missed mine and still regret!)

When you do your birth plan you should be able to answer these questions: Where do I want to give birth? Who do I want with me? Do I want pain relief? What can I use to help me go through the delivery? What if things go wrong and other options, rather than natural delivery, should be used? Care after birth?


Answering these questions, you will be pretty much ready with your birth plan. And even though you never know how exactly the birth will go, this will help you to visualize and prepare mentally for what is going to happen.


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