As a first time mom, the thought of labor and delivery of my baby was scary. I didn’t know what to expect. I talked to a lot of people about what their experiences were like, but I don’t think it prepared me. Every experience is going to be different, but there are some things you can do in terms of preparing for labor and delivery of your baby.
I think the first consideration would be to prepare your home. If your home is ready, you can spend all of your time focusing on the labor and delivery part. So how do you do that?
The Well Planned Mama has a great post on how to prepare your home for a baby. Mainly, I think this consists of setting up the baby’s nursery. So, first of all, be sure to have a stockpile of baby clothes. And babies grow quickly, so you’ll want to make sure you have other sizes besides “newborn”. Be sure you also have lots of basic clothing such as onesies, sleepers, socks, and gowns.
You’ll also want to make sure your diaper changing space is set up. We had a diaper changing table with plenty of diapers and wipes on the shelves. I also opted to get a diaper pail that I set up right next to the changing table. Then, be sure to have a good place to feed your baby. Consider having a comfy chair with a side table and lamp. Have everything in place in the nursery beforehand- the crib, the changing table, etc.
I also wanted to make sure the house was as clean as I could get it, so I wouldn’t have to worry as much about that when we came home from the hospital. However, one thing I regret is not making more meals that I could easily put in the oven or crockpot, so I didn’t have to do any cooking for a while.
It’s great to have a birth plan, so everyone knows that your wishes are. Your birth plan likely starts with your wishes before birth. For example, you will want to consider who you want in the room with you. I was ok with having family in the room before I felt any pain, but once I started feeling pain, I only wanted my husband. I made sure everyone was clear on that before we went to the hospital.
You may also prefer to be in a tub or be up walking around during labor. You might also want music or a particular type of lighting.
Of course, you’ll want to think about pain relief. Do you want to have medications or an epidural? Or do you want to try to go without anything? For some great tips on how to give birth without an epidural, see this post by Two Pink Peonies. There are also benefits to an unmedicated birth. For example, pushing during labor is easier and recovery may be quicker. For me, I had to have the epidural as long as everything went smoothly, and they didn’t tell me she was coming too quickly!
Do expect the unexpected. While you may want the epidural, your baby may have come fast enough that it’s too late to get one. Also, there could be something you wanted (such as a natural birth), but your doctor may think it’s not medically advisable (you may need a C-section instead).
Once you’re getting close to having your baby, it’s time to pack your hospital bag. First of all, try not to overpack, as the hospital provides a lot of items for you. For example, hospitals provide diapers, wipes, postpartum supplies for you (such as the mesh panties), shirts and blankets for baby, etc.
In terms of what YOU will need for the labor and delivery part, consider these things:
1. Pack a box of energy bars. Consider eating one before delivery, so you aren’t so full you’re uncomfortable, but you also have the energy to go through labor.
2. Include a water bottle. You will need hydration throughout your time at the hospital. I was told to drink LOTS of water right before I went into the hospital, and I’m so glad I did.
Labor and delivery was probably the most strenuous thing I have ever done, and I have been a competitive athlete. So, it’s important to stay hydrated and have the energy to get through everything.
1. In terms of what you will need after delivery, definitely pack a nursing pillow, such as this one:
I didn’t pack one, and I regretted it. I was tired and having to work with trying to nurse without much support.
2. Phone and charger.
Pack shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, and hairbrush.
4. Nursing bra.
I wore my hospital gown the whole time and breastfed my baby. You might be more comfortable with a nursing bra, however.
5. Pack dark-colored clothing.
You will have a lot of postpartum bleeding, so there may be stains. Depending on the weather, you might also pack some tank tops to make breastfeeding easier. Pack some yoga pants or leggings as well, as comfort will be key!
6. Nursing dress/gown
I wish I had brought my own gown. I hated the hospital gown! It was uncomfortable, and I felt like a mess in it! I really like this one and would have bought this one:
If you’re not up for the mesh underwear that the hospital gives you, then consider taking your own postpartum underwear. Here are some ideas that are likely more comfortable:
These are disposable and offer good protection from leaks.
These are cotton and have a high waist, so they are super comfortable for your postpartum recovery!
8. A folder for important documents.
You will get a lot of important documents to keep track of, so definitely bring a folder for them! Also, keep your documents such as ID, insurance card, birth plan, etc. in this folder.
1. Onesies and pajamas.
Pack at least 5-10 sets. These are great sets that you can use to layer other clothes over:
2. 8-10 pairs of socks.
3. 8-10 pairs of pants/shorts (depending on weather).
4. Special going home outfit.
You might have a specific outfit that you want to bring your baby home in, so be sure to pack that. I love these:
This is such a fun and exciting time, although you might not be clear on everything to do before you go into the hospital and have your baby. I hope this helps give you some suggestions on what to think about such as what to pack and what to put on your birth plan. You got this mamma!
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