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Think Outside of the Hospital Bag

After reading this article about hospital bags of moms around the world, it made me think of what my essentials were during my two hospital deliveries. There were some essential differences because they were born in different hospitals and each had their own suggestions; however, I must admit there was one huge difference from the first boy to the second....snacks! I picked and packed my snacks before I chose a going-home outfit. Babies look cute in anything, right?!

While it's important that moms follow the guidelines of their hospitals/birth centers, it's also nice to get advice and creative ideas from moms who have been-there-done-that. Consider this a Pinterest of Hospital Bags, if you will.

Here are some of my suggestions, gathered from my successes and failures:

1. Snacks - obviously, super important to me. Not just because I had long labors, but because I didn't want to be dependent on hospital food. A lot of hospitals don't allow food during labor anyway, but a lot of midwives and nurses won't say anything ;) Also consider food for your partner. I don't like crunchy food sounds, so I made sure to get soft snacks that my husband would like (read: Red Vines). If you are bringing frozen foods, like popsicles, leave a note on the back of your front door and a cooler nearby so you can just drop them in and run - or waddle - out the door.

2. Trash bag - to save your seats from birthing fluids (that's as lovely as it sounds). During my second labor, my bag of water broke more with every bump in the our new car. Needless to say, the enormous black trash bag was helpful.

3. Directions to the hospital - your birth partner will most likely know the way to the hospital. BUT is he/she prepared to make on-the-spot decisions about whether or not to run a red light? Or which alternate route to take if there's traffic? Talk about these things before hand and be sure to write them down and tap them to the dashboard so there's no last minute search fiasco!

4. Music - this ended up not being as important as I thought. Our current birthing culture so often tells us that it's nice, even necessary, to have calming music in the background as we focus our energy on laboring. I put lots of time and mental energy into making the right playlist, taking suggestions from the internet and good friends who are into music, considering the kind of child birth I wanted, etc. During the labor, I HATED the music I chose! Some of it had profanities because I thought I might be in primal-angry-momma mode, but, instead, it was super embarrassing. Lesson learned: don't put 50 Cent on your birth play list. Now, I can't bear to listen to some of those songs because I get so emotional. Maybe that's for the better, considering my song choices...But, while I couldn't have anticipated that I would hate my music in that moment, if you are considering music, just go with your gut. Or pick a general Pandora station that can play music on its own instead of spending hours pouring over iTune songs. And be sure to tell your partner(s) to press stop when start growling at the radio.

If this is your first baby, chances are you're overwhelmed with what to pack. There are some many different lists out there and lots of scenarios to consider. Just take a deep breath and remember that we are fortunate in the US to have access to so many things, not the least of which is a 24-hour pharmacy on any given corner. A birth partner, doula, or good friend can always run out and get something you need. You will get anything you want during labor, so MILK IT!!!! pun intended ;)

What are some things you are planning to pack in your bag? Experienced mommas, what are you most happy you packed?

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