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post-partum

The Hospital Bag Post-Partum Must-Haves

To get to post-partum you must give birth. So let’s start with packing the hospital bag because that’s truly where my post-partum must-haves began. I used an Adidas gym bag for our hospital bag because I didn’t feel the need to bring a suitcase or spring for a new fancy bag for it just to be thrown on the floor of the labor and delivery room. Here’s what I packed:

Toiletries

  • Shampoo and Conditioner (I just packed a sample size of the Verb sea salt shampoo and conditioner I had)
  • Travel-sized body wash
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick (must have – there’s something about hospitals that dries your skin and lips out)
  • Hair ties
  • Brush
  • Overnight pads and adult diapers (the hospital does have these for you but I prefered wearing the adult diaper and then putting on the mesh underwear they give you for extra support to keep everything in place).
  • Clorox wipes/alcohol wipes.
  • Mask

Clothes

  • Button down pajama set
  • Joggers and t-shirt
  • 2 nursing bras
  • 2 pairs of underwear
  • Fuzzy socks (although they won’t let you out of bed without grippy socks so just pack a pair to go home in).
  • Winter jacket
  • Shoes

Baby Items

  • Announcement Outfit
  • Take-home outfit
  • Annoucnement materials (honestly I didn’t have any but I know a lot of moms like to do this).
  • Pacifiers (if you plan to use them – my baby ended up only accepting the Avent Soothie pacifiers the hospital had and not the NUK ones I brought).
  • You do not need to bring nipple cream, lanolin, vaseline, diapers, diaper cream, lotion, baby wash, washcloths, etc. The hosptial will have all of that.
  • An extra bag (drawstring or reuseable grocery) to bring home free hospital items (formula, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, breastmilk collection bottles, medicine syringes, etc.)
  • Hat, gloves, blanket (I had a December baby so pack according to weather).

Here’s a free printable checklist:

The C-Section

Labor & Delivery

My story is a little different. I didn’t plan on having a c-section. I knew it was always an option but I did plan on avoiding it if I could. On December 1st I went to my thirty-eight-week appointment and my blood pressure was 159/90 so they sent me to the hospital to get checked for preeclampsia. They found protein in my urine and admitted me. We planned to induce me the next morning. They administered Cervadil that night and induced me with Pitocin the next morning around 7 am. I started contracting quite quickly and my contractions eventually were incredibly painful and close together.

I opted to have an epidural and that helped for a while before the pain came roaring back on the right side. My epidural eventually ended up failing and the pain was back only an hour or two after the epidural was administered. I kept laboring, hoping I was progressing. By the afternoon I was only four centimeters, and to be honest, I was over it. My doctor and I decided to schedule a c-section and they prepped me for the OR. Once in the OR, they tried to use my epidural by giving me more but it didn’t work so they had to put me under. She was born at 3:55 pm on December 2nd and I woke up just before 5 pm to my boyfriend bottle-feeding our newborn on the pull-out couch.

Post-Partum In Hospital

They let me do an hour of skin to skin with her before taking her for any tests or measuring her. I wasn’t in a lot of pain when I woke up but I did wake up with things that were actively squeezing my legs. I know they explained what they were for but I honestly don’t remember. I’m assuming something to do with circulation and future mobility. Because I had preeclampsia I was on magnesium. My blood pressure was still high after delivery so they kept me on magnesium which resulted in me staying in the labor and delivery room a little longer. They removed my catheter and had me go to the bathroom which was my first time out of bed. It was weird because my legs still felt a little numb but my nurses helped me. My walk to the bathroom felt like enough though and they brought me back to bed to rest. By the next day, I was transferred to the post-partum room and assigned my post-partum care team.

They started me on Norco and Ibuprofen for pain management. Norco is a mix of hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol). The pain was something I was worried about in recovery before having a c-section but the Norco really helped. I also used the binder they provided me with for the first couple of days. By the time I left the hospital, I didn’t use it anymore but it really helped make me feel secure and supported my incision which I think helped with my pain levels. I would recommend using it at least for the first day. My nurses and doctors wanted me to start walking around the day after so I got up and cleaned up my room. I washed the bottles and pump parts and folded blankets and clothes we had lying around. I re-fluffed my pillows and made my bed. I picked up Eliza and walked around with her. I was afraid to get up at first but it helped with recovery so I highly recommend doing it as much as you can. Start off small and increase the amount per day.

Post-Partum at Home

After five days in the hospital, we were discharged and went home. The first two nights were not fun. I was exhausted and still recovering. Baby blues set in and I would just cry for no reason. I was still trying to breastfeed and pump at this time too which was absolutely wrecking my mental health because I felt like I was failing at the first test of being a mom. I can say things did get better for me. My support system was in place and just hearing that I wasn’t alone helped a lot. I was also already on an anti-depressant as well which I believe helped.

I continued to use the adult diapers and I had taken home some mesh underwear with me. That was the most comfortable combination to me so I continued doing it. Because I had a c-section I didn’t end up using the padsicles or Dermaplast I had on hand. I just continued to take the Norco when needed and the Ibuprofen every six hours. I stayed in loose-fitting clothes for about the first two weeks. I would recommend having some hemorrhoid cream on hand. Regardless of what kind of birth you have, you may need some. I was sent home with all-purpose nipple cream and lanolin. If you are not sent home with these and plan on breastfeeding or exclusive pumping then I would buy them. They are a post-partum must-have.

The pumps I ended up purchasing were the Freemie Independence and the Ameda Mya Joy. If you plan on breastfeeding and then just pumping to keep up your supply I would recommend the Freemie. If you plan on exclusively pumping I would recommend the Ameda Mya Joy or another pump altogether. I had a lot of trouble with my supply and ended up deciding to bottle/formula feed. However, I really loved my Ameda Mya Joy pump when I used it. I also really loved the Medela Harmony Manual Pump. Some women respond better to manual pumps and I believe I could, at times, express more with the Medela Harmony.

Baby Post-Partum Survival Items

Please note that these items may be specific to my baby. However, these are tried and true items for many moms.

  • Avent Soothie Pacifiers – This is the only pacifier my baby will accept to this day.
  • Dr. Brown’s bottles with 0+ (1) nipple.
  • Burp cloths galore (any kind).
  • Have size one diapers on hand and ready. My baby grew out of newborn diapers quickly. She was born 7lbs 12oz.
  • Diaper Genie – many moms say it’s not necessary but my dad bought me one and I highly recommend it now. It’s a must-have for me personally.
  • Little Remedies Gas Drops
  • Mother’s Bliss Gripe Water
  • Target Brand Gentle Formula OR Enfamil Gentlease – My baby does not do well on Similac.
  • If you are breasfeeding/EPing – I do recommend the “Liquid Gold” pills. I did see a slight increase while taking them.
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