The 10 things no one tells you to pack in your Labor and Hospital Bag

So you are busy with attending childbirth classes, yoga, Midwifery appointments etc. You're either excited, nervous or anticipating or all the mentioned as there's loads to plan in advance and it feels like you will never get round to accomplishing the whole lists. So I will do a little extra reminding list for you here of stuff that i have found practical as a Doula for my clients

1. Warm socks! Yep! When you thingk about hospitals, think more like travelling into an aeroplane. The temperature is controlled, its not warm when you step in the rooms until you alter the thermostat yourself. So expect to walk into a nice fresh room. Also remember when you are laying down not moving much you would feel the draft. Unless you plan to pack walking shoes, grab a pair of the Van Haren antislip socks. Believe me, you will be glad you did as you can move through the corridors much more comfortably and not having to do the gravity moves barefeet!

2. Button down shirt for dad: Remember the advice about kangaroo care? Skin to skin that mama would normally do after birth whcih helps with the baby to help regulate baby's temperature, heart rate and breathing? well, if for whatever reason mum was not able to do this, dad could do it instead! But instead of having dad completely undressed as mine was because i ended up going for C-section and then wheeled to recovery room while my little girl went to NICU, If he had a shirt he couls just button up he would have been able to do this much more comfortably

3. A note-book and better still the baby book! I remember when my daughter was born and had to stay in NICU as she was very small, I spent the nights writing away my joys since her birth, my fears and my hopes. I felt i could pour them somewhere i would be able to read them back in the same manner as how i put them. I was very glad i had thought of it! And it kept me sane

4. Money! For all the hospital machines and also the parking. Luckily in Holland you can pin for your parking in most hospitals, but some canteens especially the past normal working hours ones within hospitals i found only worked with coins or another form of payment system that i was not acustomed to

5. List of people to call: If you are like me, old fashioned, i called my family members instead of annoucing my children's births on facebook. My parents in Kenya expected a call, nobody was on social media (yet) and also my parent's in laws expected the same. It felt rather special to be able to share the news as soon as the baby and I were stable. My fiance did the excited phone calling

6. Pillow case in a different color! - I noticed when they collected anything at the hospital for laundry, everything was swamped in the laundry bin as property of the hospital. Brign your own print of color to help stop confusion. Let the papas sleep well and comfortably on a pillow from back home

7. Maternity clothes to wear back home. In Kenya we practise the 40 day postpartum rest so i didn't worry too much about not having much on, we normally stay in a wrap we call a 'khanga' which is easy to remove for breastfeeding and also for keeping decent. I had a few free dresses that i could wear too that looked nice but were free-styles. Bring a maternity dress and enjoy the freedon to move and fend for your baby without stress

8. Tennis Balls in a sock:  If there's anything i have used before that has worked majic for my Doula clients was tennis balls in a sock for counter pressure release especially during a back labor. What you need to do is take 2 tennis balls, put them in a long tube sock, tie the sock and let someone massage you. 

9. Extra bags for transporting all the extras: When in hospital and should you end up staying a while after, you would have friends and family pop in to check on you, meet the little earth memeber, and gifts will be pouring in. You might want to remember to pack an extra few bags for this purpose else you will find yourselves hugging around with tonnes of stuff to transport. Remember the hospital lets yu go with a few supplies for the postpartum period (long suppository pads, gauzes in case of a c-section etc)

10. Gifts for dad or sibling: It is important to reward the people who have seen you through the pregnancy journey and if you have already had a child before, your first child and your partner/husband deserve them! Its nice also as when everybody comes and the focus is on the new baby, it wades off jealousy developing between siblings. She/he will feel part of the special moment, making it all pleasant for you. The dad would be beaming as not every father gets a gift on the birth of their baby! Make that surprise count and gift away!