By Rebecca Lee
As the due date approaches, it is not enough just to pack one bag for the mommy-to-be. While this bag usually covers essentials for both the mother and the baby, an additional bag for the father-to-be would also be required so that he won't have to spend so much time shuttling between hospital and home. Maybe Baby proposes a list of items to bring along for the impending arrival of your baby.
The Mom's List
Start packing early so that you don't miss anything out, and just in case the baby decides he or she wants to see the world earlier than planned. At around 32 weeks, you can start packing, although most mothers wait till 36 weeks before they do so.
Essential documents to bring along include your identification card, and medical records of yourself and baby. This would bring the doctor and nurses up to speed on your situation before you go into labour. Remember to bring your birth plan if you have one, so that the doctor would know your preferred birthing process. Additionally, you may want to pack slippers and socks to make yourself comfortable. Ladies with long hair may want a hair band or hair-tie to get the hair away from the face – it can certainly be a source of irritation. Be sure to pack a dressing gown, preferably one that's button-down so that it's easier to nurse your baby when she is born.
You should probably also pack some snacks, water and glucose tablets to make sure you're well-nourished during the labour, which may go on for several hours. You could also bring along a water spray to keep you cool. Other smaller items that may make the labour a bit more bearable would be lip balm (as your lips could get quite dry) and massage oils, to alleviate the backaches that could occur.
To capture memorable moments, do remember to bring your digital camera and camcorder. There will be many opportunities to take precious photos or video clips of your infant. Remember to bring along your mobile phone as well to keep in touch with your loved ones. It's best to bring extra batteries, memory cards and the chargers for the electronic devices in case they are needed.
For comfortable wear during your hospital stay, you'll want to pack a casual outfit, as well as a nightdress or pyjamas. Mothers in the wards often feel better wearing their own clothes instead of those provided by the hospital. Remember to bring a sweater in case it gets cold. You should bring several maternity pads as well as old underwear or even disposable ones for lochia, which is a vaginal discharge after giving birth. Some mothers at the online forum www.mummy.sg recommend Kotex maternity pads which can absorb heavy discharge. Also, you'll need a couple of breastfeeding bras and pads to soak up any excess fluids so you won't stain your clothes. Remember to bring along your toiletries as well for the overnight stay. For moms-to-be who would like to take photos of themselves looking the best with their new-born, packing some makeup along may help. Make-up such as foundation, concealer, mascara, blusher, eyebrow pencil and eyeliner should be sufficient to freshen you up and make you look instantly better in front of the camera.
If you don't have a ward all to yourself, and if you're a fairly light sleeper, you may wish to consider bringing along ear plugs. Silence-lover Ulrich Boser of www.slate.com recommends the Hearos Ultimate Softness Earplugs which retails for about US$1(about SG$1.20), you could also check out www.earplugs.sg, which sells Mack's earplugs. The Sound Asleep range of earplugs is recommended.
Packing List for Your Spouse:
Your partner would probably have fewer things to bring. He should bring a change of clothes, snacks and toiletries if he is staying overnight in the ward. Your partner should also be aware of where the camera and camcorder are kept for minimum hassle in times of need. It would also be a good idea to have some spare change on hand to get snacks or drinks from the vending machines if either one of you wants a quick bite.
Packing for Your Baby
Packing for your infant is equally important, although the hospital would usually provide the necessary for baby. Audrey Tan, a mother of four, recommended packing casual baby clothes along with booties and mittens to keep the baby’s hands and feet warm. You should also prepare diapers for the baby, a baby blanket with a hood to protect baby’s head and possibly an infant car seat if you are going home by car. For those who worry that they may have left out something crucial, she suggested getting your visitors to bring the necessary items for you.
For mothers who do not intend to breastfeed, you may have to bring your own sterilising and bottlefeeding gear and possibly your preferred brand of formula milk, says Heather Welford of BBC Health in an article written in March 2011. If you're planning to use a breastfeeding pump, you may want to get your preferred brand ahead of time and pack it in as well. Do include baby wipes and a small hand towel to clean up any spills.
Also, be sure to bring an additional bag or two for all the baby gifts that you'll be getting, so that it's much easier to carry everything home. Alternatively, you could get your husband to bring back some of the gifts as and when he goes home. There'll then be less to carry on the day that you bring your newborn back home.
I Love Childen recommends 2 good reads:
1) My Pregnancy Planner – Week-by-Week Hints and Tips, By Dr. Miriam Stoppard
2) What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding – A Reassuring Month-by-Month Guide for the Father-To-Be Whether He Wants Advice or Not, By Thomas Hill