First of all, congratulations on the baby! You’ve been waiting for this day for months, or you’re probably preparing for the day when it comes (which, in that case, good for you!).
You’re now in for a roller coaster of exciting discoveries, fun, and unexpected turns. While most parents say, “nothing will prepare you for parenthood”, there are some things that we can do to prepare.
Let’s see how you should first prepare for the hospital. We have this handy checklist below that you can either print or save on your phone. First up, the parents.
Parents’ hospital bag
- Loose and comfortable clothes
- Nightgown that mommy can unbutton for breastfeeding
- Nursing bras
- Toiletries such as hair shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes
- A moisturizer (Don't forget to take care of your skin while you’re in the hospital, too!)
- Extra pillows
- Your phone and a charger or battery pack
- Hospital paperwork, ID, and other essential documents
- Heavy-duty maternity pads (for AFTER giving birth)
Baby`s Hospital Bag
- A white outfit for going home - Why white, you ask? Well, you would typically want to let your baby wear white up until they’re a month old. White is cool for the baby. It would also be easier to spot stains and dirt, as well as if there are any insects. White garment also tends to fend off any mosquitoes.
- Some additional clothes, socks, gloves and a hat
- An infant car seat installed in your vehicle (not really in the bag, but essential nonetheless!)
- Receiving blankets
- A pack of newborn sized diapers
- A pack of unscented baby wipes (you can even do your own! *link to DIY skincare products)
If you’re having a winter delivery, add the following items:
- Vaseline or lip moisturizer – You'll need this as all the breathing in and out will leave your lips dry!
- Additional blankets
- Winter gloves and fluffy socks for baby
- Winter jackets for going home
With both checklists above, you’ll be ready for the day your baby arrives! But this is just packing. There’s also some of the stuff that you need to learn when the day comes. Here are some tidbits and facts to make you ready for the day.
Breastfeeding on the very first day
The breastfeeding experience varies from one mother to the next – a lot experience an easy and smooth start, while others... not so much.
Regardless of which camp you’re in, you and your partner should encourage each other about taking on the breastfeeding lifestyle. Not only will you save money from not buying formula milk and supplemental vitamins, you’ll also save a lot of time and energy not preparing a bottle and cleaning up. While formula milk is good, going natural is always better. You can even use breastmilk as a natural moisturizer for your baby!
During the first hour your child is born, try to breastfeed if you can. Your baby is awake and is most likely to take the breast. If you’re having a hard time getting the baby to find your nipple, simply rub the cheek next to your breast. Your baby will instinctively turn its head towards your nipple and start sucking.
Instead of having the hospital contain the baby in a nursery, try to insist that you’ll need the baby in the room with you. This will allow for more skin-to-skin contact, thus encouraging your baby to breastfeed more. However, if your baby currently has a medical condition that needs immediate attention, the hospital might have you sign a waiver for the baby to be confined in the nursery. Most hospitals have some reserve breastmilk with them. You can also opt to visit the nursery every once in a while to feed the baby, or you could also pump some breastmilk and hand it over to the staff.
Resist the urge to give a bottle or a pacifier. Your baby doesn’t need it. What you can do is just breastfeed.
Don’t worry if your child seemingly doesn’t get enough food to eat during the first day. They’re not like you who need to constantly eat during breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the first day, all your baby needs is colostrum, which is a thick and sticky substance that comes out during the days immediately following birth. The flow for colostrum is typically slower than more mature milk, as this thicker substance allows the baby to get more accustomed to sucking and feeding.
The importance of skin-to-skin contact
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of childbirth.
The first day is crucial for the parents to make constant skin-to-skin contact with the baby. Not only does this breed a certain sense of familiarity with the baby, it also ensures that the baby is kept warm, reduces crying, and as mentioned, helps with breastfeeding.
Check the rest of the manual in Part 2.