I’m going to be doing this postpartum series in the order that makes most sense so here we are, starting off where it all begins: the birth center. Seeing as this is my third birth and if all goes to plan we don’t stay longer than a few hours after birth before going home, I was fully aware of how little I actually needed. I’ll share everything I packed but friends, birth was QUICK. I didn’t use much! First things first, if you’re looking for an in-depth post about everything you could possibly want to pack for birth-especially for overnight hospital stays- you’ll want to check out one of my most popular blog posts what to pack in birth center bag right here. Oshiolema had a heart murmur so we had to spend two nights in the hospital which we weren’t expecting so that list includes everything I used and wished I would have packed for those nights. Because of that experience I always pack enough for at least two nights in the hospital even though we typically only stay for about three hours after the birth.
I have always gone into labor at least a week before my due date and because of my irritable uterus this time around, I was just positive this baby would make an appearance at least three weeks early. For that reason, my birth center bags were fully packed at 36 weeks (which I highly recommend no matter what!) but they mocked me for weeks until it was actually time to load them up.
Diaper Bag: I have been through many diaper bags. The first time around, I used a snazzy tote. It worked fine although it did become super heavy to sling over my shoulder as Oshiolema got older. The second time around I had a one year old that I needed to pack a water bottle, extra outfits, toys and allll the snacks for and a newborn who needed all the gear. This called for a backpack-and I loved it! But the exact style I got was just too small. One month in to using my new diaper-bag backpack and I’m over the moon with it. I did a ton of research and am so pleased with every single feature this bag has.
Weekender: You guys are likely familiar with this bag by now. It’s been a favorite in out house for two years now and worth every penny. This color and size are my absolute favorite and we use it for everything from pool days at Mimi’s and short trips to picnic packing and, of course, birth. I fit all of my things including a towel and three outfits, O’s things, snacks and labor essentials in this bag and it’s somehow always the perfect size.
Pouches for the win. Couldn’t do it without these guys.
I packed three outfits this time around because I never know exactly how I’ll feel after birth. With Oshiolema I wanted to feel sucked in and stable so I loved my leggings and a long sweater. With Keogena and Zeameh I’ve loved a big caftan dress which is unfortunately sold out, but here are some similar options:
I also brought my favorite pajamas if for whatever reason we needed a hospital stay. I have the pajama and nightgown option but packed the nightgown because I wanted easy access to my adult diaper situation. It’s important to pack things with easy access to your chest for breastfeeding so a loose neckline, a nursing tank or buttoned top is crucial. For those of you who have purchased these through my blog before-you know just how dreamy they are. I love hearing your rave reviews once you wear them for the first time! I recommend wearing the black for those first days postpartum when everything is leaking…but I also recommend getting a second color to look forward to (I’m up to four now. Best ever.)
Pouches are my most essential item so I can keep things organized since in labor other people will be grabbing things in labor and not you. I packed essential oils (lavender, serenity, balance, clary sage and cheer) in their own bag and my favorite diffuser because scent is such an important element of a calm environment and I also rely heavily on oils to aid in things like nausea and dizziness. Clary sage is so powerful for making contractions more productive that you’re not even supposed to use it until your due date or labor-whichever comes first. My midwives used it in my first labor and it was a GAME CHANGER. (My past two births have been to quick to use it but I always bring it just incase.)
Another pouch had a shower cap, a couple pairs of socks, extra pairs of underwear even though I strictly wear Depends the first few days because they’re even better than the mesh underwear/pad combo in my opinion. I tucked a swimsuit top in a side pocket since I knew I was going to have a water birth and also brought a sports bra just because options make me feel comfortable. My toiletries pouch had a few simple makeup bits like my tinted moisturizer, my eyebrow kit and my highlighter, my deodorant, my face wash and lotion, and my favorite hand lotion and chapstick since birth makes you SO DRY. I did the “donkey lips” technique for this labor and my lips have never felt more like dry sponges my my life. All. the. hydration, please. I also kept a few immediate postpartum needs in a pouch as well including After Ease which I would never go to the birth center without. Something they don’t prepare you for is the contractions that happen to your uterus while breastfeeding. Unfortunately, it’s more intense with each subsequent child so if this isn’t your first rodeo, bring these drops to add to your water right away to help with the intense pain of those contractions after birth. I of course added my toothbrush, O’s toothbrush and our toothpaste last minute.
Snacks and Drinks are crucial for me. I packed black RX bars, The New Primal beef jerky stick, gluten free crackers and dried mango. I made a note to pack my Hydroflask with ice water, my Yeti with water and my favorite electrolytes, a coconut water from the fridge (this is the only one I drink) and a pineapple juice which is always my treat after I have a baby. I think it’s absolutely crucial to bring a straw and a cup you’re able to use a straw with (I saved my hydroflask for once the baby was already born and sipped from the yeti during labor.) Unfortunately, I forgot that I wouldn’t be able to eat my usual Jimmy Johns post-birth (anyone else crave a sandwich full fo cold cuts after birth?!) because there aren’t any fast food restaurants that cater to my food restrictions. I was HUNGRY after labor, friends, and I ran through my snacks so quickly so that was a big regret. If you’re paleo and have firm restrictions like me, be sure to pack at least one protein packed meal.
I packed another pouch with all our chords including some regular headphones incase my bluetooth ones bothered me, this super long iPhone charger which is absolutely essential, my vlog camera charger, an extra camera battery for my main camera and a memory card. You can read about the cameras we brought and why they’re my favorite here.
I always bring the iPad and a waterproof speaker because one of the most important things to me is the music during my labor. I spend time throughout my pregnancy curating a playlist and finalize it in my third trimester so I can listen to it in a relaxed state. I choose a mix of worship, hymns, hypnobirthing tracks and relaxing spa music. This part is a non-negotiable for me and right when we get in our room O always sets up the music first.
The last things I brought for myself were a plastic bag to put our wet things back into and the cooler bag provided by my placenta encapsulation provider to store my placenta in after birth.
I packed extremely light for O this time around. I brought him two pairs of undies, two pairs of socks, three tees, a pair of shorts and a swimsuit incase he wanted to get in the water with me. I had him wear a sweatshirt and joggers to make sure he had layers if he needed them. Also deodorant because birth can get funky!
I kept almost everything in the diaper bag and of course separated things into, surprise, pouches. My favorite thing about this brand is that the pajamas come with a matching soft pouch and I use those for everything. For all my kids I’ve gotten a few prints of these pajamas in the zippered version and because they always end up being so special to us (the elephants in tutus are my current favorite for Zeameh). In one pouch I brought a gown, kimono outfit, hat and bow for baby to come home in since we didn’t know the gender along with my favorite mittens and socks for baby. I always use Pampers Pure for the first couple weeks and then switch to Seventh Generation diapers. You’re going to want to stock up on the socks since they’re on sale right now and also if you don’t get a single other item of clothing, you’re going to want to grab this newborn gown and the mittens. Just trust me, friends, best baby clothing decision you’ll make.
A carseat cover is more important now than ever in these Covid-19 times. I always love this cover because it makes nursing in public a breeze if you’re not a bare-it-all person. I’ve become much more of a nursing ninja and rarely ever use a cover anymore but with my first I couldn’t do it without this thing.
Here are the other things that will always live in the diaper bag that I loaded up for that day and have kept in the bag as staples:
Lastly, because I didn’t know the gender I chose three colors of these “Hello My Name Is” stickers.
If it sounds like a lot, it’s because I’d always rather be safe than sorry. Comb through these items and only pack what seems essential to you and remember to cater your bag to your experience!