Packing for birth can be a frustrating task, especially if it is your first time giving birth. As a mom who has given birth and a prenatal chiropractor who works with lots of pregnant mamas, I have put together a list of my essentials for a birthing bag. This list is not compiled of the typical or obvious items you may need, but a much more practical and thoughtful list of items that you may not have thought about. Whether you are birthing in a hospital, at home, or a birthing center, there are several things to pack with you that will be helpful during labor and while cuddling that new bundle of joy.
Top 9 Birthing Bag Essentials
Pineapple Juice- pineapple juice is a must in my bag, as well as at home recovering. Pineapple has great healing properties, so it is an easy first step to start the healing process. Stock your fridge so you are ready to have a nice sweet treat when you get home. Add a little sparkling water and feel like you are nursing that new babe on a beach.
Padsicles- These chilly little healing pads are amazing and you will want some for when you return home. Make them ahead of time and store them in your freezer. Easy to home make with household staples, but you can also buy pre-made ones. To make them at home all you need is aloe vera, witch hazel, lavender essential oil, and your favorite maxi pad. Here are the easy steps to follow to make them at home:
Unwrap the maxi pad, but DO NOT take the wrapping off the back. Open it up so the pad is exposed and the wings are not covering the pad.
Drizzle some witch hazel on the pad. Put a pump or two of aloe vera on the pad and a couple drops of lavender EO.
Close the pad and wrap it back up as if it was never opened. Place wrapped pad in a Ziplock bag.
Make several more then place the Ziplock bag in the freezer until you are ready to use one. Using the padsicle is easy and so very refreshing. When you use the restroom take a padsicle with you and apply it just the same as you would with any other maxi pad. The coolness of the frozen aloe will feel shocking, but so refreshing on those healing parts. Use and change as necessary.
Essential Oils- During my labor, my doula was a God-send with her essential oils (EO). They were calming and helped me through each contraction. Smells can be a powerful tool, not to mention the other health benefits of EO, to bring you back to a calm place or boost that memory. I highly recommend using your favorite EO that are safe for pregnancy either in a roller or have your significant other use them to waft in front of your face during labor. If you don’t have your own EO reach out to me or your chiropractor to get a roller of their favorite labor mixes.
Healthy Snacks- even though you may not be allowed to eat snacks during labor, and let’s be honest, you may not even want to, after giving birth you will need to replenish all those nutrients and replenish the calories you lost during the long event. Hospital cafeterias are available for you at normal working hours, but what if your baby comes during the middle of the night or in the evening right after the cafeteria closes? Bring snacks just in case. As you will quickly learn with a new baby, always be prepared. Bring a few granola bars or protein bars as they are great snacks that can be rich in nutrients and they stay well unopened in a bag. Your partner will also thank you for being prepared!
New Underwear- Packing a new set of regular, no frill, underwear that you don’t care about can be very helpful. When they get stained or ruined you can toss them without feeling guilty. Birth is messy, postpartum is messy. Buy a pack of comfortable granny panties that you don’t care what happens to them because they will get messy, too. If you can take all the mesh underwear from the hospital, I encourage you to do it. They are amazing and you will thank me later! Avoid any tight-fitting bottoms, underwear included, because you will want to be soft and comfy as much as possible.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea- Great to start drinking even before you get to the hospital to help prep for labor (suggested after 32 weeks), but sip on it during the early stages of labor to help stay hydrated and progress with labor.
All the creams, salves, and balms for healing- Earth Mama Organics is a great resource to get all things to help you through a healthy birth and to ease healing. Nipple cream will be helpful in the early weeks to months while nursing. Perineal balms and sprays to help with healing after birth. They also have salves to start healing your stretch marks and scars if you have them. You can also use coconut oil for your nipples and stretch marks. If using coconut oil for healing stretch marks, mix some vitamin E with it for extra scar healing.
Belly Binder- Belly wraps postpartum are supportive and can help initiate healing. The emptiness of your pregnant belly can cause a heaviness, so a belly binder helps support you. My favorite belly binder is KT tape (I’ll happily tape your DR and belly postpartum), but there are several binders you can buy and take with you to the hospital.
Breast Friend Pillow- Learning to nurse is challenging, so having a support pillow to help you navigate breastfeeding can be very helpful. The professionals who are there to help you will be great to initiate that learning process, but why not make it slightly easier with a pillow and support to take that piece out of the equation.
These are my favorite top 9 birth bag essentials to help during labor and get a jump start on healing after birth. Pick a few to pack with you or pack all of them, but each one will help you through your transition into becoming a mother. Birth is hard for you and baby, and these items are designed to really jumpstart your healing. As everyone will be focused on baby after birth, make sure to prioritize your self-care.
Want to take your healing to that next level? Make sure you schedule a postpartum visit with your prenatal chiropractor. Continue your care through your postpartum healing to allow your nervous system to work at it's best in healing you as best it can. You can check out the icpa4kids.com website to look for a prenatal chiropractor in your local area or reach our to us at Hamilton Chiropractic for a referral. We are here for you in all your stages of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum to make sure it is as easy, smooth, and magical as it can be!