Product Spotlight 5/7: Preparing for Labor (Meal Prep/Hospital Bag) — The Bump
July 2018 Moms

Product Spotlight 5/7: Preparing for Labor (Meal Prep/Hospital Bag)

This is a place for FTMs to ask questions and S+TMs to share the wealth of knowledge they've accumulated on baby products. Each week we'll spotlight a new category of product to help streamline and make it easier to refer back. This week it's.... Meal Prep/Hospital Bag! What things did you do before your previous births that you feel made life easier when you got home or during your time in the hospital? This could be meal planning/freezer meals, specific things you had set up and ready at home for your return, or what you had in your hospital bag (or your husband/children's bags) when you packed in prep for labor.  Feel free to go SUPER out of the box on this topic and list anything you did to "send yourself into labor,"  or prepare your body because selfishly I expect to go way late and find this particular topic interesting. :smile:
Please feel free to completely blow off the format below, as I find it completely awkward for this topic. :smile:

For S+TMs: 
  • Favorite [Meal Prep resource/item or Hospital Bag item]:
  • Link/picture:
  • Cost (either actual dollar amount, or just $, $$, $$$, etc.):
  • What you like about it:
  • What you don't like about it, if anything:
  • Is there a [Meal Prep resource/item or Hospital bag item] you don't have but are considering? Why?:
  • Is there a [Meal Prep resource/item or Hospital bag item] you've tried that you absolutely hate? Why?: 
  • Additional thoughts on [Meal prep resource/item or hospital bag item]:

For FTMs:
  • [meal prep resource/item or hospital bag item] you're interested in:
  • Link/picture:
  • Cost (either actual dollar amount, or just $, $$, $$$, etc.):
  • Any questions about it/them for S+TMs?:
Our past threads are here:

Re: Product Spotlight 5/7: Preparing for Labor (Meal Prep/Hospital Bag)

  • sm05-2sm05-2 member
    Hospital bag question, especially for c-section mamas: since I’ll be in the hospital for four days, should I bring three or four sets of clothes with me, or will I be wearing a hospital gown pretty much the whole time?
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  • @sm05-2 I’m not a csection mama but I still think you can wear whatever you want. It might be easier the first day or two to wear the gown since they’ll be checking you a lot but I would imagine if you feel up to it you could change into your own clothes as soon as you shower or whatever (which I think you won’t be able to do for almost 24 hours.) 

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  • millpemillpe member
    I have a very basic hospital bag question- when should I plan to have this ready? 
    Me: 31 DH: 34 :heart: Married: April 2016
    TTC December 2016
    BFP 2/28/17 // CP 3/1/17
    MFI Diagnosis: Aug 2017
    BFP 11/1/17 // DS born 6/18
    TTC January 2019
    BFP 3/21/19 // D&C (MMC) 5/8/19
  • wildtotwildtot member
    @sm05-2 i wore the hospital gown the first day and my own the two following days (only stayed 3 days). I like the gown on the first day because you won’t be able to get up for sometime and the nurses will come change your pad and clean you. It can get messy. I did use their robes for when i walked around. 
  • @sm05-2 I second what others say...don't bring 4 days of clothes, bring a couple nursing tanks, something to go home in (I mean, maybe even what you went in to the hospital in...but plan for how it will feel post surgery) and some comfy pants to walk around in. I did not wear the gown.

    @MrsMiller8588 I feel like 32 weeks or so is a good time, but definitely by 36...although I never had my own bag ready, just my son's. I kind of never thought I would go into labor the second time, and first time we lived 5 minutes away so I was like, I'll just grab essentials and send DH back. I say 32 weeks as a "just in case," I had some friends who went in unexpectedly that early (and earlier!) and people go that early all the time! People will probably vary on their responses.
  • I think last time I literally packed my bag at 38 weeks when I learned my induction would be the following week. This time, with twice weekly monitoring and high risk pregnancy, I'll be packing it probably in the next few weeks just in case since my hospital is half an hour away. 

    I second @acunamatada on snacks!!! I'm sorry but the liquid diet during labor is miserable, you need food to sustain yourself and give you energy, and this time I don't care that eating is not allowed, I will be sneaking bites of granola bars and almonds and gold fish when they're not looking (this was actually my midwife's suggestion since they believe in eating during labor but the hospital policy is against it). It's also good for postpartum, personally I was ravenous after giving birth and with trying to get your milk to come in you want to be eating enough. 
  • millpemillpe member
    @SmashJam thank you! I am mostly asking because I feel like I have nothing to even put in a bag right now... hoping I get some stuff from my shower (but that's not until 34 weeks). Maybe I should start ordering some essentials just in case... 

    So for baby if I only need a coming home outfit what does he wear while we are there? 
    Me: 31 DH: 34 :heart: Married: April 2016
    TTC December 2016
    BFP 2/28/17 // CP 3/1/17
    MFI Diagnosis: Aug 2017
    BFP 11/1/17 // DS born 6/18
    TTC January 2019
    BFP 3/21/19 // D&C (MMC) 5/8/19
  • @SmashJam thank you! I am mostly asking because I feel like I have nothing to even put in a bag right now... hoping I get some stuff from my shower (but that's not until 34 weeks). Maybe I should start ordering some essentials just in case... 

    So for baby if I only need a coming home outfit what does he wear while we are there? 
    @[email protected] They'll have white onesies/tshirts for him to wear. :) 
  • I wore the gowns as much as possible (one forward facing and one backwards) while at the hospital until the last day or so. There was just so much PP bleeding for me that I didn't want to get my own clothes dirty if I didn't have to. I did bring a robe that I used for walking through the halls.

    I'll put a bag together in the next few weeks, but mostly for me. I think I will buy a few "extras" to pack and keep in the bag while it sits in the car. @zande2016 my body doesn't like to eat when I'm in labor. I throw it all up! So the snacks aren't for me :) I might pack snacks for DH but he won't need a change of clothes. He can always go home, and he will, to shower and change.

    I will pack:
    phone and charger
    chromebook and charger
    toothbrush and toothpaste
    my preferred winged pads
    a couple of undies for the last day
    soft pants and easy access top for the last day
    loofa and shower gel
    head massager (the spidery-looking ones)
    my own towel
    slippers/flip flops
    water bottle
    some snacks for DH
    going home outfit for baby

    I'm hoping to get another sleep sack from the hospital this time and all their freebies. It's summer so we won't need many layers.

    We do have to get the car seats all installed in the car around the same time, too, but it could really wait until after I've given birth since I know we'll have at least 48 hours there. 

    Isabella & Julian & and now #3!
  • runsomewhererunsomewhere member
    edited May 2018
    I haven't packed my hospital bag yet but here is what I'm planning on packing

    - phone chargers
    - lap top and charger
    - face wash
    - makeup
    - dry shampoo
    - deodorant
    - cash/change
    - snacks
    - yoga pants, a hoodie and a couple tank tops, maybe a cute maxi dress to go home in 
    - change of clothes for DH
    - going home outfit for baby
    - a little gift for DD for when she comes to visit with my parents
    - toothbrushes/toothpaste

    Last time I also brought an adult coloring book and color pencils because I read that it can be soothing during labor. I LOL at that so hard now. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • @flockofmoosen3 I was induced overnight so I was on a liquid diet before even being in active labor, I was seriously so cranky from hunger lol. I definitely won't eat the snacks if I end up  feeling queasy this time, but I at least want the option in case I feel like eating - last time I would have killed to get something in my tummy but was too scared to defy the scary nurses. 
  • kc1293kc1293 member
    I'm more of a minimalist in general. For the baby, as long as you have your car seat installed, the hospital usually has everything else (diapers, wipes, hat, blankets, a little t shirt). I also take a going home onesie though.

    For me, I just take toiletries (toothbrush, deodorant, etc.) and a change of clothes. First time I wore the gown the entire time. Second time, I needed to change to feel like I was getting a jump start on feeling better. For c-section (although I've never had one, this is from the recommendation of my friends that had one), make sure your pants are not tight. You don't want the added pressure on your stitches. I looooooooove my nursing cami, however, last time I had a LC tell me those aren't great for the first few days because it makes it harder for skin-to-skin.

    I don't remember when I packed my bag =/ I think it was around the 36 week mark??

    +100000000000000 for extra space for take home "goodies"

    Oh also, I made DH bring a folder for all the paperwork. My hospital gave us an envelope, but the folder was great too to separate stuff for us and then stuff to take to the ped's office (our pediatrician has never had privileges at my delivering hospital).
  • rkk0002rkk0002 member
    edited May 2018
    My hospital I deliver at is awesome and provided most of what I needed, so be sure to ask on the tour what they'll give you! The bump actually has an awesome list, only thing I added was a sleep mask and earplugs for me and hubby, we needed to block light and noise from the hallway during visiting hours to sleep sometimes. And definitely an empty bag to take home all the hospital freebies.
  • What sort of bag did you all use last time? Like an overnight bag or did you take a carry-on sized suitcase or something? I want to have enough room to take what I need, and generally I'm a minimalist packer and an overnight bag that might literally be overnight for most people will usually be good for 4 or so days for me, but I also want room to take home all the random goodies.

    Also, anyone that has labored in a tub or shower at the hospital, did you wear a swimsuit? Or did you skinny dip? At my hospital the rooms have showers, but they don't have tubs. There is a separate tub room available for laboring in, but it's on a first come first serve basis. I currently don't have a swimsuit that can contain my enormous hooters, and kind of thinking I don't really care about buying one and just wearing a robe to and from the tub room. Is that weird?

    I need to make my packing list, but for sure I'm bringing my own gown because when I was in triage back in Feb and had to wear one of their gowns, it was so scratchy, hot and heavy to me. So irritating that I think it will really annoy me during labor, so I want options. I've since talked to two other moms that delivered at my hospital and they both thought the same thing and opted to be totally nude rather than wear the hospital's gowns.
  •  I currently don't have a swimsuit that can contain my enormous hooters
    LOL I'm nodding my head to this thinking girl me too!

    As for bags, DH and I each packed a gym duffel bag. I felt like it worked well, we had enough space for our stuff and space in each bag for everything we brought home. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • @noideawhatshesdoing I labored in a cheap sports bra and some horribly thin yoga pants that i wore to the room, and took off once I got to the tub. First time around when I tried the tub, I took the bra off after and wore the gown for the rest of labor, I believe, along with my super thin baggy yoga pants (came off once I felt like pushing). 

    I will say I disliked tub labor, and one thing that contributed to me not trying it the second time was that it wasn't worth being wet in the bed afterwards, plus its so hard to dry off and get your wet clothes off when you are in pain (my contractions were so close together). Second time around I avoided all wet labor helpers once I got close to transition, so I would be dry when I was in the bed pushing or getting checked or whatever, lol. 

    Basically, if you are totally comfy with naked go naked and where a robe to walk there. Sorry for that book!
  • @noideawhatshesdoing both hospitals I'm considering have tubs in the labor rooms, and I would like to try using them if I am not required to be continuously monitored. That's part of my plan to try to avoid an epidural this time. When I visited one of  the hospitals, they told us most women start off wearing nothing on bottom and a sports bra or maybe bikini top on top, most of them get annoyed with them and just end up completely naked at some point. They emphasized bringing dry stuff to change into after being in the tub. My tentative plan is hospital gown, nothing on bottom, sports bra on top....take hospital gown off to get into tub...after tub, take sports bra off and get back into dry hospital gown. Extra sports bra in case I want to go in and out of tub and that way I can have a dry one instead of putting a wet one back on. But, you know, I may end up just wanting to be completely naked. Since your tub would be in a separate room, I'd wear a hospital gown or robe to  the room and then take it off to get into the tub. 
  • @SmashJam thanks for sharing your experience. I used to be a lot more modest, but I've gotten used to the freedom of being completely nude in a public bath house, so sometimes it now feels alien to me to be covered up in a tub, but I also don't want to be totally offensive to anyone that has to deal with me during labor. I'm also that weirdo that walks around nude in the locker room at the gym, just me and all the old grannies that also dgaf anymore, lol.
  • @zande2016 I'm thinking nude in the tub (if I go that route) is the way to go for me. Seems less complicated and just more comfortable. I'll just wear my robe to and from and call it good. :)
  • @noideawhatshesdoing my only hesitation with going full nude is all the people coming in and out of the hospital room. I obviously don't care about my husband. I don't think I will care about my mom either (she was one of my birth supports last time and will be this time as well). I'm hoping I won't care about the doula. One or two nurses, whatever. But then I know how it goes....the cleaning person, the lab tech coming to draw blood, the room service guy with the wonderful liquid lunch...etc. Chances are in the moment I will not give a shit, but I am going to have the sports bras on hand just in case my room  turns into grand central. 
  • Oh also! If you think you might want your husband in the tub with you, pack a swim suit for him. At my hospital the tub has this little ledge the partner can sit on, and you can lean on him for more support. 
  • I kind of get being nude in the birthing tub...but also find it odd to be completely nude for birth on the bed. That's just so much exposed skin.

    Also, I was listening to the radio the other day and one of the DJs, whose wife just had their 3rd baby recently, knew enough to say that you're not supposed to labor in the birth tub (just deliver there) because the water makes your vag swollen and soggy and increases the risk of tearing. I was impressed he knew this!

    Isabella & Julian & and now #3!
  • I love this thread but I'm feeling so behind now! I'm sure it's the post vacation syndrome. 

    I wanted to get myself a(useless) cute duffle bag but then I realized that 1)I don't use the million ugly duffles I already have and 2)we live 7 minutes away from the hospital. 

    Obviously I'm hoping for an uncomplicated vaginal birth and in that case I'll really only be at the hospital 2 days. I have a doula to (hopefully) labor at home so I'm wondering how much I'll need but I guess I will pack for the worst case scenario because you never know. Maybe I'll go to Target and see if I find something cute there to scratch my itch of something new.

    Thanks for all the helpful lists and advice, keep them coming!

    Re:snacks during labor, my doula is absolutely pro snacking and I hope if I go unmedicated it will be easier to get away with it at the hospital (need to check on what they normally do there). I have a recipe for a 'gingerade", basically a home made clean Gatorade, I'll share it if anyone is doula suggested saltines during early labor, overnight oats at room temp (can be brought to hospital in a small mason jar), frozen grapes and trail mix. 
  • I went nude in the tub and also when I decided to get out to finish pushing. At that point I didn’t care who saw what! I didn’t get into the tub until it was time to push. I did labor in the shower quite a bit, so this is the first time I heard that being soggy would cause swelling and tearing. The midwives and doula even recommended laboring in the shower. I didn’t tear.... Anyway, there was plenty of towels and gowns, so my doula would help me dry off. I did have people tell me to get a sports bra or bikini top but I am glad I didn’t bring that. I heard that some of those get cut off to do skin to skin because a wet sports bra is hard to remove.

    I leaked blood on my gowns, so I was glad I didn’t change into my own clothing. However, I was only in the hospital 24 hours after giving birth. I probably would have wanted my own clothing if I stayed longer.
  • zande2016zande2016 member
    edited May 2018
    I kind of get being nude in the birthing tub...but also find it odd to be completely nude for birth on the bed. That's just so much exposed skin.

    Also, I was listening to the radio the other day and one of the DJs, whose wife just had their 3rd baby recently, knew enough to say that you're not supposed to labor in the birth tub (just deliver there) because the water makes your vag swollen and soggy and increases the risk of tearing. I was impressed he knew this!
    I've never heard this. Off to research! 

    ETA, seems like research is inconclusive, this is the takeaway I found from the evidence based birth website:

    "Here’s the main thing— if you labor or birth in water you are less likely to have an episiotomy and less likely to have a severe tear, but may be more likely to have a minor tear. Birthing people tend to assume different and more positions in water than when outside of water. This could affect the frequency and location of tearing, as might differences in how attendants handle birth in and out of water. More research is needed to better understand how water immersion affects the perineum during labor and birth (e.g., its elasticity) and if the effect depends on the duration of time spent in the water."
  • @flockofmoosen3 I cannot find anything about not laboring in the tub due to soggy vagina and risk of tearing. In fact, I found a website that states the opposite and an ACOG opinion in an article online that states that early labor in the tub has many benefits but there is no proof that birthing in the tub has any benefits to the baby at all. I am not great at search terms so maybe I'm just missing it but do you have a source for that info? I had never heard it before!
  • My health authority has posted a hospital stay packing list on their website (super helpful!) so sharing it here in case anybody wants some general guidelines straight from *a* horse's mouth.  Be mindful, I am in Canada so there are few free take-homes and you basically have to pack everything for baby.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Two things I forgot the first time around:  boppy and camera SD card.  Luckily we live pretty close to the hospital.  

    Also I plan to have an empty box in my car.  We were sent 4-5 vases of flowers from family and friends and it was difficult to transport them home the first time around.  

    Also, ask about what meals are provided during the tour.  At my hospital you can order food 24/7 and as much as you want.  While technically all food is supposed to be for the mom, they essentially turn a blind eye as long as you don’t order two full meals at once.  So we’d order a meal, then an hour or two later order DHs meal.  And they had plenty of snack type options (muffins, bagels, etc).
  • I’m so glad this is this weeks’ thread! My hospital visit is this week, then I’m getting some stuff ordered from amazon and packed by 33w.
    I literally don’t have any preggo PJs that fit; no robe, no gowns, hoodie or even yoga pants... don’t own slippers or even rubber throw away flip flops. No nursing tops or bras as a FTM. So this is next weeks goal.
    Separately, I’m 1 hr from my hospital. So now I’m super stressing over making it in time. Hmm...
  • wildtotwildtot member
    @tarheelgirl8 we found out that our hospital offers the first meals for partner and siblings for free. After that it’s like $7.50 (kids half price) which isn’t bad for a freshly cooked meal. They also offer something like a date night dinner for two. Multiple course meal for mommy and partner. I don’t recall my other hospital offering anything similar. My hospital does prefer mommy to eat from there so they can keep track of her intake during recovery. 

    We took tons of snacks and change when we had DS but hardly ate any of it or bought from the hospital. 
  • @wildtot my hospital does a steak lobster tail and champagne celebratory dinner for two. Last time I was at a different hospital and I was allowed to order as much food as I wanted three times a day, so I’d order like 3-4 meals for each meal and we’d both pig out. I can’t even describe how hungry I was after giving birth. 
  • I'm cracking up at the lobster tail dinner, pretty sure mine does the same given it's in a ritzy part of town, it's just so funny to think about!

    I'm a little nervous because I don't have any of this stuff ready but I'm also excited because it's a fun part to prep an buy things for!
  • @kissableviv I know, the lobster dinner is so silly, but I’m happy it comes with champagne! 
  • Our celebratory dinner comes with choices. I’m actually really excited to get to eat it lol. Our hospital has great food! 

    I had a 3 day stay in the hospital in August and after being really sick and only having a hospital pillow to keep me comfortable I am definitely going to bring my own pillow (and perhaps a blanket and maybe my own towel) it’s a little excessive but dang it I want to be comfortable. 

  • We were there for three days and I just remembered I brought magazines and my kindle. It seems like you would be busy what with a newborn and stuff but I quickly got caught up on social media to the point that when I was awake and baby was sleeping I wanted something to do.  DH downloaded movies onto his computer because I was induced, so we had something to do that night. I was a teacher and it was summer so I wasn't working (ha! I mean no sub to monitor).
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