Friday, June 17, 2016

Amy's Ultimate Pregnancy Checklist Series: Hospital Bags

Mom’s Hospital Bag:
  • Towel & Garbage bag for the car. (If your water breaks on your way to the hospital, lay the garbage bag over the seat and put the towel over the top, it will keep your car clean.)
  • Cell phone & charger
  • Empty bag and folder for items you get from hospital (believe me on this one, you’ll get a ton of stuff!)
  • ID & insurance card(s)/wallet/purse
  • Birth plan
  • Hot pack/ Ice pack/ Stress ball (for labor)
  • Music/movies/games/ whatever you want to use for distraction during labor
  • Shampoo/ Conditioner/ Lotion
  • Hair bands, barrettes, pins, comb, brush
  • Toothbrush/ toothpaste/floss
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup/ lip balm
  • Disposable underwear/ Maxi pads
  • Breast pads, lanolin, & nursing bra
  • Paper Clip or bobby pin (track which side you’re on for breastfeeding)
  • Nursing pillow
  • Homecoming outfit (choose something loose & comfy)
  • Nursing nightgown (so you can be comfortable, but modest when visitors come)
  • Bellyband (no one likes to have a floppy tummy after birth)
  • Robe (Hospitals can be cold, and it's nice to cover up sometimes)
  • Flip flops and/or slippers (Some people like to shower in their flip flops. I like to bring slippers because they’re warm and more comfortable than the no-slip socks they give you)

My Tips and Tricks:
Obviously, the less you have to take with you, the easier it will be when you go home. But if you need or want something and don’t have it with you, it can be frustrating. I could go without the nursing pillow, the belly band, or the robe. But I definitely wouldn’t go without slippers, disposable underwear and maxi pads (at least enough for the ride home), and my bathroom bag, those are my absolute necessities.

Dad’s Hospital Bag:
  • Change of clothes (or 2)
    • shirt, pants, underwear, socks, shoes
  • Pajamas
  • Pillow (the hospital may have one for  him to borrow, but you never know)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste/deodorant/comb/soap/shampoo)
  • Camera/Video Camera/ Cell phone
  • Chargers
  • Cash & change (if the hospital's cafeteria is closed, you might want something out of a vending machine)
  • Snacks/Candy/Drinks/Gum (for you and him)

Diaper Bag:

  • Homecoming outfit (I always pack two newborn outfits & two 0-3 outfits. Two, just in case little one decides to have a blow out right as you are going home. The different sizes because you never know how big your baby is going to be, the newborn size may not fit.)
  • Socks/onesies/hat/mittens (depending on the season)
  • Diapers/wipes/bags for dirty diapers (6 diapers are plenty, the hospital will provide you the rest that you may need)
  • Burp cloth(s)
  • Nipple shield & lanolin
  • Pacifier & pacifier clip (some people think a pacifier shouldn’t be used until nursing is well established, or that it could mess with their ability to latch on. Others think it’s fine. Really it’s personal preference, whichever you choose.)
  • Tissues (the hospital usually gives you a bulb)
  • Baby nail clippers and glass file
  • Blanket/receiving blanket
  • Toy or anything you want for hospital pictures

    Free Printable: Hospital Bags

    Previous Series: Early Labor vs. Real Labor

    Next Series: Sibling Care During Hospital Stay

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Amy's Ultimate Pregnancy Checklist Series: Early Labor vs. Real Labor

Signs of Premature Labor:
  • Leaking or discharge (clear, bloody, or brown)
  • Loss of mucus plug
  • Contractions every 10 minutes or more.
  • Cramps with or without diarrhea
  • Pelvic Pressure (baby dropping)
  • Backache
    • Lie down and relax
    • Drink lots of water
    • Rest & wait, if symptoms don't get better in an hour, call your doctor!
    • If symptoms go away, lay low, put your feet up, & talk to your doctor!

Stages of Labor:
  • First Stage: Start of contractions that cause effacement and dilation of cervix.
    • Early Labor - cervix effaces and dilates
    • Active Labor/ Transition - cervix dilates more rapidly, contractions are longer, stronger, and closer
  • Second Stage: Labor begins when fully dilated and ends with birth
  • Third Stage: Right after birth, and you deliver the placenta

First Stage of Labor:
Coping skills for Labor pains &  when to go to the hospital
  • Early Labor
    • Time Contractions, record them!
    • Take a shower or bath
    • Listen to relaxing music
    • Try slow, deep breathing
    • Change positions
    • Drink water, juice or other clear liquids
    • Eat light healthy snacks
    • Apply ice packs or heat to your lower back
    • Rest as much as you can!!
    • If contractions are 5 minutes apart, call your doctor & go to the hospital!
    • If your water breaks, STOP! Record the time, color, odor, and general amount. Call your doctor & go to the hospital!
  • Active Labor/ Transition
    • Take a walk
    • Take a warm shower or bath
    • Rock in rocking chair
    • Roll on birthing ball
    • Massage
    • Change positions - if pressure in lower back, get on all fours
    • Cool cloth on forehead/ cold pack or warm compress on back
    • Rest between contractions!

Second Stage of Labor: Pushing Baby Out

  • Find a comfortable birthing position: Squatting, sitting, kneeling, or hands and knees.
  • Imagine the  hard contractions are helping your baby to move down and out with each contraction.
  • Stay Positive! You have made it this far, focus on one contraction at a time. Remind yourself that you are doing a great job and that the baby's arrival is near!
  • Relax your upper body and focus on pushing where it counts

Monday, May 30, 2016

Amy's Ultimate Pregnancy Checklist Series: 3rd Trimester

To Do - 3rd Trimester:

  • Practice relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Is your ring tight? (Get a larger temporary ring, or take it off.)
  • Learn what your body will be like after birth and what you can do to prepare
  • Do exercises & stretches that will prepare you for Delivery
  • Review your Birth Plan
  • Make a plan for when you go into labor (who will you call, where will you go, how long will you wait until you go to the hospital, who will watch the kids, etc.)
  • Make a list of who to contact when baby arrives with phone #'s and/or  e-mails. (Think about delegating to someone who would love to get the word out, like your mom or mother-in-law, or both if you have big families)
  • Make birth announcements (paper or electronic)
  • Wash linens and just enough baby clothes for a few days. If baby is big, you may need to return some of the clothes that were given to you.
  • Clean house, or have it cleaned
  • Keep up on car & home maintenance/ fix anything if needed
  • Assemble baby gear (crib, bouncer, stroller, car seat, etc...)
  • Stock up on household supplies (better to have it now, to avoid sending an already exhausted husband to the store for a late night pick up)
    • Pantry items
    • Frozen food/freezer meals (you might want to really stock these)
    • Toiletries, toilet paper, bathroom items
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Medicine cabinet
    • First aid/emergency kit
    • Diapers/wipes
  • Call insurance to find out when you can add Baby to the policy
  • Enjoy the last few kicks & the feeling of having baby inside of you.
  • Find where breastfeeding groups meet, and how often. Know where to get help if you need it!
  • Be prepared for water to break/ mucus plug/ bloody show (mine never broke until I was at the hospital with both deliveries, but I’ve heard stories of people walking in the store and it happened. You truly never know when to expect it.).
  • Take time to rest
  • If baby is overdue, try tricks to bring on Labor, relax, and try to get as much rest as you can.

    Free Printable: 3rd Trimester

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Amy's Ultimate Pregnancy Checklist Series: 2nd Trimester

To Do - 2nd Trimester:
  • Track food and water intake to make sure weight gain is healthy
  • Review Baby Registry
  • Narrow in on a few baby names
  • Talk with daddy about parenting and life after baby comes
  • Talk about work plans, maternity leave and paternity leave
  • Write a birth plan. Discuss with your spouse about the option of cutting the umbilical cord, and circumcision. Talk about cost and coverage. (Also, make a plan for a cesarean section, in case of an emergency. I know from experience it is better to have talked about it than to go in thinking all will be fine. I had a C-section thinking that I would go all natural. Talk about it! I hope you don’t have to worry about it, but it’s good to be ready if you need it!)
  • Ask for helpers for when baby comes
  • Pre-register at hospital or birthing center.
  • Sign up for breastfeeding class (knowing from experience, it is better to know before hand how a baby should latch on.)
  • Purchase a few different types of nipple shields to try at the hospital.
  • Talk to your baby (you might not have a name picked out yet, but it's good to start a relationship now)
  • Count fetal movements daily:
    • Look at the clock and begin counting every motion your baby makes.
    • When you have counted 10 movements, not the time.
    • Generally, you should notice 10 movements in 10 minutes, although it may take longer of your child to move or for you to notice the activity.
    • Have a little snack if you haven't noticed that much activity; then try counting again.
    • If two hours pass without 10 movements, call your practitioner, just in case.
    • Make a habit to check in regularly with your little one as your due date gets closer.
  • Baby proof and do a safety check (crawl around on your hands and knees, look for anything that could fall, get knocked down, poke or scrape easily, or entangle)
  • Find a pediatrician (if you’re having a boy, talk about circumcision)
  • Get a haircut

My Tips & Tricks:

If you plan on breastfeeding, and it isn’t working out,  it's not always a mother's fault that a baby is not latching correctly. My first son had a tight jaw and tongue, he couldn't coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing, and he would arch his back. It wasn’t until we took him to a Craniosacral Therapist for a few months that his tight jaw and tongue loosened and he stopped arching. But as his latch improved my flow became too fast, and he would refuse me after let down. Ultimately we chose to switch to bottle feeding after 2 1/2 months. 

With my second son, he was eager to nurse right off the bat, he latched on beautifully, and we never had any issues. The only time we had any issues was when I slept on my stomach,  my son slept through the night, and I ended up with a plugged duct. But I used some cabbage leafs in my bra, pumped, nursed, and massaged like crazy, and I was able to get it out without having to go to the doctor! Woo Hoo! 

All in all, I hope you have more of an experience like my second son. But as an experienced mom, I suggest that you do what you can to learn about breastfeeding now. Make sure you have resources handy. If, in the end, you are not able to breastfeed, you are not alone, don't get down on yourself! Sometimes it's better for you and the baby to go to bottle feeding. That doesn't mean you are any less of a mother, or that you failed. No matter how you feed your baby, you will still be a wonderful, loving, and successful mom!

I hope your pregnancy is going beautifully! Keep coming back for more on my series, or click below for my previous series posts.