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What’s in My Hospital Bag?

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If you’ve been here for the last few months, you know we have been blessed with baby #3 on the way, a precious baby boy. I am 37.5 weeks at the time of writing this. Those weeks are dwindling down to the final few so I’m prepping with getting all packed with my necessities.

For me, this will be a repeat C-section. Yes, my third. This was not a decision I came to lightly. I’m by no means saying a C-section is something to be ashamed of! Childbirth is rock-star status regardless of the method. I personally was just hoping for a different experience this time for several very personal reasons. So I’ll just leave that as it is. Despite the schedule, I still want to be ready in case this baby decides he is ready to meet us earlier than scheduled, so I wanted to share some of the products I’m turning to for more natural care and recovery.

Disclaimer: A few of these links are affiliate/consultant links.

Toiletries

Toiletries

Body bar soap by Primal Life Organics – This one was really important to me for a few reasons. With a newborn, we will be doing a LOT of skin to skin time so I wanted to make sure I was using something with clean ingredients so he wouldn’t absorb anything questionable that may have been left behind. I wanted something that wouldn’t interfere with his natural instinct to breastfeed by leaving strong scents on my skin (babies can smell colostrum and breastmilk…that’s how they know exactly where to go when placed on mom’s chest.) Lastly, since this will be a surgery, I wanted to make sure whatever I will be washing my body with wouldn’t irritate my incision if any were to get in/near it as I rinse off.

Deodorant by Primally Pure – I love this deodorant for it’s effectiveness and super clean ingredients, as well as it’s light scent. *If you are sensitive to baking soda in natural deodorants, they also have a baking soda free version definitely worth checking out!

Baby Balm by Primally Pure – I’m using this for a nipple cream. I’ve had varying experiences in the past with breastfeeding. It was painful for about 7-8 weeks with my first born (even though we had everything correct). I had almost no pain with my second. Now, granted, when I started with my second baby, it was only maybe 7 months after I had stopped nursing my first…but now we’re talking 4 1/2 years difference so who knows how this is going to go with pain. I want to be prepared and I really liked the ingredient list on this product. Bonus: this can be used for several different things, so no money wasted if I end up not needing it!

Makeup by Beautycounter – This is not even close to a necessity! However, I know from experience while lying in a hospital bed with a surgical incision, I don’t feel like myself. Throwing on just a bit of maybe mascara and blush can do wonders for my self-esteem and how I feel overall. Maybe I won’t even use it, but I’m bringing it in case I want it.  Plus, you know….pictures!

Face wash by Beautycounter – I’m bringing my charcoal bar for a gentle wash with clean ingredients.

Face moisturizer by Beautycounter – I didn’t want to mess around with coconut or jojoba oils at the hospital so I’m reaching for my Beautycounter Nourishing Day Cream during my stay, another one I trust for cleaner ingredients.

Body lotion by me – I made a fresh batch of my homemade body butter recently. This time, I left out the essential oils so I could use it on my baby if needed. I decided on this because, again, I wanted something that wouldn’t irritate my incision if at all, even accidentally, exposed to the product. (Not pictured)

Toothpaste by me – I just really like my homemade toothpaste and didn’t feel like searching for a more travel friendly all natural brand in a store or online. What can I say, sometimes I get tired of ordering stuff. (Not pictured)

Handsoap by Young Living – When it comes to hygiene, I’m a much bigger advocate for hand-washing with good old soap and water, rather than overusing hand sanitizers. I like this soap because it has pretty good ingredients and is not an antibacterial soap with the recently FDA-banned triclosan. (There are several store-bought brands without triclosan too if you’re not into essential oil products. The brand we usually use for hand soap at home is Seventh Generation, but I already had plenty of this YL soap.) In my limited experience, hospitals don’t provide hand soap for the patient-room bathrooms, which I find so odd with how anti-every-bacterium hospitals tend to be. Or if they do provide it, I probably won’t want to use it.

Hand sanitizer by Young Living – I’m bringing this even though I do prefer hand-washing. And I like that this one is not an alcohol base.

Shampoo & Conditioner by Shea Moisture – This isn’t my normal brand of shampoo and conditioner, but I found these little travel size bottles from Shea Moisture and I know they’re rated as a 1 from EWG so I feel ok using these for a few days.

For Baby

Diaper cream by Beautycounter – I’m not really expecting a diaper rash during the few days in the hospital but I want to have one that I trust in case it’s needed.

Baby Body Bar by Primal Life Organics – As far as I know, most hospitals don’t exactly use a “clean” brand of baby wash for those newborn baths. I admit both of my babies were bathed in whatever the hospital had and “they are both fine” but knowing better now, I want to do better. While in the hospital, I’ll be using my PLO Baby Bar for baby’s bath. At home though, I’ll most likely make one with simply Dr Bronner’s Baby Castile Soap diluted in distilled water and kept in a foaming pump. (Most homemade recipes are for using essential oils but I don’t think any baby is born needing essential oils so I’d prefer to leave those off his newborn skin.) Other brands that look really clean are Poofy Organics Gentle Castile Bath, Paleo Tallow Bar Soap for Baby,  or Beautycounter baby wash.

Pain management

Arnica gel & tablets – This is new for me. In the past, I declined all the prescription-strength pain meds, including during the hospital stay. I wasn’t trying to be a hero; I just really hate how they make me feel and I was concerned about them passing into breastmilk so I opted out. I was able to manage the recovery pain with Tylenol Extra Strength and Advil. (I’m not saying I was pain free with this method. The pain was just brought down to a level that was tolerable for me.) However, as I continue on my natural journey, I’m trying something more along those lines. But as I said, this is new. So if it doesn’t work, I’m prepared to give myself some grace, remember the fact that a cesarean is a major surgery, and will do what I did before. This is definitely an area for grace and forgiveness for yourself if you are trying to avoid as much medication as possible. Everyone’s pain tolerance and threshold is different, and with a major surgery like this, do what you need to do to allow healing. So if that means prescription-strength pharmaceuticals, go right ahead.

C-section/belly wrap – This is incredibly helpful for getting things back in place a little later, but is also helpful in the hospital. The first time you get up and walk, everything in the abdomen area kind of…well, hangs. And when there’s a surgical incision hanging along with it, that can be extra painful so the support provided by the belly wrap is really helpful. There are several to choose from on Amazon.

Supplements

Supplements

*I will NOT be bringing all of these bottles. Labeled Ziploc bags to the rescue!

Beef Liver capsules by Vital Proteins – Liver is high in vitamin A, which is extremely helpful in wound healing. Here’s a simple explanation of it’s role from The Paleo Mom.

Magnesium Gel by Ancient Minerals – Surgery is a major stressor on the body and stress depletes magnesium, even though magnesium is needed to help the body manage that stress, as I mentioned in a previous post. I want to continue to provide my body with a source of magnesium during recovery.

Collagen Peptides by Great Lakes – Collagen is an important source of amino acids needed for healing, including arginine and glutamine, as mentioned in the above article by The Paleo Mom. (I recently saw Great Lakes does have individual travel packs of collagen if that works better for you.)  Vital Proteins is another excellent brand and also has the individual packs.

Vitamin C by Garden of Life – Vitamin C, also talked about by The Paleo Mom for wound healing, is a synthesizer of collagen as well as an antioxidant and supports adrenals.

Prenatal Vitamins by Garden of Life – Hospital food isn’t exactly what I’d call nutrient-dense or nutrient-rich, so I want to make sure to continue to take these vitamins.

Celtic Sea Salt – As soon as your baby is born, your adrenals are taxed. Minerals are really important in supporting the adrenals which is something to really focus on in the postpartum period. I can put a pinch of this in my water or on food, or even just consume a tiny amount straight if needed.  I keep this little container with me everywhere I go.

Pregnancy tea by Traditional Medicinals – Teas like this are more potent and beneficial in loose leaf form, but for convenience, I’ve been going with TM tea bags. These teas have herbs that are beneficial for toning of the uterus and balancing postpartum hormones (red raspberry leaf) as well as a source of iron (stinging nettles) which is something you’ll need after surgery from blood loss, and promoting lactation (stinging nettles). Plus tea is a really easy place to add in some collagen peptides!

Aqueous Zinc by Biotics – Zinc is essential for wound healing. I don’t take this on a regular basis but I will in the hospital because you know…hospital food. When back at home though, I plan to get this from foods like meats, vegetables, eggs, and seeds.

Recovery tip from my own experience

Get up and walk as soon as you can. Even if it’s no more than 3 steps. After my first C-section (which was unplanned), I automatically expected to be staying in bed for several days with basically zero movement. My daughter was born at 11:09pm which means I didn’t even get back to my room until much later…so I was shocked when the nurse came in my room bright and early the next morning and said, “Ok time to walk!” This was the slowest, hardest, and most painful walk of my life, but I do believe it sped up my recovery. Every walk after that was easier and easier. This is also where the C-section wrap I mentioned above would come in handy to help “hold things up” and lessen the pain.

What else is in my bag?

Loose fitting clothes – especially those with a gentle waistband for the sake of my incision

Nursing pillow

Nursing bras – I actually prefer to keep a bra ON during surgery (just a personal thing) and at my last surgery, I made the mistake of wearing a normal bra. It was hard to maneuver around the IV for nursing with a regular bra on, so wear a nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed. (Or you could go without obviously.)

Kindle reader (and charger) – As smitten as I will be with our new baby, there’s a chance I’ll want something to do while he’s snuggling on my chest, and I’m a reader so I kind of take this everywhere anyway.

Phone charger and headphones

Going-home outfit for baby

Nursing cover – We are expecting visitors during our hospital stay, and while many women can nurse uncovered without a second thought (awesome!), I am someone who prefers to cover up a bit.

Nursing pads

Headbands and hair ties

Slippers or comfy socks

Flip flops – for shower

We will also be bringing a properly installed car seat, copies of pre-registration, IDs, and our birth plan. (Yes you can have a birth plan for a C-section.) I personally don’t bother with things like a bathrobe or my own pillow, but go for it if those things make you happy.

Bringing a baby into the world is the most amazing experience.  Recovery is an important and often overlooked aspect as much of the attention is placed on the baby. Please be sure to take care of yourself in ways that work for you.

In good health,
Michelle

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