Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Blog

Filtering by Tag: oklahoma doula

Postpartum Must-Haves

Chelsea Gonzales

IMG_1500.JPG

Baby will be here soon, and you’re probably all stocked up on diapers, wipes, and adorable little onesies. These are all important things to have, but they aren’t the only things you’ll need.

Have you thought at all about what you will need right after having a baby? These items are just as important—though admittedly not as cute—as the items you buy for baby.

Wondering what you should put on your baby-prep list after shopping for yourself? Make sure you stock up on the following.

Tucks Pads

Birth is beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty. Having a baby can cause some serious soreness in your lower half, and the constipation that often comes along with the postpartum days doesn’t help matters. Tucks Pads are medicated and provide cooling relief down there.

Mother Love Nipple Cream

The first weeks of breastfeeding will almost certainly cause your nipples to become raw and sore. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market that soothe your sore breasts while also remaining safe for baby. Our favorite is Mother Love Nipple Cream. Be sure to pick some up before baby arrives!

Reusable Nursing Pads

Another thing that happens in the first weeks and months of breastfeeding is leaking. As your milk comes in and your body figures out how much milk it actually needs to produce, you’re going to experience some leakage. Nursing pads catch those leaks before they make an appearance on your shirt. Reusable pads are particularly helpful when you have a newborn to care for and no extra time for laundry.

Ibuprofen

After giving birth you’re sure to be sore in more places than you can count. Ibuprofen is an absolute lifesaver, and something you’ll want to keep on hand. Even if you don’t usually use medicine for aches and pains, keep some around just in case. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

AfterEase by Wish Garden

AfterEase drops are perfect for relieving mothers of those dreaded after-birth contractions. It contains a number of herbs that have been used for postpartum care for generations, and the soothing effect the product has is absolutely wonderful.

Never had painful after-birth contractions before? Grab some anyway, as these pains tend to increase with each baby.

L Pads

Tampons and menstrual cups are a no-no after giving birth, and the blood flow after having a baby needs to be caught by something. The obvious answer is pads, and we recommend investing in the super pads because your flow will likely be very heavy at first. Of course, organic pads are always best, but purchasing a large number of organic pads can be pricey.

That’s why we love L Pads from Target. They are cheap, organic, and get the job done.

Postpartum Herbal Sitz Bath

A relaxing bath is the perfect way to recover after giving birth, and a bath with baby can provide fabulous bonding time. Add in an herbal sitz bath, and you and your little one will be treated to the amazing benefits offered by the herbs included. Whether you make your own herbal sitz bath mixture or purchase it premade, you’re sure to love soaking in a wonderful and aromatic bath.

Freezer Meals

Not very many mothers have time or energy to cook healthy delicious meals right after giving birth. Even those who do, don’t want to. After all, they should be bonding with baby.

For this reason, making and freezing plenty of meals beforehand is an excellent idea. Doing this will help ensure you continue to eat well while removing the work of cooking from the already hectic postpartum weeks.

Belly Support Band

After baby is born, your belly is likely to need a bit of additional support for a while. A belly support band is perfect for offering support while reducing pain, swelling, and pressure. It can be worn under any clothing, making it a discreet way to remain comfortable after giving birth.

Do you have everything you need to keep yourself comfortable after baby gets here? If not, it’s time to make a trip to the store and pick up those last-minute things. Happy shopping!

Why Every Mom Needs a Breastfeeding Class

Chelsea Gonzales

FullSizeRender.jpg

Most moms know that heading to at least one childbirth class before having their little one is a good idea. Unfortunately, the idea of breastfeeding classes hasn’t become quite as popular. In fact, this is an option that many new mamas don’t even know exists.

That said, breastfeeding classes are actually hugely helpful to new mothers. The things taught in such a class can help increase a mother’s chances of breastfeeding success, meaning a happier mama and healthier baby.

Learning to Latch

While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, that doesn’t mean moms automatically know how to do it. Therefore, if you plan to breastfeed at all, you will likely need somebody to show you the ropes.

Of course, the first thing you’ll need to know is how to help your newborn establish the perfect latch. This isn’t as easy as it might seem, and does take some practice. However, it is incredibly important, as a poor latch can lead to inefficient nursing and painful breasts.

Breastfeeding classes cover proper latch technique, helping moms understand what to look for and how to fix common problems.

Self Care

Of course, in order to breastfeed a little one, a mother must take good care of herself. Proper nutrition and good hydration are both essential to breastfeeding. Additionally, some mothers may need to eat certain things to encourage milk production. On top of all this, moms also need to take care of their breasts, using the correct ointments to soothe sore nipples and knowing what to look for should they suspect a problem.

Luckily, all of these things will be covered in a breastfeeding education class, meaning all mothers who attend such a class will know how to care for themselves while caring for their babies.

Pumping Education

Being with baby all the time isn’t an option for some moms. For other moms, the chance to get away sometimes is not something she’ll want to pass up. For this reason, learning about the different types of pumps and how to use them is also a part of most breastfeeding classes. This is great information to have!

Tricks of the Trade

Aside from the things mentioned above, a breastfeeding class will also cover some “tricks of the trade”. Some of these will help moms and their newborns fine tune their breastfeeding technique, while others can be employed once they have established a strong nursing foundation. All of them will help make nursing easier and more enjoyable for all involved.

Building your toolbox with plenty of professionally chosen tips is sure to help you on your breastfeeding journey.

Confidence

Quite possibly the most important thing a breastfeeding class provides a new mama is confidence. As mentioned earlier, nobody is born knowing how to breastfeed. Because of this, the idea of jumping into the world of nursing a little one is intimidating to some. A breastfeeding class can instill confidence in these worried mothers, helping them enjoy the end of their pregnancy.

As you’ve probably figured out, a breastfeeding class is—in our opinion—a no-brainer, and something every pregnant mama should make time for. Have you signed up for your breastfeeding class yet? Do it now, before baby arrives!

Finding the Breastfeeding Support You Need

Chelsea Gonzales

IMG_0409.JPG

The first few weeks postpartum are filled with huge changes. Perhaps the biggest change of all is learning to effectively breastfeed your little one. While babies are born with the instinct to nurse, they won't necessarily be great at it right off the bat. At the same time, mothers sometimes need a little help getting started themselves, and this can lead to some serious frustrations.

Fortunately, there is help available out there, and finding the right help could turn your nursing relationship around in no time.

Knowing When You Need Help

So how do you know when to find this help? How do you know your situation is dire enough to warrant it? Honestly, you'll likely know if things aren't going right. However, just in case you don't recognize it right off the bat, it is good to go in knowing what red flags to look for.

Any of the following could be cause for concern:

  • Prolonged separation of mother and baby
  • Nipple pain that cannot be easily remedied at home
  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Trouble finding a comfortable position
  • Shallow, painful, or incorrect latch
  • Baby losing a significant amount of weight

Of course, this is not an exclusive list of reasons to find a breastfeeding professional. Therefore, if your gut tells you something isn't right, it's best to find the help you need, if only to put your mind at ease.

Who to Call On

The next step is finding a person who can offer sufficient help. Finding the right individual may seem like a daunting task, but once you dive into the world of breastfeeding you'll discover that it's not as complicated as it seems.

If you had a doula attend your birth, or if a postpartum doula is helping you around the house, she may be able to offer the support you need. These individuals are not always trained lactation consultants, but even those who aren't have plenty of experience with nursing mothers and may be able to offer some pointers.

When a doula isn't available or when her help isn't enough to solve the problem, it's time to turn to a lactation consultant. Many hospitals keep lactation consultants on staff, and these individuals can be a great option if you're still in the hospital when problems arise or if your insurance company will only cover the services of an in-hospital consultant. However, out-of-hospital lactation consultants often offer more personalized attention and assistance. These lovely helpers can be found through such organizations as Thrive Mama Collective.

Of course, there is nothing like peer-to-peer support. While breastfeeding support meetings aren't the solution to serious problems, they can be helpful if you're just needing emotional support, tips and tricks, or help finding better positions. If these are the kinds of things you need, I recommend checking out the breastfeeding support group at Thrive Mama Collective, or one of the other local support groups.

The Importance of Finding Support

Why is finding breastfeeding support so important? Well, there are a couple of things to consider.

Finding help could make or break your nursing relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is a super important part of human development. It is an excellent source of nutrition for your little one and can even help boost their immune system. Additionally, the bond you will create with your little one through nursing is absolutely priceless and will set the stage for many healthy, strong relationships in the years to come.

Not only that, but finding help could also pinpoint any medical issues with you or baby that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. Therefore, seeking out help as soon as you feel it is necessary is always ideal.

As you can see, finding breastfeeding support is easy enough and also incredibly important. After all, two sets of eyes and hands are always better than one when you're trying to carry out a difficult task, and learning to breastfeed is a difficult yet wonderfully rewarding task, to say the least.

If you've been thinking about finding some help as you establish your nursing relationship, don't hesitate. Hire a postpartum doula for general help and support, or seek out a lactation consultant if you believe there may be an issue. You'll be glad you did when you see baby nursing like a champ and growing leaps and bounds.

 

7 Amazing C-Section Recovery Tips

Chelsea Gonzales

Whether your cesarean was planned from the beginning or a complete surprise, the recovery is something you'll need to go through. Luckily, you'll have your new bundle of joy by your side, softening the pain and more difficult days a little. However, a C-section is still major surgery, and as with all major surgeries, recovery isn't exactly fun.

That said, there are ways to speed up the recovery process and make it go a lot more smoothly. By knowing the right steps to take, you can help ensure all goes well in the weeks postpartum.

Walk, then Rest

Surgery leaves even the best of us feeling groggy and in pain. For this reason, walking is likely the very last thing you want to do. Still, walking is one of the necessary steps you must take before leaving the hospital. It's also beneficial during recovery because it helps get blood moving, reducing the likelihood of clots. For this reason, you will want to do a bit of walking around the house each day.

With that said, I must point out that this walking should be kept to a minimum in the first few weeks. No strenuous exercise should occur until at east 6–8 weeks postpartum, and even then, a new mama should get permission from her doctor.

Eat Well, Drink Plenty

Nutrition is hugely important when your body is working hard to recover. Besides, if you're breastfeeding, you're providing your baby with all of his or her nutrients. Therefore, you simply must eat well after having a C-section.

Besides eating a well balanced diet that is full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats, you will also want to make sure that the foods you choose contain plenty of fiber. This will help prevent the post-cesarean gas and constipation that so often plagues new mamas.

Additionally, plenty of protein, iron, and vitamin C are all musts in an after-surgery diet. These nutrients help your body rebuild muscle, recover from blood loss, and fight off infection.

Finally, you will need to consume A LOT of water. In fact, I recommend drinking around a gallon a day. Your body needs water in order to function properly, and with a post-operative recovery on its plate—as well as the usual postpartum work—it's going to need as much water as it can get.

Add in Supplements

During the months postpartum, be sure to continue taking your prenatal vitamin. Not only will this help baby get plenty of nutrients through your breastmilk, it will also help your body recover more quickly. Other supplements you may consider should include 1) a quality probiotic in order to restore order in your gut, as well as 2) zinc and magnesium, also for gut health.

Baby Your Scar

One key part of recovery is making sure your scar heals correctly and without infection. The best way to do this is by babying the area.

Stick to showers in order to avoid submerging your scar, never scrub that area, and gently pat it dry after showering. Put aloe vera gel and vitamin E on the scar to reduce swelling and visibility, and keep it covered with a organic or free and clear maxi pad or some other sterile, soft covering for the first two weeks.

Banish Pain

Of course, you're going to feel some level of pain after a C-section. In order to reduce this pain, be sure to use the painkillers prescribed by the doctor. As you wean off the prescription drugs, slowly make the switch to over-the-counter options such as ibuprofen.

Other options that can be used along with these painkillers include essential oil aromatherapy, arnica gel, cinnamon supplements, garlic supplements, coconut water, omega-3 fatty acids, hawthorn berry tea, and hibiscus tea. Using a combination of a few of these should have you feeling a bit better.

Address Your Emotions

Not every mama is happy to have had a cesarean. If you are upset by the way your birth went, be sure to address this right away rather than allowing it to fester. Having your placenta encapsulated and adding the capsules to your daily regimen can help keep your emotions under control, but this shouldn't be your only course of action.

You will also want to find a way to express your disappointment, air your grievances, and allow yourself to wade through, make sense of, and understand the strong emotions you may be feeling. For many women, simply talking with their partner or a close family member or friend is enough. Others need a professional to help them sort through their emotions. Still others prefer to write, draw, or use some other form of creativity to express themselves and get through this difficult time.

Find what works for you and go with it.

Get Help

As you're recovering, you're going to need plenty of help. While your family is sure to help out as much as they can, it isn't always enough. For this reason, it's a great idea to hire a postpartum doula. Doulas are knowledgeable when it comes to postpartum recovery and newborn care, and are immensely helpful in nearly all aspects of life after birth.

Are you ready to hire a postpartum doula? I'd love to talk to you about your options. Please contact me today!

Tips for a Successful VBAC

Chelsea Gonzales

IMG_0408.JPG

There once was a time when mothers were told they would never have a successful vaginal birth after having a cesarean. Fortunately, times have changed, and more and more mothers are making the choice to give it a try. After all, if it can be carried out safely, a vaginal birth is almost always the best option in terms of a mother’s comfort, recovery times, mother/child bonding, and so much more.

If you are considering having a VBAC, you may be wondering what you can do to increase the chances of a successful birth experience. Here are my top tips.

Build a Strong Birth Team

First and foremost, you will need to have a good, strong birth team. This is one of the most important steps you can take, as an unsupportive birth team will be discouraging at best.

Be sure to pick a primary care provider who is willing to attend a VBAC birth. If you are birthing away from home, the hospital or birth center your care provider is associated with must also be okay with your choice. Ensure you trust your midwife or OB completely. If you feel at all uncomfortable or concerned with your care provider, make a switch. Even if your feelings are apparently unwarranted, feeling comfortable during labor and delivery is imperative to a successful VBAC.

In addition to a good doctor or midwife, you will also want to hire a doula. A doula will help ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout labor, and may even make the process move more quickly. Additionally, a doula can help you work through any fears that may arise.

Go Natural

Inductions, epidurals, and other interventions increase the likelihood of a c-section. Considering this is the very thing you are wanting to avoid, you will also want to avoid intervention as much as possible, letting nature take its course throughout the birthing process.

While this make take more time and patience, and while it might require seeking out natural pain management options, it's so worth the end result.

Educate Yourself

Confidence plays an enormous role in the success of any birth. The more confident you are, the more likely you are to be successful.

This is probably due in part to the fact that the more confident women tend to be the more educated women. Therefore, these individuals have a good understanding of their bodies, leading to less fear. They are also better able to make educated decisions throughout labor, meaning they're less likely to be pushed into doing things they don't want to do.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women—and especially those wishing to experience a VBAC—do everything they can to boost their confidence and educate themselves. The best ways to go about this include attending quality childbirth classes and reading as much as possible. Finding books about VBAC specifically can be especially helpful.

Banish Fears

Another step toward confidence that every potential VBAC mother must take is banishing fears. Traumatizing birth experiences stick with us and tend to fester, growing into paralyzing fears. These fears are strong—so strong in fact that they can stall labor, something that can lead to interventions.

Fortunately, you have the power to banish these fears. Find a therapist to help you work through your unwanted thoughts, hire a doula to help in case these fears surface during labor, and repeat uplifting and inspirational mantras to yourself throughout your pregnancy and your labor.

Many women also find it helpful to hang posters or flags with inspirational messages throughout their home and birth space.

Expect a VBAC, Prepare for a Cesarean

In some cases, it just isn't possible for a mother to have a VBAC safely. Because of this, it is always best to go in expecting the best but prepared for the worst.

What does this mean for you? Here is what I suggest:

  •  Know where to go — If you're delivering at home or in a birth center, know in advance where you'll be transferred should the need arise.Prepare for postpartum — Obviously, you'll want meals planned and help in place no matter how your birth goes. However, having extra assistance lined up in case of a c-section is a smart move.
  • Speak with your care provider — Ask your doctor any questions you have about what will happen should you need a cesarean. Have a midwife? Find out what her typical procedure is in these cases.
  • Create a birth plan — You've probably already thought about your birth plan should you have a vaginal delivery, but have you considered what you'd like in the case of surgery? Think about it, write it down, and make sure your birth team knows your plan.

Following these tips is not a guarantee of anything. They will, however, help you achieve your dream. Why not get started today?

 

Recognizing Postpartum Depression

Chelsea Gonzales

IMG_0125.JPG

Postpartum depression is a serious issue for a surprisingly large number of women. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to catch the milder cases of PPD, and this—along with a few other factors—means a good many women aren’t given the help they deserve.

Why is postpartum depression so difficult to recognize? Well, this could be due to a couple of things.

First, a small amount of anxiety, stress, and even a short-lived, mild case of the baby blues can be normal. After all, your hormones are going through some pretty significant changes, and coupled with the enormous life changes being made, this can be overwhelming. Separating the usual overwhelmed feelings from true PPD can be difficult.

Another issue is that many new mothers will put on a happy face for family and friends. They may feel guilty or embarrassed about feeling down-in-the-dumps when they’ve just experienced the miracle of birth. Additionally, many mothers don’t want loved ones to worry about them.

Despite this, it’s important that we worry, and even more important that we learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Nobody deserves to suffer through the postpartum months, and by taking steps to help the new mamas close to you (or yourself), you will help ensure the people in your life don’t either.

What to Look For

Wondering what you should be watching for? Keep an eye out for these signs and symptoms:

Persistent Negative Feelings

Be sure to talk regularly with those who have just given birth. Ask how they’re feeling and validate their feelings. Never brush off a new mama’s feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness. If a woman in your life has just given birth and seems to have persistent feelings of sadness, panic, or hopelessness, she could be suffering from postpartum depression.

Lack of Desire to Care for Baby (or Herself)

Many depressed women have no desire to care for their newborns. Often, this will mean dad is left doing most of the work. Unfortunately, a mother who lacks the desire to care for her baby could be neglectful. Additionally, those with this problem often have no desire to care for themselves either, leading to a whole host of other problems.

Not Sleeping or Eating

An overly anxious or depressed mama may have trouble sleeping for any length of time, something that will quickly lead to more negative feelings. She may also have trouble eating anything at all. This is clearly an issue that must be addressed sooner rather than later, especially if the mother is nursing.

Constant Fatigue

On the other end of the spectrum, many women who suffer from PPD simply want to sleep all the time. This constant fatigue will be apparent if your new-mama loved one is falling asleep on the couch or spending a large amount of time in bed.

What to Do

Of course, simply recognizing postpartum depression isn’t enough. Here’s what you should do if you suspect a person you care for is suffering from PPD:

Tell a Healthcare Professional

First and foremost, you will want to let a healthcare professional know about the problem. If you’re in a position to tell your loved one’s doctor yourself, do so. Otherwise, encourage the new mother to let her doctor know so they can work out a treatment plan.

Encourage Positive Activities

Of course, what your friend does in her day-to-day life is also important. Let her know it’s okay to carve out time for herself and encourage her to use that time to engage in uplifting activities. This might include reading a book, hanging out with friends, or simply journaling her feelings over coffee. Making time to do what makes her happy should help your friend cope a bit better.

In addition to this “me time” to do what she loves, those suffering with PPD should also take extra care to make time to:

  • Be outside
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Bond with baby
  • Provide Support

No person should be expected to battle depression on their own. Being available to support your friend or family member is more important than you might realize. In fact, a constant stream of support could be the most valuable thing she receives during this tough time.

Obviously, you can’t be available all the time. However, by joining forces with other friends and family members, and hiring a well-qualified postpartum doula, you will easily be able to give your loved one the love and care she needs.

Are you looking for a quality postpartum doula in the Oklahoma City area? Please contact me today to learn more about my after-birth support services.

 

Staying Healthy Naturally During Flu Season

Chelsea Gonzales

Photo by PeopleImages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by PeopleImages/iStock / Getty Images

Flu season is definitely here, and many families are feeling its effects. Even if you’re lucky enough to skip the flu itself this season, you and your kids will likely experience at least one or two little bugs. This is never fun.

Fortunately, you can dampen the blow and even avoid some illnesses entirely by taking a few precautionary steps. Here are my favorite tips and tricks for keeping healthy naturally, even when it seems every virus on the planet is making the rounds.

Elderberry Syrup

Let’s begin with a much deserved shoutout to elderberry syrup. This concoction is absolutely magical, and best of all, it’s completely natural. Elderberry syrup can be taken daily throughout the winter, or you can hold onto it for taking only when sick.

To make your own batch of this illness-fighting syrup, follow the instructions on Wellness Mama.

Detox Baths

As the name suggestions, detox baths are perfect for ridding the body of toxins. Besides, who doesn’t love a relaxing bath when they’re sick? I know I do, especially if I can’t seem to get warm.

To create your own detox bath, add the following to your bathwater:

  • 2 cups epsom salt
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 cups hydrogen peroxide

Adults can also mix in a few drops of certain essential oils to add an element of aromatherapy. This option should not be used for kids though, as the oils may cause skin irritation and other poor reactions.

Bone Broth

Homemade bone broth is an incredibly nutrient-dense food that can help boost the immune system and aid in healing those who are already ill. It’s cheap to make, tasty to eat, and can be used in a variety of dishes. On top of all that, bone broth is also incredibly soothing to sick individuals who don’t feel like eating, are suffering from a sore throat, or can’t get rid of congestion.

If you’re looking for a great bone broth recipe, try this one from Wellness Mama.

Vitamin D

One of the reasons many people tend to be sick during the winter is a lack of vitamin D. We get the majority of our vitamin D from the sun, and when the sun isn’t shining or the weather is too cold to head outside, we end up deficient in this important nutrient. Luckily, you can improve this issue by taking a vitamin D capsule. If you have young children, liquid drops are another option.

Vitamin K2  

Vitamin K2 is another supplement you may want to consider adding to your family’s regimen. This vitamin isn’t spoken of often, and is unfortunately rarely found in the typical western diet. However, it plays a very important role in our overall health and is especially helpful when taken in conjunction with vitamin D, because the two have synergistic effects.

Rest Up

Everyone knows that the body needs rest. Without it, the body can’t function properly, and the immune system is compromised. Clearly, this is a very bad thing when so many germs are going around, so make sure your family stays well rested throughout the season.

Wash Up

Sure, you’ve heard it over and over again, but it’s worth mentioning the fact that hand washing can have an enormous effect on the health of your family. Encourage hand washing after every trip to the bathroom, after outings, and before meals. Additionally, you may want to carry hand sanitizer for those times when a sink isn’t available.

Using these simple tips, you can keep yourself and your family healthy throughout the flu season and emerge with a strengthened immune system to boot.

Of course, if you’re a new parent, adding all of these new supplements and habits to your life can be a bit overwhelming. That’s where a postpartum doula can step in. A doula offers assistance in various areas of your life in order to ensure you have time to do everything you need to do for the most important people in your life.

For more information on my postpartum doula services, please contact me today!

What to Pack for Your Hospital Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

IMG_4167.JPG

If you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and are planning a hospital birth, it is time to begin packing your birth bag. After all, you never know when labor may ensue, and it is always comforting to know you’re prepared.

That said, many new mamas are at a loss when it comes to putting together a hospital bag. Deciding what to pack and what to leave home can be a stressful task that many women prefer to avoid entirely.

If you are currently going through the process of deciding what to put in your bag, you may find the list below helpful. It includes the most commonly used items in hospital delivery rooms across the country.

During Labor

Photo ID, Insurance Information and Hospital Forms — These items are all highly important, but also pretty obvious things to bring along. Still, in the stress of the moment you could easily forget to grab them, so putting them in or near your bag is probably a good idea.

Birth Plan — Building a customized birth plan takes a lot of effort. Therefore, it would be a shame to show up to your birth without it. Make multiple copies of your plan and keep them in your hospital bag to share with everyone.

Camera — While you may not feel very photogenic during labor, you will want some pictures to look back on. Be sure to pack a camera to capture those precious moments.

Comfortable Clothes — Both you and your partner will want to be comfortable while spending such a long time in the hospital. Be sure to pack plenty of comfortable clothes for the two of you to wear during labor and after baby is born. A loose gown is best for labor, and shorts or sweats with a comfy shirt work well for after the delivery.

Slippers or Flip-Flops — Nobody wants to walk around barefoot in a hospital. Still, putting on sneakers or boots every time you get up is a pain and not exactly comfortable. Flip-flops or slippers can help solve this problem.

Socks — Some people prefer to skip the shoes altogether and wear comfortable socks instead. Pack a few pairs in case you discover this is your preference.

Hair Tie or Clip — There is nothing more distracting or annoying than hair in your face. A hair tie or hair clip can help tame unruly hair and keep it out of your eyes while you focus on bringing baby into the world.

Glasses and Contacts — Whether you typically wear glasses or contacts, you will want to pack both options if they are available to you. Many women find that glasses are more comfortable to wear during labor. Still, others report that glasses tend to fog up and choose to wear contacts instead.

Snacks — Snacks are not always readily available in a hospital environment. Therefore, it is good to have some healthy options on hand. These are good for your partner to munch on during your labor, and for those delivering in hospitals that allow it, they can also be good for you to keep your blood sugar well-balanced. Snacks are also helpful after delivery, especially if you deliver in the middle of the night when the hospital kitchen is closed.

Lip Balm — Dry lips are very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they are a common occurrence during labor. Some quality lip balm can help fix this problem.

Music — Many women find a “labor playlist” is the perfect way to help themselves relax. Put together a list on your phone and bring a speaker to play your tunes while you labor.

Essential Oils — Good smells are also a great way to find a happy place and relax. Essential oils can provide those smells, and some even have naturally relaxing effects. Just be sure the oils you choose are safe to use around baby.

Massage Oil or Lotion — Another great way to get those relaxing smells into the air is to use a scented massage oil or lotion. Use these to rub down sore spots for an extra nice effect.

Heating Pad or Rice Sock — Heat can help relax tense muscles and relieve sore spots. A heating pad or rice sock can provide just the right amount of heat to help you find relief.

After the Birth

Baby Book — Writing down stories of those first few days of baby's life in the moment is a wonderful way to ensure they are recorded accurately. Additionally, having the baby book nearby to get handprints and footprints to keep when the hospital staff is getting a footprint of their own is very helpful.

Supportive Nursing Bra or Cami — Depending on how long you are in the hospital, there is a chance your milk could come in while there. Having some support can help make you more comfortable during this process. Additionally, a nursing bra will make feeding your little one much easier in those first few days.

Nipple Cream — While you and your little one are still getting the hang of nursing, you might find that your nipples become very sore and cracked. Nipple cream can work wonders for new mamas during this time.

Breast Pads — If your milk does come in during your hospital stay, you are definitely going to want to have some breast pads on hand to catch any leaks.

Pads — While all hospitals provide sanitary pads, there is a chance you will find them uncomfortable. Therefore, if you are picky about your sanitary products or if you prefer cloth pads, be sure to pack some of your own.

Extra Underwear — After hospital births, disposable mesh underwear are usually given to new mothers. Many women love these; however, not everyone does. Pack some extra underwear just in case you don’t care for them.

Toiletries — The first shower after delivery is heavenly. Make it amazing by bringing your own toiletries.

Phone and Charger — After your baby arrives, you are going to want to spread the news. Be sure to bring your cellphone and a charger so you can do this as soon as possible.

“Coming Home” Outfit — The day baby comes home is a special one. Be sure to bring a special outfit for the occasion. Make sure to bring a couple of sizes in case baby is bigger or smaller than anticipated!

Car Seat — Without a properly fitting and properly installed car seat, you will not be allowed to take your little one home. Therefore, you will want to check “purchasing a seat” off your to-do list before labor begins.

Take this list and add or remove items to make it your own. I hope it helps you prepare for the arrival of your little guy or girl!