Hospital Bag Talk - What I Brought and Actually Got to Use for my Emergency C-Section
I finished packing my hospital bag on my 35th week. Good thing as well as I delivered earlier than expected - 36 weeks and 3 days! My mom went through my bag with me, and she shook her head at most of the items I initially put in, haha! Thank God for the wisdom of mothers, I kinda saved myself from bringing items I wouldn’t have been able to use.
I say kinda, because given that my mom helped me trim my bag’s contents, there was STILL a lot of stuff we weren’t able to use, and there were still some items I had to ask our Manang Klim to send over.
Hopefully, as I go through my list with corresponding comments, I’ll be able to help you go through your own packing list. :)
Background: I was confined in Asian Hospital Alabang for about 5 days. Came in for a checkup November 3, delivered on the 4th, and went home on the 8th.
2 receiving blankets - I put one of the blankets in a ziplock to be given to the nurses for Lilibubs’ use right after delivery. The other receiving blanket was supposed to be for going home which I forgot to bring out because Lilibubs pooped right before we left the hospital hehe! It would have been put to good use then.
Verdict: 2 receiving blankets are enough.
2 hooded towels - I was only able to use one and that’s because I insisted, hehe, meaning there was no need for this. Asian Hospital staff came in everyday to bathe Lilibubs, and they brought their own towels at no additional cost.
Verdict: Hooded towels are optional.
6 muslin swaddles - my husband and I are in love with them! They’re great for everything: as swaddles, burp cloths, blankets. I ended up asking Manang Klim to send over two more for our last day in the hospital, though. So for a 4-day stay, the six that I brought would have been enough. I would also recommend purchasing swaddles of really good cotton quality, you’ll be using them a lot especially in the first few weeks!
Verdict: Bring a lot if you intend to use them for everything! Probably number of days plus three, that’s how many swaddles you could bring.
1 bonnet - I don’t even know why I brought only one. Ah I know! It’s because Mama said it’s not needed inside the room and I’d be needing one only for going home. Well… even if our room’s temperature was set at 26 degrees as was the recommended temperature by the pedia, we still put on her bonnet. And as it turned out, with Lilibubs being born so small (4 lbs 12oz), the bonnet I did manage to pack was too big for her and it kept on getting lost hehehe. So again, I had to ask Manang Klim to send two bonnets over.
Verdict: 2 bonnets should be enough.
3 pairs each of mittens and booties - Try to have husband pack the hospital bag with you so he’d know where everything is :) when I asked Joey to give the ziplock I prepared for after delivery to the nurses (containing a receiving blanket, a swaddle, a diaper, and a tie-side set with mittens and booties), I discovered on our third day that he also gave the other pack containing the mittens and booties. So for one day we were searching for Lilibubs’ mittens and booties and I was getting praning that I didn’t get to pack it, when all along he handed it over to the nurses and the nurses placed it in her bassinet with all the toiletries provided by the hospital. I didn’t think to look there hehe. And then said mittens and booties all kept getting off of our little one because newborn size as they are, they were still too big for her, even the ones that you can tie. So again, I asked Manang Klim to send two more pairs of each over, but then still they were too big, so, nothing gained there hehe!
Verdict: 3 pairs of mittens and booties should be good. Get the ones you can tie rather than the garter ones.
2 pictorial outfits: 2 onesies and 1 cute bloomers (shorts) - only got to use the 1 onesie as a last alternative since we ran out of tie-sides. Had to take it off right after because poop explosion, so it was good to have as a stand-by outfit. No pictorial happened because of the swift turn of events, and even if Happy Folks Studio offered to shoot us on our first day with Lilibubs, we opted not to anymore because my cut was still so painful and we were still adjusting to life with a newborn. So. I think pictorials in the hospital can only work for normal deliveries, but that’s just me, of course.
As for the other set that I brought, they were still too big for Lilibubs :( (the top was newborn size while the other was 3 months pala! I didn’t get to check huhu I just looked at the colour and thought, “uy! Bagay siya sa top na ‘to!” Engot hehehe! Aside from that, we also found out that Lilibubs doesn’t like onesies, hehe!
Verdict: entirely optional. Though they do make for good, just-in-case-there’s-a-poop-explosion standby clothes.
5 sets of tie-side tops and bottoms (3 NB size and 2 0-3mos) — these are THE BEST for newborns. We found them easier to put on than onesies. They’re also perfect for skin-to-skin: you just untie them and spread out and voila, baby’s bare with her back unexposed to the cold. The only problem was, again, Lilibubs was too small even for the newborn size, and much, much more for 0-3 months. So we didn’t get to use the 2 0-3mos set I brought and had Manang Klim send over two more newborn sets.
Verdict: I would recommend following my swaddle rule - number of days plus three :) but then again, not all babies are the same. Some probably prefer onesies.
3 wash cloths, 3 burp cloths, 4 lampin - didn’t get to use any of these, eep! We used swaddles for everything :D
Verdict: super very optional if you have swaddles.
1 small bottle - my mother gave me the eye at this and insisted I didn’t need it. Still, I brought one just in case I’m unable to produce milk (which my postpartum doula said is a myth. She said that all mothers’ milk are present since the sixth month and it just takes baby’s sucking to draw them out). Turns out Asian Hospital is such a pro-breastfeeding institution that when a nurse saw the bottle, she told me to hide it kasi bawal daw, hehe! (When Lilibubs was kept in the NICU for 24 hours’ observation, they cup-fed her so that there’d be no risk of nipple confusion.)
Sidenote on breastfeeding: my milk came on the third day after I gave birth, I think. Prior to that, as soon as Lilibubs was roomed in, we were encouraged to have her latch as soon as possible and as often as she needed, even if it felt like I wasn’t making any milk. Do not be discouraged or misled by this notion, as the primary reason to latch as early as possible is for babies to develop a blueprint in their memories on how to suck. Also, newborns, possessing stomachs as big as a calamansi, need only small amounts of colostrum (early milk) in their first couple of days, therefore what you’ll be producing would seem little (or even none) as well. In the beginning, breastfeeding would be really painful especially if your baby turns out to be quite the vigorous sucker like mine is. But even if s/he isn’t, our nipples aren’t used to being touched/sucked on that often AT ALL, tiis-tiis lang talaga. You and your baby are getting to know each other and eventually, with time and practice, both of you will get the hang of it. (It has been three weeks since I started exclusively breastfeeding and I would have to admit that the first latch at every feeding still makes my toes curl and my stomach clench, hehe! I’m told to wait till my nipples develop calluses and that’s when it’ll get easier. Admittedly, that doesn’t sound good AT ALL but it is what it is, and we do what we must if we want to breastfeed for a long time, which I intend to do.
Verdict: bring only if you have decided to formula-feed from the very start.
2 nursing jammies - I got to use both on days 4 and 5 when I was feeling stronger, but really this is very optional; you could spend the entire stay in a hospital gown and the nurses can provide you with a robe should you want to go outside your room. My mom actually gave me a puzzled look when she saw me packing these two items, hehe!
Verdict: entirely optional.
2 nursing bras - I only got to use one and that was when we went home. My nipples felt so sensitive after all the nursing that I just wanted to aerate them the whole time we were in the hospital, hehe.
Verdict: one should be enough.
1 nursing cover - this could’ve been used if I only remembered to bring it out the day we went home. As it turned out, when Lilibubs turned to me hungry, I just used one of her swaddles as a cover.
Verdict: one should be good.
1 nursing pillow - definitely bring yours! It’s good to put in as much practice as you can with your pillow from the beginning.
8 Charmee menstrual pants - aaah this was such a relief and comfort to use. You’ll be bleeding a lot post-op so these would really come in handy. What’s great about them is they act as your undies too, so you can just wear them underneath your gown without having to put on panties. By this time, the less bending you make, the better hehe as your body is still adjusting to the pain.
I ran out of these menstrual pants, though, that I ordered maternity pads from the nurse. Also, they are not for heavy flow so they can’t be used for the first two days. I didn’t buy adult diapers because I thought the menstrual pants would be enough, but no. The blood will be heavy on your first two days and you’ll mostly be lying on the bed too (with a catheter on the first day), so you really need adult diapers AND menstrual pants/pads.
Verdict: bring ten pieces. And buy adult diapers. Perhaps ten pieces will be enough too.
10 underpads / bed pads - super needed, both to keep your bed urine/blood-free just in case there are leaks, and also for your daily sponge bath.
Verdict: yes! must bring. A pack of ten should be good.
5 disposable and 2 granny panties - I think I only got to use two of the disposable undies because I was in menstrual pants as soon as my catheter was taken out.
Verdict: disposable undies must bring, granny panties not needed anymore if you’re using menstrual pants.
3 socks - because our room’s temperature was set at 26 degrees max, I wasn’t that cold, so I didn’t really use any of the socks I brought, hehe. But I hear in Makati Med it can be quite cool, so I guess it really depends per hospital. Maybe safe to bring 2 pairs max.
Mamaway and Wink binders: SUPER ESSENTIAL. I can’t emphasise enough how helpful these two quality binders are. They help you move and forget the pain sometimes hehe! The Mamaway velcro binder is good for the first few days when you’re just lying on the bed, while Wink is best used for when you are more mobile already. Major difference between the two - Wink is more lightweight and can eventually be used as a spanx. Its purchase will pay off months, maybe even years, after you’ve given birth.
1 shawl - I have a nice, thick, warm shawl that also doubles as a pillow when folded aside from being an additional blanket. I bring it with me every time I get hospitalized. It’s so multi-purpose.
Nipple cream - so Asian Hospital is so hardcore into breastfeeding that they discourage the use of nipple creams to alleviate nipple pain and soreness. They just suggested that I express breastmilk and apply it to my nipples, that it is enough to heal them. I followed this even when we got home, but I think by the time I reached my second week of breastfeeding, when a milk blister has formed and Lilibubs was feeding every hour, I succumbed and applied lanolin hehehe! I don’t put it often though, only when the pain is beginning to feel unbearable. It’s funny too because even if I wipe it off before a feed, parang nalalasahan ni Liliibubs na may kakaiba, hehe! So again, I just limit application.
Journal - I brought a new small notebook because I wanted to document our new life. But my mind was too preoccupied with dealing with the pain from the incision, the first pains from breastfeeding, getting to know our newborn and talking to our visitors that there was really no time for reflective writing.. what quiet time I had, I slept, hehe.
Nice Outfit for Photoshoot - I brought one nursing dress which I also planned to be my going home outfit. Well, as I’ve mentioned above, the pictorial never happened, and on the day that we were discharged I was itching to have a proper shower at home, so I ended up just using one of the nursing jammies, hehe! So much for wanting to look decent going home!
Haakaa - I brought it with me thinking that maybe I could collect colostrum or my early milk. I didn’t bring a cooler bag with me though, plus my breasts felt so sore from the unli-latching that I didn’t want anything getting close to them except for Lilibubs. So, no collection happened. But, on the third day my breasts started to feel heavy. One of the nurses taught me how to massage and hand express, but again my nipples just felt so sore and the initial hand expressions were painful that I relied on the haakaa to express my milk. I was amazed at the product! Now I breastfeed with it, and the letdowns are stored in our freezer.
4 nursing pads - not needed in the hospital, at all. (One of the items my mom shook her head at me at hahaha!) BUT I have to say that it’s super essential for me now. A few days after we got home my letdowns have started to come really fast, and it was all too new I couldn’t cope fast enough - our sheets, my clothes, even Lilibubs, were almost always drenched with milk, hehe. I know better now and have pads within my arm’s reach.
TOILETRIES / SUPPLIES
Baby Wipes - used these for the adults and not for the baby but yes, it’s a definite must-bring.
Baby Wash, Cotton Balls, Cotton Swabs, Diapers - hospital provided these at a cost. I don’t know the protocol, if we should have told them that we have these before I entered the delivery room, but as soon as Lilibubs was roomed in, these supplies as well as the formula milk for preemies they fed her with for the first 24 hours, were all in her bassinet. So the baby wash and cotton swabs you could choose not to bring anymore, but the cotton balls and diapers are still absolute necessities. We finished the packs provided by the hospital and opened those that we brought.
Baby Oil, Nappy Cream, Nail Clippers - not needed :)
All I was able to bring were my SSS forms and our marriage certificate. Turns out these were enough already :) My birth plan flew out the window hehe though I did manage to ask that they delay cord clamping. I was dependent on my husband for my Philhealth, and those forms/pertinent records could be electronically obtained at the hospital so there was no need to bring them. My admission order was with me though it wasn’t needed anymore, but of course if you’re going to have elective CS or are waiting for a vaginal delivery, it is important for you to have it.
Sorry if this is too long haha but I hope it helped :) feel free to ask me if you have any questions.
Have a lovely afternoon, then evening, and a safe delivery! <3