Just Another Post About Hospital Bags

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As a c-section mom, I got to plan a lot of things about my delivery because I knew for several weeks my baby was breech. (Later he flipped over but by then he (or I should say his head) was huge so I’m still glad I had a c-section. More on that later.) There are a ton of blog posts and sites to read about what to bring. It comes down to what you want. Every new mom is a bit different. Some like all the luxuries of home, others are more survivalist.

But I’ll add my two cents. Why not?

The best advice I received about hospital bags is to have two bags, one for labor and another for recovery.

  • Make a list of all the things you want during labor. (these are just ideas to get you going!)
    • camera for pictures of birth or newborn
    • though you won’t eat anything but liquids, a few snacks or meals and chewing gum for birthing coach or partner is helpful so they don’t have to leave the hospital for food
    • boredom relief for birthing partner (magazines, card games, movies)
    • delivery helps which vary from mother to mother (birthing ball, a pillow from home, mp3 music etc)
  • Make a second list of all the things you want during your hospital stay.
    • loose and comfortable nursing clothes (or just wear the hospital gown, because of all the work being done in hospital makes it easier to stay in the gown)
    • going home outfits for mom and baby, baby socks, a baby hat, a few side snap shirts or gowns
    • baby nail scissors
    • your toiletries/makeup/lotion
    • shower flip flops
    • cushy slippers, robe, socks with grips, cushy sandals, etc. depending on climate
    • memento book or paper for baby’s footprint (get one when nurses do one for hospital) etc.
    • a nursing pillow, like Boppy

Optional:

  • ready to feed formula of your preferred brand – to use in case of supplementing, but keep receipts in case you don’t use them and need to return them. If you end up having to supplement with formula, the hospital will supply some (ours used Similac Advance), you will need to use their brand and likely stick to it at home; they will likely charge you for the “breastfeeding kit of supplies” on your hospital bill (this wasn’t a huge deal as we were meeting a huge deductible, but could potentially save some new parents some $ if you use coupons for formula, or allow you to start using the desired brand or generic brand (like Kirkland Signature) of formula you want to continue using at home)
  • lanolin samples from sample goodie bags – or the hospital/lactation consultant will give you a sample (you may be charged for it depending on hospital), just don’t bother buying the full sized tube at retailers, you won’t use up the whole thing, you only need a very small tube (thumb sized tube) for first few months of nursing.

If your spouse or other birthing coach is staying at the hospital with you, he/she will also need basic toiletries and clothing for the hospital stay.

Our hospital was supportive and really high quality in nurses, meals and care, but because of the challenges with breastfeeding, I was more than ready to get out of the hospital and into my own routine by the day we left. I was kind of depressed and already sleep deprived so having some uplifting music on my mp3 player was a huge, huge help for me. Bring something uplifting for you, whether it be music, an inspiring book, or a photo of your family. It will help you to feel human again!

Britax Travel System Review

One of the biggest purchases first-time parents will have is the car seat and stroller. First, you should know what to look for.

THE BIG PICTURE

Features of a good infant car seat:

  • Quality material and construction
  • High weight-limit and height-limit capacity
  • Front adjuster for adjusting straps (save yourself a lot of hassle!)

Features of a good stroller:

  • Relatively lightweight and easily transported (think about your future travel plans too!)
  • High weight-limit and height-limit capacity
  • Good storage options
  • Smooth ride and handles at appropriate height for Mom/Dad

As you look at this list, you’ll understand not one system will be the perfect fit for you. My suggestion is to look at physical models, rather than relying on online reviews and videos. Those are good place to start, but go into an actual store (recommend BuyBuyBaby for the best selection) to look at and inspect the available models.

A petite mom (like me) will have completely different preferences than a tall mom.

I know there’s a million reviews out there for travel systems. Mine is just another one (for the 2013 model). This is the only infant car seat and stroller that I’ve had experience with. For the most part, I like the system a lot but note both the pros and cons.

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Pros:

  • Easy to maneuver when the front wheel is unlocked; however, the manufacturer’s instructions manual directs you to use the locked position if you’re using the stroller with the infant seat. This is slightly crazy because it makes it incredibly hard to turn the stroller but you should still follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the least amount of risk, especially for small children; or ignore the instructions at your own risk.
  • Quality made – it is super durable and has been easy to clean; in hindsight I recommend getting the system in red because it will hide stains better than Sandstone (what I have) or Black; black will also be really hot in the summertime
  • The B-Agile stroller is lightweight; this is huge! and the main reason I chose to buy Britax. I am a short girl (5’2) and this has been a huge lifesaver for me. While it is still hard to get the stroller out with one hand, it is a breeze compared to most other strollers.
  • The B-Safe car seat has a weight limit of 30 lbs (this includes total weight of the child, the base and seat too; don’t forget!) which is good for the big infants out there but know that there are other 30-lbs seats out there as well. We used ours until Baby was about 17 months old.

Cons

  • Probably the biggest con is the the incline of the stroller, which is not completely upright. This will bug your older baby so much when she wants to sit up and see out, but then you’ll look at other similar strollers and see how outrageously more expensive they are.
  • Another big con is the size of the basket underneath. It is small and in the early days when Baby was strapped into the infant car seat, I had to buy groceries in trips of two (unloading the first trip in the trunk and going back into the store. Wal-Mart employees thought I was crazy.) If this is a deal breaker for you, I’d suggest looking at the Chicco KeyFit, which might be slightly bigger in storage space.
  • Expensive – the $399 MSRP system is about $300 at a good sale price
  • The B-Safe is heavy but that is the sacrifice you have to make for the weight limit of 30 lbs. This is not the most ideal baby carrier; it is, however, an excellent car seat. Most infant carriers regardless of brand or model get very heavy when you add a 8-10 lbs baby in the seat, so accept the fact you will only use it as a carrier for a short amount of time. Plus it is really not recommended to keep your baby in a car seat or other seat for a long period of time. Let them get some physical activity in!
  • Straps of the B-safe car seat do tend to get twisted, actually for me, it’s just the right strap for some reason–kind of stupid but I’ve overlooked this issue,

I’ve seen many “after-market” click ‘n’ go strollers that work with the infant car seat. They are a great option but I can’t give specific recommendations.

I love that we’ve been able to use the B-agile stroller by itself, ever since we transitioned to a convertible car seat.  And just for the stroller, I do generally recommend Britax. Just be aware of the cons beforehand.

Note: I personally recommend not buying any used car seat as you will be unable to tell about its history (car accidents, airport handling abuse, etc.); if you do however decide to get a used one, please make sure it has not be recalled. Used strollers should be okay, but inspect thoroughly for signs of damage or wear.