The checklist for the hospital or birth center is always a top priority for my clients; often it is one of the first questions they ask me when we are meeting for our first prenatal sessions.
Generally, I tell them the basics and as we work through our preparations, I add and take away items once I have a better idea of their birth preferences and lifestyle choices.
Since I am a minimalist and generally prescribe to the ‘less-is-more’ model, I have compiled this Hospital Packing List with that in mind. Remember that everything you pack will eventually have to be unpacked and unpacking is the worst, especially with a new baby.
Keeping in mind these parameters for packing, feel free to make personal adjustments to your own list.
Where are you giving Birth? - Hospitals and Birth Centers are often completely different in what they offer in terms of both supplies and ambiance. Get familiar with your preferred choice by inquiring with your care provider or your Doula.
How long are you planning on staying? - It goes without saying that birth cannot be planned, but if you know for sure that a surgical birth is in your future, plan to stay for 3-5 days. If a Vaginal birth is your goal, 1-3 days is the average hospital stay.
Who will be staying with you? Do you have a partner that will be staying in the room with you or will they be leaving to shower, nap and fuel up at home?
Taking all of the above into consideration. Here is my checklist
This can be a small backpack or tote with all of your easily accessible tools to aid your comfort during labour. As a Doula, I help my clients to develop a plan that includes tools to help facilitate a happy healthy birth. Bonus: I have my own tools and tricks that I bring along with me, so that you do not have to pack and unpack unnecessary items.
These are the items you will want close at hand for once baby has arrived.
That’s it! Please feel free to leave any questions below and to the readers that have packed a hospital/birth center bag, did I forget anything?
Baby is on the way, time is flying by and now you need to consider childbirth classes.
Not to mention all the stuff you have to do every day, and baby hasn't even arrived yet. Are childbirth classes even a priority? Are they worth the expense? And with all the effort to balance your schedule to squeeze them in, are they worth the time?
As a Doula, I'm here to tell you yes, they are worth all the trouble if you invest in a class that fits your approach to birth and postpartum. In fact, I take very few (if any) clients that haven't taken them. Let me tell you why....
Having a baby is really hard and I'm not talking about the labour part, or the part where you have a baby to take care of. I'm referring to the complete shift in identity that goes along with becoming a parent. You probably won't have time to go out with your friends as much, or go to the gym as often or make it to all the events around town that you previously would have enjoyed. At least not in the beginning. The people you meet in your class can really be a great life line. They will all be due around the same time and with a little effort from you, they could become part of your support system. So, make the effort in your classes to sit next to the people that feel like your people, exchange numbers and actually CALL them.
Connect with your Partner
Life continues on, even while you are pregnant and going through so many changes. Life continues.... and it goes fast. Soon baby will be here and your whole life will be totally turned upside down. Take the time to connect with your partner during this super special and possibly once in a life time experience. And what if you don't have the time? Well, in class, you will be forced to sit down, connect and focus on baby if only while you are there.
Access to Local Resources
There are so many resources in town, from babywearing groups, breastfeeding support, and baby and parent meet-ups. Who has the time to search through town to find the best and most appropriate resources? Let me tell you, you likely won't have much time to sift through all the goings on while you are figuring out life as a new parent. A good teacher will provide a curated list of local resources that you can use through your pregnancy and into the post partum period. Save that list, post it somewhere (like the fridge) and bring it to our prenatal meetup. We can discuss any holes in the list, I can walk you through what to expect at any and all the meetups and we can even add some so you are good to go when baby comes.
Best Practises and Inside Info
Did you know that is takes up to 10 years for updated best practises to be implemented in hospitals? An informed, evidence based childbirth educator can give you up to date information on the latest and greatest in childbirth.
Birth and Labour Techniques
I'm sure you have all seen a movie where Mom is laying on her back, legs in stir ups, purple-pushing out a baby. Well, maybe that is what you want your birth to look like, maybe you don't but I promise you that there is a lot in between that you may not be aware of. You may find that having some tips and tricks on how to manage pain during labour is super handy when your surges become too intense to ignore. You and your partner can practise the techniques you have learned in class and along with what we develop, you will walk away with an excellent idea of what you may want to try when labour starts.
Have you been so busy prepping (or not prepping) for your birth that you have forgotten what you will do when it comes time to care for baby? Who will take out the garbage? How will you shower? What about hockey practise, or yoga or your date night? Sometimes the thought of having to birth a baby is the most all consuming thought....but don't forget about postpartum. Your childbirth educator will help you get a good idea of what real postpartum will look like so you will a have a good understanding of what we need to work on to have you super prepped and totally ready for baby.
Often, a hospital tour is included in the class price.
There is something to be said about having been to the hospital before baby comes. Trust me, you want to know which wing to go in, where to put your snacks and where to find the crappy coffee. Also, have a feel beforehand of the room layout.
But what if you are planning an out of hospital birth?
Well, birth is unpredictable and if the hospital becomes the best option, it is essential to have a good frame of reference before we go in.
Childbirth classes are step one in a series of steps to help you prepare and plan for the best birth and postpartum possible. Take notes, bring them to me and lets review all your questions and concerns.
Most of all, have fun and make some friends!!
Baby talk can sometimes be downright aggressive.
I mean really, "I just want to gobble you up!" or "You're so cute, I could eat you!" or, "Give me those cheeks."
My weakness is baby feet. My babies feet were most certainly the most adorable things in the entire world. Don't get me started on the smell....delicious.
But why? Why do we get the urge to sniff and bite and sometimes eat our babies (or that cute pup or fluffy little kitten)?
Well, scientists are just starting to understand more about the phenomenon which is so fittingly called 'cute aggression'.
These dimorphous expressions ( when you express something different than what you are feeling) help to regulate our brains by filtering in a negative response to balance out our overwhelmingly positive emotion.
These expressions are also responsible for reactions like crying when you are happy or laughing when you are nervous. You may even find yourself reacting with sadness, an " awwwwww" and a frown when that little nugget of yummy is staring at you.
So the next time you see something so cute that you could bite it, don't fret, you're completely normal; it's simply your brain balancing the intense cuteness to bring you back to an even keel.
Kinda makes sense I guess.
Nope, I don’t deliver babies.
This is probably the question I get the most once someone finds out that I’m a doula and indigenous
birth keeper. So here you go everyone, Im going to set the record straight and outline the two distinct
and separate roles that a doula and midwife( or doctor/OB have and how we call work as a team to
provide you the care you need and deserve.
Your Midwife/OB/Doctor Will:
- Provide medical care during pregnancy, birth and for the short term in the postpartum period.
- Run prenatal tests
- Perform physical examinations
- Advise pregnant person on their health during and after baby
- Administer pain medications
- Monitor birthing person and baby during labour and delivery
- Deliver a baby vaginally
Midwives/Doctors and OBs are licensed medical professionals. Their services are covered by your MSP.
Your Doula May:
- Build a relationship with you and your birthing team
- Build a plan for your birth
- Coach you on how to advocate for yourself in your birth space
- Direct you to resources within your community
- Use specialized tools and techniques to manage the physical and emotional needs of labour
- Provide guidance to partners
- Ensure the birther and partner feels confident, calm and as comfortable as possible
- Suggest positions and techniques to aid in labour progression
- Help support feeding choices
- One on one postpartum care
Although Doulas don’t offer medial care, research shows that the emotional, informational and physical
care they do offer decreases labour times, the instances of Csections and contributes to the overall
satisfaction of the birth experience. If you want to learn more about the positive ways doulas can
impact pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period read this, or call me!
So rewind 5 years and you would have probably found me, a new mom, geeking out over baby carriers.
I LOVE wearing all the babies and because of my hobby and fascination with carrying my babies, I have
tried almost every style and brand under the sun. Some are great and some are not so great and trust
me, its all pretty confusing when you start out, so here is my top carrier style options that may be
perfect investment for you and your family.
The ring sling, a classic. Don’t be fooled, it does take a little coaching and practice to use but once
you’ve invested some time in learning how to tighten and position your baby, the ring sling is a great
option for parents and caregivers.
- One size fits most
- Can be used from day one and into toddlerhood
- Great for breastfeeding on the go
- Quick and easy(once you get the hang of it)
- Asymmetrical carrier (so it can be hard on the shoulder and back)
- Learning curve
Oh so snuggly and a great option for the first few months after baby is born. Stretchy wraps are
excellent for skin to skin because they are generally quite warm for the wearer. They don’t require
much practice and are easy to pre-tie before you go out and about.
- Warm and cozy
- One size fits most
- Great for breastfeeding on the go
- Very comfortable weight distribution
- A great beginner wrap for people interesting in woven wraps
- Warm and cozy could equal too hot for some
- Best for only up to 6 months
- Does require tying, so its not always the quickest
This carrier style originates from China and is a great, minimalistic, easy to use carrier that requires little
effort to use. Its an excellent option for newborns and toddlers and every baby in between.
- Can be used for front and back carries
- Quick and easy to use
- Distributes weight evenly and is very comfortable for most wearers
- Not a great breastfeeding on the go option
- Depending on the brand, one size doesn’t always fit all wearers
Woven wraps come long and short, about a billion patterns and various blends of materials. They are
certainly the most versatile of all the carriers but they have a pretty hefty learning curve.
- Very customizable
- Comes in every theme, colour and print imaginable
- Great for newborn to big kid
- Comfortable for long periods of time
- Front, back and hip carries
- Great for breastfeeding on the go
- Very large learning curve
- Not always one size fits all
- Not the quickest and easiest
Soft structured carriers are probably the most popular style of carrier in western countries and you’ve
probably seen lots of people using them. They are easily purchased at big box stores and are probably
the least intimidating for new users. With buckles and padded straps, they can be a really great option.
- Quick and easy to put on
- Great for front and back carries
- Often good from newborn to toddler
- Very easy to use
- Not one size fits all
- Often bulky and warm
- Not the greatest option for breastfeeding on the go
- May require special modifications for newborn carries
- Not as portable as other carriers
As you can see, there is no lack of choice when it comes to picking a carrier that is suitable for you and
your family. It can all be a little overwhelming. Here are a couple key points that can help you narrow
down your choices:
1) Try some on! Hit up your local specialty baby store and give em a go.
2) Join your local babywearing chapter and attend a meet up
3) Ask your Doula (if they specialize in babywearing)
And one last final tip: buy secondhand! There are some great secondhand groups on popular social
media sights. You can often score a super super good deal and the carrier is already broken in and ready to use.