Packing for the hospital is usually an exciting experience for moms-to-be. Here’s how to prepare now that Covid-19 is a factor, writes midwife and nurse Sister Des Meyer.
The sense of anticipation of the delivery, and your baby wearing their clothes is all part of the build-up to birth. But now we have a whole new way of having to approach this milestone of motherhood, by preparing for a Covid-19 delivery experience.
As the numbers continue to increase, the hospitals and gynaes are at a loss as to how to advise moms-to-be about what to expect at their facilities.There is a real possibility that birth partners and fathers might be refused entry if the numbers of active cases are such that they are hard to control. While we can understand that, it is a hard pill to swallow. We all hope that this will never happen, of course, but as things stand, it’s something to keep in mind.
The list below of what to pack for moms and babies is under review even from the last time I spoke on the Instalive session with Mama Magic’s Olerato. The length of hospital stay is steadily shortening, and presently sits at 24-48 hours maximum. For infection control, hospitals may request that moms minimise the number of items coming from their homes.
Here are my suggestions:
Set out my suggested list below (and what your hospital has suggested) on your bed. Plan to pack as little as possible, as you will not be staying for long. Go without the luxuries if you can.
Use zip lock bags (quite expensive, so look for cheaper options) of varying sizes. Roll up your nighties, pants or feeding tops and put them into a zip lock bag. Likewise with all your baby items. This keeps them clean and easy to find and pack. You can wipe them down if necessary. Bag all your items in this way.
Press the air out of the bag so it will take up less packing space. Pretend you are going on an overnight flight, and are limited by luggage constraints. Use a small overnight bag, tote or even a plastic shopping bag that you can wipe down.
Decant toiletries into travel-sized containers and place in see-through toiletry bag/zip lock bags. Use a small toothpaste and travel sized toothbrush.
Once in the ward, don’t unpack. You can just look through your baggies to find what you need. If anything is wet or soiled, you can pop it back into its baggie. (Keep on your lap or a chair, never set on the floor). Make sure you have spare masks and some snacks in a zip lock.
So, essentially, look through the list and see what is a must-have vs. a nice-to-have and pack accordingly.
My mask protects you; your mask protects me. Sanitise. Distance. And keep in mind you are a mommy warrior who gave birth during a pandemic!
List for mom
- Front fastening nightie or top
- Breastfeeding tops/cami
- Breastfeeding bras (wear one, pack one)
- Feeding pillow*
- Nipple cream
- Loose fitting pants/leggings
- Slippers, or slip-on shoes (easier to clean)
- Pads and mesh panties
- Warm socks
- Your own pillow from home*
- Scrunchies, hairbrush etc.
- See-through travel toiletry bag
- Travel-sized toiletries
- Earplugs (drown out noise to relax/sleep)
- Squeezy bottle for rinsing while urinating (vaginal deliveries)
- Water bottle with straw
- Sanitiser and spare mask (FFP2)
- Lip balm
- Energy drink/smoothie
- Snacks (nuts, energy sweets, fruit)
- Zip lock bags (or equivalent) for wet/dirty items
- Own pen, ID book, medical aid card (in a zip lock bag)
- Spare chargers for phone/camera etc
- Music on a memory stick*/phone/tablet
- Face cloth/microfibrer towel (zip lock)
- Labour ball/gym ball (if hospital does not supply)
- Massage cream*
List for baby
- Onesies x3
- Vests x3
- Receiving blankets x2
- Bum cream
- Cotton wool balls/rounds
- Sterilisation fluid/container
- Car seat (with a rain-cover)
*nice to haves