Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Things I "should have" brought to the hospital for labor and childbirth

Looking back to some twenty months ago, God gave us the best gift ever - our baby daughter. While we did our best to plan and prepare, there are still some misses in terms of our preparedness. As Frank Sinatra sang about in My Way, "..regrets, I've had a few but then again, too few to mention.." Well don't we all have regrets in life? In my case, I think it's good to mention a few of my labor kit regrets - the "shoulda woulda coulda's...should have brought 'ya!" items. So here's from me to you, a supposedly clearer hospital bag inventory from hindsight.

Oh I can just hear Daddy A saying, "What? Ang laki na ng mga bags natin nuon, may kulang pa pala?"

Patiently waiting..

Yes dear mommies and daddies, despite my long list in my previous post entitled What should go in your Maternity Labor Kit, there are a few items I found, that should have been there in the first place. Please take this to heart as they are some of the essential ones that may just provide that much needed comfort after the rigors of childbirth. 

1. Belly Wrap or Binder

After my CS operation, I woke up feeling a little bit weird in my tummy area. Like my body was about to collapse and fold by my incision, if not for the binder. The binder was really (for me) more of a comfort thing. And how come nobody even told me to bring one? Luckily the hospital provided a Long Bone blue binder but it can get itchy and uncomfortable for long-term use.

It's best to research about this ahead of time as there are binders that have better materials. During times of extreme discomfort, a more breathable material can really make a lot of difference.

The generic ones from local drug store companies cost less but can get uncomfortable. What the nurses suggested was for us to use the lampin (thin towelettes) as buffer and to also use baby powder on affected areas (usually the back side) to alleviate the rash or itching.

My suggestion is to have at least two wraps or binders. You know, the first post-partum days can get really dirty with stains of all kinds. This way you can ensure that you always have a clean one every time you need it.

I used the binders extensively for a month and used it sparingly for the next two months. The weather in the Philippines as it is, is really hot! Wearing a binder plus the baby it's doubly warmer. But because I really needed it, I did my best to persevere in using the binders.

Since the Long Bone was provided by the hospital, we bought the Mamaway Postpartum Bamboo Charcoal Belly Band as my spare and I really loved using it! It's available from Mamaway Shangri-la Mall, the price was in the range of PHP 3,000.00 - 4,000.00 when we purchased last 2014. Aside from the bamboo-charcoal material which makes it more breathable and renders anti-bacterial properties, I loved its 3-step compression fastening - makes me feel really comfy as I adjust it to my body.

2. Breastfeeding Pillow

Even if we have already decided (way way before giving birth) that we wanted to breastfeed our child, we shied away from purchasing a breastfeeding pillow because - what if we failed or what if we can't breastfeed? Sayang naman..

Luckily or unluckily, again I woke up to see one in our hospital room. I just found out belatedly that we were also billed for it for around PHP 1,500! Gaaah..if only I knew then I should have purchased the highly rated breastfeeding pillows in advance!

Breastfeeding with the help of our pillow during Z's monthly check-up

What I didn't like about the hospital-provided BF pillow is that it's too stiff and not as stuffed. We ended up having to use additional pillows whenever we tried to breastfeed in the earlier post-partum days. I understand now that these are minor adjustments but to a new mom, any extra complication could add to their pressures of making breastfeeding work.

Of course there are pillows available in SM Baby Company and also in Mothercare outlets. The brand I was rooting for because of many rave reviews, but have not tried, was the Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner together with the Boppy pillow slipcover .

Actually, there are a lot of options now! There are those with extra recliner [Leachco Adjustable Nursing Pillow] and even those with arm & back support plus extra nooks for toys and remote controls [My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow]!

Okay, some would say that our grandmothers have breastfed our parents without these accessories but come on!!! Any additional help or support for breastfeeding mothers, anything at all that can make it easier or at least more bearable is a good investment in my opinion! Besides, you can use it as a positioner for when baby is learning to sit and also as a regular pillow thrown in the mix!

3. Baby Wearing Sling / Wrap

Slings or wraps intimidate me! They look so complicated and it wasn't something I was confident to use back then. That's why I really admire those moms who were able to do it early on. I mean, I felt we were kind of late in the game, only getting comfortable to use the Saya or the Baby K'tan in the 3rd or 4th month post-partum. Thank goodness really for hybrid wraps because I really don't know how to work out those really long ones (e.g. Boba, Moby, etc.)

The moment I finally got the hang of it, I immediately wished I have done it sooner! It was really a life-saver for those times when your child impossibly needed to be carried all the time and you also HAVE to do other things to keep your sanity!

SAYA Baby Carrier - This is a locally made cloth baby carrier. I chose the SSK or semi-stretch knit (cotton or close to cotton?) model because it's cheaper and I was scared of the extra give from the fabric of the Versa-Tekk blend. They have really nice designs and best of all, it's a quality product that's proudly Philippine-made. #SupportLocal

Since they were not offering the stabilizers last year, we used this primarily at home. I purchased our Saya locally from their stockist Mama Baby Love. Note: make sure to inquire about the right size for you.

she was really peaceful when carried in the Saya

Backside with the Saya

Baby K'tan Baby Carrier - This is another carrier similar to the Saya. I chose the Black Breeze model. It's half mesh (yung butas-butas) and half cotton. For me this is nice because it helps baby stay cool while inside the carrier. This has added built-in features (compared to the Saya) such as the adjuster and the stabilizer which also doubles as a bag.

I also chose the black breeze k'tan because it can weather dust and dirt more (hindi dumihin) and  the color could relatively be matched with my very limited post-partum/breastfeeding outfits.

Aside from the Original, Baby K'tans now have different variants such as Breeze, Organic and Active. Our Baby K'tan Breeze was purchased at PHP 2,850 in 2014 from Cebu stockist Ms. Gretchen Choa-Uy of Modern Mama Baby Shop (MOMA). 

This was the carrier we used all the time until Z got heavy enough and we had to transition to an SSC or a soft-structured carrier like the Tula.

Note: make sure to inquire about the right size for you.

Sleeping in a noisy restaurant
Having my cake and eating it too...while wearing my baby!

These are really great commodities especially for first-time parents who are not used to taking care of babies. Daily chores and tasks from simple to relatively complex ones can be done easily even with baby in tow! :)

Other families will benefit greatly from carriers especially when they need Kangaroo Care all the more! Plus I really believe this would've significantly lessened the crying fits and help baby become calmer as she's closer to mommy or her care giver.

4. Breast Pump

We owe a lot to Medela House now called The Parenting Emporium for making us aware of a lot of things related to breastfeeding especially the benefits. So when the time came to finally purchase a breast pump, we bought from them vs. buying from the mall. We loved the personalized service and the fact that the horns / flanges are fitted to a mom's actual size.

NOTE: A pump is not necessary to ensure successful breastfeeding. Even if you only do hand expression (Marmet technique), you will still  be able to get milk.

So if mommies can just rely on hand expression, why did we still buy that pump? Basically, it's for when we're on the road or travelling and while at work. If you know how horrible traffic can get here in Manila, you'd definitely want to invest in a good pump.

Pumping in the wee hours - a story of engorgement and a sleeping babe

That's the reason we chose Medela's Freestyle Breast Pump. Precisely for the kind of lifestyle we have right now as well as the nature of my work.

We were told during breastfeeding seminars that pumping should be done on the 3rd week post-partum and not earlier. But due to some complications, I had hubby bring in the pump on the second day instead!

P.S. Always check the wattage compatibility before purchasing anything online.

5. Breastmilk Collection / Softshells for Nipple Protection

And lastly, before I turn this post into a novella, I really wish I knew about these softshells for nipple protection because I was oh so sore! The good thing about this is that while you're breastfeeding on one side, it helps air out your other nipple after a feeding. Y'know, because contact even with your shirt will definitely make you say yeoooouuuucchh!!!

This also doubles as a breastmilk collector (the collected milk is not for consumption) for those times when we continuously leak with liquid gold. We bought ours from Medela House, now The Parenting Emporium, for about PHP 1,000.00 a pair.

So there's my list...I know most of these are utterly expensive or for some unnecessary but really if I had to do it all over again, these 5 items would definitely be in our maternity bag! :)

Did I miss anything? Let me know what your "shoulda woulda coulda's...should have brought 'ya!" items are! 

And if you missed it, here's the list of our ORIGINAL Maternity Bag / Labor Kit contents.

**In the spirit of full disclosure, there are affiliate links on this post, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands :)


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