After all the pregnancy books and birthing classes, by now you know that your hospital bag has to be packed and ready just in case you need to hop into the car at 3 a.m. for a mad dash to the hospital. But have you given thought to the mind-numbing wait before giving birth if you’re scheduled for a C-section or the time in between feedings and baby tests afterwards? If you leave your entertainment to hospital programming and non-cable TV, you may just sink into early postpartum blues. Consider stashing a few of these into your hospital bag as well.
1. Your favorite tunes (or a book, DVD, etc.) Anne Santos, mom to Tiago, 2, brought her iPod and an iPod dock. “It really helped during my tunganga moments when my husband and Tiago were asleep, there were no visitors, and I was too exhausted to sleep,” she says. It also kept Anne company when she had to do a lot of walking to speed up her recovery. Bring earphones, too, so you can take your music along with you as you trek from your room to the nursery. You can even introduce the playlist to your baby as the soundtrack of his birth when he’s older.
2. Instant camera and a marker Have hubby take photos of the guests as they arrive—or even with baby if she’s in the room with you. After the photos are printed, ask them to scribble a tiny note for your new bundle of joy. You and your child will spend hours poring over these photos together and enjoying the stories behind them in less than a year. (Check out Fuji Instax 210 at P3,820. The film is P435 for 10 shots, and is available at Fuji Megamall.)
An alternative to an instant camera is your trusty digicam, some sheets of bond paper, and markers. Ask your guests to write their wishes or messages for your little one on a sheet of bond paper and hold it up, then snap away!
3. Cards, board games, or electronic games Rina Villalon, educator and mom to Ada, 5, Tea, 2, and Gusto, 1, says her husband fell asleep while she was in labor. “I should have brought along board games or cards to keep him entertained,” she says. The games can even help make this more of a bonding experience for both of you.
Trina Garcia*, mom to five-month-old Christine*, brought a PlayStation 3 and DVDs with her to the hospital for her guests. “The DVDs kept my mind off the pain I was experiencing while I was in labor,” Trina says. “Just make sure you bring something exciting to watch.”
Melody Tan, category manager and mom to Joshua, 2, and Kimmy, 6 months, wished she had brought along a Wii. “I’d have made my friends come over and play because when you’re waiting to have surgery and you know it’s going to hurt, it’s better to be happy while waiting.”
4. A present for the new Ate or Kuya When Joan Ongtenco gave birth to her son, Caleb, now 6 months, she brought along a gift for his older sister, two-year-old Ellie. “I gave it to Ellie the first time she visited Caleb and me,” she says. “I told her it was a gift from sioti (younger sibling in Chinese).”
Obstetrician-gynecologist Faith Angat, M.D., agrees. “Giving a gift to your firstborn from the new baby will help her cope better with this drastic change in her life.”
5. Beauty booty You don’t have to bring your entire makeup kit to look pretty for your photos and guests. Mompreneur and former beauty editor Jennie Garcia, mom to Pablo, 7, Gus, 4, and another one on the way, suggests four essentials: “Concealer, lip gloss (or lipstick), eyelash curler, and facial wipes.” They’re a great way to enhance that new mommy glow that no makeup can match.
6. Games for your guests Instead of just having them sign in a traditional baby book, why not up the ante with a little game? Have guests write their answers to these questions in your baby book—and whoever wins gets a prize!
• Who will the baby look like in six months?
• When will baby cut her first tooth?
• What will we name the baby (in case you haven’t yet)?• When will baby roll over for the first time?
7. Your all-time cravings After giving birth, it’s the first time in a long while that you can have everything that was prohibited during your pregnancy, so bring them: tea, coffee, or your favorite dessert.
Having a stash of snacks for your guests is also a good idea. Here’s a tip: Assign the stocking of your hospital room pantry to your mom or mother-in-law. She’d love to be useful.
8. Your own pillows and beddings “I always feel better when I sleep using my own bed sheets and pillows,” says Lizzie Castro*, mom to Erica*, 5, Luisa*, 3, and Angela*, 1. Your own beddings will make the hospital room feel more like home.
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Doctor’s orders What do medical professionals advise you to bring to the hospital? Obstetrician-gynecologists Patricia Kho, M.D., and Faith Angat, M.D., list the following:
MEDICAL DOCUMENTS • Doctor’s admitting orders
• Prenatal or medical record
• Recent laboratory test result: latest ultrasound or latest CBC
OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS • PhilHealth papers, ID, and proof of updated payment
• HMO card or insurance card
• Valid ID such as a driver’s license
• Birth plan
• Lamaze class certificate (if applicable)
FOR BABY • Shirts with side-tie (long and short sleeves), long johns
• Socks or booties
• Receiving blanket
• Cloth diaper with safety pins
• Disposable diapers
• Burping cloth
• Baby wipes or cotton balls
• Baby book
• Going-home outfit
• Infant car seat
FOR MOMMY • Camera or video camera and chargers
• Maternity pads
• Lip balm, leave-on conditioner, cologne
• Mints, chewing gum, or mouth spray
• Clean underwear
• Tennis or stress balls for labor
• Nursing bras
• Kimono or robe to cover your nightgown with when guests arrive
• Pajama pants and a large button-down/nursing top for less exposure while breastfeeding• Breast pump and sterilizer