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Packing Your Hospital Bag

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Read time: 4 minutes

TL;DR

  • Packing your hospital bag might seem like a small task, but preparation is key to ensuring comfort at the hospital during labor, delivery and recovery.
  • Be sure to have your ID, insurance card and credit card safe and easily accessible in your bag. Bring multiple bags to leave room for things coming home with the baby.
  • Bring comfortable socks, nightgowns and a cardigan for you, a maternity outfit to come home in, extra clothes for your partner and a coming home outfit for your baby.
  • Don’t forget phone chargers and camera batteries!
  • You’ll need comfortable underwear and absorbent overnight pads for postpartum bleeding, and your favorite shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste will be a must.
  • With the car seat buckled in and coming home blankies for baby, you’re ready to take your little one home!

 

Packing your hospital bag is one of the final preparations you will have to make before meeting your new little one. While packing the bag seems like a small task on your third trimester to-do list, we understand how overwhelming it is to choose what exactly should and shouldn’t come with you to the hospital. Our list of essential items to bring will help you decide what you will need during delivery and what items are better off left at home.

Pack More Than One Bag

While it would be nice if everything you need for birth could fit in one bag, but chances are that you will need more than one. A large suitcase or duffel bag for you and a small one for your partner will help keep all of your items organized. Many moms also recommend bringing an empty duffel bag along to the hospital as well for all of the diapers, supplies and samples that the hospital may give you to make transporting everything home easier.

Essential Information

Even if you pre-registered at the hospital, bring a copy of your insurance card and you and your partner’s photo IDs in a place in your bag that is easy to access. If you are choosing to use a birth plan, be sure to also bring extra copies along. A credit card for paying your hospital deductible or co-pay should also be packed in a safe location.

Clothes

The hospital will provide you a gown and sterile socks to wear during labor and after delivery. Most moms, however, feel more comfortable wearing their own clothes. The key is selecting clothes that are comfortable and you don’t mind getting stained. Pack several pairs of thick socks to wear while walking the halls and a comfortable nightgown. A soft cardigan and slippers are also good to have.

It will take time for the swelling and extra fluids to leave your body after birth, so pack maternity clothes with a soft waistband for a going home outfit, or wear the same outfit home that you wore to the hospital. A nursing bra without underwire should also be packed to help provide extra support to your breasts and help make nursing easier.

Though your baby will probably wear the hospital-provided gowns during his or her stay, your baby will also need a going-home outfit and blankets to come home in. An extra outfit and pajamas for your partner will also come in handy if he or she is planning on sleeping at the hospital with you.

Electronics

Prepare your phone or tablet ahead of time by downloading plenty of soothing music that will help keep you relaxed during birth. A set of speakers can also come in handy in order for you to hear your music above the hustle-and-bustle of the delivery room. Remember to also bring your phone charger, camera and any extra batteries necessary in order to capture your baby’s first pictures and to keep in touch with family. Consider packing these devices in your partner’s bag so that he or she can easily access them for memory keeping.

Snacks

Though many hospitals will only let you have ice chips during labor, you will likely be pretty hungry after giving birth. Be sure to pack some healthy snacks for both you and your partner – this is especially helpful if you deliver in the middle of the night and the hospital kitchen is not open.

Toiletries

One common issue that moms have stated during labor is dry lips. It is helpful to have your favorite lip balm on hand during labor. Though the hospital will provide shampoo and soap, you may be more comfortable packing travel-size tubes of your favorite toiletries for showering in the hospital. You’ll need supplies to take care of your hair and skin as well. Consider also packing an extra tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush and deodorant for your partner if he or she is planning on staying overnight with you.

Extra Underwear and Overnight Pads

After you have your baby, your uterus will begin shrinking, shedding its lining as it contracts to its pre-pregnancy size. Postpartum bleeding is much like a menstrual period and can last up to six weeks. The hospital will provide a mesh pair of underwear and a thick pad to wear after birth and for going home, but many moms find them uncomfortable and bulky. Packing extra-absorbent, overnight pads and extra underwear from home can help you feel more comfortable while at the hospital and on the trip home.

Car Seat and Blankets

Most hospitals won’t let you leave without ensuring that your baby has a safe way to travel home. Bring the car seat, with the base properly installed inside of the car, with you to bring your new little one home. Depending on the weather, extra blankets may be necessary to keep your baby warm while traveling.

We recommend packing your hospital bag at least three weeks before your due date and storing it close to the door to grab as soon as you need to go to the hospital. Preparing ahead of time for your hospital birth will make the process go smoothly and will help ensure that essentials don’t get left behind when you go into labor.

From packing your hospital bag to ordering your breast pump and bringing your new bundle of joy home, BreastPumps.com is ready to provide the support and resources you need throughout your parenting journey.

TSA Travel Tips for Nursing Mothers

TSA Travel Tips for Nursing Mothers

Read time: 3.5 minutes

TL;DR

  • If you’re nursing and traveling without your baby, you’ll need to bring along your breast pump and extra supplies and accessories to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
  • Be sure to bring your normal supplies, plus extra batteries, cleaning supplies and milk storage containers.
  • We recommend traveling with your pump in your carry-on luggage to avoid it potentially being damaged or lost with baggage.
  • Mothers are allowed to travel with breast milk and breast pumps in the United States, regardless of whether they are traveling with or without their children.
  • If you are hassled or stopped in airport security, ask to speak to a supervisor.
  • Although pumping en route presents some unique challenges, it can be worth the extra effort.

Breastfeeding can be challenging, frustrating, emotional, rewarding, and incredibly wonderful all at once. Mixed with the rigors of travel for business or even family visits with baby in tow, traveling away from home while still breastfeeding is one of the biggest challenges faced by today’s mothers.

Although pumping or breastfeeding while in the air or on the road can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and downright unpleasant, many mothers find it worthwhile, particularly since it allows them to continue their breastfeeding journey without disruption.

Lactating moms can benefit from planning ahead, regardless of whether you’re bringing baby along for a family visit or leaving your child with your partner for a business trip. We’ve put together some tips to help you prepare for those trips both with and without your little one while continuing your breastfeeding journey.

Pump Supplies Checklist

If you’re nursing and traveling without your baby, you’ll need to bring along your breast pump. Pumping while traveling requires a few additional supplies, some of which you might not necessarily need when you are at home or if you’re traveling with your baby. This checklist will help ensure you’re ready for anything you might encounter during your travels.

  • Power cord, pump parts, tubing and breast shields: Next time you pump at home, make a note of all the parts and equipment you need prior to, during and after you have pumped. If you do not have all the essential parts with you, a breast pump is not going to do you any good.
  • A battery pack and extra batteries: Checking to confirm that your battery pack works before you leave your home and loading your pack with new batteries are among the most important details to remember. Forgetting your battery pack could leave you stranded without a working pump. Depending on the length of your trip, we recommend carrying an extra set or two of batteries. Pack the extra batteries in your carry-on bag can help to avoid any potential problem with checked luggage at the airport.
  • Adapter or converter: Breast pump electrical adapters often do not adjust to different voltages used internationally. Make sure you research and pack the appropriate power adapter or converter plug when traveling internationally to ensure your pump will work once you arrive at your final destination.
  • Cleaning supplies: Although accessing a place to scrub and clean the various parts of a pump might not always be possible while traveling, most offices and hotel rooms have a microwave, which is why we recommend purchasing microwave sanitizing bags for your trip. All you need to do is throw everything into these disinfecting bags and pop them into the microwave for about three minutes to ensure everything is sterile for the next use. Be sure to follow the specific manufacturer’s instructions and bear in mind that microwave voltages can vary.
  • Milk storage containers: If you intend to bring milk back after your trip, be sure you pack enough storage bags or containers. We recommend medical-grade, pre-sterilized storage containers since they are reliable and convenient. If possible, freeze your breast milk flat so that you can easily stack them up on your return trip.
  • Ice or cold packs: Ice or cold packs will help to keep your milk frozen on the return trip, which can come in handy for long or multi-segment flights. After traveling, putting the milk in a freezer as soon as possible is of the utmost importance since some thawing could occur. Once you get back home, use the milk pumped on the trip as soon as you can.
  • Hand sanitizer: Just in case you don’t already have one, packing a little bottle of hand sanitizer inside your carry-on is always a good idea.

Pack Smart

Fitting the pump into your small carry-on suitcase would ideal; however, this may not always be an option. You will otherwise have to check your luggage and keep your purse or computer bag and pump as carry-on items.

We suggest refraining from checking a breast pump as a stand-alone piece or in a suitcase. Aside from potentially being damaged in the shuffle, travel delays happen from time to time and luggage can get lost. Arriving at your destination without a functioning pump is the last thing you need on your trip.

Be Security Savvy

It is important to know your rights. Nursing mothers are allowed to travel with breast milk and breast pumps in the United States, regardless of whether pumping mothers are traveling with or without their children. Alerting security that you are traveling with a pump and/or milk upfront makes the process as smooth as possible, but if you are hassled or stopped, you should ask to speak to a supervisor.

The TSA classifies children’s juice, formula and breast milk in the same category as liquid medicine. As such, these substances are not subject to the 3 oz. rule applicable to other liquids and gels. Parents are permitted to pack ice packs, empty bottles, liquid-filled teethers and jarred baby food inside a carry-on as well.

Here are some additional security tips to help you experience a smooth journey through security:

  • Separate and declare your breast milk and equipment when going through the security checkpoint.
  • Pull the breast pump out of your carry-on and place it in a separate bin before your bag goes through the x-ray machine.
  • Inform the agent that it is a breast pump. Although you should be prepared for the possibility of additional screenings, tasting your breast milk is not a requirement. TSA officers might request you to open your containers during the process.

While there is no limit on the quantity of breast milk you can bring aboard in your carry-on, the TSA encourages traveling mothers to only bring the amount of breast milk, juice or formula necessary for that particular trip. If you are carrying breast milk on the return journey, place the milk inside a separate bin and then inform the agents that it is breast milk.

Pumping En Route

You might find it necessary to pump before you reach your destination. Fortunately, most major airports feature family bathrooms fitted with electrical power outlets, which provide a perfect place to pump. If you need to pump while aboard the airplane, especially on international or longer flights, ask the flight attendants to suggest a suitable pumping location.

Worth the Effort

Although pumping en route presents some unique challenges, it is ultimately worth the extra effort. With some planning, preparation, and patience, maintaining your milk production while away from your little one is entirely possible.

BreastPumps.com offers a wide variety of spare parts and accessories to ensure your breastfeeding journey is enjoyable for both you and your baby—regardless of where you’re pumping.

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