One woman's path through doula training, childrearing, and a computer science Ph. D. program

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Five more things to have on hand: Preparing for childbirth

You can find lists of things to pack in your hospital bag for when you have your child. Or lists of things have ready in the nursery (or wherever the baby will sleep) for when your child comes home.

Here are five lesser-known things to prepare for the first days.
  1. Coconut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil (thanks, anonymous commenter!), or vaseline, for putting on the diaper area so you can get the meconium off easier. Otherwise you spend about 5 minutes rubbing their poor sensitive bums. Bring this to the hospital (put it in your for-baby bag). Apply liberally after every diaper change until the meconium is gone.
  2. Disposable diapers, even if you plan on using cloth diapers. Use disposables during the first few days, while meconium is coming out. You do not want to scrub tar-poo in the sink... plus, the vaseline may stain cloth. Some birth centers provide organic disposable diapers, and the local hospitals provides diapers for the stay (and you can ask to take some home), so you should not have to purchase any. Otherwise, a pack of diapers is fairly cheap. Anonymous commenter (below) suggested asking for a cloth diaper service as a baby shower gift, if you are set on using cloth diapers.
  3. Disposable breast pads, even if you plan on using cloth ones, because you do not want to have to wash your bras or breast pads in the first days. The first days are for laying in bed with the new baby and having people bring you food.
  4. Lots of changes of t-shirts for you to sleep in. You will sweat like a pig at night (because all of the pregnancy fluids are finally getting out), and will likely want to change shirts when you get up to feed your lil'un.
  5. Rags, rags, rags for spraying breastmilk. One side feeds the baby, the other side hoses down your bedroom. Your body thinks it is feeding octuplets. I like receiving blankets and kitchen towels. What comes out is mostly foremilk, which is low on fats, and comes out in the wash.


  1. Great list! Some may prefer something like olive oil to vaseline on their babies, though. Petroleum products are kind of ick, and harder to wash off of newborn skin.

    Also, you don't say where you're located, but where I am (Ontario, Canada) they don't give away diapers in the hospital - you need to bring your own. One bag of disposibles is not huge purchase, and it's certainly something I recommend to cloth diapering parents as a way to get them started off easy. Either that or a diaper service. A few weeks of diaper service makes a great shower gift and gives new parents some time to settle in before taking on the extra laundry task!

  2. The location here is Santa Cruz, California.

    Great idea about the olive oil. Vegetable oil would be even less smelly than olive oil and certainly more gentle on a baby's skin than vaseline. Or maybe even coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature.

    A diaper service shower gift is an excellent suggestion!

    Thanks for reading. :)

  3. Looks like a diaper service around here is around $90 for 80 diapers/week for a 4-week charge.



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