I’m Using a Birth Center – What Will I Need When I Get Home?

For the vast majority of births in the United States, women trek to their local hospital and stay 1-2 days for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, or as many as 3-5 after a complicated or Cesarean delivery. Depending on factors such as your health, baby’s health, and your insurance coverage, the absolute minimum stay tends to be 24 hours during which your every need can be tended to by postpartum nurses.

However, many families are now starting to choose to deliver in birth centers, where you may go home as soon as just four hours after having your baby!

While it’s certainly nice to get away from the noisy machines and interruptions and just get in your own bed, you also don’t have access to all the items and advice that you would in the hospital. So, here are some ideas for things to have on hand at home after your birth center delivery!

Items for You:

  • Breast pump. If you need help emptying your breasts for any reason, you’ll want to have your own pump on hand to get you started, whether manual or electric.
  • Breast feeding supplies.  Make a little basket with everything you will need for yourself as well as baby so you can easily grab it.  Nipple cream, nursing bras, extra pump parts, a snack basket! Even if you’re not planning to breastfeed, you’ll still need some pads for a little while to catch leaks.
  • Jumbo pads. Stock up on some granny panties, extra jumbo overnight maxi pads…and maybe even a pack of Depends (no, really). You’re about to have nine months’ worth of missed periods all at once.
  • Bathroom supplies. It can be a little nerve-racking to go to the bathroom those first few times after giving birth, but the right stuff can make it better. A peri squirt bottle filled with warm water will help you gently clean yourself and remove the sting of urine, while Tucks pads will soothe your hemorrhoids and support your perineum while you go for a #2. We also love the bottom spray from Earth Mama Angel Baby.
  • Heating pad. If you experience painful cramping as your uterus tries to shrink back to its former size, a heating pad, rice sock, or hot water bottle will become your new best friend. Ibprofin is another great thing to have on hand to help with swelling as well as after birth pains.

Items for Baby:

  • Baby nail clippers. Sometimes those little guys can come out of the womb already equipped with long nails to scratch you up while you cuddle them!
  • Diapers and wipes. Have both newborn and size 1 available so you’ll have the right size depending on how big your baby is.
  • Swaddling blankets. You’ll be able to use your own specially picked out blankies for your baby, freshly washed from your own dryer.
  • Nosefrida. If your baby is a little wheezy with mucus from the birth, this non-invasive little tool will give you a lot more peace of mind than a bulb if you have to suction them.
  • Keepsake items. If you’d like to take the baby’s footprints, have a special photo taken, do a plaster cast, or save the umbilical cord, have the necessary supplies ready at home for your baby’s first day earthside.

Items for Your Family:

  • Freezer meals. You will love not having to get up and cook when you get home! And maybe even for the next few weeks – just saying.
  • Healthy, easy snacks. Having something delicious portioned out will save you a lot of trips into the kitchen when the family has the munchies.
  • Plenty of paper products. You’re going to be resting and recovering, not doing dishes, so let your family get by for a while with some paper plates, paper cups, paper towels – and of course, plenty of toilet paper.

These are the basic items that will help you and your family have a smooth first day at home after your baby’s birth. If you would like to plan your postpartum period in greater detail, or envision rock-solid compassionate in-home support during this time, simply set up a consultation with Annapolis Area Doulas to discuss our professional postpartum doula care services!