Packing your hospital bag with a nutrition focus
I get goosebumps thinking about how many women I have worked with last year are now expecting and approaching their due date! There are so many suggestions for what to pack in your hospital bag out there, but I HAD to curate my own nutrition-focused list for hospital survival. Tossing these items in your hospital bag may save you from some grief in the long-run. Yes, you know to pack some comfy robes and a cute going-home outfit for baby, but prepping for unanticipated events by packing with a nutrition focus is a good call.
1. Honey sticks. You may not be able to eat for a while once you are admitted into the hospital. OR you may not WANT to eat once you are admitted into the hospital. You could potentially be in labor for a while, and keeping your energy up is key. Honey is a natural source of energy, and these sticks are a portable vehicle to knock down the sticky goodness. They only hold about a teaspoon of honey, which is sometimes just enough.
Researchers suggest that the energy and caloric demands of laboring women are similar to those of marathon runners. But marathons runners replenish as they run, right? What about the mamas?!?! As long as it is ok with your health care team, a burst of honey may help keep your energy levels up and keep you pushing until the wee hours. PS-these are good to have for dad if he gets a little woozy during labor too. Buy them here
2. Vitamin D drops with the probiotic l. reuteri. Breastfeeding babies get all of their nutrition from their mom’s milk EXCEPT for Vitamin D. Unless mom is taking in approx. 6,400 IU of Vitamin D per day, baby will require supplementation to meet her needs. I like starting this supplementation on day 1 of life, and I choose these drops because they combine Vitamin D with a probiotic strain that has been shown to help reduce crying time in colicky babies, reduce reflux symptoms in babies, and help improve diarrheal symptoms. Mom’s breastmilk naturally contains probiotics, but the strain amounts vary. Ensuring baby is getting a steady stream of the lactobacillus reuteri probiotic from these drops may save mom and baby some grief in the long run. Just put 5 drops directly on the nipple before baby latches! Buy them here.
3. Choline supplements. Did you know that your choline requirements are even higher when you are lactating than when you were pregnant? If your prenatal vitamin does not contain at least 200 mg of choline in it, supplanting with this one daily is super-important when breastfeeding. Can’t swallow pills, check these out.
4. Xylitol Gum. Many c-sections are unscheduled. Moms expect to have a vaginal delivery, but then life takes over. Research has shown that chewing gum immediately after c-section may make recovery quicker. Gum takes up little real estate in your hospital bag, so may as well toss a pack in there. I recommend choosing aspartame-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol like Pur Gum. PS-they make mint mojito sugar-free mints that are ah-mazing, too.
5. Regular girl prebiotic/probiotic. Some things people don’t talk about include going number 2 after baby. Straining can be an awful experience, so you want to keep your bowel movements soft and regular. Regular Girl makes a prebiotic/probiotic blend in single serving sachets, and they amazingly blend into most everything. They literally taste like nothing, which is a good thing. The prebiotic and probiotic blend helps keep you, well, regular! Just make sure not to mix it in any beverage that is piping hot like coffee…the heat may kill the probiotic! Start with ½ a sachet a day for the first week and then work up to a full sachet a day. Buy them here. (code NUTRITIONNOW10 for 10% off).
6. You may not be getting the best food at the hospital, and may not have much of an appetite. Peeled snacks are basically dried fruit. They are tasty and non-perishable. Best of all, they are loaded with natural vitamins and minerals that help support your breast milk’s nutrition. Buy them here
7. Vital Protein collagen. Collagen is an amazing source of certain amino acids that help promote healing. Whether you give birth vaginally or via c-section, your body went through some trauma. Incorporating collagen into your diet post-baby is a wonderful addition into your postpartum plan. These are a simple portable sachet that you can sneak into your food in the hospital. Check them out here.
8. Perineal balm. Great stuff to help your “down there” situation after a vaginal birth. Get it here.
That’s my list! Nothing glamorous, but hopefully these suggestions will help mamas to be pack their bags with a nutrition and healing focus. Let me know if you would add anything else!
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