Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Moms (Interview with Healing Mama™ Co.)

Labor and delivery can bring many experiences to every mommajoy, excitement, relief, pain, discomfort; you name it! As we put out life into the world, we’ll be needing the utmost care and support! That’s why packing a hospital bag for mom is a lifesaver.

To talk about the reality of labor and postpartumwe have momma Rhowena Adolfo Patel on board. She’s the wonder-mom behind Healing Mama™ Co., and she’ll guide us through the right hospital bag items that we mommas should have. 

 

Meet Momma Rhowena Adolfo Patel

Momma Rhowena is the founder and CEO of Healing Mama™ Co. She started this business initiative to extend care to fellow moms (and even their birthing partners!) to heal and thrive in the postpartum recovery process

Image Credit: Rhowena Adolfo Patel, used with permission

 

In the testing and development process of the products, she recalls: “I need every mom, especially first-time moms, to feel this kind of comfort, this level of care, this level of support!” 

The first impulse is always out of love. Through the set of products they prepare over at Healing Mama, many mommas have been given a chance to thrive through the rollercoaster ride of delivery and postpartum. 

So now, let’s hear her story.

 

Momma to Momma: Interview with Rhowena Adolfo Patel

1. What was your “aha!” moment before starting Healing Mama™ Co? 

Preparing for the birth of our baby was an exhilarating and completely brand new experience for me. I was seven months pregnant when my girlfriend gave me what she called her “Mom Must-Have Bag” because a girlfriend of hers made one for her. It was filled with items I had never heard of before, like Witch Hazel or Padsicles, and so much more. 

At that moment, it occurred to me that I had not done any preparation for myself in all my baby preparation!

So, after spending the next month doing over 50+ hours of research and speaking with my midwives, I had what felt like a football-field-long list of products to get. 

I scoured the internet for “labor kits” and “postpartum kits” and was so disappointed by how much these companies were charging for so few items in their boxes. There wasn’t even a single company that included all the things I knew I’d need!

I figured I could save money by doing it on my own rather than buying these incomplete kits. I was shocked to realize how difficult and grossly time-consuming it was to find all these products. After all the strenuous shopping experience, I thought, “Why isn’t someone doing ANYTHING about this?!” 

That homemade “Mom Must-Have Bag” gift that my friend gave me has grown into the Healing Mama™ Co. A safe and trusted home, where all new and expectant parents can find exactly what they need to get through and thrive in this meaningful experience of childbirth and postpartum!

RELATED: Pregnancy Checklist (Complete Guide to a Healthy, Happy Preggy Journey

 

2. What motivated you to turn this moment into a business? 

First, my girlfriend jokingly said that it would be a good business idea. My immediate response was, “Oh, don’t tempt me!” 

But the real catalyst was during my postpartum journey. Having the spark to start a company, I chose to be the first test-mama and filled a 6-tier bookshelf in our bedroom with all the products and tools that I had purchased.

Image Credit: Rhowena Adolfo Patel, used with permission

 

In the beginning, I thought I was overprepared. But within three months, I’ve used every single product. I was shocked again! If I didn’t experience it myself, I’m not sure if I would’ve believed it.

I went through so much physical and mental trauma during my postpartum healing and recovery stage. No one, not even a healthcare professional, talked to me about what this experience and recovery would be like. My husband was able to care for me without having to ask me what I needed. When I was in pain or seemed off, he’d go to the bookshelf to find what he could give me. 

I vividly remember thinking to myself, “I need every mom, especially first-time moms, to feel this kind of comfort, this level of care, this level of support!” and that’s when I made the choice that I was going to do something about it.

 

3. Can you explain to us what’s the rationale behind your postpartum systems and bundles?

When I started putting all the products together for my first group of test-mamas, I kept reciting this mantra “Be thorough, be practical, be thoughtful.” And to this day, this same mantra goes into every new offering that Healing Mama™ Co. releases. 

When I started beta testing the idea of a kit with pregnant mamas in my life, I interviewed ten moms that were all within a year of giving birth, including myself. From this small group of moms, I learned there were still products I missed out on for myself, I knew what Cesarean mamas needed, and so much more. 

I had an unmedicated home birth, so I had to put myself into the shoes of an expectant mama that would be going to the hospital or birth center. I thought, “How could I make my kits convenient but most of all a ‘grab and go’ style?” That’s when I realized that mamas need a bag filled with precisely what they need. And, it should be organized in a systematic way so that they or their birthing partner could easily navigate which product to use at any given moment. 

I filled the bag with all the right products. I even included educational material that mommas need to shed light on all the blindspots throughout the childbirth and postpartum healing and recovery experience.

We also launched a labor and postpartum bag for birthing partners. The vital and critical role our partners play in the entire process deserves to be acknowledged and cared for. So, we interviewed partners from first-timers to partners with 4+ kids and put together a prepackaged, ready-to-go backpack just for them ‘cause they’ll probably be the ones carrying everything. So, a backpack was the most practical way we could support partners.

Once we clarified what Systems we would be bringing to market, we narrowed it down to three offerings:

 

  • The Essential Labor & Postpartum System (Bag)
  • The Cesarean Labor & Postpartum System (Bag)
  • The Ultimate Labor & Postpartum System (Bag)

 

Since we knew that experienced expectant parents might feel that the whole bag may not be necessary, that’s when we released our line of Healing Mama™ Bundles. Whereas our bags take an all-encompassing approach, our bundles are designed to provide care for specific areas during childbirth or postpartum. In line with this, expectant parents can choose bundles based on which part of healing and recovery they need the right products for. 

 

4. How can a well-packed hospital bag help moms thrive in childbirth and postpartum? 

A well-packed hospital bag can be the difference between pain and comfort. Especially during COVID, the amount of restrictions that birthing people have had to endure is unprecedented. 

I’ve had more moments than I can count in tears hearing from new parents who shared how our systems or bundles have quite literally “saved” them. Some parents also shared how they didn’t think they’d need all the products in the bags then take them back within a couple of days once the baby is earthbound.

Here’s the reality of the situation: we’ve interviewed and spoken to countless birthing people who have resorted to “stealing” supplies from the hospital before being discharged. The main reason between all these parents is because they knew that they did not have any of these products for themselves. 

Trust us, the last thing you or your partner need to be doing is going to the store or pharmacy with a brand new baby and trying to figure out which adult diapers or pads to buy for yourself!

Giving birth to a human being is a miracle. We’re working towards dignifying the aftermath of this experience so that brand new parents can be empowered and prepared for their own postpartum healing and recovery.

RELATED: Infant Care & The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

 

5. What are the unique needs of moms who will have a vaginal delivery and those who will go through a c-section? 

In both scenarios, the birthing person will be “opened,” and that physical trauma requires extensive aftercare. 

From a physical perspective, let’s explore the aftermath of Caesarean births. This is a major surgery so you need proper surgical aftercare. Mobility will not be as available to you as a person who has had a vaginal birth, so having simple things like a pair of easy-to-slip-on socks and wipes no more than an arm’s length away from you will help you do some things on your own. 

We also provide how-to’s for knowing when and how to clean your wound area and massage and help heal your Cesarean scar and surrounding area (once your incision has healed and your healthcare provider has given the OK.) And yes, Cesarean births still have vaginal bleeding (lochia) postpartum, so you will need to have the right products to wear that will soak up all this blood while not irritating your wound.

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