I think I mentioned in my previous post 24 Things To Do In Your 9th Month Of Pregnancy, that it seems like this fall is baby season this year! So, as a follow up post, for all of my friends, family, readers, and everyone else having a baby or thinking about it, I have put together a list of my recommendations to stuff your hospital bag with as you anticipate
your labor pain adventure your precious babe’s birth day!
(Side note: I am a chronic overpacker, so I didn’t need half of the stuff I brought… I will make sure to include the items you DON’T really need so you don’t break your back dragging your bags around the hospital!)
- Something to Do While you Labor. Occasionally labor goes really fast for women and they have a baby literally 20 minutes after checking in. Lucky brats. This is NOT the case for most women- I labored from 7:30 in the morning when I was induced until after midnight. And I didn’t pack ANYTHING to do. What a fool I was. Tony did try to help by purchasing me a magazine…but it ended up being in Spanish! Whoops! Save yourself the boredom and distract yourself from the pain (as much as possible anyway) and bring something to do. Card games, Books, Magazines, Games on a tablet or phone, or even writing thank you cards from your baby shower are all great options. (Especially that last one!)
- Fresh Underwear. All I could do was pray thanks to God that my mother went out and bought me fresh, comfy underwear to wear after having a baby. You don’t have to buy new stuff, but make sure what you bring is clean and maybe a little bit roomy for comfort, but more importantly, to fit that giant diaper-sized pad you will be wearing! The hospital provides pads that literally go from your belly button to your mid back, and some sexy mesh undies to go over it. I found them terribly itchy and was so glad I had my own to wear!
- Deodorant. Having a baby is hard work, whether vaginally or c-section. You better believe your body is going to be producing some major body odor and having something to swipe some freshness every so often is extremely welcome. (Maybe this is just me, but when I stink I begin to panic about everyone else smelling me, and that is the LAST thing you should be worrying about when having a baby!)
- Robe. Well, technically you don’t NEED this as the hospital provides some beautiful smocks for you to wear….but as sexy and tempting as they were, I would have been glad to have something of my own to wear to make me feel a little more put together. Something that is short enough not to tangle aound your legs and still has easy access to your front as you (and baby) get checked often after delivery. Usually when you are sleeping because those nurses have an evil agenda. Ha.
- Something Comfy to wear home. Don’t try for cute. You just had a baby, you aren’t going to be getting right back in those skinny jeans and cute bras. Wear a comfy nursing bra (unless you have boobs too big for a nursing bra…like me…again post coming soon on big boob problems) a loose t shirt, and some sweat pants. Or a maternity outfit. Don’t get stressed trying to impress anyone by dressing cute.
- Some kind of comfy Socks, Slippers, or Flip Flops. Unfortunately after having a baby, those darn nurses and their sneaky, evil agendas make you walk. Especially if you had a c-section. (Something about being good for you? I think they just have an agenda haha) And to me, it is just disgusting to walk around the icky, germy hospital in your bare feet. Supposedly they can give you some sockies if you ask, but I never got any and I felt cleaner (and safer from hospital cooties) having my own slippers to put my feet into.
- Insurance Card, Hospital Registration, and ID. Now, if you show up in labor, they won’t turn you away if you don’t have these documents, but it sure does make the process a whole lot easier if you have them ready to go! At some point they will make you provide this information so it is just best to have it in the bag! Because I was induced, my doctor got all of the registration stuff ready for me a week before I went in, so if you have an idea when your baby might come, see if you can pre-register and save some stress.
- Chapstick and Lotion. Holy Moses, after labor and delivery, I ITCHED. Not everyone has this problem, but since I had a winter baby, have dry skin anyway, and from all of the medicine, my body was a dry, itchy nightmare. Having some lotion and chapstick readily available was the best idea I had when packing my bag, hands down.
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste. Maybe Mouthwash. Keep bad breath at bay. Enough said.
- Dry Shampoo. Or if you know you are going to be there for a few days, actual shampoo and conditioner. Travel size is fine. Like I said before, it is hard work for your body to deliver a baby, no matter how you do it. Afterward you just feel sweaty and greasy. At a time like this, clean hair makes ALL the difference.
- Camera and Charger. Yes, you will be just like every other parent out there and want to take a zillion and a half pictures. And that is OK. Just be prepared for it. I am going to add BRING A PHONE CHARGER for this one too, because we took tons of pictures on our smartphones!
- A treat for yourself! They won’t usually let you eat during labor, but afterward, you DEFINITELY deserve that piece of candy! Treat yourself!
What to leave at home:
- Nipple Cream. If you plan on breastfeeding, the hospital typically will provide you with some of this if you ask for it. And trust me, you will want it. Breastfeeding is HARD work.
- Squirt Bottle. After having a vaginal delivery, you just need to have something to help you freshen up and even to help you go to the bathroom! It might be something you can consider bringing, but again, the hospital typically provides you with one.
- Breastfeeding pillow. Best invention ever. But when going to the hospital, it was just one more thing I had to carry and let’s face it, I was tired of carrying things. So I ended up doing JUST FINE with the hospital pillows and used my boppy once I got home.
- Extra Clothes. Besides your outfit to wear home and your pjs or robe to wear around the hospital, you really don’t need clothes. You won’t be there forever, and you have no reason you need to get dressed. Enjoy not having to get dressed. (I will use ANY excuse not to have to dress up!)
- Change of Clothes. Unlike you mom, dad DOES have to keep getting dressed as the hospital does not provide him a glorious robe to wear. I would suggest sweat pants and a t-shirt. Tony wanted to look nice for all the baby pictures so he wore jeans. To each his own.
- Cash. Mom might not be allowed to eat during labor, but dad is going to get hungry. Bring some cash for the vending machines, nearby gas stations, or the hospital cafeteria. Our hospital had a starbucks in it, so Tony was really excited he had some cash to spend on a muffin.
- Something to do while mom is in labor. Same type of list as mom. Magazines, books, games, or maybe the two of you can download some movies to your tablet to watch?
- Toothbrush and Deodorant. Dad’s get smelly too!
- Pillow and Blanket. Not all hospitals will provide this for the daddy’s, however even if they do, dad might prefer to have his own stuff anyway.
- Snacks. For the same reason you bring cash, dad will probably get hungry and may not want to leave the room or spend money at the vending machine. Having a few snacks handy, especially if it is in the early hours of the morning, will make him grateful!
- Going home outfit. The hospital provides a little shirt for them to wear in the hospital, but when they leave you don’t want them to go naked! Actually I doubt the hospital would let you take them naked…. Anyways- for this go for comfy more than cute. It is your baby’s first outfit, try to choose something that will be soft on that tender new skin and be sure to wash it with hypoallergenic or baby detergent first so that the clothing doesn’t irritate the newborn skin.
- Blanket. The hospital does provide a blanket to swaddle the baby in while there, but when you are leaving it will be nice to have a blanket to wrap up your little bundle of joy. Plus, many hospitals now have an awesome feature where they have an on-staff photographer come and take pictures with your baby. I loved having a pretty blanket for these pictures!
- Carseat. You won’t leave the hospital without it.
What to leave home:
- Diapers and Wipes: The hospital provides these for you. And diapers are SO expensive, trust me, you should take FULL advantage of the ones they give you!
- Nasal Aspirator: This is something necessary to have for newborns, which means that the hospital provides one right from the get go!
- Pacifier: There are mixed opinions about this one. The hospital does provide them, but many people don’t recommend using them at all for the first two to three weeks to avoid nipple confusion. Sydney LOVED her hospital pacifiers, so even if you choose not to use them until later, make sure to take advantage of the hospital ones they give you.
I hope this list helps a few of you sort out what things you choose to bring and what things you choose to leave home. Remember, the reason you are at the hospital is to HAVE A BABY, focus on only bringing the essentials and avoid packing frivolous items so that you can focus more on being a mommy than on your strained back from carrying heavy bags!!! 🙂