Hospital, Here We Come! (A Packing Guide)
I wrote about my hospital packing last time around, when I was expecting Remy. You can read that post here. That was then, first-time-mommy, and this is now. Expert right? Far from it, but I have learned from the first go around. Would love to hear your thoughts. Chime in on the comments! So wouldn't you know it, the day I took the photos for this post, I had a false alarm, and had to grab this very bag and head to the hospital in the middle of the night?! Contractions were consistent, but then they putzed out and no progression of dilating, so we were home again. Anyway, the bag is ready and sitting by the door!
So, unlike the first time around, I will NOT be packing or bringing my diaper/baby bag. Just the one bag for what we will all need, maybe one more for the last minutes like my wallet, toiletries, chargers, camera and hubby. Also, no Boppy pillow this time around. I NEVER used that thing. For me it was cumbersome, and too high and just easier to breastfeed without it. Things that are similar, funny enough, are a couple of the outfits and socks! I packed before seeing my previous post, and it turns out I gravitated to the SAME pair of fuzzy teal newborn socks as last time! Weird! This time, I won't pack any gowns for baby. I did take Remy's newborn photo in the hospital in the gown I had brought last time, however, remember, you can't fasten baby in the car seat with a gown! Also, keep in mind season, hot or cold on baby thighs, when fastening them in. It may be best to go with something with pants for the take home outfit. DO however, bring a favorite outfit for when the hospital photographer comes around to take newborn photos. I wasn't too prepared for that one last time, so this time I am bringing a special outfit for that as well.
The hospital provides you with newborn hats and blankets and diapers, but if you want to use special blankets or put a certain newborn cap on, then pack those. It has only been 15 months, but I forget if they have Aquaphor. I may just bring a sample size of it for when I am there. As for personals for me, I think I did a good job of packing essentials last time, so pretty much going with the same items, but won't bring the Lansinoh lanolin for nipples. I never used the stuff, fortunately I didn't need to. I DO recommend bring some feminine wipes. The hospital will give you a spitz bottle for rinsing sensitive areas, and they will have mesh panties and GIGANTIC pads, but last time I brought thinner pads, which I used, so I will bring those again, along with full coverage panties I can toss if they get ruined; a pack of Hanes or Jockeys from Walmart is what I picked up last time.
Last time I did bring a notepad for notes of things I wanted to remember or specifics from nurses and baby stats. I will do the same this time around. Also, thank you cards for nurses and any gifts from visitors is a good idea. Last time, as well as now, I have a few favors or treats for the staff and nurses that will be tending to me. It's just a small gesture of appreciation, but the nurses work so hard and were unbelievably GOOD and caring, that of course I want to thank them in some way. Last time I had brought handmade soaps my sister made for my baby shower. This time, I have individual s'mores kits, also favors I had made for my baby sprinkle I had a couple weeks ago.
I did NOT end up bringing my laptop last time, and won't this time either. Everything is so mobile now, you shouldn't need to lug a laptop. We won't need quarters for vending machines as suggested by our Baby Prep class teacher last time, but I will AGAIN bring snacks like trail mix, energy bars, for when the cafeteria is closed or for hubby during labor and also for power snacks through the night as I am breastfeeding.
So here's a few tips on what to pack!
Toilettries. They might have crappy shampoo/conditioner samples. I think I was okay with that for such short duration. But deodorant, tooth brush, tooth paste, makeup, all the obvious things a hospital wouldn't have. ALSO, I have heard some moms had a tough time where they delivered, getting a simple aspirin or antacid, so you may want to throw in a couple samples or small things of Tums and Tylenol, in case your nursing staff isn't as attentive. They should have Tucks medicated pads for you, for hemorrhoids and sensitive areas, but you may want to bring feminine cleansing cloths and smaller pads and extra underwear. Oh, and hair ties, bobby pins, headbands, whatever you need to keep your hair up and off your face during labor and postpartum. Gum, and hard candies are also a good idea, as well as a good lip balm. The hospital air is dry, and you may be doing a ton of huffing and puffing during labor. The hard candies I like are Preggo Pops, which cut down on nausea supposedly, which women can experience during active labor. Remember, you can only drink water and have ice chips and popsicles once admitted and in labor, however afterwards, you may be exhausted and it may have been hours or even a day since you had a full meal, so snacks are a GREAT idea! Also, remember your partner! You don't want them to leave and miss anything! Or starve!
Comfortable jammies, and a nursing top for postpartum. Can be as cute or covered up as you want, if you plan to have guests, keep that in mind. You may not want to do shorts, or anything too tight on the rear, as you will have a lot going on down there with a pad and all. You may want to also pack a robe, one that covers your rear.
An outfit to go home in. This has been said numerous times in numerous places before, but you will still look and FEEL preggo, so nothing cute, fancy, tight...I went with maternity jeans and a loose tank last time, and this time, I think I'll just go with whatever I throw on when I leave the house. Keep in mind, that you never know how labor and delivery will pan out, and an emergency, r planned, C-section may be the birth plan, so consider the sensitive tummy area. Perhaps a drapey maxi dress is better than anything tight or constricting over your tummy. Also, mind that bulky rear area again!
Nursing cover. If you plan to nurse right away, you will be doing a LOT of this within those first 12-24 hours. Cluster feeding happens pretty much non-stop after baby comes, to get milk to come in. So, depending on when you give birth and when or if you allow visitors, you may want some coverage and privacy.
Nursing tank. You will most likely be nursing from within the first few minutes of delivering. After your gown stage, you will want a nursing tank and a pair of sweats.
Nursing bra. You can choose to either just use the tank or do a bra and nursing friendly top or dress for going home. If you plan to breastfeed, your world will be turned upside down as far as wardrobe goes!
Slipper socks and/or Flip-Flops or Slippers. I was completely fine with hospital socks. They are warm, and have the non-skid pads.
Undies. Think "granny panty" here.
Belly BandIt. I strapped this thing on almost immediately after giving birth last time to help support the back, cinch the waist and shimmy all those organs and bones back into shape.
Diapering: Any special creams, powders or preventatives you plan to use. The hospital has diapers and wipes obviously, but you may want your own ointments.
Blankets: If you have a special knit blankie, or soft swaddle you prefer to have your baby start sleeping on right away, bring that, otherwise you'll get the flannel ones from the hospital.
Clothing: I would bring baby socks or booties. I think all the hospital provides is the long sleeve kimono tee and hat. Again, an outfit in case photographer comes around and you'd like to purchase photos, and a going-home outfit. Consider weather, you may need a snow suit or extra blankies depending on time of year and where you deliver.
Carrier: I didn't have a carrier last time I gave birth, nor did I plan to use one. However, this time around, having a tot already, I was going to try out a baby carrier to be a little more hands free. I am hesitant to use it a lot or at all, but am willing to try it on occasion. I don't want the baby to get used to being on me. I hear horror stories of babies who can't be set down. I hope to use it here and there and only for first couple of months...
Extras: Your hospital may or may not provide a pacifier. We chose not to introduce one, but if you plan to, you may want to bring a couple types. Burp cloth. I was glad I brought this last time. Not sure, but I don't think they had burp cloths. Can't remember. I have heard that baby nail clippers are a good idea... I read somewhere that they didn't clip baby nails in hospital. I don;t think I brought these with me last time and we were fine.
DO NOT need or bring newborn mittens as they are actually a choking hazard. baby could bite off and it is a perfect little airway restrictor potentially causing suffocation.
DO NOT need to bring your breast pump. You can use the hospitals, but most likely your milk will not have come in yet, certainly not enough to pump, but it is more of a tutorial on how to use it than anything else. Remember you may have a visiting nurse or a doctor appointment within a couple of days of delivering, and you can also ask about pump then. A breast pump and bag and accessories is very heavy and bulky to bring along.
DO NOT need to bring a water bottle. The hospital should give you a nice big one with a straw!
DO bring your id for check in! Regardless of whether or not you pre-registered at your hospital, remember that sometimes you may have an emergency and have to go to another hospital, or be there earlier than expected or transferred. Just have your wallet and insurance papers and cards.
DO have your car seat installed properly around 35 weeks! The day you leave, some hospitals offer to do a free car seat check but they do not put baby in for you. You have to put your baby in car seat, in hospital room, and take down to car. Don't pull a Prince William and not strap baby in properly. Practice on a doll and have those belts adjusted to fit a newborn...last thing you want to be doing when trying to check out is fumble with adjusting car seat belt straps!
DO bring your baby book! Have your hubby ask the nurses for the footprints after birth, and have it handy to write down their birth weight and measurements, and KEEP any tokens from hospital like name tags, wrist bands,etc.
DO bring breast pads... you may be leaking right away, or you may need to put cream on and have a barrier between you and your nursing tank.
Hopefully this little guide helps you pack your bag!