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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mamas: what to pack in your hospital bag

I have been meaning to write this post for months but you know how parenthood is. I actually thought I'd written this post and went to go look for it in my archives only to find out I'd only written it in my head. People ask me all the time what to pack in your hospital bag and today I am sharing my recommendations. Each mama's bag will be different depending on induction, schedule C section, gender of baby, weather, personal preferences. My sister who had to be in the hospital a week prior to giving birth and a week post, couldn't stress to me enough about packing minimally. I am SO glad I went that route. Those first few days in the hospital are a whirlwind/blur and you often don't remember to brush your teeth let alone change your outfit, and the last thing you want to do when you come home is have to unpack a giant bag of unused stuff. 

What I packed:
  • Robe- With recommendation from my sister, I bought this robe and wore it the whole time I was in the hospital. Nurses, doctors, and visitors are in and out of your room and a robe is an easy way to cover up your boobs that will be on display 95% of your stay. I also liked having the robe once we got home from the hospital. 
  • Nursing bras- I went ahead and wore one of these nursing sports bras to my induction and packed an extra in my bag.
  • Breast pads- If you have a vaginal birth, there is a chance you'll already be home when your milk comes in. I was in the hospital for 4 days post delivery and my milk came in while I was there and I was unprepared for leaking. The hospital did not provide breast pads and next time I will bring my own. I personally prefer reusable pads, disposables get lumpy. I have about 15 pairs of these Nuk resuable breast pads and do them with my regular laundry. 
  • Comfy clothes- I wore a traditional hospital gown during labor and post delivery but was excited to change into my own clothes once I got up and showered. I brought 2 of these Target swim cover ups and wore them most of my stay and the first few days home. I also packed a nursing tank (these are my favorite) and maternity yoga pants but did not wear them because my incision was too sore and fragile. Remember you will still look about 5-6 months pregnant (and be engorged!) when you leave the hospital. You don't want restricting clothing in case you have a cesarean. Hospitals are always cold so pack some comfy socks and slippers. 
  • Flip flops- for showering 
  • Nursing pillow- this will come in handy for not only nursing but for letting baby lounge on the bed and assisting visitors while holding baby. The Boppy was a life saver for me because I was in a lot of pain from my surgery and without it, nursing would have been really painful on my incision area. 
  • Power strip- it's likely that you won't have direct access to an outlet right by your hospital bed and a power strip allows you to keep your phone charged and by your side while also charging your camera, etc. 
  • Camera/video camera- that is a given, don't forget it! Make sure your cameras are charged up and ready to go. I assigned my sisters to my camera and my dad to the video camera and it was so fun to come home and look through the hundreds of pictures they snapped.
  • Baby book- a friend told me to pack this and I am so glad I did. Amid the craziness of being in the hospital, there is a lot of quiet time spent alone with baby. I remember being up at 3am with Ford and writing memories in his baby book. I also had it out for visitors to sign. We have this CR Gibson baby book.
  • Baby accessories- hats, beanies, bows, headbands....try to limit to 1-2 items so you're not having to keep track of things. I brought 1 beanie that Ford didn't even wear because I loved his hair so much and wanted to look at it! I also thought he looked so sweet in the hospital beanie. I brought an old bracelet that said HART that Jon's dad wore in the hospital. 
  • Swaddle- the nurses will use traditional receiving blankets to swaddle your baby but it's likely that you will use SwaddleMe's, Halo Swaddles, or Woombies when you get home so I recommend bringing 1 to the hospital. 
  • Mitts for baby- Ford was a scratcher and I am glad we brought mittens for him. I had this set from Target. 
  • Going home outfit for baby- Ford went home in the same outfit I went home in in 1988. It was summer in Texas and the outfit was long pants and long sleeves so I did not pack a matching hat or blanket. If it's winter in Minnesota, you're going to want to pack warm stuff for baby to transfer to the car. 
  • Pacifiers- some hospitals are WEIRD about handing out pacis. I basically had to beg for one after Ford fussed all night and they were very reluctant because of nipple confusion. Well... Ford ended up not taking the paci but you may want to have a few different kinds packed. Yes newborn baby's have preferences!
  • Bubba Keg or water bottle- you will be parched and it is important to drink lots of water while breastfeeding. A Bubba Keg or nice big water bottle with a straw will make that easy to do (and easy for the staff to fill up)
  • Toiletries- the hospital provided me with shampoo/soap but I liked having my own. 
  • Makeup- putting a little color on my face made me feel like more than just a dairy cow! Chapstick and hairties too.
  • Lanolin- the hospital lanolin is sticky and gross, I prefer the Lansinoh Lanolin
  • Door sign- we were gifted a beautiful door sign custom made from Etsy and I loved having it on our door for visitors.
  • Sharpie- for labeling baby clothes, door sign, signing documents, writing in baby book
  • Empty folder- I brought a new file folder to stash all o the documents they bring you. You will have receipts, confirmations, and records from birth certificates, hearing tests, shot records, etc. It was nice to have everything in one clean spot to go through a few weeks after Ford was born.
  • Wallet- make sure your ID is in your wallet! We were required to show identification when we checked in and they may ask you for it again. Bring cash for vending machine snacks or cafeteria meals for your hubby.
  • Car seat for baby- you cannot leave the hospital without it. Be sure to have it installed beforehand because the nurses and staff legally can't help you do it. 
  • Hubby bag- your husband will need a few change of clothes, toiletries, etc. My parent's live close to the hospital I gave birth at so Jon went to their house to shower a few times. I didn't stress about Jon's bag and let him pack it on his own.

What I skipped:
  • My own pillow- some people can't sleep without their own pillow but this was just an extra thing for me to carry. My nurses were really accommodating and brought both me and Jon additional pillows and blankets when we needed.
  • Baby clothes- I loved Ford in his little hospital whites and only brought his going home outfit. You will have plenty of time to play dress up with baby when they aren't being poked and prodded by nurses all day.
  • Laptop- I did throw up a quick blog post announcing Ford's birth while we were in the hospital but I used my sister's laptop and didn't bring my own. Again, one less thing to lug around and keep track of.
  • Panties- with recommendations from multiple moms, I did not bring my own undies (besides the one I came in with) and I am glad I didn't. The hospital gives you these wonderful, giant, mesh panties that provide full coverage and protection for all the yucky stuff that goes on down there. The nurses gave me a few pairs to come home with and I wore them for a few days at home. 
  • Snacks- we actually packed tons of snacks that went completely uneaten. The hospital provides all meals and snacks (which were delicious at mine!) for mommy only but Jon ended up eating my meals with me. To let you in on a little secret, order extra food and let your hubby eat too. Visitors will offer to pickup food for dad, take them up on that! 
  • Birth plan- I never wrote anything down but my husband and I were on the same page about our ideal birth. I went in assuming I would have a vaginal delivery and knew I wanted an epidural. Nothing special to my "plan" and as you may know, Ford's birth was nothing that I could have ever expected. If you feel the need to print out your plans, have a few copies in case of nurse shift change.
Hospital tips:
  • Clean out the baby bassinet nightly. You've paid for those diapers and other items and the nurses will replenish. We came home with tons of newborn diapers, petroleum jelly, a thermometer, baby wash, and blankets. 
  • Also bring home the sexy mesh panties and diaper pads they give you. I promise you will use them! Bring home 1-2 of those plastic wash basins, they are perfect for storing pads and squirt bottles for the bathroom. Pretty much bring home anything they give you!
  • Don't leave without a prescription for stool softeners (unless you've already picked some up prior). I popped Colace for a few weeks postpartum.
  • If you've had a C section, don't get behind on your pain meds. One night I was so exhausted and told the nurses to skip my next pain meds and I immediately regretted it. No need to be a hero.
  • Feel free to say no to visitors. You can read my thoughts and tips on visiting a new mom here
  • Utilize the in house lactation consultants, you will be so happy you did. Ford was a finicky nurser on one side and she showed me different positions that worked for us. 


Unknown said...

This is a great post! I am due in October and I am so excited to use your tips and tricks!

Carolyn said...

This is so spot on!!! :)

Megan said...

Great List! What a great idea with the swim coverups. Thanks for sharing...this will be very helpful with baby number #2 in a couple of months!

Jess said...

Yay, yay, YAY! I am SOOO glad you did this! Thank you! Totally love all your recommendations and I also read your visitor post.. When it's time for me to go into labor. . I am totally sharing that on social media.. Ha! :)

Anonymous said...

Great list, totally agree on the nursing pillow. I didn't bring mine and it was difficult to get the baby in a good nursing position.

Bridget said...

Love the Minnesota shout out :) Great list!!!

Unknown said...

What an amazing and thorough list!

So excited to see breast pads, flip flops, swaddles, pacifiers, water bottle, make up and beauty/body products, and other goodies we either put in our third trimester gift bundle or nursing bundle or sell on its own!

Kristen said... are my lifesaver!! Loving all these posts!! So helpful! I ended up registering for like 90% of the stuff you suggested in your last post, haha, SO helpful for this clueless mama to be! :) THANK YOU!

Gregory Davis said...

Great article. it is olso very helpful for us. Thanks for sharing. dicom viewer online

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