For the past few months, on Brielle’s monthly birthday, I’ve been sharing some advice and recommendations from my perspective as a first time mom (FTM). Today it’s all about the coveted hospital bag!
The above picture is me this past August, the morning I ended up going into the hospital, 4 days overdue as I was having contractions at my weekly check up. Luckily months before I was due, I was surfing around on mommy blogs and soaking in every message board post on BabyCenter.com about what to pack in your hospital bag.
After giving birth, I typed up the below list for an expecting friend, stating my recommendations based on my experience so check it out!
- Write a detailed list. No matter what you put on your list, write each item with VERY detailed descriptions in case you aren’t the one packing. “Maternity Dress” might not be enough of a description for your flustered hubby who’s quickly sent home to pack your bag since you were sent direct to labor and delivery. Be more specific, writing something like “Old Navy Black Maternity Dress” and hope that he remembers the one and only dress you wore twice a week at the end of pregnancy as it was the only thing that fit. 🙂
- Download a baby tracking app before going into labor. After baby arrives, the nurses will constantly ask you about the times you fed and how many pee/poop diapers the baby had recently. I had a hard time remembering so I used the Feed Baby App (for Android) which kept all that information for me. Months later, I still use this app to track the last feeding so I don’t need to pay attention to the clock!
- Check out my “DIY Hospital Signs” post for a few crafty ideas you might also want to consider. Click on the above free printable which you can use to get more privacy while in recovery!
Pack for You:
- (2) “going home” outfit options. I took my sister’s advice and remained in hospital gowns the whole time I was there. I didn’t care if visitors saw me in a gown. I just had a baby! I didn’t want my good clothes to get messy because let me tell you, the first few days post partum can be messy! Bring two of your maternity outfit options to wear home as you will still look abut 6 months pregnant. In case you have a C-section, make sure to include a maternity dress as you don’t want something tight on your stomach.
- Old socks. Your feet will be cold even though the rest of you will be sweating! TMI alert! Bring old pairs you don’t care about in case anything drips down when you get up. I threw out two pairs while there, but luckily my hospital also gave me some extras.
- Flip flops. Old dorm room trick: wear them in the bathroom when showering. And oh my, that first shower is the best shower you’ll ever take!
- Cardstock or book page from baby’s book. Most nurses will stamp it for you when they’re doing the footprints for the hospital records. Since I was making my own scrapbook page, I cut out large squares for them to stamp and cut them to size later.
- Notebook/Pen/Folder with a pocket. We had lots of questions for the pediatrician, my doctor, and the nurses but we’d forget them by the time they came in. Derek also did a great job taking notes of Brielle’s birth story timeline for her scrapbook. You’re also given lots of paperwork to fill out and keep so this all came in handy.
- Tumbler cup with straw. A bendy straw is even better than the straw that comes with the cup, but use this to stay hydrated throughout labor and after delivery. I say a bendy straw in case you’re slightly inclined or laying down so it’s easier to sip. Note: some hospitals won’t let you drink anything after a certain point while in labor, and you’re restricted to only ice chips.
- Toiletries, hairbrush, basic makeup. I thought I’d put on basic makeup at some point just to feel better, but I couldn’t move my arms up very well. A wet ponytail was all I could do. Pack extra hair ties to put your hair up while in labor.
- Glasses (if you wear contacts). Some hospitals might not let you keep the contacts in if you’re forced to do an emergency C-section.
- Cell phone, camera, any electronics for entertainment and all their coordinated chargers. Most of this is used by your hubby.
- Fold up reusable tote bags. Hopefully your nurses will give you extra baby or post partum goodies to take home. You’ll also use these bags to bring home any gifts you receive from visitors.
- Boppy/Nursing Pillow. This was helpful for the first breast feeding experiences.
- Chapstick. Your lips get dry from breathing out your mouth a lot.
Pack for Baby (leave in the car until the last day):
- Carseat. Note: the base should already be installed in the car.
- Blanket. To cover baby when driving home.
- (1) Newborn and (1) 3 month outfit. You don’t know how big or little your baby will be until they come out. Bring one of each size (already washed) to bring them home. Otherwise no need to have daily outfits as the hospital should provide what you need.
- Note: most hospitals provide you with all the diapers, wipes, creams and accessories needed for baby while you’re there. I suggest keeping the diaper bag and all your purchased goodies at home for later.
Assign to Hubby to Pack:
- Cooler with drinks and non perishable snacks. My hospital allowed for us to order food for me and one support person at each meal, but my sister’s, for instance, did not. Pack food and snacks for you, but especially for hubby. When in doubt suggest and gladly accept when people offer to bring you food at the hospital!
- Sweatshirt/long sleeves. After labor women sweat a lot, so they tend to keep the AC on in the rooms. Hubby will be cold! Plus, oddly, in our hospital, the pull out sofa that the dads sleep on are right under the air vent!
- Pillows/blanket. You might also want to bring your own pillow so consider this on your packing list as well. Tip: use colorful pillow cases so you know which are your pillows versus the hospital ones.
- Bathing suit. While Derek didn’t end up using his, our birthing class instructor suggested this and it sounds like a good idea. Some women use the bathtubs during labor to relax so a bathing suit would be a helpful item for a daddy-to-be who might need to help you out or hold you in. It was suggested that some women might also need help with that first shower so it will lessen the chance of an awkward encounter with the nursing staff!
- Boy clothes/toiletries/entertainment.
In other news, if you head over to the Shutterfly blog today, you just might see a familiar face! 🙂