Preparing for a hospital stay when delivering your baby can be a daunting task. Whether you are a planner or procrastinator, trying to think about what to pack after your water has broken and your contractions are coming on like a freight train is NOT something you want to do, trust me! Here’s a list of questions I asked my hospital along with some must-have items you will want on hand for your stay.
- Laptop, cell phone, camera (along with ALL the chargers) - ask your hospital if they provide free wi-fi and look for outlets during your hospital tour for your electronics. These are the absolute necessities in my book. I was so on the ball with my first delivery that I even had a draft email ready for my husband to send out once I approved the photos to attach.
- Socks and slippers – make sure the socks are thick and cozy with tread. You will most likely wear them during delivery so be prepared to toss them afterwards because God only knows what will get on them. Slippers will be nice for when you walk the hallways during recovery.
- Bathrobe - if you plan to wear the nursing hospital gown they provide, like I did, you will want a lightweight cotton robe for those trips to the bathroom or walking the halls. My hospital only had shared showers so I had to walk across the hall to get to the shower. Man was I glad I had brought my own robe!
- Makeup & toiletries - it may seem vain (the makeup, not the toiletries) but there will be A LOT of photos taken. Most will be of the baby but inevitably you will be in some. So do yourself a favor and slap on some mascara and lip gloss and run a brush through your hair. When you look back at the baby book you will be glad you did. The other toiletries should be the basics like shampoo/conditioner, face wash, lotion, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Also, hospitals can be dry so be sure and bring chapstick!
- Underwear - although you won’t need underwear during labor you will need some eventually. My hospital provided mesh panties to hold the pads in place afterwards and I much preferred those to ruining some of my own underwear. It’s up to you what ends up being comfortable but having some of your own on hand that are loose and you don’t mind tossing afterwards (it will get messy!) is a good idea.
- Sleep/nursing bra – those cross over cotton sleep bras were the best thing I could ever have packed! I wore it all through delivery and recovery and they were perfect for holding a breast pad (bring some of those as well) in place. Forget about fussing with the snaps of a nursing bra. These beauties can just be pulled down for immediate access and won’t irritate your already sore nipples from nursing.
- Pillow (with a dark pillow case) - I brought my full body pillow as well as a regular pillow from home and was SO glad I did. Just do yourself a favor and use dark or patterned pillow cases so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows. It will also help remind you to bring them home when packing up your room.
- Wallet & a pen - even if you pre-admitted a month before delivering there will still be forms, menus, birth certificates and the like to fill out. Having your driver’s license, insurance card and a pen (or two) on hand will make your life so much easier.
- Going home outfit - for you not the baby! Since I don’t know what season you will be delivering in I can’t really choose your outfit. Just make sure its loose-fitting and comfy. Also, if weather permits, wear some slip on flats. The less bending over the better.
- Extra bag - for all the gifts people bring and hospital supplies they will send you home with. A collapsible canvas grocery bag will do fine.
For the husband
- Snacks - although you will be provided with three meals a day in recovery hospitals don’t always provide your partner with a meal as well. All hospitals have cafeterias and some, like mine, have mini kitchens in the recovery wing stocked with all sorts of snacks for the recovering moms (and dads). But even he can get sick of eating sandwiches, jello and ice cream cups. Bring a few snacks for him but also make use of that fridge in the kitchen for any leftovers your in-laws may bring him when they come to visit!
- Pillow - most likely he will have the most uncomfortable cot/fold out couch bed in history. Bring the man a pillow he likes so he can at least try to get comfy.
For the baby
- A few outfits and hats – like I said before there will be lots of pictures. Some hospitals even partner with a professional photographer who will stop by your room the day after your baby is born and offer to sell you a photo package. We bought one like this and were so impressed with the quality we used them for the announcements. So bring 2-3 outfits for your newborn that you may want pictures in as well as a going home outfit.
- Blanket – although the hospital will provide you with swaddling blankets it’s nice to bring a fuzzy warm one for the car ride home. It also works as a nice background for photos as mentioned above.
This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list but I hope it’s been helpful in getting you to think about a few items you may not have thought of before.
What item did you wish you had packed but didn’t?