Hospital BagPreparing 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.

For You

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

  1. 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!
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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?

 

 

About 

Kate Wilkinson is a wife to an amazing man who loves to cook (yes she knows she’s lucky!) and is blessed to be a stay at home mom to her two very active boys, Little Man and Punkin. Come join her adventure to maintain sanity while she juggles a VERY energetic toddler, housework that never seems to end, and the occasional date night that isn’t thwarted by falling asleep in the movie theatre. When mommy brain allows Kate blogs at RetroModernMom.com about family, faith and the funny things in between. It may be hard living in LA but she’s a modern mom doing it the old-fashioned way.

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6 Responses to What to pack and ask about when delivering at a hospital

  1. Sheri says:

    Second time around…I packed next to nothing because in the hospital they give you almost everything you need…whether you want it or not! From the above list…for sure bring cell phone, camera and chargers…from there the other essential for me were #4,8,9, and 10. I didn’t find that I needed to bring my own socks, underwear nor pillows as the hospital provided plenty of these. Their socks have the tread which is nice for those hospital floors…and they will get dirty…so if you bring your own socks and slippers…make sure they aren’t super fancy/nice. Also, I couldn’t imagine putting on nice underwear with all that was going on “down there” the first few days even week. So if you can grab a couple extra of those big mama panties to take home…DO IT! Those hideously ugly mesh panties are actually soooooo comfortable and are big enough to hold those humongous postpartum pads!

    For Hubby, snacks for sure…actually even for you…because in the middle of the night when you are up for the 3rd-4th time nursing…you are gonna be hungry! And if you have any visitors coming…ask them to bring you some nutritious snacks…like a veggie tray, fruit tray…you’ll be glad at 3am that you have these to munch in addition to those box of chocolates and sweets! Hubby may also like a button down shirt or zippered fleece/track jacket if he is interested in also doing skin to skin with the baby. Makes access more convenient and keeps his back and arms warm vs being shirtless.

    For baby, yep one or two outfits for going home in and for taking the hospital’s professional photographers will do for you before you go home. And not on the list above…but should be a given…don’t forget to bring the carseat!!! :)

    Another couple of things to do/have that I thought were handy…on our phones…we had a white noise app and pandora. For baby #2, he didn’t need to have white noise as much as baby #1…so we played some easy meditation/relaxing music for us to help us sleep and to drown out the other hospital noise. Also, I had a couple of mindless gossip magazines to peruse for fun…but don’t plan on bringing any heavy reading…because there really won’t be much time for that with all the feeding, nurses/doctors visits, and visitors…and besides, you really should sleep as much as you can…b/c you won’t be getting much of it once you get home…especially if you any other children at home!!

  2. Great ideas Sheri! Love the zip up jacket for the hubby. That’s certainly something I didn’t think of.

  3. Michelle Martin says:

    I also packed in my bag disposable undergarments. I was told that the mesh panties are not always comfortable and once you get home…no mesh panties…so you may ruin your good ones….so I was strongly encouraged to buy the disposable panties. I have friends that tell me they were life savers!

  4. Great post – very thorough! I would def remember to have the car seat ready to go, so I second what Sheri said. Be sure to get that installed and checked a month before! It’s also great to encourage moms to take notes on a notepad (or on their phones) of questions they have for their doctors or nurses. With so much going on, it’s very easy to forget what you meant to ask earlier! And this can be TMI but dealing with the postpartum recovery and having that all ready to go in addition to the disposable panties is good! http://www.tyckledtales.com/2012/11/28/postpartum-recovery-essentials/. And if you have a dog, don’t forget to pack something that your hubby can take home early on to prepare the dog for your newborn!

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