Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What you REALLY need to pack in your bag for the hospital

The real list:

What you REALLY need to bring with you when you go to the hospital to have your baby

Not nearly everything you think you do. I know as a first time mom it’s such an exciting time, you finally get to hold your baby and all that preparing you’ve done is going to prove itself!  I know it is so tempting to load your minivan with everything you’ve bought because you’re so trilled you can finally use it!  I warn you, you won’t use it.  The first few days with your baby go so fast, all the emotions and hormones it seems like time stands still yet manages to fly by.  I suggest soak it up, enjoy it with those that are closest to you and notify everybody else when you get home.  Have your baby and hold your baby and sleep when you can.

I am a chronic over packer.  I could pack 6 suitcases for a weekend stay, it is filled with things for “what ifs” and “maybe I’ll” but in the end it only means more packing, loading, and unpacking.  It always leads to frustration because I know where everything is but my husband manages to dig through it like a cat in a litter box, so then I spend half my vacation putting it all back together.  So here is what I have started doing, pack my bag, wait a day then take half of it out.  I managed to travel to Florida for 4 night stay with 2 kids (on my own) and only check one bag.  I think the plane tipped a little to the right the whole way because my bag was on that side, but whatever, it fit!  

When you are packing your bag for the hospital it seems everybody has different things on their “must have” and “don’t bother” lists.  Just remember change this list as you need.  For example, if you are going in for a natural birth, you won’t have the time, patience, or energy for card games, computers or your husband’s bad breath (seriously- happened to me).  If you are planning on hunting down the anesthesiologist (**ME***) as soon as you walk in the door, you may have more time for these things, but remember you’ll want to rest and most phones these days are capable of most things as your computer, at least for the few days you’ll be there.  If you change your mind, your partner is probably okay with running home taking a shower and retrieving whatever you need.  If you’re having a C-section follow the different rules depending on your doctor’s orders to eat or not to eat, and if you’ll be waiting 289 hours for them to come do your section. 

In the end, do what works for you-music if that makes you feel relaxed for a natural labor, pictures to focus on, foods for cravings or specific foods if you have allergies.  We toured our hospital before we gave birth there and we were able to see what they provided for us and what we did not have to bring.  If you want pictures, remember you may have some on your smart phone then you don’t have to worry about losing or contaminating the ones you have.  Ask lots of questions, you’ll be glad you did.  Ask if they will let you drink while in labor (they should) you may want to bring your own waterbottle if one is not provided for you).  For example, I didn’t bother with bringing my own pads because they provided them, stick a few that they provide in your bag to come home too so you’ll have some massive ones if you need them!  Steal a couple pair of disposable underwear, and be sure when you leave to clear out that bassinette.  Everything in there is yours, they charged you for it, bring it home! 

So, here is the list put together from Mom’s like you on our SoftBums Facebook page. 

For your partner:
Change of clothes-pack light, he can always go home.
Money-Snacks for him-the hospital will provide mom with what you need, but dad is on his own
Toothbrush and Toothpaste-you don’t want bad breath yelling “PUUUUSH” in your face…
IDs- Our hospital required a copy of my and my husband’s id’s-check with your hospital.

For Baby:
One going home outfit-remember to think about the size of baby you’ll be having.  If you think baby will be little bring a newborn and preemie outfit, or larger maybe bring a 0-3 month outfit too. 
Mittens-so they don’t scratch themselves-most hospitals won’t “let” you cut their nails in the hospital because the risk of infection is so high instead bring little baby nail files…work like a charm.
Nail files (see above)
Baby book-for the little foot prints you’ll never want to forget
Swaddle blanket- The hospital has these but they are kind of scratchy.  Your call on this one.    
Cloth diapers-if you’re choosing cloth from the start

For Mom:
Whatever you need to feel comfortable--

Your own nursing gown and robe-your hospital may provide some but they usually aren’t the best.  I suggest delivering in the hospital one so you don’t have to worry about getting yours dirty and stained then shower and change into your personal one after. 
Slippers or Socks with Grippies-stay safe on those hospital floors and keep your toes warm.
Nursing Bra-one that’s large enough to be comfortable when your milk comes in.  I liked the sleeping nursing bras when I was in the hospital.  Others suggest a sports bra, it is up to you what you think would be comfortable. 
Clothes to come home in-(including underwear) it should be something comfortable.  With both my kids I dressed in something I would come home in.  You’re not going shopping, I suggest pajamas-or something as comfy as pajamas.  You won’t leave much smaller than when you went in, so plan accordingly.
Pillows and Blankets-Many people want to bring their own with them, I know the hospital ones are flat/hard/lumpy, etc but I don’t want to bring mine and have it full of hospital funk when I leave.  If you bring your own make sure it is something you can part with if needed and don’t use your nicest pillow case(s).  I suggest leaving yours at home, use the hospitals and don’t be afraid to ask for more!  They have plenty and will (should) provide you with as many as you want. 
Lanolin for sore nipples-my hospital provided me with some-ask your hospital..?

Personal Care Items that are a must have:
Chapstick, Hair Ties, Shampoo and Conditioner, Body Wash, Razor, face wash, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste
some moms say yes others say no don’t bother.  You may want some to touch up after the birth to look “human” in pictures that you will cherish forever…You know what you’re comfortable with and makeup doesn’t take up that much room so bring what you think you’ll need.  Everybody know s you just had a baby, it is okay to look that way.  You won't want to look like you just walked out of a styling salon, that's not how you really looked.  That goes along with hair styling stuff.  I knew I’d want to wash, dry, and straighten my hair at least once so I brought it, bring what you think you’ll really use.
Nursing Pillow- I didn’t bring mine the first time and used pillows to prop baby up to the breast, my back hurt so bad after that, round 2 I brought my boppy and am thrilled I did.  Not only did I use it for nursing but my little girl loved to snuggle in it from day 1.  I say bring it.  You can leave it in the car and make your partner go get it if you change your mind.

Camera (video/still), Extra Batteries, Phone, Phone Charger
You probably won’t have a ton of time to be spending surfing the web, relax and enjoy the time you have with your new little family.  Leave this stuff at home, you will be back to it faster than you want to be.  Remember your partner can go get it later if you end up being there for a while or you change your mind and are bored (I suggest sleep!).  Again, this may be different if you’re having a C-section or are being induced and plan on waiting for a while. 

Other stuff: Leave the extras at home, I know you want to get your new OIOI diaper bag out, try out your new sling or wrap, baby's swing and toys, but you will be using this stuff for the next 2+ years, let it be at home.  Don’t pack 15 outfits for baby, use the hospital clothes while you’re there. 

Don’t forget to install baby’s carseat!  You have to have one to bring home baby.  They will not let you leave with out one.  So install it and do it right.  If you are unsure on how to do it the staff at the hospital (at least here in MN) cannot help you.  Legally, they can’t!  So if you need help, check out city services, many places offer free install or inspection.  Also, your insurance agent may be able to do this for you too.  Ask around there is a lot of help out there if you need!  Safety is HUGE, check the carseat all the time to make sure it hasn’t wiggled loose or your husband hasn’t unlatched something (true story!).  Be safe out there, 30 seconds to double check or a lifetime regretting it. 

I am working on figuring out how to put the printable list on the blog…stay tuned I’ll let you know when I get it posted.
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  1. Florencia G Vidal DiazJune 27, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    i love it! my hospital provided with all the toiletries i needed. from to tooth brush to pads both nursing and the other kind ;) lol...
    also they provide ALOT of diapers and wipes i would suggest to keep your stash at home. we didnt cloth diaper until 7 months later and well i would still not bring them. i was very tired after my unplaned csection and having a load of diapers would just add more to the to do list when you need to just chill and rest! lol
    also very important that if you bring robes that they are nursing friendly. i bought some and forgot i needed to somehow open it to nurse :/

  2. One thing that I would definitely co when I have a pregnant wife in the future is to always have a bag filled with all these things at least in the 6th month of pregnancy. I would constantly check it and change the clothes or other things included if needed. That way I will always have a ready luggage to bring no matter what time the bbay would decide to get out of his mother's womb.