What the heck do you bring with you to the hospital when you are having a baby?
Seems simple enough . . . but, this was one of the things I had a lot of anxiety about! I spent a lot of time creating my packing list. I did a fair amount of research and even called the hospital to ask if they had certain things. (I had a lot of free time, remember?) Every hospital is a bit different, so you may want to call yours too . . . or, just bring it! We had a GIANT suitcase, a duffel bag, my purse, a backpack and a pillow. Our room was small, but there was a little closet that we crammed stuff into which made it totally doable. I was glad to have what we did, and D (my hubs) even ended up running home one morning to get a refresh (we hadn’t planned on the 5 day stay, yay for C-section!)
This was our list:
• Insurance Card and ID
• List of people to call with phone numbers (Pediatrician, Human Resources, insurance all need to be called within 24 hours)
• iPad (mostly for labor . . . we watched some serious Mad Men during those 16 hours)
• Robe and PJs (the gowns at the hospital are one size fits all . . . I felt a bit more human when I could put on my own clothes)
• Chapstick and lotion (it is like the Sahara in there)
• Ear plugs (the machines and people walking in and out are LOUD. This was really helpful for me)
• A little bit of makeup (by the third day I was ready to feel presentable. A swipe of mascara and some blush made me feel a heck of a lot better)
• Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor (again . . . if you are only there 1 night you could probably do with dry shampoo . . . but I was ready for a real shower! Also, childbirth isn’t clean . . . you are ready to get a little scrub on)
• Extra bag for taking stuff home (take the diapers (for both you and baby), mesh underwear, even a blanket or two. The nurses told me it was cool . . . so pack it up!)
• Flip flops (flash back to high school locker room showers . . . no one needs athlete’s foot to go with that recovery)
• Boppy (we didn’t bring ours and the pillow forts we had to build to try and help me with nursing were pretty intense. This is all new, make it as easy as possible)
• Going home outfit (for you and baby. You’ll probably hear this from most moms but you aren’t gonna be in your jeans by the time you go home from the hospital. I still looked pregnant for a few weeks. Pack some yoga pants! For baby, if you want to bring a cute going home outfit, do it. Expert tip: Don’t get an outfit with a hood . . . that could be the hardest thing to put on a kid. Bring a hat though, their little heads are cold)
• Towel (our hospital had small hand towels. Awkward)
• Wine with a twist of cap (you just birthed a human. Celebrate that $hit!)
• Face cleansing wipes (If you have a C-section you cannot get out of bed for a bit . . . face wipes were good . . . child birth can also be sweaty)
• Snacks (They give you meals but snacks aren’t readily available . . . I was glad we had fruit snacks after 20 hours of no eating)
For Hubs/ Partner:
• Pillow and blanket for the couch thingy they sleep on. It’s not comfy, but they didn’t just deliver, so no complaining!
• BIG reusable cup for water. Our hospital gave out dixie cups which made for lots of runs to the kitchenette for D to fill up. They give the patients these awesome big cups but the helper gets little dixie, so I recommend bringing your own, or sweet talking the night nurse into a second one.
• iPad, headphones
• Chargers for all electronics
• Comfy clothes
• Flip Flops . . . they will want to shower too
• Nail clippers (they give you a file, but your kid may come out with talons and filing baby nails is NOT easy. You can also get those little baby mittens if you are scared to clip nails. Our guy never kept those on . . . so clipping it was!)
• Going home outfit (you don’t need any other clothes . . . they will wear the hospital shirt, swaddle and diapers the rest of the time. The nurses need to take their vitals quite often so they want easy access)
• Baby wipes (our hospital only had dry gauze pads. I think they do this for concern of allergies? But let me tell you, the first poop . . . meconium, needs wipes! Bring your own. You’re welcome)
• Car seat (And, install it and get it checked at the local fire department ahead of time. Don’t be that family that is trying to do this for the first time at the exit . . . not a good look)
I packed our bags VERY early (see early note about anxiety). I would recommend being packed at 36 weeks at the latest — early bird catches the worm! A final recommendation, enjoy your time in the hospital! My husband and I found it to be 5 of the very best days of our lives as we got to know our new little family member (the round the clock baby care and meals are a bonus).
Lauren Wilson is a Change Management Director and first-time mom to her son, Dean. Lauren is experiencing the very crazy, yet equally rewarding experience of working full time and having a new family. In her fleeting moments of free time, you can find her running, attempting to garden, reading a lot about babies, crafting, or drinking wine.