Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hospital Packing List-Mom's Essentials

I just finished packing my hospital bag for baby #2. Even though I've had a postpartum visit once before, I still scour the internet to find out what other mom's pack to take with them.  I find the majority of lists to be very helpful and they help me to narrow down my own. Others leave me saying, "I feel sorry for that poor lady's husband." Mostly because MY husband was that guy the first time around...the poor schmuck dragging all that stuff that I just HAD to bring along with us. (And I'm sure cursing under his breath the whole time.) I thought I packed "light". I didn't pack even half of what these women tell people are essential. Still...the lists are fascinating to me so I thought I'd share what I put in my bag this time around and why. Some of these really are must-haves, others are my personal preference when being away from home. It's long, but hopefully a helpful read.

  • The very most important item. DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THIS. In fact, it's best to install it several weeks before you go to the hospital just in case baby comes early. (Bonus, you can get the installation checked, usually for free, by a member of your local police or fire department.) The Car Seat. You can not leave the hospital without putting baby in it.  That being said, don't bring this inside the hospital when you come in to deliver.  Leave it in the car until it's time to go home. No lugging it around when/if you have to change rooms and it won't take up valuable space in your recovery room. You will also want to be very familiar with adjusting the car seat for the proper fit.  Learn how the straps move into the different height slots, learn how to tighten them against your child, learn the proper way to insert or remove any accessories (such as head inserts) IF they are safely allowed at all. In most cases, if it didn't come in the box with the car seat, it won't be safe to use with it. Holding a wiggly newborn who is screaming because they don't like the car seat is not the time you want to be figuring these things out.
  • Your purse or wallet containing your I.D. and insurance cards. Even if you're pre-registered at the hospital you'll be required to show them to a staff member at least once.
  • A Folder. This is something that is optional, but I highly recommend it after wanting one during my last stay.  You get 8 billion pages of paperwork when you have a kid. Everything from useless pamphlets, to discharge instructions for both you and the baby, to those all-important keepsakes like hospital bracelets and baby footprints, and then some. Especially for those keepsake items, it's nice to have a place to store things where they can lay flat and not get mangled amongst all the other stuff you've shoved into your suitcase.
Okay, let's move on to things specifically for mom...
  • Flip Flops. Cuz eww...hospital floors.  Slippers would work too.

  • Pajama Set, with a robe, that is easy to nurse in. Last time I stayed in my hospital gown until I was able to take a shower.  It was nice to change into something clean and comfortable that actually fit me instead of drowning me in ample amounts of itchy fabric. Plus, it doesn't have that god-awful gap in the back that flashes your naked behind to the entire world!  You show off enough of your body during delivery. A bit of coverage feels really nice.  Makes you feel like you still have some dignity. Plus, if you want to walk the halls or take baby back and forth from the nursery it's nice to be covered. (TMI alert!) Also, as a girl who despises wearing pads (which you WILL be doing after giving birth, like it or not) I feel like I have a little more support when I'm wearing pants, even if they are loose comfy ones.  They help keep things snug against my body and I don't get paranoid about leaks as much. On this same note, these pajamas are also a set that I won't be devastated if they end up getting ruined from leaking through a pad. Yet another reason I'm bringing my pajama set...it's my "in case I end up with a C-Section" going home outfit. It's loose and adjustable enough (thanks to a draw string) that it hopefully won't irritate an incision.

  • One pair of jersey knit shorts. These are thrown in as an emergency case of temperature control for myself and not necessarily something I'd suggest as essential.  After delivering Avery I was incredibly hot and uncomfortable and I could not stop sweating (and this was in an air conditioned room).  I was stuck with the temperature that the hospital set for the entire floor. These will allow me to be a bit cooler should the same experience happen again.

  • An Outfit for me to wear home, with a nursing tank as an under-layer. For me this means a pair of maternity pants, a maternity t-shirt, the previously mentioned nursing tank and a pair of socks. This "item" was actually one I went back and forth on since it takes up a good chunk of suitcase. I'm not opposed to wearing home the same thing I came to the hospital in, but there are 2 reasons I ultimately chose to pack it.  1. I wanted the nursing tank anyway just to have an extra (the top to my pajamas is actually a nursing tank) in case the other got wet from nursing or covered in some form of baby liquid. 2. I'd at least want to bring along a pair of pants on the off chance that my water broke on the way to the hospital. No thanks to putting on something soaked in body fluids. While I'd wear my pj pants in a bind, I am expected to give birth in January in Michigan. Something a little warmer is appreciated. Since 1 and 2 made up 1/2 the outfit, I just tossed in the rest.

  • A bag of Toiletries. Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Ties, A headband to use during delivery, Hair Brush, Comb, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, breastfeeding lanolin, and makeup. Nothing ridiculous like a curling iron or hair dryer that eats up valuable space.  I want to take a shower and look like a human being in at least a few of my newborn's photographs.  The hospital will likely have supplies if you forget to pack things (or don't want to), but they're going to be the generic, multi-purpose toiletries that aren't very nice to use. Especially when it comes to things like soap & shampoo. (Which are 1 combined product at my hospital.) I could probably do without the makeup, but just putting it on helped me feel more "together" after having Avery so I tossed it in again.  This also might be important to you if you're having a lot of visitors. If you wear glasses or contacts bring supplies for both.  I'm lucky I don't need these but a lot of other moms have told me they were irritated by one or the other during their delivery, so it was nice to have the 2nd option.
I'd say that's a long enough post for now, plus I think it covers mom's "essentials" pretty well.  In future entries I'll share the other items I'm bringing for me, along with the supplies for baby.

Click HERE for the Baby Supplies post.
Or HERE for the comfort items I recommend.
Or HERE if you want to see the items I left out on purpose.

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