Concerning a Hospital Stay:
I will soon find myself in hospital delivering my second baby (in so many years). And I have read many posts about what should be packed in your hospital bag. Given, I read way more of those lists for Doll’s delivery than this one but I have read a couple this time around. And to be honest, I can’t say I agree with anyone.
And I should know, right? I mean, I’m “old hat” at this trick now.
That’s a joke. Mothers delivering their third or fourth or whatever-number-you’re-on-now are way ahead of me. To be honest, I’m not sure at what point you truly become “old hat” because it can be a different ballgame every time.
But if anyone is wondering what she should pack for her hospital stay, feel free to read my list because I can guarantee it will be the Bare Minimum.
Read? Set . . . Pack!
- One very comfortable (I suggest very soft fabric, like flannel) shirt that is much too big. You want baggy because it will make nursing easier and you just more comfortable. This shirt is for while you are in the hospital bed, recouperating.
- One outfit for going home. This is optional if you wear the right outfit TO the hospital in the first place, because you can wear the same thing home. Keep in mind that when you leave you will likely be wearing a giant (and I do mean humongous) pad. Those can be bloody (haha pun totally intended) hard to hide under certain clothes. And heads up: you will still be wearing your maternity clothes. That stomach is not going anywhere for a while.
- Phone and charger.
- Small healthy snacks (some hospitals provide these, some don’t). Eating during early labour is encouraged in order to keep up your strength. Don’t go eating a burger or pizza or something though. Light things, like soup or fruit.
- Cup with lid and straw (some hospital may provide this). You’re going to need to stay hydrated and this is just the best way. Easy to drink and harder to spill.
- Light slippers or other comfortable footwear for walking around in the hospital. Sandals are good. You probably will not want your runners, even if you think they’re comfortable. If you don’t mind them getting dirty, reading socks might be ok.
- A journal or notebook for keeping track of whatever the heck you might want to keep track of. I brought a journal that I started when I was first admitted and a year and nine months later I still write in it to Doll. I’ll give it to her someday. But you might want to keep notes on what time you feel certain things, your thoughts and feeling at any given time, advice or direction from the nurses. You will forget a lot of it if you just rely on your memory.
- Extra socks and underwear.
- Essential toiletries (toothbrush, comb, etc).
- Car seat (preferably already installed). You can leave it in the car until it’s time to leave.
- About 6 receiving blankets. This is so you can use them as extra padding in the car seat if needed (some hospitals will provide these).
- Two going-home outfits; one newborn size and one 0-3months (in case the baby is bigger than an average newborn). I recommend going gender-neutral because sometimes they get it wrong on the ultrasound (or if you’re like me and it’s going to be a surprise!!).
- A going-home cap.
- Weather protection, season depending, for the walk to the car. So a light blanket to block the sun or a car seat cover to block wind/snow/rain/what-have-you.
For the Dad:
- Phone and charger.
- Spare shirt (in case you get some kind of baby gunk on it).
- Essential toiletries (toothbrush, razor (if you feel like that’s important), etc).
- Money (for parking, at the very least).
- Time-killer (you may find yourself stuck at the hospital and bored while Baby and Mom sleep).
I know that many of you will think this list is sorely lacking.
What about make-up?
What about diapers?
Why only a going home outfit?
Blah, blah blah.
Because make-up is not a necessity. I know many women feel like it is, but it is not. Neither is a hair dryer or hair spray. You have just given birth. You do not need to look like you DIDN’T just give birth. That being said, this is a list of necessities. I’m not saying you can’t bring these things, I’m simply explaining why they don’t make an appearance here.
The hospital will provide basically everything for your baby during your stay. Diapers, wipes, blankets, hats, clothes, everything. So unless you live far from your hospital and will need to stop on the way home, you don’t need diapers. Or wipes. All you need is something for baby to wear from the hospital to home. Again, feel free to bring a variety of outfits and change baby for pictures or visitors or whatever. But it is absolutely NOT a necessity.
For my first baby, I was in the hospital for something like 4 days (honestly, I don’t remember exactly how long especially since I was admitted at 4am . . . ) because I bled a little extra during delivery. And the very last thing I wanted to do was put my clothes on. I was perfectly comfortable in the hospital gown (which at my hospital was cloth, not paper, as I’ve heard some horror stories about) during labour and until I got to take a shower afterwards. And the rest of the time I wore one of Hubby’s big loose shirts and just the stretchy granny-panties-with-massive-pad provided by the hospital. Obviously I wasn’t getting up and walking around or else I would have put on real bottoms. When I finally went home I did wear the same thing I had worn in, which was a full-lenth skirt and a loose t-shirt. I don’t know how well that humongous pad could be seen through my skirt but it didn’t cross my mind at the time and it doesn’t bother me now either.
I’ve heard some people advise to bring your pillow or blanket. For comfort’s sake. But you have to realize that anything you bring to the hospital needs to be washed as soon as possible upon arriving home. No matter how clean and awesome your hospital is, bugs are there. And they will hitch a ride home with you on anything you bring. So keep in mind how much you may or may not want to do laundry immediately upon getting home. If it’s just your clothes, they can be thrown in the hamper for the next load. But your pillow and blanket? You may want those sooner rather than later. And in case nobody told you, hospitals have pillows. They even have extra pillows. Same goes for blankets.
There are many things not on my list that you may want to bring but I believe these to be the bare necessities (anyone else hear music in their head whenever they encounter that term?).
So what did I bring that I didn’t need?
- Two spare outfits which were meant to look nice, not be comfortable. Didn’t need and didn’t want.
- Gameboy. When I had spare time, I took a couple minutes to jot some thoughts in my journal before taking a nap for as long as I could. It seemed like I was constantly being woken up to be checked on or to nurse Doll.
- My phone. Yes, I know it’s on the necessity list. But I really wish I hadn’t brought it because I didn’t have time to tell people my news AND answer all their questions. It was stressful hearing my phone go off constantly and I was just busy and at the time, couldn’t care less about keeping people informed. This was time I wanted with just me, Doll, and Hubby. And the occasional family member visit. It’s on both lists because I reckon most people are more socially tied-in than myself and keeping up with their timelines and feeds is a must. Not to mention taking pictures. My phone at the time was a dumb phone that didn’t take pictures. I will bring my phone but it will be in airplane mode (no network).
- The entire diaper bag. Yes, I brought the whole thing. I was so nervous about what I would need. So in my diaper bag I had diapers (copious amounts of), wipes, change pad, nursing cover, baby toys, diaper cream, baby shampoo, spare baby outfit, spare blanket, nasal aspirator, garbage bags with dispenser (for all those dirty diapers I anticipated for the 10minute drive home), multiple caps, scratch mitts, socks, shoes, . . . gosh, I had at least one of everything. And I didn’t need any of it. It was just one more bag that had to be carried between the hospital and car and house.
- Two pairs of shoes.
Let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed a necessity or what for you was a necessity for a special reason.