There are a ton of sources out there offering all kinds of advice about having a baby. As you begin reading all the info out there you will find some experts say one thing and the next expert says the exact opposite. And then there will be those questions that no amount of rewording in the Google search bar gets you the answer you are after. This was the case when it came to what to pack for our hospital stay. (I say “our” because my wonderful husband, who I lovingly call Bub, vowed he would not leave me there alone.)
So, here’s my list of things that you will need for the hospital:
- a couple gowns and a robe
- a pair of socks
- back scratcher
- a snack pack
- quarters for the vending machines (they will come in handy)
- slip-on shoes
- shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, deodorant
- 1-2 baby gowns
- 1-2 burp cloths
- baby’s going-home outfit
- phone charger
- camera (and extra batteries or charger)
As the time grew closer and closer for my precious darling to hatch, I began to really think about what to pack for the Hilton hospital. Looking back, my obsession with packing for the hospital was most likely a subconscious effort to not focus on the fact that I was just days and hours away from being 110% responsible for another (completely helpless) human being. Regardless, I did not know exactly what I would need or what my new baby would need. I sent out smoke signals and got some good ideas from experienced momas and then as I lived my 3 day 2 night stay, I learned what came in handy and what I had to send Bub home to get and what I should have left at home in the first place. My friends listed things like quarters for the vending machine, an insulated cup, pillows & my own ibuprofen.
I had a C-Section (I cannot image bringing a child into the world any other way) scheduled for 7:30 AM on a Friday morning in October. He made it into the world a little before 8:30 AM (and was perfect in every way).
I had been forewarned by my midwife and the obgyn that unless I wanted to take up permanent residence in the hospital I would have to get up and walk as soon as possible and I was hell-bent on getting home as quick as I could. This brings me to my second recommendation for you to pack: at least 2 comfy night gowns and a robe. Keep in mind your breastfeeding plans when you are deciding which gowns to pack: Can I whip out a boob in this one? And you are going to need slip-on shoes (which you’ve probably been rocking exclusively for the last trimester anyway). And Ladies, get up and walk. I just roamed the baby ward. Every time you have to go to the bathroom, go on and take a stroll down the hall and back. When you get to go home a day early- you’ll be thankful.
You are going to want some of your very own pillows from your bed at home. I took 4- 2 for me and 2 for Bub. We were lucky in that we had single occupancy in a double room, so he got a bed too- but, not everybody is as lucky and those extra pillows will come in handy when trying to get comfortable and some much needed rest on a love seat.
And then, the sun went down and everybody left and we settled in for the night and all of the sudden it was 2AM and I was STARVING! a FEED ME SEYMOUR kind of starving. (I had already passed the hurdle of passing gas which you have to do when you have major surgery before they will let you eat solid foods.) Bub was such a doll, he ran right down to the vending machines with the quarters we brought for just this purpose to find it almost barren- he came back with a honey bun & sprite. Huh? I was hoping for a steak dinner or hamburger- I know, vending machine but I wanted more than a honey bun. So, the next day he went home and packed up a little cooler full of great snacks. I totally recommend you do the same.
This whole time the nurses kept bringing my Baby Bub in and out. He would stay with us in the room and then he would go hang out with the nurses while I slept. The only thing I really needed for him was his going-home outfit and having a couple burp cloths was nice too. We did use one or two of our own gowns but only because of the learning curve that goes along with first-time parents changing diapers. Our hospital took care of all his basic needs. I used about 30% of what I packed in that big-ass diaper bag. You just do not need much for your little one.
As far as you showering, the hospital should have everything you need but, I was glad I took my own shampoo and conditioner (and toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant). You do not need towels or wash cloths- they have it all at the hospital. And trust me, you are going to want to bathe just as soon as possible- you will feel like a human again. You are going to need your phone charger because people are going to be blowing your facebook up and you will get more text the day your child is born than any other day. And you are certainly going to want your camera (not just the one on your phone).
Don’t bother packing yourself any clothes other than a pair of socks. You can wear home what you wore to the hospital. You won’t need any fresh underwear either- the hospital will provide you with these awesome mesh underroos (no kidding); nor will you need any magazines or books. Probably won’t need your iPad either. All that ended up being was just a bunch of stuff that poor Bub had to lug down to the car before we could leave.
Before you can even blink an eye, you will be in the car on the way home with your new baby wondering what in the world life is going to be like now and if you can handle it. If I can do it and keep my son alive, anybody can. I have been fine just fine and you will too.