Pregnancy Tip: Packing for the Hospital

When I was pregnant and getting ready for the delivery of my baby, I packed a lot in my hospital bag and barely used any of it. I thought I would provide some tips on what I used (and what I didn’t use) to help out the expectant mothers out there. First of all, make sure your car seat is installed and in the car (do this before the baby is due so you are ready in the case of an early arrival). Also make sure you bring a good stash of diapers and wipes since most hospitals only provide a few for you to use these days. Since you may have to stay a few days (we did for Leah’s jaundice), have enough on hand or you’ll need to make a few trips to the pharmacy! In terms of clothing, I had packed numerous outfits but didn’t wear any of them! I changed into a hospital gown as soon as I arrived at the hospital and laboured in that the whole time. The gown allowed me to put Leah skin-to-skin right after she was delivered and allowed me to breastfeed easily. I actually wore the hospital gown the whole time that I was in the hospital since it was loose and light, and easy to slip in and out of. I didn’t wear pants at all or the robe that I brought. On my way home, I wore the same outfit that I wore on the way to the hospital (talk about efficiency). If you do pack an outfit for the trip home, keep in mind that your body will not immediately shrink back to its normal size after you deliver your baby (i.e. wearing your maternity clothes will work out best). I did go through quite a few pairs of underwear so make sure you bring lots of those as well as lots of large absorbent pads for the postpartum bleeding. I brought nursing bras but I didn’t even wear them or use the nursing pads I brought because my milk was still coming in. Bring some nipple ointment though, your nipples will be sore at the start as you adjust to breastfeeding. And slippers for walking around in.. my feet were really swollen before and after my labour so I was happy that I brought oversized slippers. I had all my usual toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth, hairbrush etc.) and in particular, I used my hairband and my hairties. I used my nursing pillow that I brought and an inflatable donut to sit on to help in the healing of my perineum. What I neglected to bring was my cell phone charger since my cell phone was being used so often to call all my friends!!! If you plan on taking a shower at the hospital you may want to bring a hairdryer since they don’t usually have them. For the most part, while Leah was in the hospital she wasn’t wearing any of her baby clothes. She was always skin-to-skin with either Clayton between feeds or breastfeeding skin-to-skin. Even so, for the baby I would bring a few sleepers and onesies* to go underneath (like an undershirt). If you have a wraparound onesie with ties I suggest you pack that. We found that putting a onesie over a newborn’s head when the neck is still unstable was not easy!  I would suggest bringing a few receiving blankets in case the baby is sensitive to the hospital sheets and also to roll up to place around the baby in the car seat (when they go home they are so small you don’t want them bouncing around the car seat). Plus, bring a nice warm blanket to tuck over top when transferring the baby to the car and pack a hat (we didn’t get one from the hospital!)! If you’re bringing your baby home in the winter time, you could bring a snowsuit but we those are tricky too. You could just tuck a warm blanket over the baby especially if you’re going to pull the car up to the entrance of the hospital. I had a big jug of apple juice in the car that we had planned to use during the labour, but didn’t, that Clayton brought in once we were settled in our room. I was glad to have it because it helped rehydrate me from the labour and helped me stay hydrated for breastfeeding. You may want to bring some snacks too since you and your husband will likely be hungry from all the hard work of being new parents! Plus the hospital will only provide food for you so some munchies will help to sustain your husband between meal runs. And of course, a camera to document every moment. We didn’t use any of the massage tools that we brought since my labour progressed quickly. Remember that you’ll have to get all the stuff you bring to the hospital back home, plus a baby in a carseat. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be walking carefully due to soreness and healing so the less stuff the better! When we were leaving our room we had to make 2 trips to get it all out of the room and loaded into the car! *Baby clothes explained: In case you don’t know (I didn’t know this until someone explained it to me), a sleeper is a one-piece with sleeves and legs all attached. A onesie doesn’t have pants (it’s just like a shirt with a crotch) so if you usually need to have pants to go with a onesie (which makes them not-so-practical actually). Sleepers are the easiest to put on a baby because you don’t have to slip anything over the head, you can usually unbutton it all along one side and plop the baby into it. Onesies are more tricky, so in the early days those kimono wrap around tie shirts are the best!

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