PACK A BAG BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO BIG TO WEAR A FANNY PACK!! While everyone’s experience giving birth in a hospital is unique, there are a few things that top the list of items that you should make sure you have upon check-in.
Alice’s List of What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag:
- Your vagina. If you have nothing else, this will cover the most important bases.
- Exit outfit. Keep it maternity because you are going to still look and feel about 5 months pregnant and you will need room to fit the diaper you get to waddle out wearing.
- Nipple cream. They will give you some sort of lanolin in the hospital, but I found it’s good to have some nipple butter (love Earth Mama Angel Baby) as it glides on a bit easer and is soothing if you already have some sores popping up—lucky you!!
- Snacks. I gave birth to my daughter after the hospital cafeteria had closed and I was starving! I recommend packing some snacks for you and your partner. After all, rumor has it that you burn about 50,000 calories during childbirth so I think you can reward yourself afterwards. Also, if the hospital food reminds you too much of your elementary school lunchroom, they’ll be a good back-up. Another thing to note is that some insurance plans only cover food for mothers’ postpartum stay in the hospital so daddy/partner is likely to get shafted. Best to plan ahead so that you don’t have two people screaming at you to feed them.
- Flip-flops. You need some easy slip-ons to waddle back and forth to the bathroom. Keep in mind that some people experience serious swelling depending on the amount of drugs coursing your veins, so buy them large.
- Pillow. Definitely have one of yours from home; sleeping on a hospital pillow is like what I would imagine it would be like to nap on Nicole Richie’s chest. I would even suggest an airplane pillow—this will come in handy for you or dad.
- Extra blanket. The majority of people in hospitals are sick, so they like to keep the temperature just above death so that you can’t smell the bodies. It’s likely that you and/or whomever you suckered into staying the night with you and sleeping on the footstool they provide for guests will need the extra coverage.
- Warm socks. So that you don't become one of the bodies they are trying to chill.
- Car seat. Go ahead and throw that bad boy in your car well in advance of delivery day and become familiar with how it all clicks together and the loss of space in your back seat. This will save you from having to figure it out when you are coping with a bloody pad the size of Florida between your legs.
- Birth plan. Not that this is not important, but I really don’t think it’s the MOST important part of your hospital entourage as most people end up throwing it out the window mid-way through the second contraction when they realize that they don’t want to be suspended from the ceiling no matter how Zen the latest pregnancy guru claims it makes labor. However, it is important to know what your non-negotiable items are going to be before you put your feet in the stirrups. For some legit advice on putting together a game plan and other resources, download a free ebook from Best Ever Baby
Kathleen’s Hospital Bag Additions:
- ID. No matter how many times you insist you are Beyoncé, the hospital staff will still ask to see some ID.
- Insurance card. Unless you want to give birth in the parking lot of the Denny’s next door, bring your health insurance info.
- Phone & charger. Nothing could be worse than having your baby’s Facebook debut delayed by a dead battery.
If you earn yourself an extended stay at Chez Labor & Delivery due to a surgical birth, you may also want:
- Vagina optional. For a scheduled C-section you won’t need your vagina at all, so feel free to leave it at home.
- Nursing Bra. You don’t want your milk coming in and drenching that sexy hospital gown.
- Lounging Outfit. The hospital gowns with the handy shoulder snaps are super convenient for breastfeeding newbies, but when you start walking the halls trying to get your bowels moving, you may want a caftan or robe. Just don’t buy anything that puts any pressure on your abdomen because the scar, it burns! One of my best friends sent me one like THIS by Charter Club from Macy’s and I wore it for weeks as it’s both breastfeeding and surgery-scar friendly.
- Dry Shampoo, Toothbrush, Deodorant. With what’s going on down below, you can never feel too clean upstairs.
- Newborn Photo Outfit for Baby. These days some hospitals have a photographer roaming the halls, preying on new parents’ love and sense of newfound wealth at having finally met their insurance deductible for the year. They’ll snap a few pictures of your little raisin then sell you like six of them for $100, but since you’re way too woozy on Demerol to hire your own photographer or even operate your iPhone, it’s actually worth it. If you forget the baby outfit, don’t worry, naked baby photos are the cutest anyway.
OK now your turn—what’d we miss? What are your hospital bag essentials?