As a mom to four monsters, with another trying to make an early appearance, I’ve had my share of experiences in the L&D. For my first, I followed pretty much every generic hospital list you find on the web. I ended up not using half of it and leaving with even more. Baby number two was a little bit better, but I was still worried about not being prepared. I don’t even remember who packed a bag for baby number three, who was supposed to be a home birth but after 36 hours of labor I ended up at a nearby hospital. Baby number four was an emergency c-section so I was totally unprepared for her. Now with baby number five on the way I am determined to get it just right!
First thing, most hospital packing lists include everything you could possibly want, not necessarily what you need. Honestly, most of it is excessive and if you really forgot something the hospital can’t provide for you, you can send someone back home to grab it. I seriously packed like I was going on vacation or something, which is definitely not the case.
Here’s an example of a list I find a bit much. There’s nothing wrong with this list, it includes some great items but some of it seems, well, silly. For example, if you really need your glasses… you’ll probably need those on hand.. don’t pack them. And do you really think you’ll be doing your hair after having a baby? Nope. Leave the hairdryer at home.
My first suggestion is when you take a tour of your hospital labor and delivery unit, be sure to ask them what they provide to new moms. Anything they give you while you’re there, you don’t need to pack. Be sure to also check out the room you’ll be giving birth in and the room you’ll be recovering in (assuming these aren’t the same room). Is there anything missing that you absolutely need to be comfortable?
Here is what hospitals have provided for me:
-Medicines (pain reliever, sleeping aides, anxiety meds, etc)
-Toiletries including pads, a peri bottle, shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste and a toothbrush
-Washcloths and towels
-Snacks and drinks when room service isn’t available, water and a large plastic cup (my “souvenir”, I have one from each hospital!)
-Diapers, ointments, wipes, nasal aspirator and other infant toiletries.
These are the few items I couldn’t have lived without:
-My cellphone and charger. I take a million photos of everything while I’m in the hospital. It’s also a great source of entertainment while in recovery and to get in contact with everyone.
-Extra pillows and blankets. The hospital gave me a couple, but they were reluctant.. plus, they weren’t the greatest.
-Heating Pad. Unfortunately, the hospital couldn’t provide me with an electric heating pad… so they produced this really old water heating pad that was loud and weird. I’ll be bringing my own this time.
-Memory Book. The first few times I thought I’d get to this when we got home, but I honestly had forgotten most of the information and was too tired once we got home.
-A comfy warm robe! Hospital gowns make lousy robes.
-Going home outfit for you and baby.
-Deodorant. The hospital did not provide this!
-Hair ties or clips
-Change. Eventually I had to have a soda from the vending machine.
-Car Seat (installed in the car)
All of these items fit easily in a small bag. If there’s anything else you need you can always send someone down to the gift shop, a nearby store or home. Focus on self-care, recovery and bonding with your beautiful new baby!