Preparing Your Hospital Bag
by StorkNet Members
If you're like me, you packed everything but the kitchen for the hospital trip and then hardly used it. So let's give our pregnant moms the real scoop on what are the MOST important things to put in your bag!
From Croas . . . I just finished packing my hospital bag the other night and it occurred to me that I should pack for my husband also. I am married to a police officer and there is a great potential that he may have to meet me at the hospital. If this is the case, then he will be in full uniform. So I threw in a clean pair of underwear, socks, and sweats. I figure anything else he may need, he can come home to get after our bundle makes her appearance!
From Cathy . . . I am expecting my third child in June but before my last delivery I had received a free sample from Kotex containing disposable panties. These were the best things for after delivery when your menstrual period seems to have tripled. They are pretty inexpensive and come two to a box. I just felt more comfortable knowing that I wasn't going to ruin any of my clothes or my underwear while I was in the hospital. After I got home the bleeding decreased so I went back to wearing regular underwear. Another plus is that they aren't uncomfortable. I wouldn't pack without them!
From Michelle C. . . . Besides all the regular stuff, we found it a good idea to bring our phone card. This was my husband's idea (score one for the dads). This way we didn't have to worry about having enough change, except for the vending machines. It also freed us from having to limit the length of time we talked. Another thing I would suggest is to bring a compact hair dryer. Both times I gave birth, I forgot. Thank goodness this time I had a roommate who remembered. And last, a hat for the baby to go home in. Not only is it cute, but it's needed. My husband asked me why our son needed a hat in August. I told him it wasn't for warmth, it was to prevent sunburn on the top of his head. With no hair and the sun shining through the window, it doesn't take much to give a newborn sunburn. Also a stash of your favorite cookies isn't a bad idea either. Late at night you're hungry and there's nothing around. Good luck . . .
From Christine . . . I was told with my first to bring sour lollipops, since you can't eat, or drink. They keep your "histle" wet. I never leave for the hospital without my pillows or socks. Oh, and underwear. Our hospital uses those disposable panties for the first day or so. Your own underwear feels MUCH better! NEVER forget thank you cards for flowers and gifts. You won't have a chance once you get home! Working on #5!!
From Gina . . . I'm an OB nurse and here's some tips on what to bring and what not to bring. First of all, pack light. Don't bring cute pj's for yourself because (a lot of people don't know or don't think of this) you will be having a lot of vaginal bleeding just like a menstrual period. You don't want to stain your good pj's when the hospital gowns are available instead. Usually the hospital provides sanitary napkins, soap and linens for bathing, so leave all that at home. Do bring your own shampoo and any cosmetics you will need. Try to wear the same outfit in to the hospital that you can wear home (unfortunately, you won't be that much smaller yet). That will make your bag much lighter. Only bring one outfit for the baby to wear home because in the hospital a t-shirt and diapers are provided. The babies stay double wrapped in hospital blankets to keep warm, so your visitors won't be able to see the cute baby outfit you bring anyway. Save the outfit for the drive home. Pretty much don't bring any baby supplies, as the hospital will give you all you need. Do bring lots of film with your camera. Good luck to you all!!
From RALPHSMPSN . . . Here are a few things I am bringing . . . my own shampoo + conditioner, (last time
my hair was in knots, and I had to get detangling spray ~ hospitals don't have good shampoo or conditioner) sweatpants, t-shirts, car seat (a must), an outfit for the little one, my brush, a camera + film and change.
From Sandrina . . .What I found with my first child was that the nurses will not give you anything to eat or drink while in labor. The only thing I was gracious enough to get was ice chips....of course this does not go a long way if you are in labor for 36 hours like I was, and only aids in the harshness of vomiting pure bile later on. This time around I have discussed with my OB if perhaps there is anything that I can take with me to eat. He has revealed to me that crackers, bread, or anything of that nature can be eaten while in labor. I have also learned that this hospital serves popsicles!!! I also agree that bringing a few pairs of socks help to keep your feet warm. Something that always makes me feel a little better is an afterbath body mist in your favorite scent. After going through everything and feeling not so wonderful, it is a great way to feel refreshed after your shower...not to mention it make you feel feminine again. Good Luck Everyone!!!!
From Melissa . . . I also had lots in my bag that I didn't end up using, but I did have a few things I wouldn't want to do without. I brought the baby book with me so the nurse could put his footprints in it when she did them. I also had lots of extra film for the still camera and extra video tapes. I brought an extra battery for my still camera - I didn't end up needing it, but I felt better knowing I had it just in case since my camera doesn't give me any warning when the battery is going and it is a special battery that the gift shop wouldn't have carried.
The most valuable advice I have is to make sure that your husband and any other coaches you have in the labor room with you know what you
packed in your bag. In the excitement of the birth, I forgot about the baby book for the footprints - luckily the nurse asked me if I had
brought it. Also, my family worried while they were taping my labor that they would run out of video tape before the delivery, but I had
plenty of tapes stashed in my bag. Even things that my husband learned about in Lamaze class (like baby powder for when he rubbed my back - since I had back labor! - and a ponytail holder) slipped his mind and mine, and they only made it out of the bag because my mom asked if I had brought them. There's just so much going on and so much excitement that it's hard to remember to pull those valuable things out, so it helps to have someone know about these things ahead of time who's not going to be quite so busy.
From Courtney . . . I had a planned c-section so I knew I'd be in for a few days. Besides the usual stuff, I brought hair bands to keep my hair in a ponytail, warm socks as my feet always get cold, and an old bathrobe that I didn't mind if it was stained. I took my birth announcements to complete during those times I didn't have the baby and my address book to make calls.
From Cath . . . I followed the list in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and my bag was full of stuff I never needed. The things I DID find useful were a pair of socks as I got very cold feet in the delivery room. Also my address book or at least a list of phone numbers. I forgot two things - my contact lens case so I wore them for a LONG time and a diaper to bring the baby home in, as the hospital used cloth.
This time I will be bringing my regular clothes, as I felt more comfortable in sweats and T shirt than in a nightgown and some of my own sanitary pads from home . . . as most people (including me) have a favorite kind. I will also have a couple of gifts for my two year old in the bag so I can give them to him as soon as he comes in to see the baby, and extra film for the camera.
One thing I will take care of before I go is to have a detailed list of instructions for my husband to log on to Prodigy and make the birth announcement!
From Sasha . . . I think a perfect aid in helping you decide what to bring is the book, "What to Expect When You're Expecting." I myself didn't know that I was going to have a C-Section, and I'm glad the book told me to bring a pillow because after my operation, I caught a cold. Every time I coughed, it hurt my stomach, and it was good I had an extra pillow at the time to press down on my stomach to help prevent the strain of a sneeze or cough. I
recommend that book because it really helped me a lot.
From Donell . . . The first time around, I forgot my pillow and diapers. Those definitely go on the list along with comfy clothes (probably maternity, ughhh) to wear home, outfit and blanket for baby, toiletries/makeup, slippers, socks, a pen, 3-4 pairs undies, nursing bra, robe, change for the vending machines and calls, lollipops or lifesavers to moisten mouth and chapstick. I think the book, What to Expect When You're Expecting has a list that is way too long. I don't expect to bring reading material as if that time is available to me, I'd rather be sleeping!
From Patricia . . . I'll be doing a homebirth this time, but back when I was doing hospital births, I really wish I had packed my cameras and extra film! You would think they would be easy to remember, but we ran out of the house without them our second hospital birth. I really missed not getting those early shots!
From Suzy . . . I wouldn't be too fast about getting a new nightgown since you may be a bit messy and not want to ruin something. It's better to use the hospital gown for a day or two. Make sure you take your own personal items. They cost a fortune if you use them there. I bought tapes for the delivery room; there was a stereo. Bring change for phone calls if you don't have a phone in the labor room (we did). The hospital supplied diapers and little shirts for Savannah but I
brought an outfit to take her home in. Don't forget your carseat. They won't let you leave without it.
From Melissa A . . . I
followed the suggestions of What to Expect When You're Expecting
and a few others, and ended up with tons of things I didn't use.
I didn't even get into the bag until after the baby had been born.
Then I took a shower and brushed my teeth. The only things I used
that I took with me were the clothes I brought for both myself
and Alex, my toiletries, and the book I was reading. Oh, and my
husband took a few pictures after Alex had been born of the nurses
weighing him, doing his footprints, etc.
From DA . . . I hadn't gotten around to packing a bag before I had my first baby. Ms. Murphy's Law went into action and I wound up getting hospitalized twice at the 7-month mark without warning. The second hospitalization, I had a C-section and thank God, a healthy preemie.
The second time around, I got smart and packed just short of the 7-month mark, leaving the bag, minus pillow, in my car at all times...result ~ Ms. Murphy was foiled temporarily. I had a full-term healthy baby with a normal delivery. Here's what worked for me: *special neck pillow (I have neck problems); *sweatpants to wear under the hospital gown; *nursing shirts (2) to wear instead of the hospital gown; *nursing bras (2); maternity panties (3 in case of accidents); *shorts or slacks to wear home (elastic waistband, NOT maternity); *WARM bed socks; *instamatic camera (with film) or a "throwaway" camera; *outfit for the baby to have pictures taken in and wear home; *bonnet for the baby (if it's summertime) or winter one-piece outfit; *for the baby (for cold weather); *car seat; *The WARM stuff is essential! Even in the summer, hospitals are air-conditioned. You might need: ONE book or magazine. Make it light reading. You can always stash a few more in your car in a separate bag to be traded off as necessary.
WHAT ELSE I'M BRINGING THIS TIME (Baby #3) ~ *Trash bag full of cheap pillows with plastic pillowcovers (allergy-type) and cheap pillowcases (stash this in your car); *Instant soup mixes; *Instant hot chocolate (herbal non-caffinated teas are also good); *Large plastic mug with lid--the kind you can get from a convenience store--get one with a large handle and a stable bottom; *(if possible) thermos of home-made hot chocolate with milk; *home-made or store-bought pudding; *a couple of plastic spoons. WHY? (1). The extra pillows are for support in bed while you breastfeed. Hospitals only issue one and grudgingly two small pillows these days. Get covers for them so your baby's "three P's" (pee, poop and puke) and any blood, mess, etc. from you only mean that you have to change
pillowcases, not wash the whole pillow. (2). I found out that losing all that placental blood is just like losing any other kind of blood, i.e. you can go into a "shocky" condition. Although the nurses brought warmed blankets, I shivered uncontrollably for at least 3 or 4 hours. (And this was in August!) My daughter was born at 7:42 p.m., so no food service was available. By the time the festivities were over and I was in the maternity section, the hospital's snack bar and cafeteria was closed. MS. MURPHY STRUCK BACK! All the nurses had to drink was hot coffee, which I DON'T drink, and a few tired tea bags, which I HAD to drink, caffeine and all, just to get a little warmth inside me. Never again! The specs on the mug are because in shock, your hands will be shaking too badly to hold anything easily. Pudding or something else light and nourishing will help you get some needed solid energy, especially if you've had a long labor. Mine was close to 20 hours, so I was drained! You want as little caffeine as possible after delivery, so that you can breastfeed and GET TO SLEEP as quickly as possible. It's probably the LAST sleep you'll get in a long time!
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