Preparing for a hospital stay when delivering your baby can be a daunting task. Whether you are a planner or procrastinator, trying to think about what to pack after your water has broken and your contractions are coming on like a freight train is NOT something you want to do, trust me! Here’s a list of must-have items you will want on hand for your stay.
Laptop, cell phone, camera (along with ALL the chargers) – Ask your hospital if they provide free Wi-Fi and look for outlets during your hospital tour for your electronics. These are the absolute necessities in my book. I was so on the ball with my first delivery that I even had a draft email ready for my husband to send out once I approved the photos to attach.
Socks & Slippers – Many hospitals will not let you walk the hallways without some type of socks with tread or slippers. And, they might help you feel more comfortable.
Nursing Pajamas with a Robe – By the third child, I got smart and bought a new nursing nightgown with a matching robe. It felt much nicer than the hospital gown, and the robe was the perfect thing when walking the halls or heading to the shower.
Makeup & Toiletries – It may seem vain (the makeup, not the toiletries), but there will be A LOT of photos taken. Most will be of the baby, but inevitably, you will be in some. So do yourself a favor and slap on some mascara and lip gloss and run a brush through your hair. When you look back at the baby book, you will be glad you did. The other toiletries should be the basics like shampoo/conditioner, face wash, lotion, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Another handy tip: hospital air can be dry, so be sure and bring chapstick and lotion!
Hair Band – If you have long hair, don’t forget a rubber band or something to keep it out of your face.
Underwear – Although you won’t need underwear during labor, you will need some eventually. My hospital provided mesh panties to hold the pads in place afterwards, and I much preferred those to ruining some of my own underwear. It’s up to you what ends up being comfortable, but having some of your own on hand that are loose and you don’t mind tossing afterwards (you will want to, trust me!) is a good idea.
Breast Pads & Nipple Cream – You will have to slather on the nipple cream after each nursing session, so although you may not need the breast pad for catching milk you will need it to protect your nursing bra from getting cream all over it. I also preferred my own Organic nipple cream rather than the stuff the hospital provides.
Sleep/Nursing Bra – Those cross over cotton sleep bras were the best thing I could ever have packed! Forget about fussing with the snaps of a nursing bra. These beauties can just be pulled down for immediate access and won’t irritate your already sore nipples from nursing.
Pillow (with a dark pillow case) – I brought my full body pillow, as well as a regular pillow, from home and was SO glad I did. Just do yourself a favor and use dark or patterned pillow cases so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows. It will also help remind you to bring them home when packing up your room.
Wallet, Pad of Paper & Pen – Even if you pre-admitted a month before delivering, there will still be forms, menus, birth certificates and the like to fill out. Having your driver’s license or identification card, insurance card and a pen (or two) on hand will make your life so much easier. Don’t forget to write down questions for the doctor to help jog your memory.
Going-Home Outfit – For you, not the baby! Just make sure its loose-fitting and comfy. Slip-on shoes are a must (the less bending over the better).
Extra Bag – for all the gifts people bring and hospital supplies they will send you home with. A collapsible canvas grocery bag will do fine.
By Kate Wilkinson