Everything but the kitchen sink...
Packing for the Hospital
You’re in the home stretch. It’s been a long 9 months and the moment you’ve been planning for is almost here! The nursery is painted and decorated. The crib and changing table are assembled. The glider and ottoman are perfectly placed catty-corner by the window. The car seat has been installed and checked by the awesome technician who works at the fire station around the corner.
Ahhh…now you can relax knowing everything is done and your bag packed and ready to go.
Wait! That’s what you forgot!
You’ve been talking to your friends and family members, getting suggestions for just the right things you, your partner, and your baby will need for your hospital stay. Somehow none of it has managed to make it into your overnight bag.
With information overload, you’re still not quite sure what you’ll REALLY need. Don’t worry. Let’s just start with what hospitals usually have available so you can cross those items off the list.
It may not be your favorite, organic, sulfate free, fluoride free, aluminum free items, but most hospitals provide single use toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, and all the towels you will ever need.
There are an abundance of hospital gowns and non-skid socks at the hospital. The gowns may not be flattering to your life-giving figure, but you won’t have to worry about soiling your favorite nightgown during labor and if you really want to, you can most certainly ditch it for your own comfy jammies once baby has arrived.
Check with your hospital to see if you have access to birth balls, peanut balls, and white noise machines. If you’re in need of hot or cold therapy, nurses will gladly bring you instant heat or cold packs instead of trying to pack a heating pad or repeated place your lavender scented rice sock in the communal microwave every 30 minutes or so. Be sure to ask about these items on your hospital tour.
In most postpartum rooms, there is a generous supply of those sexy mesh panties and diaper-sized sanitary pads. However, the current trend is to tuck a few adult diapers or undergarments for incontinence in your bag. They may be slightly sexier, but definitely less bulky.
Baby Supplies The bassinet or crib that your baby will be placed in comes stocked with diapers, wipes, t-shirts, hats, socks, mittens, blankets, petroleum jelly, gauze, a bulb syringe, and bottles of formula of you ask for it. All you need for baby are a couple of outfits that are fitting for the season and a properly installed car seat to go home.
Snacks While some sources suggest that eating and drinking during labor is safe, most hospitals only allow clear fluids for birthing people. There is usually a pantry located on the labor and delivery unit that houses orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, and an ice machine. For some reason, hospital ice is the best thing ever! There’s also usually a coffee machine, snack machines, and don’t forget about the cafeteria.
AS you can see, the hospital provides a wealth of items to help your, hopefully short, stay be as comfortable as possible. Aside from copies of your birth plan, insurance card, and admission paperwork, you won’t need much more than what you already carry in your purse (I.D., hair ties, lip balm) and things you might need for a quick weekend getaway.
Here’s a short list of things to keep in mind:
Your own toiletries (I understand that generic just doesn’t cut it, sometimes
Postpartum gown/jammies, Slippers, Nursing bra, disposable adult diapers/undergarments
Personal comfort tools – massagers, essential oils/diffuser, battery-operated candles, etc.
Going home outfit for mom, picture/going home outfit(s) for baby, change of clothes for partner
Snacks/Drinks for partner so they don’t have to leave the room too often
Money for parking/cafeteria/vending machines
Cell phone/cell phone chargers
While some pack everything but the kitchen sink (you don’t need to pack a sink, they have those in the rooms, too) it’s not always necessary and it’s a huge hassle getting it from the car to the labor room, to the postpartum room, and then back to the car with the addition of your baby. I know you want to be as comfortable as you can while at the hospital, but it will never come close to the comforts of home. Remember, you will only be there a couple of days and more than likely, you’ll be more concerned with snuggling your baby and bathing in that new baby scent, than anything else around you.
North Atlanta Concierge Doula Services would love to answer any questions you have about the last few weeks of pregnancy. Feel free to contact us to set up a consultation to learn how we can help you prepare for your little one.