While some deliveries are planned, most often times the baby is awarded the task of choosing their own birthday. Some babies come early and unexpected, seldom on time, while others late with much anticipation and even frustration. In order to prep yourself for your hospital stay, it’s important to pack the right things you know that you’ll need to feel more comfortable while at the hospital. Sure your mother and spouse know you but no one knows you better than you know yourself. Be smart about what to pack and set some time aside to gather these things. Once you hit 36 weeks it’s best to have your things ready just in case baby comes calling for their debut. Here’s an easy checklist so you can pack the perfect bag the first time.
You’ll want to have a way to cover yourself up when people are coming in and out of your room, so it’s important to have a robe (or two) that you can do so with. Remember that nurses will need to check your body post-childbirth so a robe will grant easy access for this. This is especially true for mother’s who’ve had a cesarean section. Having a robe that is practical is also ideal. Sexy satin should be saved for the bedroom, and hospitals are chilly so be sure to find something that will keep you both cozy and warm. Think terrycloth or flannel to prevent from freezing or feeling too revealing in front of potential visitors.
Hairbrush and Hair Holders
Every woman has a favorite hairbrush that they use for their hair. Try finding something similar to it at the store and packing that. Whether you’re a headband or ponytail kind of person, pack some hair holders with you so while you are in the hospital you’ll have a way to easily get your hair away from your face. Showering might not be your highest priority so it’s nice to have a simple solution for managing your hair.
You’ll be delivering your child at a hospital, not the Ritz Carlton, so try to be mindful of that and plan accordingly in regards to toiletries. Any grocery store has travel-sized options available so pick up the essentials for your stay this way you’re not empty handed or forced to use something that may be harsh on your skin and/or hair.
Easy access is key here, especially for mother’s who are planning to breastfeed. Get something with a shirt that buttons up the front that you won’t have to mess with much when it comes feeding time. The same rule applies as with the long bathrobe. Keep in mind that visitors will be coming in and out so bring some options you would feel comfortable wearing in front of others.
This one doesn’t need much elaboration. Once you’ve pushed a baby out of you or been cut open to take one out, pushing may be the last thing you want to (or even can) think to do. Be smart and think ahead by packing some in your hospital bag.
Chewing Gum or Breath Mints
It’s always nice to have this with you so that when visitors lean in to congratulate you with a hug you don’t scare them with your breath. Personal hygiene is not ideal for most new moms in those first few days so this may be a quick solution to remedy the issue.
Several Pairs of Socks
For me personally, I get very cold while in the hospital. I always like to invest in a few pair of fuzzy warm socks (some even have aromatherapy options) to keep my feet nice and warm while in the hospital for a few days. This will also save you from having to wear the tacky ones that the hospitals usually provide you.
Loose Fitting Clothing
This is very true for any c-section postpartum mother, but sometimes you never know so think ahead and pack a few options to choose from just in case. No elastic waistbands of any kind if possible. Think more drawstring or loose fitting dresses that allow easy access to your chest for nursing.
A Nursing Bra
While your milk won’t officially have come in for a few days or longer depending on your body and delivery, remember to bring a nursing bra to allow for simpler feeding sessions with your newborn baby. Any Target or Walmart store has options to choose from if you don’t want to spend too much on your first one. Once milk does come in you may need to go up significantly in size to accommodate your new lactating breasts.
Magazines or Books
Although you may not be looking to read, sometimes you don’t know how long your delivery will take or how long you may have to stay in after the baby arrives. It’s always nice to have a reading material option to help you pass the time when you bore from watching television or staring at the wall.
Remember, even the best laid plans are no match for Mother Nature. While packing for a week-long stay may be excessive, it’s best to bring a few extra things than have to send your partner home for another pair of pajamas or shampoo. If you are concerned about bringing too much, leave some “extras” in the car. That way your partner won’t have to leave you and your new baby for long. Birth and postpartum are a messy business and your experience will be much more enjoyable if you come prepared.
To help keep track of what you need or have packed, you can use the Pregnancy View app. Under the tools section, us the “Birthing Bag” which has a list of suggested items. With this list you can add items and even email the list – which lists items as “Already Have” and “Needed”. For the iPhone, you can download the app here. For Android users, you can download the app here.
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