Getting ready for the birth of your baby can be stressful. You want everything to be perfect, the baby's room, the house clean, baby gear set up, and maybe even some dinners prepared and frozen for the first few weeks. One thing new mothers and even experienced mothers do not always think about is getting things ready for you when you are at the hospital. Every pregnancy book has a section about what you should pack for the hospital and when you should pack but after four children I have realized we sometimes pay little attention to the information or skip it entirely. I remember packing for the birth of my first child, I actually did read the section and followed the suggestion exactly only to be in the hospital wishing I had certain items which did not appear on the check list.
My first suggestion to pregnant women - it is never too early to pack! Around 7 months is when I always did, it may seem a little early but it made me feel assured I was ready whenever baby was! For first time mothers who may make a few trips to the hospital before the actual big day having a bag on hand will help ease the stress a little. It is common to some to visit the hospital thinking it is "time" only to return home but at least you will be packed and ready. Here are my suggestions of things you should consider packing for your trip to the hospital to meet your new addition:
Tip - If you have children already you need to get a plan of who will care for them when you are in the hospital in place. Since baby does not always pick convenient times to arrive you may need to have an alternate plan in place as well. Doing this will definitely ease some stress. If your other child or children are old enough to understand explain to them the plan and let them know when they will be able to visit you and their new sibling in the hospital, this will make them feel included and important.
- Any paperwork your OB has given you to take to the hospital with you. Put it in an envelope in your bag.
- Camcorder - if you wish
- Laptop - if you wish
- Cell phone charger
- Camera - my cell phone always did the job and allowed be to instantly notify family and friends!
- Glasses if you wear contacts.
- Comfortable maternity underwear.
- Several pairs of socks and a pair of slippers.
- Comfortable maternity clothes. I suggest jogging type pants and tee shirts. You will have hot flashes often in the days after birth.
- 1Ponytail holders
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap
- YOUR pillow. Hospital pillows rarely are comfortable!
- Nursing bras. Even if you do not plan to breastfeed having a non underwire nursing bra will help you get a little comfort after birth and while milk is coming in and/or drying up. Trust me on this one!
- A bobby if you plan to breastfeed, this will help you! Even if you do not plan on breastfeeding this is a great item to have with you at the hospital!
- Makeup. I know most are thinking doing their makeup is the last thing they will be thinking about but it does help you feel a bit normal and refreshed while staying in the hospital.
- Your favorite snacks and drinks. Most maternity rooms have a small refrigerator in them so having things to drink you like will make you happy. If you are breastfeeding extra fluids are a must, if you have your favorites with you, you will be more likely to drink more. We do not all like hospital food so having snacks and your favorite muchies on hand will keep your tummy happy. Again, if you are breastfeeding you will need more calories so this will help.
- Money for newborn pictures - if you wish. Most hospitals have a company who will come around and take newborn pictures if you wish to purchase them.
- Any comfort items you plan to use during labor.
- An extra small bag to take home any gifts you receive from visitors.
Daddy will need a few items as well if he is staying in the hospital with you and baby.
- A change of clothes or two
- Comfortable clothes to sleep in.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Their pillow and a blanket. The hospital will provide these but ones from home are so much more comfortable!
- Drinks and snacks, or money for the vending machine.
- Cell phone charger
Baby will need you to bring a few things with you for them as well!
- The outfit you would like him/her to go home in.
- An outfit for pictures if you plan to have them taken.
- The type of pacifiers you plan to use if you chose to.
- Oneies, most hospitals use the newborn tee shirts. I prefer oneies, you may too.
- Newborn pajama's if you want baby to wear something.
- Car seat to take your baby home in.
- Hats. It is important for baby to keep their head warm. The hospital will have them but you may want your own their too.
- Baby book!
- Baby mittens, if you plan to use them.
- Car seat cover or thick baby blanket if you are taking baby home in the winter.
- Wipes. Most hospitals use warm washcloths to clean baby's butt so if you prefer you can bring wipes with you. I suggest sensitive wipes until you know how your baby will react and especially if you have a boy you plan to circumcise.
The list seems long but you will be happy you have these things once you are there! You could be in the hospital 2 or more days so the more comfort you have the better you will feel while you are there. This is a joyous time in your life, little things will make it that much better!