When your little one is ready to enter the world your hospital experience will be daunting, exciting, and fulfilling after those long months of waiting. Before your little one arrives you should likely have written out a birth plan and discussed it with your OB, midwife, or health practitioner. You should also speak with the people who will be in the room with you about some of your wishes during the birthing process. Your birth plan should be short and concise only highlighting on those topics that are most important to you, just be willing to be flexible and understand that even the best laid plans can go awry. Depending on where you live and how far you live from your birthing center your hospital bag may require a few more certain items or a few less. Also you should do a tour of the birthing center just so you know where to go when the time comes and ask some important questions. I must be honest in mentioning that I live in Canada so my birthing experience is likely different from those in the United States and there were a lot of freebies and things taken care of in the days I spent in the hospital that may not be given by a standard hospital in the States, thus if you are in the States it might be good to find out what is going to cost you and what is not. Also any medical problems beforehand may change the birthing experience or your hospital stay. While it is always good to go in prepared try to remember what you bring in with you will be going out along with any extras and a baby.
1 – Snacks, Sandwiches, Water Bottles
While I was savvy enough to bring cookies, granola bars, and two large water bottles with me I did not think about how hungry I would be after giving birth. Since I gave birth after midnight the cafeteria and hospital kitchen were both closed. Someone was able to get me some jello and a fruit cup but that did not aid much of my hunger or give me the nutrients to rebound from being in labour for 24 hours or having a significant tear and requiring sutures. So when packing your snacks try to go for something high in fiber or protein, don’t forget to bring something for those in the room with you as hospital food is not always cheap. While you can’t predict when baby will arrive having a sandwich or two prepped can’t hurt, either that or get someone to get you something before all options are closed or limited.
2 -Toiletries, towels, wash clothe, etc.
Packing your own little bathroom kit will be key. Most of these items can be bought at your local dollar store where there are mini versions of toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner. There might also be mini bathroom kit bags you can get or a mini caddy to hold your items. Do not bring anything you like or couldn’t do without just in case you lose something or forget it at the hospital in the mad dash to leave. Also the hospital provided me with feminine products and nursing pads so I really did not need to bring my own.
3 – Clothes, Slippers, night gowns
Depending on how long you intend to be in the hospital for or how far you live from the hospital you can feasibly reduce the amount of items you bring with you. If you are a huge stickler for being in your own clothes or night gown you may want to pack more clothes for how long you intend to stay in the hospital. I myself packed too many clothes and a night gown I never wore. Being truly exhausted I did not give it much thought as to how long I had been in the hospital gown or whether I felt inclined to change. I could have feasibly reduced the amount of clothes I brought for myself as my home was only ten to fifteen minutes away from the hospital. Now if your delivery goes perfect and there are no issues you may have more mobility to change and walk about, but it would be best to consider whether a big bag stuffed is worth it if you only change into one outfit during your stay.
4 – Sleepers, receiving blanket, diapers, and a plush blanket
For your little bundle of joy you will want to make sure you have a go home outfit on hand in your bag. Now some mention bringing onesies, but I brought a ton and my son never went into one. I could see a onesie being used if it was really cold out or if it was possibly so warm you wouldn’t want to leave the hospital with a sleeper. But during my babies hospital stay he was mostly bundled up with a diaper and several layers of blankets and a little hat. When it was time to take him home I put him in a sleeper, put a receiving blanket over his lower body and had a blanket to put over the opening of the car seat itself as it was still a bit cold when I had him. I never had to put socks on or anything else on him and I could have feasibly gone without a hat for him as I got several from the hospital. I also did not need much in the way of diapers as the hospital gave me a few before I left. Leave diaper rash cream, lotions, and anything else at home unless your hospital does not provide these things during your stay.
5 – Something to read
Before the big day I would suggest picking up some magazines, maybe some crossword puzzles, and a small book. During the labour process those with you will have a long time just watching you work through the pain and in the hours that tick by something to read when your not that talkative could help get through the hours and day. Also afterward there may be little in the way of conversation and having something on hand to keep you occupied will be good to have. Again don’t bring anything you would miss if it is lost or you leave it behind.
6 – Electronics, chargers, batteries, other items
If your the type of person that wants the delivery video taped or you need to have your hand still trending on Twitter then it is best to make sure you have all devices you need or want with you and their chargers or backup batteries for them.
7 – Patience
Not only in those first few minutes when you arrive to the hospital to when it is time to take your little one home bring with you patience. While you may be in a rush to leave the hospital and some of you may have a time limit just remember that the nurses that are there to help clean, wash, and even watch your little one as you take a few winks of sleep won’t be there when you go home. While a hospital will not give you that at home feeling sometimes spending an extra day even just to have someone watch the baby for you or have meals brought to you may be what you need to fully rebound.
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