Hospital Bag Essentials?????

Brenda - posted on 12/07/2009 ( 20 moms have responded )

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Just finished packing my hospital bag (due in Feb) and I believe I have everything I need: night gowns, toiletries, coming home outfit for me (very baggy sweats), coming home outfit for baby, and camera. Just curious if there was one item that you were glad you took along that you just could not do without? Want to make sure I have everything I need, thanks in advance ladies!!!!

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Amy - posted on 12/08/2009

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My sister and I packed a bag for my sister-in-law when she had her baby, and others have also used it, and they've all said it was helpful. I thought I'd share it since it's from several moms' perspectives! If you've already had a baby, tailor the list to what your experience was last time! We had each had a baby, and now my sister's had 2, and we used the list. :)



We packed 2 suitcases - one for labor and one for the hospital stay. That way, you won't have to rummage through all your stuff during labor to find something, and you can bring in just the small bag in the beginning.



Labor bag:

Snacks: Ramen (for the daddy), nutri-grain bars, trail mix (for energy), nature valley bars, peppermints (it's nice to have some hard candy to suck on). Even if you can't eat anything, people with you will be hungry, and you could spend a small fortune on vending machines! Hospitals are easing up on their no-eating policies, but I'm not sure about the ones around here.



Magazines: we packed Real Simple & some parenting magazines, but anything that you're interested in will be good. Books generally tend to take more thinking than you want to do, lol, so magazines work well. It also wouldn't hurt to bring something for Dad.



Spray bottle: put water & ice in it, & when you get hot during labor, it's a nice spritzer to cool you off



Elastic Headband & ponytail holders to keep your hair out of your face



Sturdy folder or binder: the hospital gives you lots of paperwork that you'll need to keep up with, it's SO handy to have it all together!



Men's tube sock with 2 tennis balls: your husband can use this for counter pressure on your back when you're having labor pains. it works like a massager, but can be manipulated better.



Wordsearch/crossword/sudoku, etc.: something to keep you and your husband busy during early labor when you're waiting for the heavy labor to start, but want to take your mind off the twinges of pain.



Chapstick: if you're breathing a lot, your lips get super dry!



Journal & pens/pencils: You or your husband may want to write down some memories during labor



Socks (or house shoes or flip-flops): Walking during labor is one of the best ways to help labor progress faster, & to help the baby drop lower into your pelvis.



A swimsuit or sports bra: If you want to take a shower or sit in a bathtub - it REALLY REALLY helps with labor pains!



Music: you can create playlists or make cds with very relaxing music. At the birthing center, they had an ipod doc with speakers, & they had a cd player. Most labor rooms have something to play music on. Check with them to see what they have.



Birth plan: it's a good idea to have a birth plan typed up before you go to the hospital. You can give it to nurses, and your dr. should have it beforehand. It is a good way for you to feel like you've got some control over something! If things don't go exactly according to plan (I planned on an all-natural birthing center birth and ended up with a c-section at the hospital - you just never know!) then at least you'll have been prepared.



Hospital Bag:

Extra snacks: the hospital gives you food, & there are vending machines, but if you bring your own, you get your preferences, & it's much cheaper! Plus, bring some snacks for Dad!



Gatorade: after labor, you'll need some sugar & electrolytes. At the birthing center, they had Anna drink a lot - she had orange juice & tons of gatorade to rehydrate.



Breast pads: If your milk comes in while you're still in the hospital, you'll be thankful you had them!



Extra underwear



Breast pump: again, if your milk comes in, it will be nice to have! Don't forget the batteries and a wall charger. We packed storage bags, too, for her, because we're not sure if the hospital will have them or not. Many hospitals have pumps for you to use, so again, check ahead of time to see what they have.



Overnight Maxi pads:you'll be bleeding a lot after delivery (whether vaginal or c-section). The hospital provides you with pads that are probably a foot long (no joke!), & I used those. They were uncomfortable, but they got the job done! If you prefer, you can bring your own.



Small nightlight: if you room-in, you may need to use a light, but you won't want to turn on the big, bright ones above the bed



Going home dress: I like the idea of wearing a dress home because if you get a soft, cottony one, there's not pressure on your abdomen, which is pretty sore. Also, if you wear a dress, you feel more human & not so gross after being in the hospital! Plus, it will look good in pictures! :)



Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, pouf, body wash, lotion (we got almost all of this stuff from the dollar tree or the travel sizes - that way, you don't have to worry about packing & unpacking, or remembering to grab your toothbrush from home while you're in labor & in a hurry to leave!)



Lanolin spray for sore nipples: to my knowledge, The First Years is the only brand of lanolin spray. You will definitely want it!! There's lanolin cream, but when you've been nursing, and your nipples are sore already, the last thing you want to do is rub a cream in. With the spray, you just spray it on, & it soaks in. You don't have to rub, & you don't have to wash it off before the baby nurses again. I promise, promise, promise you'll want it!



Nightgown: Buy a new nightgown so that after you've had the baby, you can change into something new & feel pretty & refreshed. I would get something that buttons down the front (or ties) so that you can nurse. Also, you may want to bring some gauchos or other loose-fitting pants to wear under it if you get out of bed and walk (which they usually make you do). Seriously, hospital gowns are just not flattering, & you'll feel a lot better wearing something of your own, especially if it's new.



Robe: nice to have if you're going walking!



Makeup & hairbrush: to make you feel normal again



Nursing bra: you'll need it to go home in, for sure



Pre-natal vitamins: you keep taking them as long as you're nursing, so you'll need them in the hospital



Bible: needs no explanation! :)



Camera: don't forget extra batteries & the cord to hook it up to the computer! You may want to have someone designated (besides Dad) to take pictures because the two of you will probably want to focus on the baby.



Computer: most hospitals have wireless, & since you're on facebook, you'll probably want to do some updates to your status once you've had that baby! Don't forget the charger, too!



Cell phone: again, don't forget the charger. Also, it may be a good idea to make a phone tree, that way people who want details about the baby can get them, but you (or your husband) won't be making a million phone calls, & you can enjoy your time with your baby!



Pillow: You can bring your own, just be sure to bring your own pillow case so that it doesn't get taken back with the hospital linens!



Baby bag:

you won't need much - the hospital will provide you with most of it, including diapers, wipes, blankets, a hat, etc. However, if you have a preference as to what he wears, then you can bring your own onesies or t-shirts. The t-shirts are nice because the baby still have the umbilical cord, so tight onesies can irritate it. Or, you can get something that buttons all the way down, that way you can give the belly button oxygen (which helps the cord fall off faster).



Shampoo/lotion: if you want to use your own, they'll usually let you. My favorite is Burt's Bees Buttermilk baby products - all natural & they smell amazing.



Receiving blankets, pjs, socks & hat: only if you want to use your own - the hospital will give you some



Emery boards: there's some debate as to whether or not clipping baby's nails is painful for them (although many sleep right through it) so some hospitals won't let you. They will usually let you file them, though.



A going-home outfit/blanket: Mostly just for all the pictures! lol Noah was so small, nothing we had fit him, so he went home in the t-shirt from the hospital!



And here's the most important thing, that will save you a lot of trouble and save your baby from a lot of crying:

Olive Oil!: it sounds strange, I know, but the midwives tell you to bring it to the birthing center. For the first week or so, their diapers are filled with meconium, which is thick and tar-like. It sticks to their little rumps and is SOOOO hard to get off! Diaper changes take 5 times as long because you're trying to scrub it off! Plus, they're not used to having their diapers changed, so they scream, and it's just heartbreaking! However, if you rub a thin layer of olive oil all over their tushies right after you've cleaned it, the meconium slides right off. Honestly, people might think you're crazy, but it is a tried and true tactic!



Daddy bag:

3-4 changes of clothes: you're never sure how long you'll end up staying, or if a shirt will be *anointed* by your baby!



snacks: you can pack these in your bag, but it may not hurt to have some extra



change: for vending machines, if he wants, & for parking, if the hospital doesn't validate



toiletries: he'll need all his essentials. Again, though, I would recommend getting the travel sized ones so that the bag can be packed & ready to go ahead of time, & he won't have to be scrambling around trying to get stuff together when you're trying to leave to go to the hospital.



Also, make sure to leave some extra room in your bag so that you'll have a place to put all of the goodies people bring you!



It may seem like a lot, but we easily fit it into 2 small suitcases, including 12 bottles of gatorade! We left the hospital bag in the car until after she was moved to a room after delivery. I promise it didn't look like she was moving in or anything. It actually didn't look like that much! People say that you'll often over-pack, but I would rather be safe than sorry! If you don't use the crossword puzzle books, oh well, but if you're bored to tears during early labor, you'll be praying for them! You just never know what you're going to need until you get there! If you think of anything we didn't think of, let us know so we can add it! :)

Good luck! Amy

Myra - posted on 12/08/2009

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I recommend a robe to wear while you are at the hospital since those gowns don't cover much when you get out of the bed. If you are going to breastfeed at the hospital, a nursing bra would be helpful if you intend to wear a bra before you go home. If you are like so many of us now, and have to keep people updated on what's going on, either your phone charger if you can access the internet on your phone, or a laptop (with the cord or whatever you need to put your pics onto the computer).

Make sure you have a hat for baby, too if it's cold weather or in case of wind where you are in Feb. (cold is under 75 degrees Fahrenheit for a newborn baby). Also take any specific snacks or drinks you like that the hospital may not have in the cafeteria or snack machines. A favorite book might be nice to have, too, as well as a book on newborns if you have one.

Chances are, you will be too busy to use any of the "stuff" you bring outside of the camera, but you'll feel better knowing if you want it, it is there. Congrats and best wishes and a speedy, and easy labor and delivery when the time comes to go have your baby!

Stacy - posted on 12/07/2009

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I've heard that your favorite brand of maxi pads comes in handy for post delivery bleeding. Make sure you have an extra camera battery or the charger. I plan on bringing some needlework or a book just in case I have time. I also have packed an extra receiving blanket for baby and a couple of extra onesies for him.

April - posted on 12/07/2009

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my ipod with speaker. We played it all night long to drown out the hospital sounds and both myself and the baby slept better.

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Bre - posted on 01/07/2010

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Btw... Congrats on having your bag packed already. I have my son's bag packed but haven't even begun to think about mine (and I'm only 3 weeks away from my due date)!

Bre - posted on 01/07/2010

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Amy's answer was extremely helpful. The only thing I would add is a focal point if you have one. This is my 1st child but I have been told numerous times how just having that focal point has saved many people's sanity.

Kristi - posted on 01/06/2010

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To be honest, the hospital should supply you with most of the stuff you will need after the birth. ( maxi pads, maxi pads that was ice pads...the best!!, spandex shorts, diapers, and such). I had a check list the first time around and I hardly used any of it. I had my husband bring my computer ( if you have internet access). I had baby's go home outfit, recieving blanket, extra plush blanket and socks. And for me, some Pajamas you are going to be comfortable in and dont mind getting dirty. I see women wearing silk PJ's and I cant imagine wearing that when you are sore, and bleeding alot. Just something you feel comfortable in and that is easily accessable for people to check you. Also socks, slippers, tolietries, nursing bra ( if your breastfeeding) or sports bra ( if your not). I mean pack what you think you need to keep yourself busy for the stay. Dvd's, Ipod are also a good thing to have. Good Luck and try not to worry too much!

Katherine - posted on 12/27/2009

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Just a comment on the Maxi pads... I had my daughter five years ago and the hospital had the pads with the instant ice packs in them. OMG.... they were my favorite thing! Yes, they came in the mesh underwear, but I loved them. Another thing is to have the menus to your favorite take out/ delivery places. My hubby packed these by surprise and had a couple of my favorite food places deliver to the hospital.

Samantha - posted on 12/21/2009

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I read through all this and realized that i hadnt packed half of this stuff!!! I'm due feb 11th cuz i am afraid she will come early and i wont be prepared (cant trust my boyfriend to run home and not know what to grab while im in labor) and its just fun!!! I do plan on re-packing a few times!!! But hey, its definetly better to be safe than sorry and my doctor told me today that she went into head-down postition so shes getting ready!!! Good luck!!!

Brenda - posted on 12/19/2009

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"Seriously, the olive oil for the meconium diapers - a life saver! :) Wow, you already have the bag packed - that's awesome!"

I'm such a worry wart so I pack early so that I can unpack and repack a few times before going into labor. I'm just overly neurotic, lol.

Angelia - posted on 12/12/2009

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I agree with the maxi pads. Don't forget them. I am not sure if it has changed from 11 yrs ago but when I delivered my daughter I totally forgot to pack a bag and had to use what the hospital had available. They handed me a pad with no stickiness and an elastic belt that went around my waste! Do not forget the heavy flow pads and extra panties.

Amy - posted on 12/12/2009

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Seriously, the olive oil for the meconium diapers - a life saver! :) Wow, you already have the bag packed - that's awesome!

Marie-Eve - posted on 12/10/2009

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The couple of really useful things I brought with me to the hospital (though I think they've already been mentioned) were my laptop & dvd's to help pass the days after my C-section and my own pillow. It's so nice to have one comfortable thing from home!

Sandra - posted on 12/09/2009

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i took a small spray bottle to put water in..i got hot flashes all through my pregnancy...it came in handy...i sprayed myself in the face when i got over heated and it cooled me down fast!

Leticia - posted on 12/08/2009

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as for the pads they give you in the hospital, when i had AJ, the hospital gave me this pads that were ice packs as well. you think the squeeze bottle feels good. hopefully they have those pads when you go in this time.

Brenda - posted on 12/08/2009

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Amy, thanks a bunch, this is extremely HELPFUL!!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the olive oil tip, never heard of that but makes perfect sense. I remember having such a heard time cleaning my daughter's first few diapers, definitely will be using. Thanks again for the list, have to go back and add a few more things.

Brenda - posted on 12/08/2009

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Thanks for the advice ladies, have plenty of socks Leticia. Have pads, I refuse to use the boats they gave me when I had my daughter, very uncomfortable. Love my always with wings, :o) Didn't think of the extra batteries for the camera and I should have because my camera eats up battery power quickly. Gonna have to check if the hospital has a DVD player when I go up for my tour. ANYTHING to pass the time!!! Thanks ladies, much appreciated.

Christa - posted on 12/07/2009

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Slippers and a robe. Also we brought a bunch of DVD's. I don't know what your hospital is like but mine had DVD players in the room and while I didn't really watch them my family did to pass the time while they waited. It keeps everyone from overwhelming you. :-)

Leticia - posted on 12/07/2009

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sooooocks!!! your feet can get pretty cold when they are up in the air. and socks that you would be willing to throw out just in case they get reeeeeeallly dirty :)

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