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What to pack, for real, when going to the hospital to deliver your baby . . . You’re having a baby! The date is approaching! Yahoo! Congratulations!
There are so many emotions to feel when you’re pregnant. The good, the bad and the ugly all have a special place in my heart, and there is a very good chance they have a place in your heart too.
Babies are these tiny, burrito wrapped, balls of love. You’ve seen the pictures of the beautiful women, their long flowing hair blowing in the breeze, all the while holding their gorgeous, sleeping cherubs. You’ve probably seen the Instagram photos of the new mother sitting up in the hospital bed with a huge smile, glowing skin, perfect makeup, and hair, with a caption about being so “perfectly blessed”.
I’m going to be completely candid with you…this post is not for the “perfect” woman. It’s not for the Instagram influencer who thinks her hair and makeup team are just as important as her labor and delivery team.
This list is for you…the woman who is secretly terrified about having a baby . . . who has never typed #blessed in any of her social media posts . . . who has seen all those other lists of what to pack and thought “Seriously? I need all that crap?” This is your list.
Here we go.
These are the basics you need and use every day of your life…toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, body wash and loofah, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, hair brush.
Hospitals are gross. Delivering a baby is a messy business. Don’t bring your $200 electric toothbrush into the hospital. Grab a cheapy at Target, pack it in your bag, and pitch it on your way out of the hospital. That goes for all the toiletries you can. Loofah? Buy cheap and toss it. Toothpaste? Travel size and pitch it. If it can be disposable, dispose of it.
2. Hair ties, clips or a headband
Nothing is more annoying than having your hair in your face when you are in labor! Nothing fancy here – just something to pull your hair back with!
3. Glasses / Contacts:
If you wear contacts, I highly recommend bringing your glasses too. You’re going to be awake for a LONG stretch of time. You’re eyes may want a break. Even if they are the glasses that no one sees you in, bring them. And grab your contact solution and a case too.
4. Clothes: Keep it disposable, kind of.
You’ll enter the hospital in your regular clothes and then immediately change into the hospital gown for labor and delivery. After you deliver and take what will feel like the best shower you’ve ever experienced in your life, you will get dressed in your own clothes. You need comfort, not style.
Don’t bring your favorite silk pajamas you picked up in Europe last year. Remember, having a baby is messy. There is a huge possibility that you will get blood all over these clothes. Yes I said it. It’s incredibly gross and incredibly true.
Blood is gross. You’ll be changing poopy diapers in varying shades of yellow, brown and black. Do you really want to be scrubbing blood out of your favorite clothes? You will want pajamas and day clothes. And honestly, there is nothing wrong with wearing your pajamas as your day clothes in the hospital. Yoga pants (in your 9 month pregnant size) and soft tops are the name of the game here. They can be your day clothes and your PJ’s if you’re anything like me. If you have a c-section, you’ll want to make sure that your pants can go up and over your incision without rubbing it. Friction is not your friend!
Finally, hospitals can be cold. If you’re a robe person, bring one. If you’re not (like me), a soft, light sweatshirt will do the trick.
As far as footwear, cheap flip flops for the shower are always a must in my book. Instead of slippers, try bringing a few pairs of thick socks or slipper socks. With socks, you can just throw them away when you’re done. There is no need to track the hospital floor back into your house. Your feet may swell, so go with the roomiest pair of shoes you own to wear home. Better yet, wear them into the hospital so you have less to pack.
You will have fantastic mesh undies provided by the hospital. That’s not even sarcasm! Mesh undies are big, stretchy, ugly and insanely comfortable. And the best part? Disposable! Are you catching on to my theme here?
You will want to bring a bra, or 2, that is comfortable for your growing breasts. If you’re nursing, bring a nursing bra or a nursing tank (my favorite). Do you like freedom? Skip the bra!
7. Phone and charger.
This covers your basic need for entertainment and photographing your newbie.
You may be in labor for 24 hours. You will not have a bite to eat that whole time. When it’s time to eat, it may be 2 am and nothing is open. Yes there are vending machines. But I prefer to keep it simple. Bring your favorite snacks…granola bars, nuts, Twizzlers, Snickers, Go crazy. You just had a baby. You deserve to indulge! Oh, and bring some bottles of water (hospital water is GROSS).
As much as I like to pretend that my husband can take care of himself – make sure you have something a little more substantial for him too. You may be in labor for 24+ hours. You can’t eat but your husband/boyfriend may get hangry. I remember my husband asking me what I would prefer – – that he leave for a/b 30 minutes to get food or order a pizza to the room and eat in front of me. That kind of felt like a lose lose situation to me. I didn’t want to be left alone so he ate a steaming hot pizza in front of me! In my next life I’m coming back as a man!
9. Important Documents
Driver’s license, Pediatrician name/address/phone number, and insurance card
10. Baby Items
Car seat and baby outfit
You will need a car seat with the bottom piece already installed in your car. The day you are discharged is not the day to figure out the car seat. Fire departments and some police departments will install your car seat for free. Check your local department to see if they can help you out.
As far as your baby’s wardrobe, you really only need 1 outfit. The hospital will provide blankets, onesies, diapers, wipes and formula during your stay. Just bring your baby’s outfit, hat and a blanket for the trip home.
That’s it! You don’t need to pack like you’re going off to college. Keep it simple. Keep it disposable.
And of course, if there are items that make you feel like you, bring them! If you need makeup, do it! If you need a special blanket, bring it! This is all about you…you need and deserve comfort and happiness.
Ok – and now for the skimmers (like me) – here’s the list without my commentary.
I hope this simplified list of what to pack in your hospital bag helps you out. Think of comfort. Think of squishy baby cheeks. You’ve got this!
And as always, if you are having a baby and looking for a newborn photographer shoot me an email! I would love to connect with you.