Friday, August 1, 2014

Pack Your Bags!

Are you ready to have that baby yet? And by ready, we mean, if you had to go to the hospital this minute would you have everything you need? My doctor suggested I pack my hospital bag and keep it with me during the week when I went to work, which I thought was a pretty good idea. So I packed it up and kept it in the car a couple weeks before I was due, just in case!

The two days I spent in the hospital after my daughter was born were the longest two days of my life. I slept about one hour and I could NOT wait to go home. I wanted out so badly that I actually almost went home the day after she was born, but I (wisely) decided to stay one more day just to make sure she was okay, etc. It was very hard being stuck in a hospital room when I wasn’t sick. I bounced back from giving birth rather quickly and felt like there was no reason for me to be there. I couldn’t sleep at night with hospital staff coming in and out of the room quite often, and I could not get comfortable in the hospital bed and it made a ridiculous noise anytime I moved or tried to adjust it. Not to mention my husband was basically sleeping on a 2x4. Going home was like a hallelujah moment for me.

All complaints aside (at least it was only two days, right?) I did have some items with me that I felt made the experience easier. Here is what I brought with me that I found useful, in no particular order. I didn't bring a TON with me because I didn't want to have to haul it all out afterwards. And if you forget something, someone can always bring it for you. 

  • Purse/Wallet (ID, Insurance Card, Credit/Debit cards). If your hospital or birthing center gives you the choice, make sure you pre-register. You'll have to show your ID to check in and have your insurance card handy just in case. 
  • Glasses. If you normally wear contacts you may forget to grab these. DON'T FORGET!  Chances are you won't want to be messing around with contacts while your learning to breastfeed, care for a new baby, and trying to rest.
  • Your own toiletries and makeup products and I brought my own (dark colored) towel. I'm glad I did because the towels they provided were about the size of a bath mat and very thin.
  • A pad of paper and a pen—they probably have this on hand, but I liked having my own to write things down and keep track of stuff.
  • Two pairs of loose black pants (I think black is safest) and some some cozy PJs for the evening. Just make sure they are something your willing to part with if they become stained.
  • Two nursing tanks/bras.
  • Dark colored comfortable underwear (think granny panty). My friend bought me these huge Hanes underwear before I went to the hospital and I thought she was being funny. She was serious. And they were awesome. You should get those. I think they were just like Hanes, briefs, in size large. (You can usually find them in the packaged underwear). Don’t wear anything nice because it will get ruined.
  • A cotton robe.
  • I brought a couple blankets for my daughter and I ended up using the Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets the whole time we were there. They might provide you with blankets, but for us they just had her in a sleep sack and when I didn't want her in that, I wrapped her up in the muslin blanket.
  • This is not a must have, but I brought a couple cute hats/hair accessories for my daughter as I knew there would be a lot of photos taken.
  • Helpful accoutrements for nursing. A nursing pillow and if you have a nursing cover you might want to bring that too in case there are people in and out of the room and you don't feel comfortable with them seeing you nurse (think food service staff, cleaning people, etc.) Nipple Cream. Learning to nurse can be hard on your nipples. Have some available just in case. Nursing Pads. Stick these in your nursing bra between feedings to avoid milk stains.
  • Some snacks (Sean wasn't able to order food for free like I was so that was helpful to have for him in between meals. I never ate any of it but it was there if I needed it) and some extra cash/debit card handy for trips to the cafeteria.
  • A going home outfit for baby and something to wear home for youthink stretchy and comfortable.
  • I also brought a sleep mask with me and I used it one night when the light from the hospital computer in the room was bothering me.
  • I packed slippers and socks but I didn't use them. I just used what they gave me.
  • They provide diapers, wipes, etc. and you can take pretty much everything leftover (for her and you) home. And you should. Especially the things they provide for you.
  • Of course your camera!
  • Chargers for any electronics, phone, camera, tablets, etc.
  • Don't forget to have your partner pack a bag, too. They can go home, of course, and get things but just in case they aren't in a position to leave they should be prepared with whatever essentials they need for an overnight stay.
And here are some things that I did not bring with me, but that my partner in blogging crime did. Good suggestions that I never would have thought of!

  • Birth Plan (if you have one). Make sure to give a copy of your birth plan to your provider in advance. But bring a copy just in case they aren't there. 
  • FMLA paperwork. Gather together any paperwork that needs to be signed for work and/or the insurance company in a folder and stick it in your bag. Before you leave, make sure the papers are signed so they can be delivered ASAP.
  • iPad or iPod and portable speaker for music. If you have a playlist prepared, don't forget to download it a few weeks before. Or just turn on Spotify or Pandora and find a station that will help you relax. Don't forget the chargers!
  • Yoga ball or large pillow. If you plan on trying to have a natural birth make sure you have an exercise ball, pillow, rebozo, or anything else you've decided on using to help ease labor pains.  Check with the hospital to make sure they allow you to bring whatever it is you decide.
  • Bathing suit top or sport bra. Some women find showering or bathing during long labors to be quite relaxing. We wouldn't recommend bottoms, because, well, they will get ruined. Chances are that at a certain point you won't even care who sees you naked, but make sure to grab a bathing suit top if you want to maintain a little modesty.
Did we miss any of your must have items? Let us know in the comments below!

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