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The Ultimate Guide to Packing for Labor and Delivery Hospital Stay
It's about that time. You are getting ready for the arrival of your new baby! If you are a first time mom, like I was, you have no idea just what you need to pack for the hospital stay.
Stick with me and you are sure to have all you could need, without the fuss and clutter of the excessive accessories that people say you need to take with you.
Things to Remember
Most hospital stays (it varies from state to state, hospital to hospital) require that you stay in the hospital at least 48 hours. My own hospital required 72 hours before they released you and the baby to go home after delivery.
That number of days seems like a lot for an overnight stay, but remember - at the end of the day, you will likely be in bed for the majority of that time.
Also, remember that you will be given things from the hospital during your stay. It would be wise to ask the staff during your hospital tour what is provided to parents-to-be and new babies. You can take those things off the list. Usually things on that list would be swaddling clothes, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, baby hats and mittens, and receiving blankets. Don't use up your valuable travel bag space for items you will already be provided with. AND REMEMBER: if the hospital provides it to you, you will be charged for it whether you use it or not. So use it or lose it, ladies and gentlemen!
At the end of your stay, most hospitals will give you all the things that the provided, grab it all up! Make sure you keep all of it. Usually, you can't keep the baby clothes, but you can keep the rest of the diapers and wipes and pacifiers and such. Pack it all up. So pack lightly so that you have room for all the extra goodies coming home from the hospital.
What to Pack For Yourself
- First and foremost, make sure you bring your Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan if you have one. I had a birth plan and I provided it to the hospital staff, but I quickly learned that having a birth plan is great but not always realistic in the heat of pushing a baby out. So proceed with caution there.
- Hospitals can be cold, so make sure that you bring some warm socks, preferrably socks that are non-skid for walking the halls before and after labor. As well as a robe or sweater that you don't mind getting a bit dirty.
- Whether you are nursing or not a good maternity bra and some nursing pads are a great idea to pack so that you have some protection against leaks.
- Make sure you bring your personal items and toiletries. I took for granted that I was going to a hospital and for some reason I thought that meant 'hotel' where everything would be provided for me. I was mistaken. Make sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion - in travel size! You aren't there for vacation forever, you don't want to waste precious bag space on these things, but they are good for that first shower after having the baby.
- If you have long hair or long bangs, a ponytail holder or headband can be a lifesaver for keeping your hair out of your eyes.
- Bring change for the vending machines or check during your hospital visit if complementary food and drink is given to the parents-to-be.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged up and ready to call people after the baby is born! I found it helpful to have a list of the people and their phone numbers so that I didn't forget anyone. There's so much going on in that room when your child comes out, you can tend to be forgetful.
- Camera, extra memory card and charger. Also, if you have a small memory card and you have a laptop or access to your laptop, I found it very helpful to take that with me too, so that I could download the pictures to my computer when the card got full.
- Bring a book, magazine, or tablet. Something to keep you busy during those moments the next few days after you give birth. You will spend a lot of time in bed recuperating and it's not always going to be with baby and family and friends.
- While you can go home in the clothes you came in, if you are someone who needs to change your clothes to feel clean each day, it may be a good idea to loose fitting clothes. I took yoga pants and a tank top or sweater. Make sure you pack clothes that are relatively big and even stay with maternity clothes if you must, because at the end of the day, they will be the ones that fit. (HINT: Don't pack pre-pregnancy clothes)
What to Pack For Baby
- An approved car seat. This is a must. Make sure that you have a car seat and you will have to have it either installed in your car or some hospital staffs will have you bring it in for inspection and then install it in your car for you.
- An outfit to go home in. Most of the clothes the hospital will let you use while you are staying there, but they don't get to go home with you. Plus the take home outfit is the fun part for parents-to-be.
That's it! All you need until you get home!
Save your diapers and wipes for late night changes and save your formula (if you are not breast-feeding) for when you are at home with a crying baby.
You Are All Set
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! I hope your stay at the hospital goes better than mine. I packed so much stuff (and a lot of it wasn't the stuff I needed) by the time we packed the car to get home, we could barely fit in the car. We had our original stuff, the stuff from the hospital and all the baby gifts we got while in the hospital.
Pack light. That's my suggestion.