Image by penelope waits
By Nina, Modern Alternative Pregnancy Editor
We had our first two children in the hospital, and their births played out very similarly. With one exception – the amount of stuff we brought with us.
With our first, I didn’t know what to expect, so I did what I always used to do in that situation: I over-prepared. Seriously, I could have outfitted my baby, myself and a few other mamas and babies as well with everything I brought. It was a little ridiculous, now that I think about it.
When our second was born, however, I remembered all of those trips my husband took to the car just so to load up our stuff. And I wasn’t about to waste that time again (I was there for maybe 24 hours and wanted to get home ASAP). Instead, I packed the bare essentials and we happily left quickly, with only one trip to the car.
Packing for the hospital plays out a lot like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some pack too much, some pack too little and others, well they get it just right.
Naturally, the aim is for the just right. Between paperwork and exams, it’s time-consuming enough to get out the door without having to make three trips to your car just to pack up all your stuff.
But how do you get it just right? Learn from the wisdom of others. This week, I asked the wonderful mamas on the MAP Facebook Page and got a lot of great responses:
When you’re packing for the hospital, go through the list of things you would normally pack for a trip. This varies for everyone, but here are some of the top items:
- Food – Hospital food quality varies greatly, and you will be HUNGRY after your baby is born. Pack plenty of snacks.
- Lip Balm
- Your Own Pillow
- Going Home Outfit – Keep it cozy.
- Comfy Slippers/Shoes
- Toiletries – Shampoo, soap, glasses, lip gloss, hair dryer, etc. One mama suggested toilet paper, as her hospital’s was not new-mama-botttom friendly.
- Camera (and charger)
- Phone (and charger)
- iPod with music (and charger)
- Laptop for Skyping with family (and charger) – can you tell I’ve forgotten a lot of chargers?
This is the minimalist in me piping up here, but if you can consolidate any of this stuff, do it! Less is way easier to manage.
For the new mama
- Birth Ball – If your hospital doesn’t provide one, bring a Birthing Ball. They’re a great labor tool.
- Heat Pack – Rice or corn packs that you heat in the microwave are awesome for sore muscles.
- Coconut Oil – To prevent nipple cracking and prevent thrush.
- Essential Oils – Peppermint for nausea, Lavender for rest, Clary Sage for labor.
- Pads – Nobody told me about this when my first was born! The hospital ones are so uncomfortable, so bring your own postpartum mama cloth or extra long, heavy-duty nighttime pads.
- Old Underwear – Unless you like the mesh undies they provide in the hospital, bring some old undies that you don’t mind getting stained.
- Nursing Bra or Tank
- Nursing Pads – I highly recommend some quality reusable nursing pads.
- Nursing Pillow – Boppy, My Breast Friend
- Comfortable Nursing Top – Either button-up or t-shirt. Choose something that makes you comfortable that you won’t mind seeing in pictures for the rest of your life.
For the baby
- Cloth Diapers – If you’re planning on using cloth.
- Wipes – Some hospitals don’t have these on hand, some do.
- Onesies – Two to three.
- Sleepers – Two to three
- Car seat
- Going Home Outfit – Mostly for pics. Our first didn’t fit in his and we just took our second home in jammies.
And a few more things …
- Confidence – Prepare ahead of time for a great experience with books like Unbound Birth and Redeeming Childbirth. You can do this.
- Doula – Bring labor and birth support with you. It makes a huge difference.
- Gifts for the nurses – I’ve experienced not-so-great labor nurses, but for the most part, those RNs are pretty awesome. We brought cards for them, but you could also buy or make a treat beforehand or bring something from your homemade stash, like lip balm or jam.