If this is your first baby, you’ve probably looked at a million lists of things you need for the hospital when you have your baby.
It’s been a long time since I’ve actually looked at one of those lists because I’ve got my “absolutely must-have” list and my “don’t-even-bother-with-it-because-you know-you-never-even-get-it-out-of-the bag” list permanently embedded into my brain.
Some items change with each rodeo, but there are staples that have made my later stays so much better than the early ones.
I’m not just going to give you a “what you need” list. I’m going to add the “why you need it” part, so that you can see why I recommend it, and then decide whether or not it’s something you want to include.
Packing my bags and the baby’s bags is a time I so look forward to, cause that means you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
OK! So, let’s do this.
What You Need~Why You Need It
1. Comfortable Slippers~You need these for a number of reasons. They are easy to take on & off, unlike socks. They have thick soles, unlike socks..the floor is hard & your feet will be super swollen because of the IV fluids you’ll be given. They will forgive your fat feet. Your toes may even touch because of the swelling. I’m telling you. You will kiss the slippers you walk on before it’s all said and done.
2. A Boppy or Nursing Pillow~Even if you don’t nurse, this is a must. Baby is tiny…you will be exhausted. You will need extra support to hold your baby, especially if you have a c-section. Don’t leave home without it. You will use it the.entire.time.
3. Baby Fingernail Clippers~Your baby may have long fingernails and you may not always (or ever) keep those tiny hands all covered up. You either bite them off yourself, which I have done, but don’t recommend, or clip them when your baby is asleep. Or else you may see scratches on that sweet newborn face.
4. Extra Pillows for You~Your pillow may be the only comfortable one for you. You may want to cushion yourself with extra hospital pillows…like to rest your arms on, or put those swollen feet up. More is best here. Just in case.
5. Extra Pillows/Blanket for Whoever Stays With You~Again. Comfort is so important when you’re away from home. The guest pull-out sofa or bed may not be awesome.
6. A Robe or House Coat~Bring something super comfy and warm, but also something to cover up with. I wear pajamas like all day, every day for like 2 weeks after having a baby. When I have visitors, I just slip it on. With my slippers.
7. Baby rags~I’m going to add a picture to this one because you may have no idea what I’m talking about. These are only needed if you’re having a BOY or if you’re having a surprise baby, like me. When you change a newborn baby’s diaper, they sometimes tee-tee almost as soon as you remove the dirty diaper. If you have a boy, the tee-tee shoots straight up, unlike a girl. The rags are to cover his boy parts AS-SOON-AS you remove the diaper. So if he does go, you won’t be wet, just the rag. A friend of mine gave me this advice in the hospital when I had Jack. Best idea ever. (Thank you, Shannon!)
8. Baby Wipes~Unless things have changed at my hospital since I was there last, they provide you with diapers, but not with typical wipes. I think my hospital provides these packages of thin, pink towels that you have to wet yourself??? But look….cleaning meconium poops can be a really sticky situation (literally) and real wipes just get the job done much more efficiently, in my opinion. ***UPDATE: my hospital does provide baby wipes now, but check with yours just in case.***
9. Your Personal Medications~If you take any prescription medications, pack them in a plastic bag next to all your other packed bags & take them everyday from there (at home, before going to the hospital). You may very well forget them if you are rushed to the hospital for some reason.
10. Your Phone Charger~ Unless you phone battery never dies…
11. Burt’s Bees lip balm~ This is just one of my favorite things. I always always always wear Burt’s Bees and have forgotten it before, but never again. If your lips don’t dry out, then you obviously don’t need this one, but if they do, bring your favorite brand.
12. Your Glasses (if you wear contacts)~ Okay. So, this is sort of a gray area. On my hospital paperwork, I’m asked if I wear contact lenses. The first four times I filled this out, I always checked yes. I was never told that I had to take out my contacts while I was in labor, except for one time—the one time I didn’t bring ANY glasses. (I am extremely near sighted and can not function without one or the other.) So, I just had to take them out (and then put them right back in!) Don’t get yourself into a blind situation…remember to bring them just in case.
13. A Case of Your Favorite Coke/Pepsi Product~ I love Diet Dr. Pepper, but I don’t drink it often. However, when I’m in the hospital, I crave it. I asked my nurse if they had one on the floor a couple of pregnancies ago, but they only served juices and ginger ale…nothing with caffeine. I wanted something carbonated, so ginger ale was fine, but it wasn’t what I was hunting for. I could order pretty much anything for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but just not in between. Drink machines are available, but $1.00 for a drink when you can bring your own is kind of ridiculous. SO, I now just get a 12 pack of canned Diet Dr. Pepper. You’re provided with ice around the clock–and my hospital makes the Zaxby’s kind….you know, the little round balls??? So awesome. So, a cup, a can, and ice & I’m good to go. If you drink them regularly, it may be something you want to add to your list.
14. Flip Flops~ These are for the shower and I almost forgot to list them. I just don’t like the idea of my bare feet on any surface, especially a shower that has been exposed to someone else’s blood…etc. Just wear flip flops. Or don’t take a shower.
15. Hair Ties/Pony Tail Holders/Bobby Pins~If you have really long hair like me, you are probably going to want it out of the way, especially when you nurse. The Bobby Pins are to get your bangs back if they bother you or fall down in your face. You’re going to be looking down and trying to adjust your baby when you nurse and there’s nothing more annoying that not being able to see properly.
16. An Unused Duffle Bag~ I have NEVER included this personally, but I will be including it this go round. You get tons of stuff from the hospital and all of your bags will be full. When you are discharged, you are going to want to bring it all home with you, so an extra bag is genius! Take it to your room and just put add stuff as you get it. Gifts, too–this is a perfect add on.
17. Nursing Cover or Light Blanket~ I am extremely modest. I have to cover myself up when I’m nursing, no questions asked. If you’re like me, this is a must. I just use a light weight baby blanket normally, but I’ve used nursing covers, too.
What You Don’t Need~ Why You Don’t Need It
- Cloth Diapers~If you are planning on cloth diapering your baby, which I think is AWESOME, my opinion is not to start when you’re in the hospital. The diapers are free, meconium is messy, and newborn diapers (and 1’s and 2’s) have a yellow line on the front that turns color (green or blue) when their diaper is wet. Cloth diapers don’t have the line and your nurse will want to know every time your baby pees or poops. EVERY. TIME. So, it’s just a lot easier, you’ll have no extra laundry to start right when you get home, and….well, it’s just a lot easier.
- Diapers, unless your baby is BIG~ This may seem weird, but some babies don’t fit in newborn diapers. One of Rooster’s friend’s wives had a baby just shy of 12 lbs and that baby started out in a size 2. The hospital should have you covered if you have a baby less than 11 pounds, but if you have one bigger than that, they will be starting out in size 2 diapers more than likely.
- Baby Shampoo/Wash~ Unless you’re not good with the hospital using their own stuff, this is unnecessary. A newborn does not need a bath every single day. In fact, they shouldn’t be bathed every single day. In the beginning, I wash my babies like twice a week, at most. Maybe that’s gross to you, but that’s just how I roll.
- Baby Book~ Don’t try to do their baby book in the hospital. Get a zip lock and put all of the things you want to keep in there. If want to remember, write it down and transfer it later.
- Diaper Rash cream~ I guess this is optional, but I’ve never had a newborn baby to have diaper rash. You should be changing them regularly, so they be dry 95% of the time. But if you want to have something just in case, I’d get something natural just in case they are sensitive to any ingredients of the cream.
- Prenatal Vitamins~ Your doctor should automatically put this on your orders. If you aren’t sure, just ask them. If you want to take your own, you should discuss it with your doctor so he won’t prescribe one because the nurse will stay to make sure that you take it.
- One of those Designer Hospital Gowns~ If you are dead set on wearing something pretty, I wouldn’t wear it during labor and delivery…..Mama’s-this could be a really messy time. You may throw up at some point during labor. You’re going to bleed. Your baby will be covered in vernex (the white film that cover the baby in the womb, acting as a water barrier for her skin). Birth is not a “clean” process. If you don’t care about getting your pretty gown messy, then go for it. But if I were you, I’d use a hospital gown that you could care less about.
- Nursing Pajamas or Gowns~ The openings are sometimes really small and when you’re nursing a newborn, you need to be able to hold your bosom. (Yes, that’s what I call them.) A gown is a bad idea if you nurse. You need a separate top for sure.
- Panties~ The hospital provides these awesome, awesome, awesome mesh panties that I call “meshies”. They are throw-away and you are going to be messy. You do not want to get blood all over your good underwear…and you will get blood on them. Promise. I even take extra packs home just in case I need them. They are seriously great to have on hand. So when you’re messy, wear your meshies.
- Pads~The hospital provides pads, too. They aren’t awesome, but they work just fine. And they’re free. Enough said. I talk about about this in a previous post.
- Breast Pump~Lactation has these available if you need to pump while your in the hospital. If your baby is in the NICU or in Special Care, you can pump colostrum. If you feel more comfortable using your own, then by all means, bring it.
- Books or Magazines~ This may be a weird one, but lots of people think they’re going to be bored after you have a baby because all he or she will do is sleep. You won’t get bored cause there’s always something going on or someone visiting. But if you do get bored and need something to read, your phone is all you need. I’m just saying…don’t pack things that aren’t necessary.
So, there you have it. These are my recommendations. I didn’t state to bring the obvious…clothes for you, clothes for baby, your makeup, bath products, hair dryer, brushes, toothbrush/toothpaste….you need to bring all of that stuff, just like you would if you were staying in a hotel. Leave me a comment if you think I’ve left anything out, because I’m sure I have. And everyone is different…I’d love to get some different perspective. 🙂