Hospital Bag Must Haves
As a second time mom, I feel like I have a better idea of what I need to pack for the hospital, and what I really won't use. So instead of doing a Hospital Bag Checklist, I thought I'd share my Hospital Bag Must Haves, and suggestions on what to leave at home. Plus some Do's and Don'ts for your time at the hospital.
1) A Nursing Bra or Nursing Tank: This is a no brainer. The last thing you want to be worrying about is getting your bra straps off and on with every feeding. Either invest in a good nursing bra (size up if you're not sure), a nursing tank, or a tank with a built in bra. This will get you and baby off to the right start with a lot less effort than a traditional bra.
2) Your Own Pillow and Favorite Blanket: I'll be the first to admit, hospitals make me a little anxious. And the bed you sleep in is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Something that really made me feel more at ease was bringing my own pillow and favorite blanket. My favorite blanket happens to be a cheetah print Snuggy (yep) that I've had for years. The print alone makes me happy, so I really loved having it with me in my hospital bed. And you never know what you're going to get with pillows, so just bring your own. And go ahead and put a bright new pillowcase on it, so it won't be forgotten.
3) A Pretty Robe: No, you will not be wearing this right away. This will be something to throw on for pictures that makes you smile, after you get that shower and freshen up a bit. Again, things that make you feel more at home, and put you at ease are always a good thing.
4) Lip Balm: When I was in the hospital with Jack I didn't have any and really needed it bad. The nurse was nice enough to bring me some Vasaline as a substitute, but this is definitely going in my bag this time.
5) Glasses: If you're a contact wearer, and also own a pair of glasses, definitely bring them. You will probably wear them the whole time you're there, or at least for the overnight feedings.
6) A Hairdryer: This was another item I didn't bring because I thought "they'll have one there." I was imagining the ones they have attached to the walls at hotels. Yeah, not so much. Some people might not see this as a necessity, but I don't have the kind of hair that you can let air dry, and after 9 hours of labor, I wanted to shower, and do my hair. Your hospital might have one, but believe me when I say, don't expect it.
7) A Boppy: My savior. Probably my most used product of anything with Jack, and no they didn't pay me to say that. If you have another breastfeeding pillow, great. Bring it, you will need it.
8) Comfy Pants/ Slipper Socks: Yoga pants, maternity leggings, just something comfortable you'll be wearing most of your stay. They will give you slipper socks at the hospital but I liked having my own special ones. You don't want to be walking barefoot on the hospital floor, and slippers are too much of a hassle. Bring some pretty (cheap) slipper socks, and keep them on the whole time.
9) Makeup Bag: Again, some people might not think this is necessary, but it made me feel good to at least curl my eyelashes, and put on a little BB cream.
10) Baby Take Home Outfit/Socks/Mittens: Of course you won't forget that beautiful take home outfit you've been planning for months, but you'll also want to bring a couple pairs of socks, and some mittens for those scratchy little nails.
What to Leave at Home
1) Your Breast Pump: They will give you one there to use. The lactation specialist will come in and show you how to use it. And if you don't already have one, most insurances will let you take it home.
2) Granny Panties: This is a personal preference, but I happened to love the throw away underwear they gave me at the hospital. I brought cheap underwear with me the first time and never even used them.
3) Pads: They will give you everything you need for down there at the hospital. Buy a pack for home for after you run out of the hospital ones.
4) A Bunch of Baby Clothes: The baby will be swaddled most of the time. Just bring a couple of onesies, or footie pajamas and you'll be fine.
5) Diapers/ Wipes: They will provide those for you at the hospital.
Do's and Dont's
Here's what I learned the first time around....
Do: Take video. My biggest regret of Jacks life was not taking a single video at the hospital. I was so busy taking pictures, it didn't even occur to me.
Don't: Let anyone in your room until you are ready. My husband and I agreed that we didn't want any visitors until after the first hour. It was the best decision we ever made. Your family and friends will have plenty of time to meet the baby, take that hour for you and your partner.
Do: Ask for help. Everyone at the hospital we delivered at was so accommodating. They all want you to have the best start possible with your new baby. Don't be afraid to ask for help with breastfeeding, or even changing a diaper.
Don't: Overdo it with Social Media. Those sacred 2 days (or less) you have in the hospital with your new bundle of joy will come and go very fast, and you will never get them back. Cherish that time. I know how tempting it is to show off your new creation to all of your friends on Instagram, but just enjoy that time with your family. There will be plenty of time later to post everything.