Besides a birth plan, it’s just as important to plan for your one-to-four-day stay at the hospital. Because the last thing you’ll want to think of when you’re trying to prepare your mind and body for birth, while timing contractions, is what to pack. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a given that you’ll be packing for three. So, here’s what you’ll need in order to be prepared and comfortable, without overpacking.
First, you’ll want to pack your bags about one month before your due date. I know this might sound a little overzealous, but according to Parents.Com, 80 percent of women deliver between 37 and 42 weeks, leaving 20 percent to deliver prematurely (source). I’d rather be safe and ready, than sorry and discombobulated. And about two to three weeks before your due date, you’ll want to install your car seat(s). Follow the directions provided with your seat or go to YouTube and find a tutorial for your specific brand and model. Requirements for newborns are quite different and can vary from state to state. Check out www.safercar.gov/ to make sure your getaway car is good to go.
Now, here’s what mom, dad, and baby need to make their hospital stay a comfy one.
- Arrival Attire
Make sure to pick out something soft, comfortable, and easy to take off. Alleviate any confusion and have these outfits readily available, not packed at the bottom of the suitcase.
- Important Information
This folder should include the birth plan, insurance cards, hospital forms, and cord blood banking instructions. Make sure to pack the kit to give to your OB, while everyone is still in the right frame of mind.
- Entertainment—music, light reading, DVDs, and chargers
Ideally, I wanted to have a water birth at home, but my husband is a believer of safety first. The compromise was to have the baby at the hospital, while creating a soothing, home-like environment. Entertainment is the key to making this happen. Therefore, I created a labor soundtrack with the native music that I grew up with and that reminds me of New Mexico. It’s important to bring some light reading and DVDs to help pass the time, and don’t forget to bring any chargers to help keep all devices juiced up.
- Labor Attire
I was always under the impression that a hospital gown was the requirement for any hospital procedure, but that’s totally not the case. Then, someone told me about labor and delivery dresses. I went online to check these out and realized that they’re just as ridiculous—actually, I’d prefer a hospital gown. After mentioning all of this to my doula, Cheryl, she said that if it were up to her, she’d be in a sarong and breastfeeding sports bra. BINGO! That’s so me. The only thing that I’d add to this is a pair of bikini bottoms so that I can labor in the shower. As for Dan, he’ll be official in a pair of scrubs. So, I ordered him his own pair.
In fact, I gifted him his own daddy-to-be kit with all sorts of daddy goodies!
- Breastfeeding Sports Bras & Nursing Pads
Many women don’t plan on breastfeeding, but for those who do, breastfeeding sports bras and nursing pads are a must. HerRoom.com has a great selection, and the owner of this awesome company is a local Dallas woman. I wholeheartedly believe in supporting women-owned businesses and purchasing specifically for a SROI.
- Post Labor Attire
Hospitals are notorious for being cold and sterile. A robe from home and some cozy slippers are just the right items to relax in.
- Comfortable shoes
If robes are on the post-labor-attire list, then a pair or two of comfy shoes must be too.
I’m not sure how much time will actually be spent in these, but I have a feeling they’ll be handy for the support person who’ll be helping with the labor and delivery. Comfort is essential after such a tiresome event.
- Pillows, Towels, Blow-Dryer, and Vending Machine Change
Hospitals are not hotels. It’s important to remember the amenities and comforts of home without going overboard. When in labor, we don’t want to be bothered with remembering these little items, nor do we want to haul too many items in and out of the hospital. Though Dan and I have vowed to leave the vending machines alone, it’s inevitable that a few items might entice our visiting friends and family. Bring some vending machine change just in case.
- Healthy Snacks
But, to help avoid temptation and the overindulgence of the vending machine, bring a few healthy options for energy and sustenance.
This is self-explanatory. We all need these items!
- Baby Survival Kit
I purchased these items in quantity for my diaper bag, my husband’s diaper bag, and our house. Now, we’re covered everywhere we go!
- Disinfecting soap and spray
- Baby gas drops
- Baby thermometer
- Baby nail clippers
- Nasal aspirator (bulb and electric)
- Saline nasal drops
- Medicine dropper with measurements
- Antibiotic cream
- Infant acetaminophen
- Mommy, Daddy, & Baby Going-Home Attire & Necessities
I know I’m a little neurotic, but I just can’t help myself. We match—that’s just what we do in our family!
Viola! Now, let’s see if all of these items will be utilized. I’ll keep you posted just as soon as I find out.