As I prep for baby to arrive I will be providing helpful tips along the way.
See, when I was about to have Mason, I had no idea what I was doing.
I looked to other moms & Pinterest to figure out what to eat, what to wear, what to buy, etc.
Now that I've been through the process myself, I have little tidbits of knowledge that I am able to share to hopefully save you some stress, time, and money in the prep for baby.
It's really confusing because some people will tell you to pack like you're going on a 2 week vacation while others tell you just to show up with a carseat for going home with.
My opinion, somewhere in the middle (but leaning toward the carseat side of things).
The easy but sometimes hard-to-hear truth is, you're going to the hospital to have a baby...this isn't a dayspa.
Most people are there for 2 days. TWO DAYS!!
Also, the hospital provides the majority of what you and baby will need while you're there.
*Please note, my list below is based off of what our hospital provides. Not all hospitals provide the same items for mom and baby*
1) Clothes: This can be a controversial one so remember, these are MY opinions. I definitely recommend bringing clothes to wear at the hospital. That being said, I'm not an advocate for those "fashionable" hospital robes you can buy on Etsy or any other piece of clothing that you would buy JUST for being in the hospital. Remember, some semi-gross stuff is going to go down there with lots of bodily fluids, so if you're looking to buy clothes for post-baby think more along the lines of comfy nursing clothes for maternity leave time. That being said, I'd recommend bringing loose fitting bottoms (sweats) and nursing friendly tops for 2 days. The day you give birth you will most likely hang out in a hospital robe for the majority of the day, so this is more for day 2 when visitors may be coming or you may be going home. I'd also recommend socks with those sticky bottoms for walking around. You can bring your own underwear, but let's be real for a second, you will be wearing the terrifyingly wonderful mesh ones provided by the hospital (yes, even for your trip home), so save yourself the time and don't bring any.
2) Entertainment: If this is your first time delivering, you most-likely will need to be prepared for a loooong labor period. Even if you're like me, and end up having a c-section, you will still probably endure the full labor process so it's important to be prepared.
If you're planning on having a natural birth (no pain medication) then ignore this entire section because I have no idea what your entertainment needs would be.
For me, the best entertainment pre-baby was (as usual) my phone. This meant a phone charger was 100% essential. Other than that I packed a few magazines I hadn't read yet, but never really got around to reading them. Most of our downtime pre-Mason was spent watching TV or playing games/browsing Facebook/etc on our phones and sleeping. (When you're in labor for 24 hours, you do spend as much of that time as possible sleeping).
After Mason was born, there wasn't much entertainment needed. Our room was a constant revolving door of visitors, nurses, lactation consultants, etc during the day, and taking care of baby in between all of that. The only thing I had wished we had brought were DVDs. I don't know about you, but I get sick of TV pretty fast and there when you're in the hospital with a newborn baby there isn't really a nighttime where you just get to sleep. We ended up asking one of the nurses to go swipe some DVDs from another area of the hospital for us to watch during the late night feedings so we weren't stuck watching junk TV.
3) Personal Care: This is the section that actually will make a difference in your happiness level at the hospital. NOTHING feels as good as that first shower you get to take after baby is born, and you will want to be prepared for it. The hospital does provide you with personal care items (shampoo, soap, etc) but there's nothing like your stuff from home. I'd recommend bringing your own (travel size) shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash. You'll also want your facial moisturizer and body lotion. Don't ask me why but the air in the hospital is SO DRY, I was constantly slathering lotion on my hands and face. Also, chapstick is a big must. And don't do what I did and forget to pack deodorant (don't worry, Steven went home and got it for me). If you want to avoid looking like an annoying person to everyone on the planet, PLEASE don't bring your hair dryer/straightener/full make-up kit. You are not Princess Kate and even though there are being lots of pictures taken of you and baby, they will not be on the cover of People magazine. This is about YOUR BABY....remember? Save the glamor shots prep for your newborn photo shoot at home :)
Also, bring yourself a waterbottle. I remember before giving birth to Mason that I noticed women all around my place of work with these giant water cups with their hospital names on them. It was almost like a trophey they had won for giving birth. I didn't bring a water bottle to the hospital with Mason assuming I would be receiving one of those giant water cups. No dice. Instead I had my wonderful husband filling up seemingly tiny plastic cups for me the entire time.
1) Clothes: THis should not be plural. You will literally only need one outfit for baby and it's their going home outfit. Otherwise they will spend almost all of their time swaddled up tightly in hospital blankets. Some people choose to bring outfits for every day at the hospital for baby. I'm not going to say their "crazy", but I will say that between all of the nurse and doctors checking on your baby, you'll spend more time dressing and undressing baby from that adorable outfit than them actually wearing it. Save everyone the hassle and just let them swaddle your baby up. Save the cute outfits for at home!
2) Carseat: This is a given, but a lot of people must forget for how many times the hospital mentions it. You MUST bring a infant safe carseat into the hospital before you can leave. Most hospitals will require that you place the baby in the carseat and strap them in before you can leave (so they see that you know how to do it properly, and can educate you if you don't). Along with this, you must have the carseat base installed in your car before you leave. A carseat without a base is no good to anybody. Depending on the weather conditions, you may also want to bring a blanket/carseat cover if it's going to be chilly when you leave.
That's pretty much it for baby...honestly. The hospital provided diapers, vaseline (for little boys), diaper rash cream (if needed), wipes, nose booger suckers, pacifiers, formula (if needed), breast pump (if needed), swaddle blankets, hats, onesies. I mean the list goes on and on. They literally brought us a cart that had every item we would ever need for Mason loaded into it and left it in our room while we were there to pick and choose things as needed. Bonus: when we were leaving, the nurse told us we could load up whatever we wanted from the car to take home as well.
Ok, I am admittedly not the person you would want to ask about this category. We live less than 10 minutes from our hospital, so anything Steven needed while we were there, he would just go home to get. He showered at our house, changed clothes at home, and no entertainment items were required for him pre-baby other than a phone and a wife in labor :)
So here's the recap with the actual list of things I am packing for the hospital this time around.
Keep in mind, this is based off of KNOWING I am having a c-section which means I'm packing for a guaranteed 3 day stay and preparing to not be in labor.
My Hospital Bag List:
2 pairs of loose fitting sweatpants
2 nursing tank tops
2 zip-up hoodies
2 pairs of socks.
Shampoo & Conditioner
Hair Brush & Hair ties
Facewash & Moisturizer
Baby going home outfit (we will most likely be bringing 2...one for boy, one for girl)
Carseat (with base installed)
Carseat blanket AND cover (March in MN can be very chilly)
What is the "must have" item in YOUR hospital bag?