Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lessons Learned: Hospital Bag

I am super duper detail-oriented, so I tried to really pay attention to whether my hospital bag contained everything we needed for our hospital stay. I also tried to think about what items we packed and didn't end up needing.

Here's a list of everything we packed with some commentary:

  • Waterproof pad and old towels - Had these in the car in case my water broke, but didn't need it.
  • Insurance info
  • Birth plan (10 copies) - 10 copies was way too much. I had read on some website that you need to have multiple copies on hand to share with all the different medical staff you'll meet. I just shared one copy with the triage nurse when we were admitted and then the hospital made sure that my birth plan was clearly visible in my file. When we switched nurses, I'd ask if they needed their own copy and they always said that they had already seen it on my file.
  • Nursing bra - I didn't wear this at all. I put it on, but it was too inconvenient. At least during your hospital stay, I'd recommend going bra/tankless since it makes BFing a lot easier.
  • Nursing pads - Didn't use these either. Your milk won't come in during your hospital stay, so nursing pads aren't necessary.
  • Nursing tank - Again, I tried this out, but it got in the way of easy BFing.
  • Chapstick - a MUST!
  • Toiletries - Pack the standard stuff you'd pack for a short weekend trip.
  • Eye drops - I get really bad dry eyes, but I was so preoccupied that I never noticed or used the eye drops.
  • Headband - I brought a head band which came in really handy since it was an easy way to make my ragamuffin hair look just a little better.
  • Makeup - I'm so glad that I packed my makeup. It may seem vain, but I put on some makeup after the epi and before I delivered. I also showered, did my hair and put on makeup every day we were in the hospital. It felt fantastic every time.
  • Hair dryer - I didn't need this because the hospital had one in every mother/baby recovery room.
  • Bath towel - I actually did use this. The hospital provided plenty of towels, but they were tiny.
  • 2 washcloths - Saw these on someone else's list, so I packed them, but I really didn't use them.
  • Flip flops - I saw this one someone else's list. They felt like the hospital shower was grimy, but I didn't find that to be the case at all.
  • Food - We brought granola bars, clementines, peanut butter, and string cheese. All of it was useful. I know hospital policy is that you don't eat during labor, but I had small bits of food here and there and am glad I did. The clementines were my favorite thing. I ate them shortly after delivering and they tasted SO GOOD to me.
  • Coins - Someone else recommended packing coins so Brett could get food. The hospital's nourishment rooms had everything he needed, though.
  • Cameras, cell phones, camcorders, laptops and their chargers - We used every last bit of technology that we brought. I don't regret bringing any of it.
  • Cord to upload photos - We were so anxious to share the good news with family and friends that we uploaded pictures of the baby within a few hours of delivery.
  • Bradley book - We referenced this a few times.
  • ipod - Used the laptop instead.
  • Relaxation aids - lavender oil, tennis balls in a sock, back massager, microwavable rice bag. I don't regret bringing a single one of these things. When my contractions got really bad, we tried every trick we could think of. The heated bag was a surprisingly big help.
  • Body pillow - This helped me get comfortable while laboring.
  • Husband's changes of clothes
  • Husband's toiletries
  • Husband's swimsuit - Didn't end up using this.
  • Going home outfit and shoes for me - You obviously have to wear clothes to leave the hospital. Be forewarned that you'll probably look a little terrible. I packed maternity jeans and a nonmaternity sweater. The jeans felt great, but the sweater was a little tight over my tummy. I'd recommend packing a sweatshirt or something else with a lot of give in the tummy.
  • Maternity underwear - I learned a lesson on this one. I wore into the hospital and packed a few pairs of nice maternity underwear (not fancy underwear but $7 per pair underwear!)| They both ended up almost completely ruined. I figured that I could wear them while I labored and then wear the hospital's mesh undies afterwards, but the truth is that even the underwear you wear while laboring will probably get ruined.
  • 3 pairs of warm socks - I didn't use any of the socks I brought. I found that wearing slippers was much more comfortable, especially since they had rubber treads and I could wear those as we walked the hospital halls.
  • Robe - Loved having this around. nightgown - I packed a long-sleeve, knee-length nightgown and it was really comfy. I should've packed more of these.
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 1 pair sweats - I had planned to wear sweats and a t-shirt, but the sweats weren't comfortable. During recovery, you have to wear mesh undies, giant pads, and sometimes an ice pack to help keep down swelling. By the time I got all this in my underwear, there was no way I wanted to squeeze into pants. If I could do it again, I wouldn't even consider bringing any pants at all.
  • Slippers
  • Magazines - Didn't use these.
  • Warm blanket for baby - Used this because it was 13 degrees out when we took James home!
  • Going home outfit for baby - I packed one 0 to 3 month outfit, but it was way too big on him. My 8 pound baby ended up wearing a preemie sleeper home from the hospital. I would recommend bringing one 0 to 3 month outfit and one preemie outfit.
  • 2 caps for baby - I think we brought more than this and used them all. Of course, I'm kind of into hats for the little guy, so this might just be personal preference.
  • Baby book
  • Colace - Didn't need this at the hospital, but needed it shortly thereafter at home.
  • Diapers - Didn't need to pack these. The hospital gave us a package of newborn diapers.
  • Diaper bag - Filled this up with James' outfit, blankies, etc.
  • Wipes - Didn't need these either since the hospital provided them.
  • Newborn booties
  • Newborn mittens - Didn't use these.
  • 2 receiving blankets - Didn't need these since the hospital provided. The hospital's receiving blankets were awesome. We brought our own "cute" ones, but they weren't as big and warm as the hospital's.
  • Empty paper sacks - This was a brilliant inclusion. We ended up leaving with way more stuff than we came with, so we used paper sacks to help cart everything home.
  • Things for when you get home - Motrin and super maxi pads.
What else I should've brought:
  • Boppy - I had my mom bring up my Boppy. It really helped a lot in the early days of BFing.
  • Thank you notes - I wish I would have packed a few simple thank you notes to leave for the nurses who took particularly good care of us.
  • Hearty food for Brett - When we checked into the hospital, Brett was starving. It was 11 pm, so there were no options at the hospital. He ended up scrounging up the stuff for a PB&J, but I wish we'd thought ahead and either eaten before leaving home or picked something up on the way to the hospital.
  • Pajamas - As mentioned above, I didn't pack the right pajamas. Pants are simply not a good idea right after delivering.
  • Normal pads - I wasn't prepared for the amount of bloody show I experienced. I used the hospital's pads but they were so huge and more than I needed before delivering. I had a couple pantyliners in my purse, but they weren't nearly big enough. If I could do it again, I'd bring some normal-sized pads to wear while laboring.
  • Clothes for Brett - Brett just brought one change of clothes. I think he was planning to go home and get cleaned up, but he stayed with James and I the entire time, which meant he wore the same clothes most of the time.
  • Iron - I lost enough blood in delivering that I need to take iron supplements for awhile. I didn't need these at the hospital, but had to have someone pick them up for me shortly after coming home.
  • Breast cream - I can't believe I dropped the ball on this one. I could've sworn I'd packed breast cream, but I didn't. The hospital gave me a sample tube of theirs, but it wasn't as soothing as the Lansinoh that I'm using now.
  • Soothies - These gel pads by Medela are super comfy. I highly recommend them for comfort during the first few days of BFing.
If I could do it again, I would've packed one bag of the items I'd need for labor and delivery and another of things I'd need during recovery. After I delivered, I didn't need my body pillow, relaxation aids, etc. I could've sent those home with someone had they been packed separately.

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