I’ve been meaning to write this post for, oh I don’t know, eight months now. I came up with the idea almost immediately after Jameson was born and really wanted to put it together as a way to hopefully help some future mamas. But, you know, I got busy aka distracted. Life, amiright? Anyway, better late than never! I hope you find this list of items you might need for the hospital and for your postpartum recovery helpful in some way. Please let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I labored naturally at home and Jameson was born just about an hour after we arrived at the hospital. Because of this, I didn’t bring any labor-specific items to the hospital and we only stayed one night. If you have opted for a C-section or want to be prepared in case you end up needing to stay longer in the hospital for any reason, you may need to tweak this list here and there.
A few (swaddle) blankets – Only if they’re sentimental or wanted for pictures, though. The hospital will provide and send you home with plenty of their own swaddle blankets.
A few simple outfits – Again, only if you plan on dressing your baby in the hospital. We ended up just keeping Jameson in a diaper and swaddling him up because 1) it was easier to change him; 2) they run all kinds of tests while you’re there and it’s much quicker if the baby isn’t covered in clothes; and 3) skin-to-skin bonding is recommended, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Going home outfit and a spare going home outfit – Normally I would say this is overkill because really, what are the chances that your itty bitty one will completely destroy his meticulously chosen outfit moments before being loaded into the car seat for the first time? 100% likely with Jameson. I was literally strapping him in his car seat when – BAM! – poop explosion. So he ended up coming home in a random onesie I had jammed in his diaper bag.
** Don’t bother with diapers & wipes because the hospital will provide everything you need (and more!) and the ones you brought will just take up space. Grab those hospital freebies like they’re going out of style.
FOR THE HUBS
Sweatshirt – One of the top recommendations I got when asking people for advice on what Alex should pack. They were right! Our room got chilly and he was glad he had it.
Nice camera – In all likelihood, you won’t be taking many pictures (you’ll be busy, you know, being a mom and all). Decide who will be in charge of taking pictures, whether that’s a professional or your husband with your good camera, and make sure you pack the charger.
Other electronics – Phone, chargers, possibly something to watch movies on (Alex and I brought my iPad and watched The Office on Netflix while Jameson snuggled with us in bed).
Comfortable Clothing & Toiletries – You know the drill.
Ready for the nitty gritty? We’ll start off easy…
A copy of your birth plan – If you have one. I never even used mine (I knew how I wanted my labor to go and my midwife was extremely accommodating) but it might be nice to have on hand, especially if you think it would be helpful to have your preferences clearly laid out in writing for the doctors and nurses.
Anything you might need for labor – As I mentioned above, I labored almost entirely at home so I didn’t bring anything. But this could include special music, a focus item, a Bible with specific verses marked to read during labor…
Hair ties – Maybe one or two. My hair was a hot mess after delivery so I just threw it in a pony and that was that.
Chapstick – Always good to have.
Loose-fitting pajamas/other outfits – If you want to avoid the hospital gowns. Some people really prefer to be in their own clothes, which I totally get. I personally just stayed in the hospital gown the entire time (didn’t even wear a bra) because it was convenient for nursing, convenient for all those frequent doctor checks, I didn’t care if it got ruined, and I was really just too lazy to get changed. Seriously. Next time I deliver a baby I’ll probably bring one pair of pj’s just in case and that’s it.
**Clothing recommended to me: Yoga or sweat pants, flowy shirts, a nightgown, and a robe. Make sure you’re not too attached to any of these items since they could get rather…stained. Ew.
Nursing bra and/or nursing tank – If you’re planning on breastfeeding. Again, I ended up not even wearing mine but I would still recommend bringing one anyway.
Socks and/or slippers – I believe hospitals recommend you bring those with good grip on the bottom, just in case you decide to wear them while laboring and want to walk around.
Flip flops – A definite must. I wore those bad boys right into the shower. I don’t care how many chemicals have cleaned that bathroom, I knew what was coming out of me (yep, gross) and I knew I wasn’t the first to be in that situation.
Toiletries – The hospital does supply you with shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. so you could skip this if you want to pack light. I, however, am the kind of person who likes to use the products I’m used to. Don’t forget your toothbrush, though! 🙂
Beauty supplies – The only thing I used in this category was a little bit of mascara so I didn’t look like a total zombie in our first family pictures. But I did pack my straightener as well. (I didn’t yet know that you don’t really have that kind of time with a newborn. Ah, youth.)
Going home outfit – Keep in mind that you will probably look about six months pregnant even after delivery (boo!) so choose something comfortable and roomy. I wore leggings and a long, loose shirt.
Nipple cream (for all you nursing mamas) – Yup, now we’re getting into it. You probably won’t know what works best for you until a few days in so just grab a brand and try it out. I used Lanolin by Lansinoh but I’ve also heard great things about Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter if you prefer lanolin-free.
Depend for Women – Hey, you don’t want your baby to be the only one in diapers do you?! Yeaaahhh. To be quite frank, you’re going to be bleeding a lot. It’s going to look like a murder scene in your pants every time you use the bathroom. The hospital has these mesh thunder-pad panties that lots of women swear by, but they never fit me very well. I wore them at the hospital just because I paid a buttload of money for that hospital stay and darn it, I’m getting me some mesh panties! But once I got home I switched to Depends (picked up at Target) and they fit much better. Plus, soooo sexy! Seriously though, I much prefer diaper-wearing to worrying about a regular pad sliding around my underwear all day and night. Once the bleeding subsides a little in a couple of weeks you can switch to the regular pads (I did), or just keep on rocking the diaper.
TO HAVE READY AT HOME
(your postpartum care)
Perineal Irrigation Bottle – Found on Amazon here, or stolen from your hospital. Use to clean…er…down under.
Dermoplast – The blue kind, not the red kind. The hospital will probably send you home with some but I had more ready for me at home and I’m so glad I did. This stuff will numb the heck out of your nether-regions, which is definitely what you want (whether you had tearing/stitches or not).
Some sort of stool softener – Just…yeah. Take it.
Lansinoh soothies gel pads – For nursing mamas, found on Amazon here. I didn’t actually use these so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard they work wonders on sore or damaged nipples and I wish I had bought some.
More Depend for Women – Just buy a whole bunch. C’mon, you know you want to.
And that’s it! I would really recommend checking out The Postpartum Experience on Lucie’s List as well, especially if you’re not sure what to expect in terms of your delivery, what happens at the hospital, what happens afterwards, and so on. Meg breaks everything down so easily and she’s a riot. Can’t recommend her work enough!
Let me know if I missed anything important! I’d love to hear what worked well in your experience.