Updated October 2018
D-Day will be here soon, so you may want to pack (or, partially pack) your bags (like you HAVEN’T ALREADY. Puh-leeez). *Even if you are delivering at home, you should have a bag packed in case you end up at the hospital.
But first, a few notes on hospital logistics…
A few things to know about the hospital… most hospitals will offer a facility tour before you deliver. Here, they will show you where to check in, park, where you’ll deliver, get food, yada yada. Do it if you have time so you know what to expect when it’s go-time.
Pack everything you need, but don’t bring too much. You’ll have to schlep from one room to another at least once (perhaps twice), so keep your load as light as you can. I recommend packing one bag with clothes and another bag with “other stuff” (toiletries, electronics, etc.).
Most modern hospitals now have Wi-Fi throughout, which is awwwwwwesome. If you want to be Johnny-on-the-spot with FB pics, email announcements, etc., bring your laptop, iPad, or smartphone — or preferably, leave this up to your partner; computing will be the last thing on your mind.
Most hospitals will allow you to play music during labor/delivery/recovery. If you decide you want mood music (which is nice in the beginning and slowly becomes annoying/unnecessary toward the end), I recommend you bring your iPod along with a docking station. Be advised that there may not be any *outlets* in the delivery room (why? I have no idea), so make sure your setup can run on batteries.
If you are adamant about a particular labor or pain relief technique, such as a birthing ball or a bathtub, make sure the hospital can accommodate you. Every hospital is different — and even within the same hospital, every room is different.
The FOOD Situation
Again, every hospital is different, but most larger hospitals have food service available during daylight hours. Typically, you can order snacks and meals from a menu from your bedside phone, much like getting room service in a hotel. Your partner may also be able to order food too for an additional charge. It ain’t exactly fine dining, but it’s edible.
The concern is if you finish delivering in the middle of the night. You and your partner have been in full-blown labor for HOURS and now it’s 2 am and you’re both starving. The kitchen’s closed, so bring some snacks in case you find yourself in this situation — whatever you need to get you through until the morning. Your can always hit up the vending machine as well. Believe me, a Clif Bar has never looked so good…
Hospital Bag Checklist
— Warm socks and slippers (that you don’t mind getting blood-stained)
— A robe (to walk the halls during labor so you don’t expose your nekkid bum)
— Nursing bra (totally optional, but good if you’re on the modest side)
— A going home outfit for you (your giant uterus will look/feel about 6 months preggo, so stick to loose maternity clothes). Check out our guide on what to wear after a c-section.
^^ Don’t worry, everyone looks like a deer in headlights when leaving the hospital ~
— Hair brush, rubber bands, or whatever you need to tie your hair back
— Whatever you need to shower: shampoo, conditioner, soap; don’t expect the hospital to provide you with any toiletries like a hotel would (some do and some don’t)
— Deodorant (OMG, will you smell after all that exertion)
— For the vain: a hair dryer and makeup (come awn, there are so many pics being taken!)
— Toothbrush, toothpaste
— Soothies (for nursing moms)
— Nipple Butter (waaaay better than lanolin)
— Breast pads (*for C-section moms only, see note below)
— A cute going-home outfit, be sure it’s NEWBORN size (NB), not 0-3 months (unless you’re expecting a whopper)
— A pacifier for the car ride home (trust me)
— Scratch mittens (optional)
— 1 or 2 changes of clothes & toiletries (he can shower in your room as well)
— Snacks (for the middle of the night)
— Cell phone and charger!
— Laptop and charger (if desired)
— Good camera/video camera (make sure you have enough disk space or bring an extra SD card!)
— Camera charger and/or extra batteries
— (If you want music) iPod w/ docking station
— A pen! (you will spend far too much time signing documents)
— (yes, hospital pillows and towels leave something to be desired. If you want your own, bring them)
*Breastfeeding Notes: Your milk will “come in” about 2-4 days after you deliver. If you have a vaginal delivery, this will probably occur after you get home, so you shouldn’t need breast pads, etc. If you’re having a C-section, you’ll be in the hospital a little longer, so bringing breast pads is a good idea.
Leave your pump at home too; you shouldn’t need to pump yet (and if you do, the hospital should provide you with a pump should you have a NICU situation or whatnot). A non form-fitting nursing pillow is also very handy, like the Luna Lullaby (see more recs here). Leave your Boppy and Brest Friend at home; they will be too tight for your bulging belly.
Woohoo, we’re getting so close I can feel it. Get excited!!!
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