Monday, November 22, 2010

Hospital Packing: What I Learned

When it came to packing for the hospital, I OVERDID it! That's my nature--I always overpack. As much as I travel for work, you'd think I could figure out a system for going without some things, but no. I'm the girl who has to check a bag for a 2-day business trip (hello, can't live without my mousse!).

So I printed out several lists and then wrote my own list of things that I wanted to pack from those. So my list included three lists: one for me, one for the baby bag and one for J. The picture above is only the baby bag and my 2 bags. I ended up letting J pack for himself-something I learned I should have taken the initiative on!

But, for my own reference on the next go-round, and for anyone who is preparing for their own trip to the labor & delivery floor, I thought I'd post my hits and misses, what I found I really needed, what I certainly didn't, and what I wished I'd had. Check it out if you're interested, if not, it's merely for me when I deliver my (hopeful) future children!

Here's my list:
*Birth Plan--I never did one!
*3 pair of socks--I only used one pair on the day we went home when I put my shoes on
*Robe--This was a waste of space. Initially, I was going to buy a new robe, but then I decided I'd just take my several-year-old Victoria's Secret one and if it got ruined, I'd just get a new one. In theory, this is a good idea. It turned out that I didn't use my robe AT ALL. First, when you get in the shower, once you're done you immediately dry off and put the mesh panties on since you're bleeding. Also, since I was nursing, I didn't want anything to touch my nipples, especially not something of towel/robe material. I don't care what any lactation consultant will say, having something rub and suck on your nipple every couple hours causes definite....umm, I guess irritaiton would be the best word. Needless to say, the robe will not be making the trip next time!
*Towel--Same here. I actually packed a towel. Yep. I didn't even remove it from my suitcase for the same reasons as listed above.
*Nursing Pads--I didn't use them. They gave me some really soothing gel things that go in the freezer. They're great in those first few days when your nipples are immediately stunned at all of the action. So nursing pads didn't get used. Also, your milk won't likely be in until you get home, so no leakage to have to worry about.
*2 sleep bras--I would highly recommend a different bra for every day. They get least mine did. I was using the Lansinoh, plus the gel things, plus nursing often, so I just felt like they needed washed every day. I only packed 2 and had to have J bring some extras when he ran home. If you have them, I'd pack 4-6 bras, not necessarily all sleep bras, but something to nurse with.
*2 regular nursing bras--Same as above. Personally, I won't use a non-underwire bra during the day. There's not enough support. So I had the only 2 underwire bras that I own (OMG, this is a WHOLE different story...finding nursing bras that are big enough is all but impossible!)
*Lip balm/chap stick--OMG this was a lifesaver! I used almost a whole tube of Softlips. Came in so handy during labor when I was breathing and could only eat ice chips!
*Hair Dryer--Absolute necessity for me, but some may not need it.
*Mary Kay Rollup Bag--I have this for work travel. Highly recommend as an easy way to pack up all of your sundries, and it's only like $30! For the hospital, I packed all of the following in it:
-Tooth Brush and Tongue Scraper--Used
-Toothpaste--Used, obvs!
-Face Wash--Used
-Makeup--Used (Side Note: I highly recommend actually getting up and showering and putting your makeup on! It helped me to feel back to normal and I even had the c-section. I didn't have really any pain, so I can see how some might not be able to do so with the pain, but for me, the thought of lying around in a hospital gown for 4 days with no shower was overwhelming. I was nipping at the bud to get in the shower and was literally rushing the nurses so I could get in there!)
-Shampoo/Conditioner--Used (I might be high maintenance, but for me, it was much better to use my own. Yes, they would have provided me some but I like my Pantene!)
-Lotion--Never used but I'd still pack it
-Razor--OMG, I actually thought I would shave my legs every day! Let's just say that it was not only the furthest thing from my mind, but even if I wanted to shave, I highly doubt that I could have lifted my huge swollen leg and foot high enough with the c-section incision.
-Shave Gel--Same as above
-Eye Makeup Remover--Used
-Cotton Pads for Removing Eye Makeup--Used
-Tylenol--Didn't use this because I was on the meds from the hospital. I would still pack this in case J got a headache
(That's all that was in my roll-up bag)
*Ponytail Holders--Obviously helpful even though I didn't use them during labor
*Headband--Same, I didn't use but think it would have been helpful if I'd needed it
*Hard Candy--I wouldn't buy this again. Every list I found had it on there but they were pretty strict about keeping me on just ice chips. I'd rather chew a piece of gum than the candy and we never even opened it.
*Pen & Paper--Never used it but I guess it might be helpful
*Change--Everything said to take lots of coins and small bills. We never used the coins but the had about $25 in small bills. Our hospital is brand new and they have great "room service," which allows you to order anything on the menu at any time during the day. Dads (or anyone, for that matter) can order anything on the menu for $6, as much as they want. Moms eat free. So we used the $$ to pay the few times J ate in the room.
*Snacks--This is one area that I didn't prepare enough for. It would have been nice to have some snacks (crackers, wheat thins, etc.) for evenings and/or when I didn't want to actually order room service. I ended up having J bring a few things from home but in the future I'll pack some more things from the get-go.
*Cell Phone with Charger--Obvs important!
*Camera, Extra Memory Card, Camera Charger--Used all of these and we even took an extra camera just in case.
*2 pr. of PJ's--I wished I had packed more on this front. Since I ended up being there for 4 nights, 2 pair of PJs wasn't enough. Also, I didn't plan for a daytime outfit AND PJs, I more packed just some comfy outfits (including yoga-type pants, long sleeved t's and longer sweaters, which all came in handy) that were loungy. I kind of forgot that I might want something different for during the day than at night. Going forward, I would pack 4 pair of pajamas, maybe even get some sleep shirts from Victoria's Secret because having pants on at night did kind of get in the way and you do bleed a lot and wouldn't want to ruin any PJs that you'd want to keep forever. (Note: I never had any issues or ruined any outfits, but I could see it happening, especially with vaginal births!)
*2 pair of panties--This was plenty, I think I only used one pair. Most of the time I used the big mesh panties since I was wearing a huge pad!
*Going home outfit with shoes--Used, obvs.
*Extra Pillow--This was listed on most lists and I didn't end up taking it. I'm glad I didn't waste the space...there were more than enough pillows and I feel like I would have been annoyed to have to haul it around.
*Hospital Gown--I mentioned this yesterday, but I looved my gown!
*Nursing Cover--This did come in handy for when there was company. But it wouldn't be vital because there were several times that I just had J close the curtain. Or you could use a blanket, but I'm glad I had mine.
*Folder containing insurance information, staff benefits # at work to let them know I had her and was officially starting maternity leave, etc.--This came in very handy. Highly recommend having a separate folder so that you're nice and organized. Plus you'll get several important forms and it's nice to have a designated space for them.
*Water Bottle--Didn't need. The hospital provides you with one and the nurses were great about keeping it filled. I loved that water bottle!
*Heavy flow pads--Didn't need. They provide you with big hefty pads and ice packs and anything else you might need while at the hospital. Definitely have some on hand for when you get home though!
*Slippers--I used these during labor when I got the chills and when I wanted to take a walk around the halls after delivery.
*Magazines--Didn't even open one!
*iPod--I just ended up using my phone music, but it came in handy both during the not-so-bad stages of labor (I put together a folder of songs that were meaningful and soothing to me and listened to it during some of my more mild contractions) and also came in quite handy a few times when the baby was a little fussy. Once when I was in the shower, J and his mom had her and she was hungry and fussy, they put on some Jack Johnson and she calmed right down. Nice to have in the room in general!
*Laptop--I'm glad I had it but didn't really get online too much.
*Email List, Phone List, Text List--J took care of this. But it was good to have ahead of time.
*Fan--I'm sooo glad I thought to take my fan! It helped when I got hot during labor and also helped me sleep at night. I always sleep with a fan at home so it was important for me to have. Really came in handy during labor!!

I think that's pretty much it! Hope it helps anyone who is working on their packing list! I know it will definitely help me the next time we do this!!


  1. Thank you SO much for this! I'm getting to the point where it's time to pack my bag (what?! when did my due date get so close?!?!?) and this REALLY helps!

  2. Very interesting :) I bet this will be a big help to women trying to figure out what to pack.

  3. Thank you!!! I have really been going back and forth about what to pack. This is really helpful!

    Also, congratulations, Wren is absolutely beautiful!

  4. oh thanks for posting this! you brought up some points i never considered when i've packed my bag. with my first c-section i had so many problems i barely got out of bed and wore my hospital gown for 5 days, so i never thought about packing any clothes other than something to wear home. but since i'm trying for a VBAC this time maybe i'll be able to walk around some this time. what about clothes for baby? did the hospital dress her? i have very little memory of my hospital stay but don't remember dressing my son and i wasn't sure if that was b/c the hospital did or if we just always had him swaddled, so i'm wondering if i should bring a lot of clothes for smudge or not. what do you think? bummer about the hard candy...we just bought a bag of tootsie roll pops for me, haha. oh, and you probably already know this, but underwire bras can increase your chances of getting mastitis b/c of how they press against the milk ducts or something. i'm rather large chested and found one brand of non-underwire that managed to keep my "up" but i can't remember off the top of my head...

    maya @

  5. This is a great list. Wish I had this before my stay. I too overpacked. Luckily I only live five minutes from the hospital so my dh could get anything for me that I had forgotten. So happy for you that everything is well.

  6. What a great list! Thanks for sharing.



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