Updated: Jul 15, 2018
Expecting your first little one? This is what I would bring to the hospital, and what I would have told myself if I had to do it all over again. I hope it helps. You got this Momma!
What I would bring to the hospital:
1. Change of clothes to go home in (maternity clothes) something comfy and easy to put on including a nursing bra that’s comfy and stretchy (your boobs will get enormous (engorged) and be painful a few days after birth and then settle down to “normal size” in a couple days). I wore the hospital gown the whole time I was there, it was just easier.
2. Bring 4 of the velcro swaddle things (Swaddleme Original) the baby spits up, poops a lot.
3. Couple of changes of clothes for your significant other staying with you at the hospital.
4. Snacks, mostly for hubby while he waits, cause you can’t eat till baby comes. Then, do waitr app to get some food. But have snacks for you for after, because if you have the baby in the middle of the night, nothing— including the hospital cafeteria— might be open. The nurse stole me a sandwich when I had Eli.
5. An outfit for baby to go home in, and a back up one if they spit up or blow out their diaper before you can get them in the car. Otherwise, I just had them wear the t-shirt and diapers they provide at the hospital and swaddled him in the velcro things to sleep (Swaddleme Original). The hospital provides diapers, wipes, and blankets so you don’t need to pack these things.
6. Bring your own toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, bar of soap, razor, tooth brush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, maxi pads (these are provided by the hospital while you're there, but bring your own that you prefer for your ride home) and breast pads for leaky boobs. Bring moisturizer for your hands, I like Neutrogena hand cream. You wash your hands so much, they get dry and crack/hurt. Toiletries for hubby.
7. Bring a few pairs of socks, so you don't have to walk on the hospital room floor barefoot.
8. Bring a couple garbage bags to sack up dirty clothes, and to bag up the diapers, wipes, and any other loot the hospital will give you. If people want to bring you stuff other than food at the hospital, tell them to please deliver it to your house, cause otherwise, you are going to have a lot more stuff to take home.
9. The car seat of course.
10. Don't forget your phones and chargers.
I’ll be straight with you, what worked best for me, but do what is best for you, what you are most comfortable with, always. So, with Eli we were naive, we had constant visitors at the hospital, which meant when Eli was asleep, we were having to visit-- talk with people while they held him-- we got little to no rest while in the hospital.
So, with Max, we had no visitors, and it was awesome. When he slept, I tried my best to sleep, but even then, you have nurses coming in to check on you, and different nurses coming in to check on him, so, it is still difficult to get sleep. With that in mind, I would limit hospital visitors to the absolute minimum you can get away with/are comfortable with, and have everyone else come visit after you’ve gotten settled at home for a few days. And even later, you can tell friends, "we haven’t quite gotten the hang of this, it’d be best if you checked back with us in a few weeks or a month and come visit then."
If visitors offer to bring something to the hospital, suggest it would be a great help if they brought food. When at home, same thing, and if they want to help you, let them do dishes, laundry, cook a meal, or bring groceries. These will be the most helpful things people can offer. If they aren’t up for one of those tasks, have them hold the baby while you take a shower or get a nap. Honestly, this is the hardest thing you will ever do, but it is also the best thing you’ll ever experience. It will get better I promise.
So, to be clear, the pregnancy part is relatively easy, you don’t have to take constant care of the munchkin yet, just yourself. The labor part is over relatively quickly, it ends. It’s the going home with your little munchkin that is the hard part, because they never leave, it never ends. So take care of yourself. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can handle taking care of your tiny little munchkin. Eat, sleep, shower, repeat. And I know it doesn’t feel like it, but right now, while you’re pregnant, is when you’ll have the most time to prepare. Once they’re here, free time evaporates until they get older, and sleep through the night, and by free time, I mean time to catch up on laundry and dishes, sorry Momma.
I’m sorry if this is too much or too long, but I want to tell you all the things I wish I knew. Ask me any of your questions, I’ll try my best to answer them. You got this Momma.
Image: Me, pregnant with Eli, and my husband, Bobby, in the parking garage at the hospital. Little did we know how much our lives would change.