The countdown is on for the arrival of your new baby, and with a few weeks to go, it is time to get your hospital “go” bag ready. You know you’ll need your favorite robe and the safest infant car seat, but what are the hidden gems that can make your time in the hospital more comfortable for you? These items consider your overall comfort, as well as optimize your physical and emotional health during a time that is both miraculous and utterly exhausting.
Baby delivery day self-care essentials
Stock up on small bottles of your go-to shampoo and conditioner, plus travel-sized versions of your other “must-have” personal care products. Hospital in-room bathrooms don’t have a lot of shelf space! Face wipes can help you quickly freshen-up when showering seems like too much work in those first days. If you wear contact lens, be sure to bring your glasses and a case/solution for your contacts. Finally, post-birth requires wearing sanitary pads, which the hospital provides, but you may want to bring your preferred brand.
A favorite thing from home
Whether in the form of a scented pillow or eye mask, your favorite pillow, or the blanket that you have had since high school, pack at least one thing from home that is familiar and comforting. When your partner is snoring away in the middle of the night, and your baby is dozing between frequent feedings, you may find that the noisy hospital sounds keep you awake. Having something with you that can (at least a little bit) make you feel safe and sound like you are at home, will make a difference in helping you get the rest you need to care for yourself and your little one.
Assorted comfortable shoes and socks
From skid-free socks, to fuzzy slippers, to flip flops for the shower, you are going to want to make sure you have a few options for your swollen, sore feet. It will be a few weeks (or months) before your feet feel normal again, and while finding a comfortable sitting or sleeping (or any) position post-birth can be a real challenge, your feet will at least be cozy and warm.
Whether to listen to music during labor or for connecting with family, your phone or tablet might be another “must-have” for you. Don’t forget the charging cable (the longer, the better to reach the outlets). You may also want a small portable speaker for playing music or your favorite headphones or earbuds. If technology isn’t your thing, make sure to pack a book, journal, sketchpad, deck of cards, or other relaxing activity. Your hospital stay may be the last time you’ll relax for a while—bringing baby home is hard work, but it is oh so special!
Throughout your pregnancy, you have probably talked with your health care provider and partner about your plans for breastfeeding. Before you give birth, you can document your ideas (e.g.., exclusive breastfeeding, no pacifiers or formula, rooming-in with baby) and then bring the plan with you so that you and the health care team at the hospital are on the same page. Other breastfeeding support items to pack can include nipple ointments and creams, postnatal vitamins, nursing bras, shirts, or tank tops, and your favorite water bottle, so you stay hydrated. Individual size packs of your favorite snacks can come in handy when you are up late nursing and need some nourishment. If your health care provider or hospital hasn’t given you the contact information for a lactation consultant who can help you with any breastfeeding questions, be sure to ask for that information ahead of time.
Now that you have your essentials packed, it is time to chat with your partner about your plans for visitors. It is okay to say no visitors at the hospital, or no visitors the first few weeks at home. This is your birth plan and your baby! With video chatting tools, you can share the baby with friends and family, while focusing on your time bonding and resting (and you can limit germs too). If you do want to have visitors, you can work with your partner and the hospital staff to keep visitor times to a minimum and find the best time of day for them to come.
Every labor and delivery experience is different. You can find lots of helpful advice online and from your mom’s friends but know that the best-laid plans can go awry. Recognizing that while having a plan is useful, there may be unexpected bumps in the road. Rely on your health care team and partner to support you, and be sure to ask for help and the items you need. They are there to take care of you and your baby.For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Theralogix! Don’t miss an article! Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when our next article comes out.