My due date is this Thursday and I am READY. My stomach feels pretty much stretched to capacity and baby’s little movements feel more like a kung fu master trying to escape imprisonment than the sweet flutters of a baby. I’m convinced this is going to be our wild child, just based on his/her movements in utero. Any woman who has been pregnant knows that no matter how good or easy your pregnancy was, by 40 weeks (let’s be honest, it’s more like 38 weeks) you are done. That’s not to say I’m miserable, I’m just ready to have my body back and to sit/sleep comfortably again. Funny story- I remember when I was pregnant with Ricky saying that I couldn’t wait to have him because then I would be able to get a good night’s sleep. I knew I would have to wake up with the baby, but at least the time that I was sleeping would be good, sound sleep. HA! Little did I know that my son would wake up every 2-3 hours for at least the first 6 months of his life and that does NOT make for a more well-rested momma. I do not have unrealistic visions of bright-eyed mornings this time around, but I am looking forward to sleeping on my back again. Oh, and I can’t deny that middle of the night baby snuggles are pretty good too.
Not only am I ready to meet my little one, but I feel about as prepared as I can be at home as well. Freezer meals are prepped, Ricky’s overnight bag is packed, baby clothes are washed and the pack n play is set up in our room. My hospital bag has been ready and waiting for the last week- just sitting on my rocking chair in the nursery, taunting me. I packed pretty minimally the first time around and didn’t feel like I was missing anything, so my bag is pretty light this time too! Plus since there are not nearly enough blog postings out there on what to pack in your hospital bag (oh wait…), I decided to enlighten all you soon to be momma’s with my suggestions!
For You and Hubby
- Bath robe– this is number one and so good for when people are coming in and out of your room. Nursing can be challenging at first and it is nice to be able to throw something on quickly to cover up, not to mention much cozier than hospital gowns. I suggest one made of modal so there is a lot stretch.
- Nightgown/pajamas that allow for easy nursing access. Target’s Gilligan and O’Malley brand has a few really good options!
- Nursing tank top– again, you want something that gives you easy access during those first couple days, but also that you are comfortable wearing in front of visitors/nursing staff. I got a basic black and white from Destination Maternity that held up well with Ricky. These were great for layering under cardigans so I didn’t always look like I was wearing a nursing outfit.
- Nursing pads– If you are lucky enough to have your milk come in right away, you are going to want to keep a set of nursing pads on at all times. When your body is still regulating and figuring out this whole breastfeeding thing, leaks are far more likely to happen than later in the nursing period when you have things more under control. I prefer Lasinoh brand, a few of the others can feel more like tissue paper and make crinkly sounds- not ideal when trying to be discrete 😉 I only pack a few sets in hopes that I will not be at the hospital longer than 24 hours.
- Lanolin nipple cream– this will help prevent chaffing and chapping in the early days of breastfeeding. I promise it will help- use it.
- Loose sweatpants- embrace the boyfriend pant. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you’re not going to be slipping on your pre-pregnancy jeans in the hospital. Not gonna happen, especially considering you’ll most likely still look like you’re in your 2nd trimester (don’t worry, your uterus will shrink back down and so will your waist, but give it more than a few days). You’re going to want to be as comfortable as possible on your bottom half, which involves all things loose with extra room for those really, really nice hospital diapers. Did I say diapers?! I meant underwear…
- Large underwear- pack a few pairs that are up one size from your normal go-to. Let the granny panties shine- this is their moment. The hospital will provide mesh underwear along with MASSIVE pads- use them. They may not be the most flattering or comfortable things you’ve ever worn, but they get the job done. I also pack a few of my own extra large pads just in case, but didn’t end up using any of my own during my hospital stay. Here is a little tip- you know those Victoria Secret coupons you get in the mail for free underwear every once in a while? Use them throughout your pregnancy to stock up on bigger sized, full backed underwear- that way you are not distraught if they get ruined.
- Nursing bra – I realize a lot of these suggestions have to do with easy access to the girls, but that is a pretty big deal in the first few weeks. I really like these overnight bras. One thing I didn’t realize is that you’ll need to wear a bra (or cami with a built in bra) at night for quite a while because nursing pads at night are a must and something has to keep those things in place.
- Flip flops and warm socks. Hospital rooms can get chilly, so cozy socks are nice when you’re staying over night. You’ll also want flip flops for the shower as well as to walk down the halls in case you need to go to a different room for some reason.
- Toiletries- you are going to want to have your own bathroom items to make you feel a little more human during that first shower after labor. You will be worn out and unsure of how your body just performed such a feat, and it will be very nice to smell good and maybe even put on a little makeup to cover up those under eye circles. If you are lucky, people will stop by to see you and maybe even take pictures- it’s nice to not look quite as tired as you feel.
- Extra pillow because hospital pillows suck and your hubby might be nice enough to stay the night with you 🙂
- Outfit for hubby- if he doesn’t plan to go home overnight, then he’ll probably want a change of clothes as well.
- Snacks! Labor is not a short process (unless it is for you, you lucky B!) and you never know when it is going to happen, so having some snacks on hand for the man holding your hand is probably a good idea. Granola is our go-to.
- Chapstick. Everything I read about labor before I had Ricky said to bring chapstick because your mouth gets so dry during labor. This is true, but I can definitely say I never once thought to myself, “Hm, my lips feel a little chapped, can someone get me some gloss?” I was glad that I had it afterwards though.
- Camera- I got my DSLR camera right before Ricky was born and have not looked back! I definitely don’t know how to use it to it’s full potential, but it has been wonderful to be able to take high quality photos of my little man throughout his life. I am excited to be able to snap more than a few of the new little one as well, especially those first couple days! Don’t forget to charge the battery!
- Power cords- because it would be a travesty if you were not able to tweet/insta/post photos of baby immediately after delivery 😉 Just kidding… but you probably will be upset if you aren’t able to get ahold of friends/family who have been waiting on news!
- Swaddling blanket. Hospitals provide a very nice, gender neutral blanket for baby, but you may want to bring your own for photos.
- Hat/Bow. Again, the hospital will provide a blue and pink hat, but you might want a different one for photos or to take baby home. I will admit that we did not bring our own for Ricky since we didn’t know the gender and probably will not bring one this time. If we have a girl though, someone will be making a trip to the store for at least one bow headband.
- Going home outfit. Baby will stay wrapped up in a nice little hospital provided onsie during the entire stay, but you will probably want to pack a special outfit for the little one to make their homeward journey.
- Baby wipes. This is one thing I did not bring for Ricky because I assumed the hospital would have them. Our hospital provided all the diapers you could need, but used washcloths instead of baby wipes. That is all well and good, but I would have preferred to have normal wipes to use during our stay instead of having to get a washcloth wet in the sink to change baby’s many poopy diapers.
- Boppy/ breast-feeding support pillow. Even if you are a seasoned breast-feeding mommy, it is helpful to have a little extra support when baby is so tiny. It may be bulky, but it was definitely worth it to me to have the boppy at the hospital
That is really it. Most of what you would normally pack in your diaper bag, the hospital will provide so there is no need to bring/use your own! If you have any extras you don’t think you can live without, go ahead and pack them, but consider leaving an extra bag in the car. That way you don’t have quite as much to lug around in between rooms, but it is always a quick walk away if you need/want it! Family/friends are also wonderful resources for picking up last minute necessities, like Sour Patch Watermelons or Arby’s 🙂