Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Packing the Hospital Bag

Edit: I've updated this with what I actually needed (marked in red).
The rest... well, just excess baggage!

I have totally been putting this off. Here are my silly, procrastinatory reasons (I know they're no good):
  1. If the labour bag is packed, that means I will actually have to go through labour. (Yes, I know that makes no sense at all.)
  2. Half the stuff I need to pack is stuff I use every day. So I can't pack it. Right?
  3. I have about 5 different lists (from the web, from birth books, from my midwife, from my hospital, from friends) telling me I need about a zillion things. Really. A zillion. I don't want to move IN to the hospital. In fact, I plan (as if I get to plan this) to be in there for about 6 hours total. Yes, I know that plans go awry, and maybe (hope not) I'll end up with a complication or two that could require a longer stay.
  4. My suitcase is too small to contain the zillion things.
I have, actually, packed the baby's bag - she doesn't need much, after all. Yay for progress!

Okay. So. I have decided - since I'm on maternity leave now (aka, I'm self-employed and I've decided to stop working - not like I'm getting any pay while I'm off) -


Here's my final list, and if you think I'm missing anything crucial, you absolutely must let me know!

For me:
  • My chart (my midwife gives me a copy of my medical chart) & birth plan definitely needed
  • robe
  • pyjama pants and tank top
  • flip flops Yes! my feet were so swollen after, I went home in these.
  • 3 pairs of underwear I don't care about definitely needed
  • overnight maxi pads definitely needed
  • puppy training pads (this is from the midwife's list. I got them at the dollar store, way cheaper than the pet store or WalMart, if you're in the market! They're just waterproof pads for the car/bed/whatever).
  • tissues. Maybe my own soft toilet paper? I've heard that's a good idea... thoughts?
  • olive oil (for perineal massage and for baby's bum) definitely needed
  • 2 washcloths definitely needed
  • arnica gel definitely needed
  • nipple butter/lanolin cream definitely needed
  • nursing pads definitely needed
  • gravol definitely needed
  • ibuprofen definitely needed
  • towel
  • toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, facial moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush & hair elastic, deodorant Only used what's marked in blue
  • makeup. There will be pictures, right?
  • lip balm definitely needed
  • hair dryer (do hospitals have these? I forgot to ask at the tour. I hate having wet hair!)
  • 2 pillows definitely needed
  • sleep mask
  • barf bucket. Yes, apparently I need to bring my own barf bucket. definitely needed! Ugh!
  • after outfit: a transition top (nursing/maternity) and probably my Moody Mamas lounge pants. Comfy and forgiving for a still-swollen belly. Socks, undies, comfy nursing bra. definitely needed
  • heat pad
  • blackberry, loaded with an audio book and music, and earphones
For hubby:
  • Daddy Scrubs (these are cool - hang in for a review/giveaway of these after the birth!) definitely needed
  • the book The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. definitely needed - DH referred to this throughout to learn more about what was happening
  • toothbrush definitely needed
  • Camera and charger definitely needed
  • Cell phone and charger definitely needed
  • Laptop - in case of boredom, and to keep family in the loop
  • Change of clothes (thanks for the tip, Chari!) definitely needed
For baby:
  • car seat. It's already installed. definitely needed
  • car seat cover (it's winter here), also already on there definitely needed
  • two outfits, a teeny one and a slightly bigger one, with feet teeny one was too small! definitely needed
  • sweater-suit - not quite a snow suit, but warm.
  • two hats, a cotton one and a soft toque
  • mittens: cotton no-scratch and warm wool ones
  • nursing pillow
  • package of newborn diapers. We're going to cloth diaper, but the first few days will use disposables. definitely needed
  • baby wipes. Again, we're going to use cloth wipes but have some disposables for the first few days. definitely needed
  • diaper cream
  • baby wash
  • receiving blanket
  • brush
  • digital thermometer
  • Vaseline (thanks Nelly!)
I have gathered some stuff to take to eat, since I keep hearing how awful hospital food is. My midwife actually included "Food and juice for midwives" on the list of things for me to bring - is that weird? I thought it was. I'm expected to feed them??? Anyway.
  • juice boxes definitely needed
  • Crispy Minis
  • trail mix
  • muffins from the freezer definitely needed
  • honey for energy
  • fruit salad bowls
  • puddings
  • plastic cup for ice/water definitely needed
  • spoons
Lots of sweet stuff, but I've had a sweet tooth the entire time so I imagine that will be fine. For me. And really... if anyone starts complaining about the menu to me while I'm in labour, they are really asking for it.

See what I mean? A freakin' zillion things. I'm not moving in, I'll be there for a very short time, I hope!

I'm gonna do it. Really. Just as soon as I'm done writing this post. Which is taking a long time. And I could write all day... Okay, okay!


  1. Have you double checked what the hospital provides? I mean most have the small toiletries, the linens (including a robe) are avaialble as well as the nursing aids. Also unless you live more than 30 minutes away from the hospital I don't think you need most of that stuff. Truth is most births go according to plan. And if you need more stuff, hubby, or a friend could run home and grab it. BTW - most hospitals don't allow you to take your "own" medication while in their care - so you probably shouldn't even bother bringing it.

  2. That is a lot of stuff! I packed way more than I needed. I only used my pj's, robe, lip balm, pads and clothes for the baby. If you don't bring something it'll be the one thing you NEED so you might as well bring everything you can think of! With any luck you'll be in and out and back home before you know it. If you can swing it try to get a private room, mine was partly covered and it was totally worth the few extra dollars for the quiet and private bathroom.

  3. Much of my list is actually from the hospital and my midwives (who regularly deliver at this hospital). I would have thought they’d provide some of this stuff, but they do say to bring your own kleenex, diapers, washcloths, toiletries and robes! I wonder if it’s a cost-cutting measure and they actually have the stuff but would rather not give it.

    We’re only 10 minutes from the hospital, so it really won’t matter too much if I forget something. Though my husband has said he doesn’t want to leave while I’m there!

    Because I’m in the care of midwives, they will allow me to bring any meds that they have prescribed, recommended, or know that I’m taking already.

    I feel like it’s way too long a list :S

    And the hospital has only two private rooms... our insurance does cover it, but it's first come, first served there. Hopefully I'll be home within hours of the birth, though!

  4. wow, I'm surprised they tell you to bring all that! blah! and to 'cut costs'? really you are pretty much billed a flat fee anyway per day for your care and you shouldn't have to bring so much(meds would be extra of course). I realize you are in CA so things might be different there, but a lot of that seems so un-necessary :-/ I figure if I'm paying the hospital that much just to have my baby that they can afford to have a few sposies, the baby's first outfit after birth, and basic stuff, etc...

    If your hubby says he doesn't want to leave you better pack a change of clothes for him as well. I was in the hospital for about 36 hours after birth and I don't think he even wanted to shower while he was there.

    A good way to pack for toiletries/makeup is to go ahead and pack travel sizes of all your toiletries. Leave a small travel makeup bag out on your bathroom counter with all the makeup you'll want to take. Then as you put on your makeup daily until birth you can take out what you normally use and then put it right back in the bag. That way when you are ready to go you just zip up the bag and you can go. Then you won't forget mascara or lipstick ;-)

    And something that I LOVED post partum was foregoing using my own underwear and large pads. In the hospital they give you stretchy underwear with pads to use. Then I packed a pack of Depends disposable underwear. These are thick enough to absorb PP flow plus I didn't have to worry about messing up underwear or having leaks. Everytime I had to go pee it was time to change into a new one anyway. They are nice soft and stretchy too. By the time I was through a pack of these the flow seemed to slow a little and I used regular pads at home. Definitely the most valuable thing to pack ;-)

  5. Good idea to pack a change of clothes for my hubby!
    And keeping a travel case for my daily use items is a good one, too. Thanks, Chari!

    I was wondering about the disposable underwear. It would be convenient, but they're like $27 a pack here for 16. It seems like a LOT of $ for something I'm throwing away?! I had bought a pack of cheap and ugly FotL undies when I realized my regular size wouldn't fit my pregnant butt anymore. I'm hoping those will do, with big ol' overnight maxi pads. It's not going to be comfy but I won't feel bad about stains or tossing those undies later.

  6. I packed way more than needed! I was happy to just have my lip balm and ice chips!

  7. Well, I never had to pack a hospital bag, since my plan had always been to have the baby at home (I love how the midwives give you that option). But one item that turned out to be quite important and I only found out I needed it when it was too late, is Vaseline. Nobody had told me this before I gave birth, but the meconium (first stools) is really nasty and sticks to the baby's butt like glue. So unless you want to scrape the stuff off your baby's bottom with a knife :) it really helps to apply a bit of Vaseline to the baby's bum during the first couple of days.

  8. Oh, that's what they want me to bring Vaseline for? I was ignoring it because I think it's nasty stuff. But given the alternative (scraping sticky meconium off poor newborn butt)... maybe I will pack it after all! Thanks Nelly!

  9. since you are 10 min from home and plan to come home soon after.. bring minimal.
    You do not want to wear anything of your own during delivery other than socks that can be thrown away afterwards.
    a nursing gown/top would be nice.... but at least in the US, meds and supplies are provided. But your own extra long pads are nicer than the ones they provide usually... and definitely old underwear you dont' care about....

  10. Here there are some stores that carry their own brand that are cheaper, plus I'm keeping my eyes pealed for them on sale and coupons in our newspaper so I can get my pack for April. But yes, if you can't get them very cheap I can understand that you'd just want to use your underwear and pads. It just makes it really nice to have the disposable ones :-)

  11. Yeah, with both babies I packed most of my house and used almost NONE of it! I don't know about your hospital but in Calgary they supplied us with most of what is on your list (ie. pads, puppy training pads, diapers, wipes, etc). They also gave us these super sexy (not) mesh panties which are way better than anything you will have.

    Also, I know it sounds nice to be home quickly after baby is out (exactly what I thought when I had my first) but sometimes the hospital is better than home. At the hospital you have lots of wonderful postpartum nurses to help you. Answer your questions, take the baby for a bit while you nap, etc. Once you are at home it's all you and you have no help. With baby 2 I totally took advantage of the help and stayed as long as I could (had to go home earlier than I wanted to because we had to get Chicken from daycare haha). Anyways, it's totally different for everyone but it's good to be open in case you change your mind.

    Either way - I'm wicked excited for you!!! I can't wait to hear all about the birth :)

  12. I just read your comments so I have more to say haha.

    The hospital told me to bring all those things too and then they were supplied (both times). I would say you are probably safe to not bring it all.

    And yeah, the vaselline is critical!

    And now, I'm going to give you the best piece of advice ever: DON"T EVER CHANGE A BABY'S BUM IN THE NIGHT. Unless you hear them poop, just leave them. Load them up with bum cream before they go to bed and then leave them until the morning. Changing their bum will just wake them up and cause you to be up longer than you have to! So go get bum cream (right now, go get it)!!

  13. Thanks for the tips!!!

    I have a feeling we will not be needing a lot of the stuff... If the prenatal classes were anything to go by, we are the most over-prepared parents-to-be out there!

    Because it’ll be a midwife delivery, the hospital acts more as a rented room than a true hospital stay. So we do bring our own supplies, for the most part (not equipment, obviously, though I know the midwives have their own bags of things).

    The midwife will come back to our home with us to help us settle in a bit after the birth as well. And, my lovely mum will come to stay a few days in, to give us some relief!

  14. I'd add more food :) If you're stuck in the hospital for another day or two you will be glad you did. Good luck, mama-to-be!!

  15. Wow that's a lot and way more than I brought for my first two kids.

    Reading this post made my baby squirm all over though holy cow! (31 weeks.) I want mine packed ASAP and I have a scheduled c-section but you never know, I could still go into labour myself before that.

    I just packed puzzle book, PJs, underwear and pads, bras and nursing pads, change of clothes or two for when I'm sick of PJS, going home clothes for baby, soother, blankets for car seat and the first child, a how to book. Hubby had camera so I didn't pack it exactly. People ended up bringing me other things such as deck of cards and take out. I didn't pack any food although I might this time.


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