What I Packed For The Hospital*

*And when I say hospital I, of course, mean a hospital, a birth center, your living room, a hippie commune yurt, etc. Wherever you choose to have a baby, go for it. This advice is universal.

Since having Luke, two of my dearest friends have decided to have babies of their own. Because I had done this before, both ladies reached out to me for advice on what to pack for the hospital. Since it was (hopefully) useful to them I thought I would share it here. My list comes from a combination of advice from Bradley Class, tips from books and my own experiences. Obviously this list might not be 100% on point for everyone, but it's a good start.

Here is a lot of information, in detailed lists (of course):

-insurance papers
-pre-registration documents - if your hospital allows pre-registration DO IT!
-birth plan, if you feel the need to write one

For my hospital stay I packed 3 small bags, rather than 1 large bag - this makes it easier to organize, when keeping the stuff tidy isn't exactly priority #1

-hospital approved snacks (ask your birthing teacher if she knows what your hospital allows, but filling, non-processed foods are a safe bet) - eat as much and as often as you are allowed to. the hospital might try to limit it, but labor is long and hard and you'll need fuel
-rice sock, massager, any other relaxation device you like
-yoga ball
-labor music and a way to play it (if that's your thing)
-warm, comfy socks and house shoes if you plan to walk around to encourage contractions (which you should!!)
-whatever you want/need to get your hair THE F&%K OUT OF YOUR FACE (you'll thank me later)
-some people bring their own comfortable labor clothes (or even dumber, buy their own "cute" hospital gown) but don't bother - you will get an array of bodily fluids on your clothes, so wear what the hospital provides

-going home outfit for you (stretchy = good, underwear = don't get mad when you ruin it)
-going home outfit for baby
-car seat (get it inspected in the car!)
-orange juice - i was really thirsty post-delivery and my bradley instructor told us orange juice helped balance out the hormone/blood sugar mania in your body
-don't bother with clothes for you - what with all the constant exams, nursing, etc it was easier for me to just keep wearing hospital gowns (no bra). you might want a nice(ish) bathrobe if you care about how you look for visitors.
-don't bother with clothes for baby - the hospital will keep baby clothed, swaddled, diapered, etc
-don't bother with stuff for your lady bits - the hospital will have you covered (and will likely send home extras) but you might want to stock up at home (see below)

-change(s) of clothes, you'll be there several days
-bathing suit if you want him to get into a labor tub with you
-warm shirt, hoodie, sweatpants, etc (laboring women often want the room COLD)
-snacks, gatorade, etc - hospital food is TERRIBLE
-gadgets (phones, camera, laptop, etc) - we didn't use these much during labor (obv) but we used them lots during our recovery days
-chargers for above gadgets

At home...

-pads/panty liners of varying absorbancy
-cortisone spray
-pre-soaked witch hazel pads
-peri bottle - if they give you one in the hospital, take it home with you, it never hurts to have a back-up
-incontinence pads (you will continue to leak, also good to have around the house/car during labor in case your water breaks)
-pillow to sit on
-sitz bath (I never did this, but other women have found it to be nice relief)

-regular nursing bras: as many as you are willing to spending money on - i had 3 or 4 but wished I had more
-comfy nursing bras (looks more like a sports bra) are great for sleeping and around the house - I had 2 actual sleep nursing bras, and 3-4 other soft, cotton bras that had no nursing panel but were easy enough to shift around
-nursing tops - honestly i think these are a waste of money. they're not flattering and are over priced. i just wore any top/dress that had enough give to get my girls out (either by pulling up, down, or to the side). i know lots of moms that wore nursing tanks under non-maternity tops/tunics and that worked well for them but i didn't want to spend the money
-washable nursing pads - i'm a big hippie and i think disposable nursing pads are evil (and itchy)

Also, I did not have a c-section so the "maintenance" section is devoted to recovering from vaginal childbirth and not from abdominal surgery. I'm sure there is stuff you would need for that but I have no clue what that might be. If you do have a c-section I'm sure there is plenty of info out there on the internet for you.

So, that's a lot of info... If you have anything to add please feel free to leave a note in the comments!

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