I have experienced the maternity ward at two different hospitals in two different states and have since developed excellent tips on what to actually pack for the hospital. There are three people to consider: You, Your New Baby, and Your Spouse (which is usually the forgotten one).
First, I will start with the super excited (and probably nervous) mom-to-be. Before my first trip to the maternity ward, I gathered some pointers from friends, read up online and in magazines as to what to bring. You should also consider if it’s your 1st, 2nd or 3rd, etc. baby. From my experience, you spend a lot more time in labor with baby #1. Therefore, you will want some things to occupy your time while you are in labor. For this post however, it doesn’t matter which pregnancy it is for you. Here are my overall top picks:
Top picks for what to pack for Mom:
–“Trash” magazines: Great for the quick celebrity gossip in between contractions.
–DVDs: My TV was on the entire time I was in the hospital bed and my channel options were limited so it helps to bring some funny movies to take your mind off of things. Just make sure they have a DVD player!
–CDs or MP3 player: Some people create playlists to calm them down or actually rev them up when its time to push. I actually brought a CD player with a CD of classical music since I wanted to calm myself (and everyone else in the room) when its time to get the baby out. (Plus, I heard classical music makes your baby smarter, right???)
–Baby journal: My friend told me to bring the baby journal just in case you have family visiting. I had my in-laws and family fill in their family tree pages – it gave them something to do too while everyone is sitting around waiting.
–Room spray, warm, fuzzy slippers and a soft robe: In my mind, I wanted to create a spa-like ambiance (you are probably thinking, huh??). Anything to calm myself down. So, I brought lavender spray, my white slippers & white robe. My doctor actually came in and said, “It feels like a spa in here.” Mission accomplished.
–Shower shoes: Best advice–bring them!!
–Maternity clothes: Contrary to popular belief, you will not be leaving the hospital in your pre-preganancy clothes. Pack some comfy maternity clothes for your trip home (and for your stay in the hospital–after you give birth, you are going to want to get rid of those ugly hospital gowns).
–Coming Home outfit (and a couple of outfits for the hospital): The hospitals do provide swaddle blankets & snap side shirts, but with the visitors that you will be getting, you may want to dress up that little one (well, at least I did). Bring some options for the hospital stay & for the going home outfit.
–Car Seat: You can’t leave the hospital without one, so make sure you have your infant car seat ready to go (and your car seat base safely installed in your car). Also make sure that you know how to use your car seat (remember, read your vehicle manual and your car seat instruction manual!). My pick, of course, is the Graco Snugride 35!
–Blanket: The hospital will give you a swaddle blanket to take with you, but you may want your own soft and cozy blanket to cover the baby after they are snugly harnessed into their car seat (and it looks good in your pictures!)
Top picks for what to pack for Dad:
–Shower shoes: Yes, he is going to want to shower too if he sleeps there every night with you (and of course, you want him too), so the same rule applies to him.
–Pillows: Dad is going to get his moments to snooze on the rock hard sofa/bed so try to make his stay a little more comfortable with pillows from home.
–Vending machine money: There is going to be some late night runs to the vending machines once everything is closed, so make sure you bring change to re-energize yourself with some chips & Snickers.
–Camera & video camera: One of Dad’s most important roles in the delivery room is picture taking (and support of course!). Make sure you capture every moment of your baby’s firsts (but make sure you have your wife approve any pics before sending them out to family & friends).
I know this sounds like a lot to pack, but, you are going to be there for 2-5 days depending your delivery. These are some tips that I have picked up along the way and I hope they help you too. For all of the expectant mamas, best of luck for a safe and easy delivery!
For all of the moms, what is your top pick to pack in your hospital bag?