After 1 3/4 pregnancies, I somehow became the resident expert on pregnancy among my friends. Not really, but my newly pregnant friends have lots of questions about maternity clothing, pregnancy, essential baby items, etc. So I figured I would share my knowledge in a blog post. Five, actually.
This is post four of five.
What to Bring to the Hospital:
It's recommended to have your bag packed at 8 months, since you really could go into labor at any time after that point.
Nightgown or pajamas. The hospital provides gowns, which are conveniently open in the back and great for flashing your visitors. If you plan to nurse, nursing tops or pajamas are especially nice to have. I brought a robe when Joey was born and wore it for most of my stay.
Undergarments. You'll need nursing bras if you plan to nurse. And your doctor will probably tell you not to bring thong underwear. That's good advice.
Toiletries, makeup, and a hairdryer. Your picture will be taken and you'll want to look good. Samples from the cosmetics companies are great for the hospital bag. Don't forget your glasses, contacts, and contact solution.
Going home clothes for you. When you have limited maternity clothes, it's hard to pack away an outfit for possibly a month. You can expect to look six months pregnant when you leave the hospital. If you just can't spare an outfit for the hospital bag and you live near the hospital, send someone to bring you a change of clothing. Or just go home in the clothes you came in. Who will care?
For the baby:
The hospital will provide everything that you "need" for your new baby. Don't bother to bring diapers and wipes from home; in fact, bring home everything that's not nailed down.
Mittens. Some hospitals won't trim baby's fingernails and Joey's were quite jagged. She scratched the heck out of her face until we put socks on her hands. You might even want to bring the baby's nail clippers or an emery board to do it yourself.
Clothes for the baby. Pack several outfit changes just because it's fun to dress the baby up. Most hospitals will only provide a paper shirt for the baby to wear. Kimono-style tops are especially nice for the early weeks because you don't need to pull clothing over the baby's head. Be sure to pack socks if the outfits you bring don't cover the baby's feet.
Boppy. We got a lot of use out of ours when Joey was born. If you're not sure that you'll want/need it, at least pack it and leave it in the car.
We enjoyed having a little entertainment during my labor with Joey. The laptop was essential, and we were pleased that our hospital had free wi-fi. We got a lot of use out of our baby name book because we were undecided on Josephine's name. Many expectant parents bring iPod and speakers, and some make special baby mixes. I brought magazines, but they weren't even touched.
Camera. For obvious reasons. If you don't want to keep your digital camera packed in your hospital bag, consider packing a disposable camera as a backup.
Chargers/batteries for electronics.
Change for the vending machines and for parking.
Snacks. The hospital will feed you, but my experience was that hospital food was disgusting. Non-perishable snacks can be packed in the hospital bag, but you should also be able to bring in other snacks, such as fruit.
We'll pack a gift for Joey from her baby sister. Joey will give a gift to her baby sister in return.
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