Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meg vs. Labor: What to Pack

Since I am somewhat out of commission on the project front, there will be some baby posts on the horizon. I know I posted this list already, but now that we were surprised with an early arrival, I can more confidently say that I am satisfied with my packing list. So here it is again, and I'll do some explaining this time.

When it comes to the hospital, I am all about comfort and very little about frills. I am grateful for the great care I have received during and after my deliveries, but I can't help but hate the hospital, and want to be there the least amount of time possible. 

So here's a quick rundown of my list:

Clothing: I am the type that is happy to stay in the hospital garb until just before it's time to go home; there is always someone coming around wanting to poke or check or what-have-you, and it's just more convenient to stay in the gown. Not to mention that things are a little messy and uncomfortable after having a baby (thus the granny panties); why would I want to take that laundry home? 

That said, I still brought some grungy clothes in case I ended up being stuck in the hospital for longer than my 2-day average and got too sick of the gown. I also pack a nursing camisole to wear under the gown (as much fun as it would be to accidentally flash my hospital visitors, I have decided it's better to avoid it).

I threw in an extra tee and shorts for the hubs in case he wanted it, but he ended up coming home to put the big boys to bed and showering and changing then. But if you are having your first baby and your hubby is planning to stay with you the whole time, be kind and pack him a change.

I tend to go by the same philosophy with baby clothes as with my own; I have kept my boys in the little hospital shirts and blankies during their stays. However, with my second our room was really chilly, so this time I brought a long-sleeved onesie and an extra sleeper just in case. Luckily that wasn't a problem at this hospital. I also toss in a set of mittens in case baby gets to scratching his face, and of course everyone needs an outfit to wear home.

Toiletries: Just the basics here; I am not going to be painting my toenails right after pushing out a baby. Chapstick, deodorant, shower stuff if you are picky (if not, the hospital will have shampoo, soap, etc.), and most definitely a toothbrush and toothpaste. And bring pads you like; the hospital may provide tolerable ones, or may provide weird, awkward ones that you can't stand. (I heart the stayfree overnights with wings. Because the internet wanted to know that about me.) I also try to force myself to put on makeup, since people are always snapping pictures, so that goes in the bag as well. And hair ties are a must for getting hair out of the way during labor. Some people prefer a headband, but I have a giant head so bands don't stay put for me.

And again, be kind and pack stuff for Daddy as well (chances are, he won't be packing anything for himself).

Nursing Supplies: I think I may do another post on my product recommendations for nursing, but at the very least I would pick up some lanolin cream to combat the impending soreness. I personally have really dry, sensitive skin, and am destined for painful cracks, so I have a few extra products on my list: nursing shells to keep anything from touching me (ouch!), and Polysporin (like Neosporin, but better for sensitive skin) to prevent any topical infections (had one with the last baby, and it wasn't fun). You probably won't need the nursing pads since it's unlikely for your milk to come in before you get home, but they don't take up too much room just in case you have a longer stay or you have lots of milk come early (mine has come faster with each baby).

Bedding: Not strictly necessary, as the hospital has pillows and blankets for the asking, but nice to have, especially if you are picky about pillows. Since I went into labor surprisingly early, I hadn't put anything in the car, and we didn't miss them much.

Other baby supplies: The hospital should provide most everything, but there are a few of my own things I like to have on hand:

  • Pacifiers other than the Soothie, in case baby likes it better. Also, some hospitals have anti-paci policy for nursing babies, so it's nice to have your own and not have to beg the judgy nurse for one. 
  • Two of our hospitals provided dry wipes you had to wet in the sink. Kind of a pain, so I pack my own wipes.
  • I am still completely incapable of getting a good swaddle with a dinky flannel receiving blanket. So I bring a nice stretchy swaddling blanket, since all my babies have loved a good swaddle. Some people swear by the Aiden & Anais muslin ones. I am too cheap to buy them, so I just picked out the stretchiest blanket from my stash of shower gifts. 
  • Pump and bottle. this one is somewhat unique to us; cleft lip & palate runs in our family, and our first had a cleft, so I keep some feeding supplies in my bag just in case. Your hospital will have the necessary supplies if you end up needing them, but I like to have my own that I am used to.
Sibling stuff: This can be a tough time for big sibs, so having something special for them when they come to the hospital is nice. I was hoping to get some kits together with things for them and things for them to give to the baby, but didn't get that far. My mom saved the day and put together some gift bags "from the baby" for them to open, and they were thrilled.

Electronics: I think most of this stuff is self-explanatory. They help to keep in touch and stave off claustrophobia.

Car seat: Put it in your car a few weeks early, and make sure you know how it works.

Questions or comments or better ideas? Please share! I hope that this is helpful to someone!

P.S. Feel free to swipe and print my list if it suits your fancy!

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