mamahood > getting ready > at the hospital

At the Hospital

Here are the things I found I was glad to have at the hospital:

camera, film and videotapes

Be sure to check all the batteries ahead of time. If you feel that you want the birth documented you should consider having a special family member or friend in the room with you to videotape and take photos, as you'll need your partner close by every moment for coaching and support. I wasn't so sure if I wanted a video for my first birth but I am so happy now that I have it.

names, phone numbers, and emails

Don't forget to bring contact information of the people you want to notify when your baby is born. A designated person should take care of spreading the happy news.

toiletries

And don't forget a hair dryer – most hospitals don't have them readily available.

several pairs of comfy socks

Make sure you have lots of big comfy socks for when you're in labor just in case you're cold, and for after the baby is born, instead of slippers. When you're walking around the hospital, it's better to get these dirty than your favorite slippers and you'll be able to grab a new pair.

cotton camisoles

You don't have to live in your hospital gown after giving birth. Cotton camisoles are much more practical, sexy, and convenient. Highly recommended to make you feel good, and also makes you look much cuter than a hospital gown would in all of those special photos with your new family.

flannel washcloths, antibiotic ointment & lanolin oil

You don't have to live in your hospital gown after giving birth. Cotton camisoles are much more practical, sexy, and convenient. Highly recommended to make you feel good, and also makes you look much cuter than a hospital gown would in all of those special photos with your new family.

cotton nursing bra

The cotton will be the softest on your nipples and will allow for moisture to pass.

coming home panties

You'll need something that's cotton and comfy and allows you to breathe. I brought my bikini panties I had been wearing through my pregnancy, and all I can say about that is “good luck!” I had to wear the hospital disposable panties home instead. Hot stuff!

your coming home clothes

I naively assumed I was going to wear my pre-pregnancy pants home! Not even close. Pack some stretchy pants, or consider a skirt. Plan for a nice coming home outfit because they'll be lots of special photo ops and it will just make you feel good.

hospital paperwork

Make certain that all necessary hospital paperwork is done far in advance of your due date.

comfort photos

Pack a photo that comforts you. This will give you something to focus on while you're in labor. For Gracie's birth I used a picture of our dogs. For Cecilia's birth I used a picture of Gracie. For Willow, I used a picture of Gracie & Cecilia.

cord blood kit

If you are banking your baby's cord blood, be sure to have all paperwork completed with the hospital ahead of time and don't forget to pack the kit. Make sure you have a friend see that the cord blood gets to the overnight delivery company on time. Most cord blood banks now have a courier to come directly to the hospital for you, which makes it more hassle-free. Also, be sure to remind the midwife and/or doctor during the delivery that you are banking the cord blood. This is a very important reminder.

…and don’t forget the baby!

The only thing you really need for the baby at the hospital is a comfy coming home outfit and you also might want to consider your own swaddle blankets in plain white. Some white, baby blue or pink hats and cotton snap front T-shirts are also a good idea. I say this because I'd wished that we had some photos of Gracie at the hospital in something other than the generic hospital t-shirts and swaddle blankets covered with bears and the words “hospital property” all over them. When Cecilia was born and they moved me into my own room I put her in her own white snap tee, swaddle blanket and hat. It's a personal touch and doesn't feel so sterile. The nurses loved it too.

When coming home from the hospital in the wintertime, it's best to dress your newborn and then cover him in the car seat with blankets (rather than putting him in bulky clothing.) Just be sure that the car is warm and waiting for you and the baby before you go outside.

Finally, you might want to also pack a baby brush. Gracie came out with a full head of hair and when the hospital came to take her photo I'd wished that I had one along with a little hair clip or ribbon. And don't forget your diaper bag. You'll probably want to use your own diaper choice and you might even need those safety tip scissors before the baby comes home.

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