Let’s treat this one as a been-there-done-that sort of post, shall we? I received a few requests to share what I took with me to the hospital, after mentioning that a post like this was only in the works when I actually went into labor. Instead, I decided to take a fresh look back and share what I did and did not use during my stay. Maybe it’ll help you almost-there mamas pack a little lighter… or heavier!
The absolute must-haves:
Peppermint oil. During labor, during postpartum sleep-deprived headaches, during nausea, during it all. Friends, you need this stuff in your life.
Motherlove nipple cream. I use this after every nursing session during the first few weeks. I will never again use lanolin, after the thrush issues I’ve experienced! My hospital also offered little vials of olive oil, which works great too.
Medela nipple shields. In my opinion, these are like pacifiers… Do not let anyone discourage you from using these things if they work well for you and your baby! They’ve helped me with everything from cracks to latch issues. At the first twinge of discomfort with Hadassah, I pulled my shield out of the bag. I used it with nearly every nursing session for several days.
Medela breast shells. I only discovered these during my late breastfeeding days with the twins, but they’re magic for the newborn phase as well. They hold your clothes away from you and allow things to breathe when you’re not nursing.
Boppy nursing pillow. The only piece of baby gear I think a mama needs in the hospital. They’re great for establishing proper nursing positions, as well as letting visitors hold baby comfortably or nestling a newborn in for a nap while you rest or shower!
Lightweight bathrobe. Easy on, easy off. Soft as all get out. Any questions?
Travel-sized toiletries. Get the good stuff! No regrets!
Aden & Anais swaddle blanket. So far, Hadassah has worn maybe three outfits in two weeks. A diaper and a sweet layer of bamboo is really all she needs these days.
Sent family home to get:
More swaddle blankets. The wear and tear of a newborn and a hospital and staying in bed all day calls for frequent wardrobe changes. We like Swaddle Designs, too!
Burp cloths. I blanked on these and burped Haddie Lee up against her own blanket (or my bedsheets) until I got a hold of my stash from home. Prefold diapers are a great option, because they absorb a lot while nursing/burping, and they can double as a nursing cover.
Cotton nursing bras. Easy access for nursing, plus they’re modest enough for quick a cover-up should someone barge in at any moment. Do not even think about underwire or lacy cuteness yet.
Cotton t-shirts. Read above. We’re going for comfort and breathable fabrics here!
Why did I even bother with:
Sports bras, and all things synthetic for up top. Just…no.
Underwear. The hospital’s super-cute mesh panties work way better during the early days.
Tank tops. Just a bra and a bathrobe or loose tee works best while milk is on its way and baby nurses so frequently. I also wasn’t exactly worried about shaving my underarms during the first two days… and nobody wants to see that when they visit, right?!
Pajama pants. It’s safe to say that I spent 90% of my hospital stay wearing just a top and the super-sexy mesh hospital panties, which happen to double as fashionable biker shorts.
A little more advice for the hospital-headed:
You do not have to let the nursing staff bathe your baby. We’ve always declined in favor of doing it ourselves, when I’m feeling better and can participate. If you want them to, by all means – go for it! But don’t feel pressured if you’d rather do it yourself when you get home.
Likewise, you do not necessarily have to let your baby leave the room. Ever. If your hospital is anything like mine, they (hopefully) promote “rooming in” with baby. The staff can do their hearing tests, etc. in the room. Even the pediatrician can come do assessments at your bedside. Look into it!
Do not push yourself, but do push yourself. C-section mamas, you absolutely must walk. Frequently, in fact, or else the gas pain that awaits you at home might possibly be worse than the incisional pain in your tummy. For this birth, I stayed in bed a lot but did insist on one good shower with my delicious bath products before heading home. It was literally the big activity of the day, and it took a lot out of me. But it was worth it, especially since it was a few days before I had the chance again.
There you have it, folks! Your turn…
What words of wisdom can you share regarding labor & delivery stays at the hospital?