Before Baby Dee arrived, I read countless blogs for advice on what to pack in my hospital bag. I'm not going to give you the total rundown of what I packed, because you can go ahead and do the research yourself, but I thought I'd share some of the things that were particularly helpful (along with what wasn't and what I wish I had done differently). Mind you, I've only had experience with this once, so I'm no expert or anything... Keep in mind also, that I had a scheduled C-section, so my needs may have been a bit different from yours. I'm just sharing what worked for me.
Everytime we visited the hospital (for our tour, baby class, breastfeeding class, and other pre-baby procedures) it was emphasized how important it was to bring lots of pillows! We brought 2 pillows and a Bobby. I used a cute pillow case for my pillow, which helped cheer up the hospital room.
2. Extension Cord
One of the best tips I read during my extensive research was to bring an extension cord (and surprisingly, I only saw this tip once!) Hospital outlets are always situated in awkward places, so this was a brilliant idea ad helped us keep our various electronics (phones for me and hubby, laptop, and iPad) charged and conveniently accessible.
3. Travel Toiletries
This one may be a no-brainer, but usually when we travel, I just pack some of our regular toiletries (like I don't bother with travel size deodorant or travel toothbrushes; I just bring our regular stuff). This time, I went out and purchased a separate set of all of our toiletries to pack. This obviously didn't make much of a different at the hospital, but it was rather convenient not to have to worry about UNPACKING the toiletry bag once we got home. Just one less thing to worry about when you are sleep deprived and learning your new roles and routines!
I have a LeSportsac Travel Toiletry bag from ages ago (a gift from Hubby when we were DATING!) and sadly they don't make bags in this style anymore... If they did, I'd really love this one.
4. A Robe
A lot of "what to pack" lists tell you to take a robe. I was a little unsure about this tip because I'm just not a robe type of person. I decided I needed one because I remember during my last surgery recovery when I didn't want to wear any pants... LOL. I figured that this time we would probably have more visitors and that they probably didn't want to see me pant-less (you're welcome, by the way). I shopped around and ordered and tried on a ridiculous amount of robes. I chose this cotton robe with 3/4 length sleeves and a sash that was sewn in as part of the back of the robe. These features ended up being super convenient since I didn't have to worry about rolling up sleeves, adjusting sashes, or getting tangled up.
I also brought my "hospital slippers" which are just ordinary comfy house slippers, but set aside specifically for the hospital because, well, we've had quite a few hospital stays in the past few years.
5. Water Bottle
I packed a water bottle, just in case... It came in handy for Hubby. The nurses only bring the patients water, but we had access to the water cooler to refill for Hubby, which was convenient. We also brought along a case of bottled water (we left it in the car and brought in a few bottles at a time) which was handy to have for my mom and other visitors.
What Didn't Work:
1. Baby Hats and Headbands
I packed several of these for photos and such. I'm not sure why, but all of them were just way too big! We ended up just using the little pink hat that the hospital gave us (and continued to use it for a while) We're still struggling to find cute ones that fit Baby Dee's head so if anyone has any good suggestions, I'd love to hear which stores/brands are recommended.
2. Cardstock for Footprints
I packed pre-cut cardstock to get Baby Dee's foot prints for her baby book (I'm planning on doing Project Life!) but we totally forgot to get it out and give it to the nurse ahead of time. Oops!
3. Hubby's Toiletries
I packed Hubby's toiletries with mine, which seemed to make sense since that's what we do when we travel. My mom got a hotel room across the street from the hospital (since we live 45 minutes away) so Hubby would go there to shower and freshen up. Of course, he would be doing that at the same time that I would want to freshen up, but he had the toiletry bag with him... Fail.
We packed lots and lots of snacks, but I really had no idea what I would want once Baby Dee arrived. Turns out, I didn't want much of what I packed. Hahaha. We ended up bringing home a lot of uneaten snacks and making several snack runs during the hospital stay anyway. I'm not saying don't pack snacks, you just may want to be more thoughtful about it...
This was actually my Mom's idea, and we had the best of intentions to take photos, print them out at a nearby drugstore and send a card via snail mail to our non-text-savvy grandparents, since they wouldn't get the official "she's here!" text when Baby Dee was born. Obviously, we were a little preoccupied in the hospital, so we didn't get around to sending the cards until after we got home.
What I Wish I Did Differently:
Surprisingly, I didn't think about this, even though I had a similar surgery just over a year ago and quite possibly ran into the same problem. I forgot to bring a hair tie! I usually use a clip to pull my hair back, but since you can't have any metal on you during surgery, I really needed a rubber band! I rarely pull my hair back, but I like these flat hair ties when I do and I totally wish I had one!
I did take clips and headbands with me and used them. I think this headband is totally cute and I kind of wish I had shopped for cute headbands too, since they ended up in the photos - haha.
2. A Cooler
Although we packed lots of snacks, after surgery, I ended up wanting a lot of cold things! My hubby had to run out often to pick up whatever perishables I wanted at that moment. Unfortunately, hospital rooms don't have mini fridges, so we ended up tossing a lot since we couldn't keep things cold. I wish we had brought a cooler and requested that our visitors bring us ice packs when they came to see the baby.
3. Pineapple Juice
I read that pineapple juice is good for breastfeeding moms. I actually bought pineapple juice to take to the hospital, but totally forgot about it. Luckily, my mom is resourceful and was able to beg for some from the hotel where she was staying.
4. Blanket for Hubby
Several blogs suggested to bring an extra blanket for Dad, but I thought it was excessive, since we already had quite a growing mound of stuff to take to the hospital. The nurses brought up extra sheets for Hubby to sleep on the ultra comfy pull out chair bed, which seemed sufficient, However, I was super hot after surgery and the "guest bed" was positioned next to the air conditioner, so he was a little chilly! An extra blanket probably would have helped!
5. Packing Our Bags
I packed all of our bags by type - a bag for me, a bag for Hubby, a bag for baby, a bag for electronics, a bag of pillows, and a snack bag (I told you we brought a lot!) I think having things packed based on when we would need them may have been more helpful - a bag for things I needed BEFORE surgery, a bag for after, and a bag for going home. This probably would have helped us not forget the cardstock for the baby footprints, since those were packed in the bag for baby, which wasn't touched until AFTER the baby was born - again, Oops!
Okay, I lied... I will share a run down of everything I packed for all of you curious minds. Here we go:
In My Bag:
- my blankie (I can't sleep without it!)
- pajamas (this night gown)
- robe (this one)
- eye mask
- pretty socks
- flip flops (for the shower)
- small pouch with nursing bras, nursing pads and lanolin
- hair clip & headband
- lip balm
- toiletry bag with toiletries (both mine & hubby's)
- shampoo, conditioner, & body wash
- face wash & moisturizer
- toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, & mouthwash
- body lotion (definitely needed this since hospital air is dry)
- contact lens solution, case, and extra pair of contacts
- going home outfit
- back-up going home outfit
In Hubby's Bag:
- clothes - jeans, tees, button up shirts, underwear & socks for 4 days
- swim trunks (to assist with showering)
In Baby's Bag:
- journal & pen (I ordered this personalized one)
- cardstock (for footprints)
- cards & postage stamps
- blanket (to wrap baby in and present to our pup to share baby's scent)
- cute hats and headbands
- going home outfit
- back-up going home outfit
- back-up back-up going home outfit (one can never be too prepared! Haha)
In Our Electronics Bag:
In Our Snack Bag:
- cookies, chips, crackers
- mints & gum
- hand wipes
- water bottle
- box of tissues
- case of water
- 2 pillows
- camera bag with camera and charger (yes, we took 2 cameras - you can never get enough photos!)
- car seat