Art (4) baby (5) blogs (3) cleaning (4) Dear Mom (5) educational (13) entertainment (11) Free Stuff (3) fun (8) Grrumbles (4) humor (14) issues (10) lunch (3) Medical (9) My Family (13) pregnancy (1) Preschoolers (5) Products (3) reading (1) safety (4) solutions (19) Teens (1) Toddlers (5) Tweens (3)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hospital Packing List

The one question that I have heard most often during my years of being a mother typically comes from the women who are having their very first baby. The all want to know "What do I take to the hospital with me when it is time to have the baby?" Sure, there are many lists available that detail suggestions for packing. However, I have found that most of the things that are recommended are unnecessary and many things that are necessary just are not listed. So here is my practical list of hospital necessities for the expectant mother.

I want to start by saying that the expectant mother really should make the time to tour the maternity ward at the hospital. This is important for a few reasons. First, touring the hospital will make you feel more comfortable about what to expect when you go to the hospital. Second, you will find out exactly what the hospital provides for you and what they do not provide. Third, you will find out what you are allowed to bring and what you are not allowed to bring.

I also want to add that if your hospital has a preregistration option, then preregister. This will save a ton of time and make the arrival at the hospital far less stressful.

Now for the list:

1) One of the most important items to add to your bag is candy. When you buy your candy, you should get a wide variety. The Hershey's miniatures are a good selection because everybody likes something out of that collection. Be sure to include some hard candies, too. Pack a small bowl to pour your candy in. As your nurses come into your room, let them know that the candy is there for them. Trust me when I say that this small gesture will increase your level of service dramatically. This is especially important if you are having a Cesarean because you will be at the hospital for several days. My night nurse always came in to fill her pockets for the night armed with two or three extra packs of Jello for me. She new what kind of Jello I liked after the first night and would even go to other floors to get their Jello for me when the maternity ward was out of Jello. When I left the hospital, I still had some candy left over. So as I was leaving, I dropped the bag off at the nurses' station for them to continue to enjoy and for me to avoid eating...

2) Take your own pillow and your own blanket, especially if you will be staying for a few days. Hospital beds are NOT comfortable. Having your own small comforts of home will help you rest.

3) Take your own gowns. Your gowns are far more comfortable than hospital gowns. If you are concerned about getting your good gowns messed up, then go to your local
Wal-Mart and buy some of the "granny gowns" that are inexpensive. Buy a size that will fit you pregnant body to insure complete comfort.

4) Many people like to take blankets and clothes for the new baby. This is okay, but not really necessary. If you plan to take clothes for your new baby, the infant gowns are a good option because they fit most babies.

5) Take a camera and extra batteries. Buy the batteries weeks in advance to avoid forgetting them. (not that my husband EVER forgot to get fresh batteries...)
If you happen to have a friend who does professional photography, see if you can arrange a photo shoot in the hospital as a gift.

6) If you are using any kind of parenting books, take one of those also. The What to Expect books are very good.

7) Take some magazines and a book or two if you expect to be in the hospital for a few days. Be sure to include something that your partner will enjoy reading.

8) Feel free to take your own Tylenol, Advil, or other OTC pain medication. You are not required to use the medication that the hospital gives you. Just be sure to notify them that you are providing your own medications. This is especially important if your insurance requires you to pay a portion of the bill. The hospital typically over charges for these medications. The same is true for any prescriptions that you take. While the hospital will gladly provide those medications to you, they charge far too much for them. You will save a great deal of money if you take your own medications.

9) Take a notebook. Use this to write down when you change diapers and when you feed your baby. Leave this notebook by the candy so your nurse will not have to disturb you if you are sleeping just to ask you when these things have occurred, especially since you may not be able to remember if it isn't written down.

10) Take a sense of humor. No matter what you expect or how you think your birthing experience will be --- the best laid plans never work the way you expect.