Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tips For Packing Your Hospital Bag

Getting excited about the arrival of our new daughter! The due date is around the corner {March 3rd!}, which means I need to be ready at any moment to go. After having Little Girl, we realized we had packed way too much and not what we ended up actually needing. Here are a few tips for packing your hospital bag. I'm by no means an expert, but I hope my advice can help you out.

Enter my new favorite thing on the planet: my Vera Bradley Weekender in Clementine. My mother got it for me for Valentine's Day, and its replacing an old blag travel bag that I've had for probably close to 10 years. Its absolutely tiny and most of it has been ripped and chewed on by our cats. Now that my husband and I are married and we've got children, I think its time to let that thing go...and maybe toss it into a fire while I'm at it.

When it was getting close to my due date with Little Girl, I scoured the internet looking for what I needed to bring to the hospital when I went into labor. I wanted to be ready. What I found were lists upon lists upon lists of many, many, many items that I needed to pack. I combined what I had read and had a large bag at the ready.

Then we actually went to the hospital. Less is more. We've learned our lesson!

Here are my essentials:

- Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, brush, and hairdryer
- PJs & Slippers
- Baby's take home outfit {at least two different sizes}
- An outfit for leaving the hospital
- Entertainment: Nook & Nintendo 3DS {a DVD, tablet, or netbook are also good options}
- Empty Bag
- Pillow & Blanket
- Baby Book
- Camera
- Chargers AND an Extension Cord

That is honestly all you really need to bring. Its a very short stay, so you don't need to pack a full suitcase. My hospital requires me to stay two nights, but some may only keep you 24 hours. Double check with your doctor if you're unsure. I know that I'm unable to breastfeed, so a Boppy and/or Breast Pump are not needed in my case. Even if they were, you can actually rent breast pumps at most hospitals if you don't want to pack yours. I have a preference in pillows, so I bring mine everywhere I stay over night. After the delivery, down there is quite uncomfortable and it will be checked consistently by nurses, which means that a pajama gown the entire time is really the best option. I will bring a pair or two of my own underwear, but I don't expect to use them until its time to leave. They give you these fantastic mesh panties that are comfortable and you won't care will be ruined {cause ruined they will most likely get}.

My biggest advice: take advantage of everything they give you. Every. Single. Thing. That brings me to the empty bag I included in my list. Whenever they bring me items like bottles of formula, diapers, blankets, helpful medicated toiletries for down there, I will toss as many of those items into that empty bag and send them home with my husband each night. The next day: rinse & repeat. You're already paying for it, so why not take it? And those little liquid 2 oz ready-to-drink formula bottles are life-savers! Newborns will drink 1 oz every couple of hours, which is kind of hard to mix with powder. Take advantage if you are supplementing or if you're unable to breastfeed. I'd take them for emergencies anyway.

One other piece of advice I have about staying in the hospital. Let the nurses take your baby for at least one of the nights. You'll be so exhausted after having the baby, you'll need your sleep. Yes, people talk about bonding, etc, but babies can sense anxiety and frustration in their mothers. If you're tired and frustrated, your baby will fuss, which is an endless circle of anxiety and no sleep will be had by anyone. So, let them take your baby and watch over him or her for at least a few hours while you get your sleep. It won't be the end of the world and you have the rest of your life to bond. You're going to be encountering upcoming months of sleepless nights, so its best to relax and let medical professionals watch over your little one while you recuperate.

Now that we have already have a daughter that will be joining us during the day while I'm in the hospital, I'm not quite sure what to do with that situation. I know she's going to want to see the baby, but since we're all going to be at the hospital most of the time, she'll get bored. When she gets bored, she gets into everything. Especially when attention is not on her.

Her favorite thing to do is color, so I bought her a few coloring books {Target dollar spot, oh yea!}, a brand new thing of crayons in the shape of cupcakes {Target clearance - my favorite thing}, and a cute little plastic bag to put all these goodies in. I'll throw a toy or two in there too that way she'll have something that's new for her, and hopefully she won't get upset about the new arrival. I'm hoping this works!

Does anyone else have any advice they'd like to share? Any tips, questions, or comments, just reply below! I'd love to hear from readers what their experiences have been like. I'd really love some advice from second {or third, or fourth} time mamas on what to do to entertain their other children and help make them still feel special when there's a new arrival in the family. Any help would be very welcome!

This post is linked up to A Bowl Full of Lemons’ One Project at a Time, Lovely Ladies Linky, live laugh linky, Lamberts Lately's Create It Thursday, & Work It Wednesday.

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