Monday, February 18, 2013

Mama Monday: What to Pack When You're Expecting

Although a hospital stay is no trip to Hawaii, it is, in a sense, a honeymoon. You and your husband fall all kinds of in love with your sweet baby love and someone else cleans the room, makes the bed, and brings you room service. Maybe not quite 5 stars. Here's what I'm packing for my trip to the maternity ward:

Mama's Bag
  • A nice comfy and soft robe. If you happen to want to walk about while in labor, you have something to cover your backside. Me? I had an epidural within an hour of arriving in L&D. No pacing the halls there. But, our sweet Jack spent the nights in the nursery, and it gave me something to throw on when I woke up at 1 am to sneak down to peek at his sweet face.
  • Nightgowns or "day dresses". I found that the idea of even comfy pajama or yoga pants just didn't do it for me those first couple of days. I picked up a couple of cute empire-waisted nightgowns and paired them with cardigans since we had visitors in and out. I'm a dress girl, anyway. If you're nursing, you'll want to make sure you bring something with easy access.
  • Some slippers and furry socks. Listen, I swelled up like an albino watermelon after I had Jack, and it was even a stretch that second day for me to get my Ugg slippers on. I spent most of my days in those furry grippy socks that you can find in the hosiery/sock department at Dillard's.
  • My favorite toiletries. I splurged on my favorite shampoo and conditioner, favorite body wash, and a new lipstick. Whatever I thought might make me feel pampered, I bought it and packed it. I did my hair and makeup every day in the hospital because it made me feel like myself. Did I look amazing? No. (See albino watermelon mention.) But it made me feel a little more like myself.
  • The nitty gritty. I'm not going to go into the un-pretty items in my bag for postpartum care, but feel free to e-mail if you're curious. There are some great suggestions in the comments of this post.
  • An outfit for coming home. Remembering to balance total comfort with the fact that this will be photographed and in my family memory album forever. No pressure.
  • Chocolate malted milk balls. This is absolutely not needed and a personal preference.
  • An extra bag. You'll need an extra bag to tote home all the diapers, wipes, and samples of all sorts of things that baby product makers send to the hospital to convince you to buy their stuff. Stock up on those newborn diapers!
  • Electronics. We'll have at least one laptop and our phones, plus camera, and then the chargers for all of them.
Untitled #12
Annabelle's Bag
  • Headgear. The baby will be learning to regulate her own temp over the next few days, so it's good to keep a hat on her head. The hospital provides one (usually pink and blue stripes), but I've packed my own too. And let's not deceive ourselves--I've got some bows up in that bag too. Can't stop won't stop.
  • 2-3 soft baby outfits. I'm a huge fan of babies in gowns because I cannot deal with snaps in the middle of the night. Again, the hospital will provide the baby with something to wear (like those plain white diaper shirts) so this is up to mom's discretion. I packed some for Jack and only used one on the second day.
  • Baby fingernail scissors. The hospital will not take responsibility for cutting tiny fingernails. If my girl comes out in need of her first mani, I'll be prepared. I prefer the little scissors over clippers because you can be more accurate with them.
  • Our paci of choice. We gave Jack the big green button the hospital provided (upon request), but I switched him out within days of getting home. This time, I've already boiled the pacis I'm hoping Annabelle will take and will have them on hand if she needs one in the hospital.
  • A boppy. Whether you bottle feed or nurse, this is really a lifesaver on the arm muscles.
  • The baby book. I had Jack's with us but forgot to have visitors sign in or have the nurse put his footprints in it. This time, I have fully briefed the husband on the expectations for this book to make it a team responsibility. If you come visit me, remind me to have you sign it!
  • Coming home outfit/blanket. You can take this as far as you want. We are big on the coming home outfit. It's her first fashion debut, so you can imagine that sister has a sweet dress and beautiful accessories.
  • Infant carrier. This is an obvious item, of course. We'll leave ours in the car, and she'll ride down in my arms to save some space in our room.
Miscellaneous Commentary: Our hospital (and most, I would imagine) provided diapers, wipes, formula if used, nasal aspirator (the nose suction thing), baby soap, and pretty much anything needed for the baby while there. I'm saving the inaugural use of my cute new diaper bag for baby's first visit to the pedi. There's no need for one more bag up in that room.

Notice that I am not packing snacks for my husband, although many people will include that in their lists. I have full confidence in Mr. G's intelligence and stomach that if he gets hungry while I'm hyped up on ice chips and laboring to deliver our baby he will excuse himself and go find something to eat outside of my presence without me even knowing. I do, however, plan on sharing my malted milk balls after she is born. Experienced mamas, what else would you add to the list?


  1. Kind of dying over Annabelle's birthday swag bag. Also, I laughed out loud at that last paragraph. Praying for you and a safe delivery!!

    1. Thank you for your prayers. That little girl has a better wardrobe than I do, currently!

  2. I only ended up staying a little more than 24 hours after delivery and while I packed for several days' worth of hospital time (both b/c I live 45 miles away and I didn't know if I would end up needing a c-section), I wish wish wish wish I'd brought about 80% LESS stuff than I did. I never read the books or magazines. I never looked at my iPad or macbook. My husband didn't eat the snacks we brought. All the loading & unloading and loading & unloading of our stuff was just an extra hassle.

    1. I remember reading your blog that you had a fast stay! I think everyone thinks you need everything but the kitchen sink. My stay with Jack was over a weekend, so we had a lot of visitors in and out that we were never bored enough to need our own entertainment.

      And just trying to get out of the hospital with the baby for the first time, being discharged, making sure everything makes it down to the car--less is definitely better.

  3. Loved the last paragraph, too! So funny =)

    Totally agree about doing hair and getting ready every day! Not only does it set a great precedent for yourself but it does help - so much - to feel a little pretty in the middle of all of that.

    I wish I would have packed an extra outfit for myself! Katie happened to go potty in the seconds before she was born which won us a full extra day in the hospital - my wardrobe was not adequately stocked and I had to re-wear. I guess this was only really a problem for me this time b/c we live so far from the hospital and in the past I had a deeper bench than with Katie. =)

    A friend of mine brought a stack of trashy magazines....and that was awesome. Who has time to read those at any other time? So perfect for when my poor sleep-deprived brain couldn't focus on anything with substance. Red carpet fashion? Yes please! Just make sure none of them have articles about post-partum celebrities, for serious.

    Um - goodies for the nurses. A box of donuts and one of those boxes of coffee from Dunkin Donuts was easy for someone to pick up for them and helped to convey a little bit of the appreciation I had for our amazing nurses!

    SO SO SO SO super duper excited for you!!!

    1. Thank you! I am so loaded up with pink right now that I can hardly stand myself.

      And my mom doesn't know it yet, but she is picking up some pink cookies from the bakery in my hometown for both our L&D nurses, as well as the after-party nurses. They are superstars!

  4. What a sweet idea to bring something for the nurses--I'll try to remember that in June!
    I was the reverse on the nightgowns. I had brought nursing gowns but felt uncomfortable and kept wishing for my pajamas! And fuzzy socks are a must. You're right--anything that makes you feel a little better!
    An addition to our list this time will be some DVDs. I didn't read any of the magazines or books I brought, but I might watch something (especially when trying to avoid the epidural, which was an unsuccessful attempt last time).
    Looks like you're all set!

    1. I have a pair of PJs packed just in case, but who knows if I will pull them out. Have you been to the new outlet mall in Grand Prairie? I bought them at the Soma store. Soft, cute, and a bargain!

      You go girl on the epidural. With Jack, I asked for one at my 38 week checkup. Like, could I have it before I left the office? :)

    2. Too funny! I wanted to just wait and see how it went, and, since I was in labor with her for about 17 hours, I'm glad I got it.
      I hear #2s are typically faster, so we'll see. I'm no superwoman, though. If I need it, I need it!
      I'll have to check out the outlet mall--haven't made it there yet!

  5. I am so excited for you! My hospital stays are truly some of my sweetest memories. Drugs and baby love are a blissful combination=)

    Good thinking on the paci. It was an act of congress to get them to give me a paci for Sam. They are such breast feeding nazis now and lectured me about how it will cause confusion blah blah blah. I just rolled my eyes, told them this was my 3rd baby and he needed a paci. When they finally gave me one it came attached to a guilt trip (research paper that proves a paci will ruin him!)Of course Sam was by farrrrr my best breast feeder so there goes that Harvard study. Anyway...yes bring your own paci and spare yourself the lecture=)

    Happy baby days to you dear friend!!!

    Amy (D)

    1. Thank you!!! We are so excited. I remember you commenting on my FB when Jack was born about it being such a sweet time, and it truly is!

      I heard that pacis are getting harder to come by, but I cannot believe they gave you a paper/lecture with it. Ridiculous. I had taken one (still in the package) when Jack was born, but they had nothing to sterilize it with. Lesson learned!

  6. thanks for posting this! i am due in may and needed a good list on what to bring to the hospital :)

  7. This was VERY helpful! Where did you find the nightgowns? I purchased one to pack from Pea in the Pod, but was wondering if you found some that were a bit more affordable? :)

  8. Love this post - so excited for you!!

    Also, what did you use to make those collages?

  9. Where did you get Annabelle's pink pouch with her name on it. I need one!!!


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