“What do I need to pack for the hospital?” was a common question I heard pregnant mothers ask when they come up towards the end of their pregnancy.
Chances are, if you check out your hospitals’ website, it will have a list of what to bring for new moms, dads, and babies. I delivered at Mount Sinai in Toronto and their website had this checklist.
I’m just going to say that I wasn’t completely packed to go to the hospital when I went into labour. Baby K decided to grace the world with his presence 11 days before his due date. I was mostly packed but was missing a few important items that were definitely missed such as:
- Clothes for HubBee
- Newborn diapers and wipes
- Clothes to go home in (or better clothes than what I had)
- Pre-installed car seat
- A better bag to have everything packed in
I’m sure as I go on I will think of other items. But first I will explain these first five points.
Clothes for HubBee
All I had packed for him was pyjama pants. I can’t remember if I packed extra boxers for him or not. Regardless, he missed having an extra shirt.
Newborn Diapers and Wipes
I’m not sure if this is all hospitals, but sometime in the few couple years they stopped supplying the “tons of freebies” I’ve heard other mothers say they packed from their little port-a-crib’s cabinet. I’ve mentioned this before, but I was given a doggie bag with a couple massive pads, a couple of diapers, some dried up wipes and sample sized Johnson & Johnson baby products. The diapers lasted us till the pharmacy opened downstairs and HubBee went to get more.
The checklist told us to bring 20 newborn sized diapers and wipes. Funny story about this though. As we had decided to cloth diaper, I had applied for the Huggies freebie that would send a pack of newborn diapers and a sample pack of wipes. I didn’t bother purchasing any and I was just going to throw these freebies into my bag once they arrived. (As for the funny part, this pack didn’t arrive until September, and by then we had starting using size 1 diapers and we were getting into the cloth diapers full-time.)
Clothes to go home in (or better clothes than what I had)
I thought to save space when packing, that I would wear the same outfit home. It wasn’t a bad idea as I only wore it for a few hours total that weekend. My issue was now this massive pad I was wearing that bulked up my butt. Yes, I was wearing skinny, pregnancy yoga pants.
Next time, I think I’ll try to wear my baggy sweat pants to the hospital, or try to remember to pack them at least. I felt yucky enough walking out the hospital that I shouldn’t have had to worry about whether or not people could see my massive pad bulge through my pants. This is just a personal thing and I kept saying to myself “I just had a baby, I don’t need to care about what other people think.”
Pre-installed Car seat
I didn’t want to install the car seat too early because I had fears that some other dumb driver would hit us and void the car seat before Baby K was even here. My grand plan was that HubBee and I (but mostly HubBee) would install the carseat during the long weekend in August. Obviously that didn’t happen. The carseat needed to be installed while the car was on a flat surface and so HubBee ran into the issue of trying to install the carseat on an angle in the parking garage while I sat in the hospital with our newborn.
I don’t know when would’ve been a better time to install the car seat. Maybe at the three weeks remaining mark as that’s when I started doing the “come out now, baby” dance. Next time I should probably make sure it’s installed earlier.
A better bag to have everything packed in
We used a hard cased rolling bag for the hospital. While I like that it rolled, I didn’t like that it wasn’t convenient to get stuff out of the bag. As we were in a shared room, we had our curtained area that didn’t leave us a lot of floor space. It would have been nice to just have a duffel bag that opened wide at the top that way it could just stay on the floor.
Remember the checklist I mentioned above? I’m going to talk about that now. I liked Mount Sinai’s checklist because it was actually something that you could check off points as you completed them. It also had other things to think about that you may not have thought about before.
There’s the obvious things: health card, birth plan (if you have one), clothes, toiletries, hair brush, phone charger, credit card (if you want the private or semi-private room), baby clothes, etc.
There’s not so obvious things: nursing pillow, personal pillow WITH a colourful pillow case, handheld fan, snacks, water shoes, bath mat (for a water birth), pens and paper, labour support items, watch with the second-hand, and extra receiving blankets to help stabilize baby in the car seat.
And then there’s the things that other parents tell you to swipe from the hospital, but they don’t really supply you with anymore, such as: diapers, wipes, and maxi pads.
Something that wasn’t on the checklist that I’m glad I brought was my iPad. We were able to tap into the free WiFi at the hospital and we watched movies and TV shows on it all day on the Friday that we just sat in the hospital doing nothing. We also had an extra long charge cord (that fit both our phones and the iPad) that would reach from the wall to the bed while it was sat up.
Packing for next time
Next time I have to pack for the hospital I would get a large duffel bag (or a bag that at least zipped on top and opened wide). A bag with wheels is handy. I would pack two extra outfits for both HubBee and I (something comfortable to wear at the hospital and something to go home in). I would still pack the iPad to watch movies because that helped the day pass on Friday. I still would bring my own pillow, as the pillows were thin and HubBee ended up with both of the pillows. I would pack more snacks than just the pack of granola bars that I brought. The hospital was having work done in their cafeteria/kitchen so pretty much all of my food was prepackaged and bland. There was also no vending machine nearby that I could see so HubBee had to wander elsewhere for food for himself.
I had a birth plan and do you know where it was during my delivery? In the bag in the car. It wasn’t anything special, just more like who I wanted in the room and what I wanted to happen if things were to go lop-sided. Stuff I could have easily communicated to HubBee and my mother before the delivery. I wont bother wasting the paper next time.
My toiletries bag was far too small for what little I packed. It is now my wipes bag for diapering on the go. I would get a bigger one that would definitely fit two tooth brushes and a hair brush in. Everything was spilling out so I had to fish it all out of different areas of the suitcase anyways. I also wish I had dry shampoo too as my hair was pretty gross by the time we left the hospital.
I kept all of the baby’s things in the diaper bag, which I was glad for, but I wish that I had bit the bullet and bought the diapers and wipes needed for the hospital rather than wait for a sample pack that didn’t have a delivery date for me. I think I mentioned before about the Huggies pack that I had applied for that didn’t arrive until September and Baby K had already outgrown the size by then. I would also make sure to have a newborn sized sleeper. I didn’t have much for newborn sized clothes and definitely didn’t have a newborn sized sleeper. Baby K swam in a 0-3 month sleeper that I did bring. I packed two muslin blankets, but next time I would pack a third. I used two of the blankets to stabilize Baby K in his car seat (something I had learned at the discharge class if the support pillows that come with the car seats didn’t work). I would have the third then to cover Baby K. If its winter next time though, instead of a third muslin blanket I would pack something heavier to cover him in the car seat. Next time I would remember to have the mirror set up on the head rest to view the carseat. Even though I sat in the back with Baby K on the way home, HubBee kept asking if he was okay and I think being able to see him in the mirror would have helped him for the drive home.
I’m sure I’ll think of other things by the next time I’m in this position. But these were definitely the main things I wouldn’t want to forget for the next time.