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What to pack for the hospital in 2022, and what to leave at home




This is a question I get all of the time. I still have my list of what I packed in 2017 and 2018 saved on my desktop, but this year is certainly more challenging than in the pre-pandemic days. I reached out to my incredible MomTribe and some experts who have also been working with Pregnant and Postpartum people as well during this different time and they were so incredibly helpful in sharing some extra tips. As with all advice on Parenting and Birthing, take what you like, ignore what you don't! Every hospital will have different rules, so please reach out and get the information you need before you go.


(I personally packed everything at 36 weeks Pregnant, which was helpful when my daughter came early.) Also- I packed my birth supplies/ postpartum supplies/ baby stuff in my suitcase in separate reusable bags and used these bags when stealing extra pads and diapers.

 

What to Pack for YOU:


For birth-

  • ID, health insurance, other paperwork you will need for registering

  • Chargers- preferably longer ones

  • Birthing ball if the hospital doesn't have them and you plan to use one for laboring.

  • Bathing suit top/ bottoms for laboring in the tub- if part of your plan

  • Hair ties or clips to hold your hair back

  • Tokens of strength- marathon medals, notes from your friends, pictures of loved ones etc, as a personal reminder that you are strong and loved!

  • Stress balls, lavender sachet if your hospital doesn’t have essential oils

  • Sports bra or a crop top they can port you in and keep the monitors around for delivery

  • Comfortable shoes, bottoms, zip-up hoodie or cardigan if you plan to walk around

  • Snacks and electrolyte drinks (almonds, granolas, think higher nutrient non-perishables, you will need the energy!)



For PostPartum and Recovery:


  • Small toiletries- Toothbrush, toothpaste, contacts/ solution/ spare glasses or contacts etc (I personally found it helpful to have spares packed and ready to go- for my first birth we barely made it to the hospital and searching around for these last minute things when I was at 5.5 centimeters truly sucked.)

  • Things that will make your shower more enjoyable- loofah, flip flops, etc

  • Nursing bras and tops

  • Maternity pants

  • Cozy clothes, old slippers that you don't mind getting dirty

  • Compression socks

  • Open / zip-up front tops- for skin-to-skin and breastfeeding/ pumping


Hot tips from the Tribe:


  • Christmas lights - this is a tip from one of my mommas- the hospital lights can be very bright and not conducive to sleep, lights are more gentle and allow them to see without turning them on every time they walk in the room

  • Some breastfeeding favorites: Silverettes, a Haakaa milk collector, and Pumpin pals, (however, many hospitals will offer soothing pads for your nipples, so if they do take extra home with you!)


What to NOT pack:


  • Pre-pregnancy bras

  • Pre-pregnancy underwear- you will very likely be leaving in mesh panties. If you are planning for a C- section I highly recommend packing high-waisted recovery underwear if you can grab some beforehand.

  • Pre-pregnancy clothes - your uterus will still be contracting down to it's original shape and you will most-likely look about 6 months pregnant. (I'm 2 days PP in this photo- don't pack anything with a button!)

  • Anything that can’t be washed or you have sentimental value towards

  • Breastpump - use what the hospital has. If you are plan to get help with an IBCLC at the hospital or lactation circles, they’ll have the brand and style that the coach will have. You might be charged for this equipment and it can come in handy to have all of it beforehand.


Tips for Delivering in Covid:

One of the biggest takeaways I received from the birth professionals I interviewed is that you won’t really need to make many major changes for what to pack while birthing in Covid. However, pack a little lighter if possible. Some advice from Metta Dwyer of Loving Kindness Doulas, is "Don’t overload yourself…. From Labor and Delivery to the Recovery room you might not have as many people to help you carry everything.” So bring something that rolls and has enough extra space to carry everything in one container. Rather than stuff everything into a carry on, diaper bag, and backpack, pack a larger suitcase that's easier to manage everything.


As far as your hospital stay during Covid, you may want to pack extra hand sanitizer, lotion, and masks. I'm typing this in March of 2022, and most are easing their guidelines on visitors and masking, but please double check with your hospital for their current restrictions. From A. Price, Midwife, "The biggest change is lack of visitation. We've tried to approach this as a time for the parents and baby to bond without a lot of outside extra noise with visitors. It's a nice bubble for the first few days of life." (Honestly, as someone who didn't deliver in a pandemic, I'd be happy keeping visitors to a minimum, permanently!)


 

What to Pack for Baby:


  • At least 3 outfits for going home / photos- (Yes, pack backups. One of my mom's favorite stories from her delivery is that I barfed all over the one she had picked out and I ended up going home in a free tee from the hospital.)

  • Car seat

  • Blanket and hat

  • Onesies or swaddles

  • Boppy / nursing pillow they don’t provide them.



What not to pack

  • Diapers

  • Wipes

  • Butt cream

  • Bottles

  • Anything for their first bath

They will give you all of these! Pack a couple of reusable grocery bags to help carry everything once you are discharged.



 

What to Pack for the Birth Partner:


  • Comfortable stuff to wear in the tub (if it's part of your plan)

  • Zipper front hoodie for skin-to-skin contact

  • Snacks/ food

  • Toiletries

  • Pens and manilla envelope for holding any hospital info/ birth info

  • Fully charged camera, spare chargers

  • The birth plan (extra copies)

  • Hair ties for birthing partner

  • To-go containers for the last meal they feed you- take this home so you don’t have to cook dinner!

Hot tips:

"My biggest suggestion is to pack a full suitcase with your pillows (mom and dad) and blankets you love. Sleep is essential at the hospital and not having comfortable anything makes a huge difference in the quality of sleep you get."



What NOT to Pack-


  • Attitude

  • Any complaints that you feel tired or your back hurts

  • Resentment that you are not the star of the show

  • Whining that your hospital bed was uncomfortable or that the food was bad

All jokes aside- make sure you also get enough sleep and stay hydrated so you can support your lovely birthing person and make sure they have everything they need. Many new parents express feeling helpless during delivery, but you are absolutely essential!


 

Huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this post! Please go check out these incredible doulas:


Adriane Cook- @empowered_womb

Mandi Rodenbeck- @greatlakesdoulas

Metta Dwyer @lovingkindnessdoulas




For more information on safe exercising during pregnancy and sample workouts, please go here.


For more information on safe postpartum exercise, complimentary copies of my postpartum fitness routine, and to get your copy of my latest book, "The Complete Guide to Postpartum Fitness", please click here!

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