Sunday, June 03, 2012

it's in the bag, baby

It occurred to me that now that we're about a month out from delivery, I should probably think about having a hospital bag ready.  This is my third kid so I have a fairly good idea of what I'll need (and more importantly, what I won't need) but even with Cal, I tended not to overthink my packing strategy.  Part of it is that I like to idealize as little time in the hospital as possible, but I admit the other part may just be my reactionary response to having worked on L&D (both as a Peds and an Anesthesia resident) and seeing moms who brought in, like a living room's worth of stuff and realizing that they were most going to have to pack all that up and carry it back home in 24-36 hours.  So I keep it simple.  Anyway, if I forget anything, Joe can always run home and get it later.  You know, like all my potpourri sachets and serenity talismans.

(That was a joke.  Sorry, potpourri enthusiasts.)

So first, obviously, is clothing.  What clothing is comfortable, adjustable, shapeless, and most amenable to getting stained by biologic fluids?  Why, scrub pants, of course.  The world's most perfect garment.




I bought a fair number of those "nursing tops" when Cal was born (the kind of tank tops with the snap-down hooks and panels for easy boobage) but subsequent to that have realized that, for the less well-endowed of us who are less modest and/or have more experience breastfeeding, a regular shelf-top cami works just fine, and can be found for pretty cheap pretty much anywhere.  I have a bunch of these types of tops from Old Navy, Forever 21, and even Costco. (Kirkland brand, ho! The other benefit of the Costco brand is that they are extra stretchy and cut very long, so I've been able to wear them as a layering piece for the entire pregnancy.)




Hospitals tend to be chilly so I packed two cardigans also (essential feature being that they are a coverup that opens in the front--you could bring a sweatshirt or whatever, I guess, but it would be a pain in the ass for breastfeeding, and anything with a zipper front might get scratchy near a baby's face).  The tank top and soft elastic-waisted skirt are going-home clothes for me--again, just soft, stretchy stuff that can go right in the laundry.

Oh, PRO TIP: anything that the hospital offers you that is disposable, including but not limited to: diapers, pads, underwear, those freezy ass pads, squirt bottles, those big water jugs with the straws--you take that shit and you bring it on home with you.  I packed two pairs of my own underwear just in case they've cracked down on the giveaways, but I will just tell you that I took care only to pack black underwear, and if you need to ask why, you probably don't really want to know the answer.




Baby's going home outfit.  I know it's all very plain and the pants for sure are going to be, like, way too big (they're 3-6 months) but I hardly bought any newborn clothing because it's proven to be such a waste of money in the past, and whatever 0-3 month clothing I do have is very, very boyish.  Like, they literally have the word "BOY" on them.  And to be clear, I don't mind that one bit--it is my contention that babies can't read and I'm standing by that--but I just want to avoid weird looks from the nursing staff.  I don't even think the baby really needs pants even--we're talking about Atlanta in July--but, you know, I'm thinking about fussing with carseat buckles and those skinny little chicken legs that they have at that age should probably be encased in something.

Not pictured:

  • Toiletries (I used the hospital toiletries for my first two kids, but this time I think I'll bring my own because I'm so high maintenance like that, me and my products--also the hospital-brand toothpaste is very gritty feeling and barely minty, so it feels like brushing with caulk)
  • A nicer, non-iPhone camera that I'll probably hardly use at all because it's such a pain to get it out of the bag and download the photos in order to e-mail them, blah blah blah, first world problems.  Actually, the camera on the iPhone is really pretty nice, I find that I'm using my "real" camera less and less, but it seems kind of mean to the new kid not to even bring it, so OK, into the bag it goes.
  • Nursing pads (I like to use these but if anyone has any better suggestions I'm open to them)
  • The usual wallet, keys, laptop, power cords, assorted hospital paperwork, etc.

And...that's it.  Keeping it simple.  It's basically all I used in the hospital for the first two kids, but if there's anything essential and awesome that I never knew I was missing, let me know--there's still plenty of room in there.



40 comments:

  1. Just seeing your bag all packed has generated an inexplicable excitement for you in me. As if I even know you (well, you know, as in the KNOW YOU type of know you). But having a baby, no matter how common-place an occurrence, is just special and wondrous. And I'm so happy for you guys and your little girl! You're a darling family! ♥

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  2. Marisela9:09 PM

    Make sure you pack lip balm - you know how dry hospital air is, and you lose all that fluid post-delivery so they get super dry.

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  3. I'm so happy for you. Your baby will be beautiful! I can't imagine how excited you and your family must be!

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  5. Anonymous9:21 PM

    awww, i can't wait to meet the little girl! i'm sure she's going to change all your lives for the better! what, with your sewing and everything...it seems like she already has. =)

    -MS3

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  6. Impressed you actually change clothes. In both recoveries I could never manage to get out of the johnny.

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  7. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Socks! You get so cold post-delivery when that little furnace known as the baby isn't in your belly anymore, and you'll need socks to keep warm. Also, flip-flops so you can shower in the hospital bathroom without worrying that you're going to contact some nasty MDR fungus.

    I also brought a hairdryer b/c it was winter and cold when I had my baby, but you seem a little less high maintenance than I am and can probably do without it.

    For the baby, consider a muslin baby blanket in case you want to cover the car seat on the way out or in the car if the sun is bright. Also, don't forget to take some video of the baby eating and just sleeping for those first few hours when they make those delicious little sounds-- the little sighs and grunts are so amazing!

    Good luck!

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  8. http://www.buybamboobies.com/Nursing_Pad_Types.html

    Happy nipples.

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  9. Is that your NikonD90? I am just wondering. What did you use for the vacation photos? The Nikon or the Lumix?

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  10. Heather12:11 AM

    I brought my own pillowcase. I'm an ER doc and all hospital linens gross me out seeing what ends up on them and couldn't picture my face on the nastiness. Also- a friend pointed out that a cute colorful pillowcase would look cuter in mom+new baby pics (and distract from your exhausted swollen face). Hope all goes well!

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  11. Booties & mittens for the baby. I remember how sharp those finger nails can be!

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  12. Definitely take the camera, but put Joe in charge of the post-baby camera duties too. He can definitely do the download/email thing for you!

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  13. Vaseline for baby's butt. Coat that thing, and then the meconium won't stick to it like tar. It will easily wipe off. Promise. Nail clippers for baby fingernails (they will only give you an emory board now, and while my son's nails were too soft to use an emory board on, they would also slice somebody's skin to ribbons).

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  14. I liked cotton re-useable pads (so fluffy!). And Bag Balm.

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  15. Steph4:42 PM

    I too stayed in the johnny until the time came to go home. :)
    I brought a hairdryer, even though both my babies were born in warm weather. Also I brought my own pillow and trail mix.
    But a big YES to taking all the disposable shit home!

    Good luck! Can't wait to see your baby girl!

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  16. Anonymous6:11 PM

    a small bottle of purell, some hand lotion, lip balm, hat for the baby (not sure how the weather is in Atlanta) Lanolin for sore nipples if the hospital does not provide it. And disposable wipes to change baby: my hospital only gives the fabric wipes and I need to get some water in a little bucket each time I need to change the baby. Kind of annoying!

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    1. Steph7:33 PM

      The hospital in which I had my first baby did not provide disposable wipes. I remember thinking that was really strange. We had to wet squares of gauze.

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  17. Anonymous6:49 PM

    as a med student on my OB rotation I loved the couples that brought trail mix. You knew they would be young and hip and a little flower-power.

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    1. Steph7:31 PM

      I'm neither young nor hip! I just like snacks. ;)

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  18. Steph7:57 PM

    Oh, and Michelle! Just in case I haven't yet completely and obnoxiously taken over your comment section, here is one more thing:
    I'll advise you, based on my very latest experience, to bring your checkbook!

    The hospital at which I had my very latest child via c-section (7 weeks ago) sent a lady to my room the day after to collect the fee for room and board for the baby, $100 per day. No kidding.
    I didn't even recall the experience (due, no doubt, to the IV morphine) until I saw my bank statement. My husband (who actualy works at said hospital, though not for much longer, thankfully) thought it more than a little inappropriate.

    We now refer to the experience as the 'bedside shakedown'. Unreal.

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  19. Chapstick, extra hair tie + clips for laboring, one soft washcloth from the baby's stash to wipe your face if you get hot during labor, BOPPY!!! for afterwards (sorry, I'm trying to remind myself to pack that, too), nurse-treats (cookies, candy, something to make them not forget you when it's meds-time). Presents to/from the baby to/from Cal and Mack?

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  20. Best wishes, Dr. Michelle! You must be very grateful. I'm somehow inspired to be a mom too. LOL Nice post. I've learned something from you again. :)

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  21. Definitely bring your own pillowcase.

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  22. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Socks! For whatever reason, my feet turned to popsicles after giving birth and the strange, grippy hospital socks made my feet itch (TMI? Perhaps.) Seeing pictures of your hospital bags makes me equal parts thrilled for your family and deeply nostalgic now that my tiniest wee baby is turning 2 next week. Best wishes to you and your family!

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  23. Anonymous2:35 PM

    A secon vote for the Bamboobies!

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  24. Anonymous3:40 PM

    second the presents from the baby to cal/mack. helped my 2 boys (3 and 5)immensely that their little sister got them new Star Wars Galactic Heroes (have you seen these things? You must have). Also helped mommy and daddy because they played with those things for a hour in the hospital room.

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  25. Anonymous12:39 AM

    I'm too lazy to login but I highly recommend the Johnson and Johnson nursing pads. I leaked a ton so they absorbed the best! The landinoh ones were too thin and made me itch. You can get em at target. Try them!!! I promise if ur a leaker you'll love them way better than the lansinohs!

    -the other Michelle aka maichelle

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  26. Lip balm. Yes. Because the hospital *has* the tubes of white petroleum jelly, I know, but face it, they suck for lip balm.

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  27. Earplugs. You'll still be able to hear the baby-- but the rest of the night noise could drive you nuts.

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  28. Anonymous4:53 PM

    I would second earplugs, and also raise you: sleep mask. If you get the chance to grab a precious few hours sleep, you won't then be prevented from doing so by any disturbingly fluorescent ambient hospital lighting.

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  29. Anonymous1:30 PM

    I don't know if you have looked into cord blood donation, but if you are interested, they send the kit to you then you take it with you.

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  30. Anonymous11:42 PM

    Hey, I have that bag too. Orange/cream diagonal "leatherette" with grabby beige straps and optional shoulder straps? Forever 21 (XI). Love that bag. Want to marry it. Good choice. You could cram the kitchen sink in that thing. It also makes a good gym bag and is great for traveling.

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  31. Anonymous1:39 AM

    I second the cord blood donation suggestion. You and the baby could save a life!

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  32. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Tempurpedic pillow (2, buy them if you don't have them.) and tempurpedic eye mask. Can be found at Brookstone. Consider it your "push" present if you don't like spending money. And hit the TARGET newborn section for a cute outfit. Girls are so much different than boys...you want to dress her up for those pictures. Right now it's hard to imagine but once you are there and everyone is taking pics and doting you will be so glad you got some pink or purple in the pictures. Newborn size at Target is THE BEST. My daughter was 6.10lbs and wore her newborn sized stuff until 2/3 months old. Can't wait to see pics!

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  33. I couldn't live without snacks and Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream.

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