What do I need at the hospital or birth center? What don’t I need? I’m no expert with a mere two births under my belt (what does that phrase mean, anyway??), but here are my suggestions based on common wisdom and my experience.
*Don’t forget your doula!!
No, it is not a nudist colony. Yes, bringing your own clothing means you don’t have to wear the world’s worst outfits: hospital gowns. And have you seen their “nursing” gowns? They are hospital gowns with two slits for your breasts. Um, skin-to-skin, anyone? How can your baby optimize his latch when he can’t smell your milk through all the bleached cotton? Bring:
cotton robe (maybe 2) ((I got one at Target for not much–not full-length))
socks you like when walking on cold floors (2-3 pair . . . birth is a wet business)
nursing bras (for a little breast support)
yoga or sweat pants (for when you arrive and leave)
shirts that open in the front (I forgo nursing tops for the first long while–open up that shirt and have your unclothed baby on your chest!)
swimtop for water birth & swim suit for your partner
Don’t bother with underwear as they’ll provide you with these lovely enormo disposables numbers.
2) For your care.
gel pads for your nipples
heating/cooling pack (see mine here)
food you can eat & snack on (let’s be honest, some hospital food is terrrrrrrrible)
playlist on a CD or your smartphone for labor
chapstick/lipbalm for those dry lips during labor and after
book or cards if you are stuck in the hospital with a long and slow labor (yup, that happened with baby number 2 for us)
shampoo & conditioner
soap you like the smell of
lots of receiving blankets & swaddle blankets
your own diapers (we brought chlorine & bleach-free ones) & wipes (many hospitals don’t have wipes)
car seat & extra blankets
very few outfits–maybe two onesie & snuggle outfits to get home in (remember: skin-to-skin!)
your choice of baby shampoo or soap