Packing your hospital bag may seem overwhelming under normal conditions, and especially daunting with new regulations in place at hospitals to protect patients from exposure to COVID-19. You can stress a little less by consulting the list below for all your hospital bag must haves.
A comfortable robe can be useful for skin on skin, breastfeeding and chilly patient rooms. A cute robe can also be a nice touch if your support person wants to take photos of you after delivery.
- Loose fitting pajamas
You’ll want to have some loose fitting, comfortable pajamas after delivery. Look for a set that buttons down the front, or are loose enough to be easily accessible if you plan on breastfeeding.
- Going home clothes
In addition to the clothes you plan on wearing during your hospital stay, make sure you pack a comfortable outfit to head home in. Loose fitting joggers and a tank top or relaxed tee are great options. You probably won’t want anything tight fitting around your midsection after delivery, especially if you have a cesarean, or c-section.
- Slip on shoes
Flip flops or light slippers are great for wearing around the hospital, if you need to get up at any point. You should also plan to wear loose, slip on shoes home from the hospital as your feet and ankles may be swollen from IV fluids.
Don’t forget about the basics. Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, hair ties, deodorant, lip balm, and glasses, a contact case and contact solution if you use them.
- Face covering
Ochsner takes extra steps to make sure your comfort and safety are top priority always, but especially in light of COVID-19 epidemic. This means masks and temperature checks are required for all patients and providers. You can pack your own cloth face covering or one will be provided to you.
- Diaper bag
The hospital will provide you with most of the essentials, but you may still want to have your diaper bag available for a few personal items like a small bottle of baby lotion you love or a baby brush in case your baby develops cradle cap.
- Easy outfits
You’ll want to pack a few easy outfits for your baby while in hospital. Things like onesies, gowns that snap or tie at the bottom or body suits with a zipper up the front are all great options for diaper changes and easy clothing swaps.
- Swaddle blankets
While the hospital will provide you with a receiving blanket, it’s still nice to have a few of your own from home to swaddle your little one.
- Scratch mittens
Baby’s little nails are notoriously sharp so packing a pair or two of scratch mittens might be good idea to protect their face.
- Going home outfit
Choosing your baby’s going home outfit is often a special tradition and will make an instant keepsake. Keep in mind though that your baby’s size may vary somewhat, so it’s a good idea to make an extra outfit in case the original doesn’t fit.
- Car seat
Your car seat is the most important baby item to have on hand! You should plan to install your car around the same time you start packing your maternity bag. You can get your car seats “checked” at a child safety seat inspection station. Inspection stations are often located at auto dealerships, police stations, fire stations and hospitals.
- Inspection station technicians can:
- Make sure that your car seat has not been recalled due to a safety defect or made unsafe because they were previously involved in a car accident
- Make sure your car seat is appropriate for the age and weight of your child
Find a car seat inspection location near you.
- Inspection station technicians can:
For your support person:
- Hand sanitizer
Your support person will probably want to have hand sanitizer on hand! Making sure that their hands are clean with regular hand washing and hand sanitizer can help keep your space and your baby safe. The CDC recommends a hand sanitizer with an alcohol concentration of 60 – 95%.
- Face Mask
Masks are required for all hospital visitors, including your support person. You can pack a cloth face covering or one will be provided to your guest.
- Drinks and snacks
Due to restrictions for hospital guests during the COVID-19 pandemic, your support person may not be able to leave your room for food or drinks, so you may want to pack a variety of snacks for them. Just don’t pack anything too tempting, as you probably won’t be able to eat during labor.
- Pillows and blankets
Have your support person plan to bring a pillow and blanket so they can get comfortable in your room with you. It’s likely they will be required to stay during your entire labor and recovery, so you’ll want to make sure they are able to get some rest in between. Your support person can pack an extra pillow for you as well if you feel like it would make your stay more comfortable. Here’s a tip: put your pillows in a colorful pillowcase to make sure you don’t get them confused with the hospital pillows when you check out.
Your support person should have all the toiletry items they would need for an overnight stay.
- Comfortable clothes
Your support person should pack comfortable clothes that they can easily move around in and maybe even sleep in. Loose layers and athleisure may be great options.
- IDs and Insurance cards
Let your support person help with managing paperwork. Before you leave for the hospital, make sure they have all your identification and insurance information.
- Bluetooth speaker
If you have a birth playlist cued up, a small Bluetooth speaker may be a great way to listen to all your music and relax as you head into labor.
Newborn photo sessions are a wonderful way to capture all the emotions that come with meeting your new baby. Prior to the COVID -19 outbreak, hiring a birth photographer was common practice for many. Although Ochsner’s current visitor policy does not allow visitors beyond one essential visitor, you can still have quality photos. Pack your camera and brush up on your DIY newborn photography tips.
- A small tripod for your smartphone
If you don’t have a camera or have room for it in your bag, your smartphone camera is still a great option for those fresh 48 options. You can order a small tripod online to make sure your photos are crisp and in focus.
- Long phone chargers
Depending on where the outlets are located in your room, you may need an extra-long phone charger to keep your devices charged up. After all, you’re going to be sending lots of photos to all your friends and family.
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