As you enter the last few months of pregnancy, “nesting” begins, and the to-do-lists pile up. Preparing for the delivery, a hospital stay, and baby’s arrival can be daunting, but we are here to help simplify this task. The team at Brother & Sissy Children’s has covered it all from what to pack for you and baby, what to expect in the hospital, how to manage visitors, and ideas for nurse appreciation gifts.
What to pack: hospital bag
We have compiled a list of our mama-tested and recommended items to help you stay organized and ready. First, start by thinking of two bags: one for you and a diaper bag for baby. For your bag, focus on items that will help you feel calm and comfortable. Think: soft, easy loungewear and items that feel like home.
Toiletries & Mama-Care Necessities
Pack all your daily toiletries including, toothbrush/toothpaste, contacts/glasses, deodorant, body wash & loofah, shampoo/conditioner, hair ties, dry shampoo, skincare items, and chapstick. Remember, there will be photos galore, so consider bringing a small amount of makeup and hair styling tools to freshen up. You can also schedule hair and makeup to come to the hospital prior to photos. I would recommend speaking with your regular stylist and makeup artist so they have you on the radar within a few week time period of your due date.
Your team of nurses will have most items you need to ease your comfort post-delivery including DermaPlast (numbing spray), Tucks Pads (hemorrhoid pads), mesh underwear, large maxi pads, and a sanitation bottle. Be sure to ask for extras of these to take home! Mamas have sworn by also bringing adult diapers for extra comfort and to have at home, and a FridaBaby MomWasher. If you plan to nurse, Lanolin nipple cream is a must.
Be sure to pack your camera (or your phone) to capture all the special moments and an extra- long charging cord to reach while you are in the bed. Most hospital TVs are equipped with basic channels, so consider bringing a tablet or a laptop to stream shows or movies. Plan ahead and download a white noise app on your phone to help soothe baby once they are in the room.
Feel-at-Home Comfort Items
Soft, comfortable loungewear is all you will want after delivery. We love the new Mama’ Stay Jammies from Little English that match baby or super soft Lake Pajama sets. Bring a thick robe to wear over your pajamas to help with warmth or to cover up for visitors. Cozy socks, sturdy slippers, and simple rubber flip flops for the shower will be helpful, too. If nursing, bring nursing bras, nursing tank tops, or a button up pajama set from Petite Plume. For coming home, consider soft banded pants/shorts or a comfortable, loose maxi dress.
Most hospitals have thin or small linens, so definitely bring your own. You will want your own pillow (try using a non-white pillowcase so it is not left behind), your own sheets, a mattress pad, a warm snuggle blanket, and two of your own towels. A nursing pillow like the Boppy, can also be very helpful with feedings. You can fit all of these items into a large, “Everything but the Kitchen Sink”, Scout Bag. It also has a zipper closure which makes it easier for your husband to carry it in from the car.
Our Mayoral suitcase is highly rated but we also love the Jon Hart duffel bags that can be used for years as they grow into spending the night off with grandparents.
The hospital will provide basic items like diapers, wipes, diaper shirts, swaddles, blankets and hats. If you prefer to bring your own, remember to wash the items in Dreft or a free & clear detergent before packing. There will be lots of diaper changes and undressing for nurse/doctor exams, so an easy button-up gown converter or open sack gown is ideal for this time. Bring 4-5 outfits to account for any spit ups or diaper accidents. Soft, monogrammed hats are always adorable in photos and help keep baby’s head warm. Newborns loved to be swaddled, so be sure to bring additional swaddle blankets with you as the hospital blankets will likely get dirty quickly.
The coming home outfit makes for the sweetest pictures. Consider heirloom pieces that can be cherished for years to come. We love our Brother and Sissy custom batiste day gowns with matching bonnets for these special occasions. They are sized 0/6 month so they can also be worn for newborn photos and 6 month photos as well.
What to Expect
The nurses and doctors are a tight-knit team of professionals ready to care for you along the way. Your nurses quickly become your biggest cheerleaders, and are typically your hands-on, constant labor and recovery assistants before and after the doctor delivers the baby. A small gift item for them goes a long way with nurses in showing that you appreciate their endless support. We have polled nurses and found that pens, socks, small lotions, chapsticks, hair ties, coffee, and healthy snacks (granola bars, trail mix, mints, etc.) are some of their favorites.
During and after labor, it is a rotating door of medical professionals routinely monitoring you and baby, while family and visitors are eager to meet the new baby. Our loved ones are beyond excited to share in the joy of welcoming our little ones, but with the craziness and life-changing event that is childbirth, extra visitors can be overwhelming. Alone time with your baby and partner is key to adjusting into motherhood, whether you have just had your first or sixth child. Be gracious with family and friends, but also be clear on who can come visit after the baby arrives. Being up front, but gentle on this will be less stressful later, and will allow everyone to plan their visit or offer help with other siblings.
Lastly, food! I was so hungry after all of my deliveries. While the hospital has several options, it is very important that you have someone making sure you order your hospital meals or bringing you warm meals and a steady stream of snacks. I always placed a snack bag next to my bed so that I didn't have to get up while I was nursing or holding my baby. I brought my own juice and just asked them to keep the water jug full of ice.
Childbirth is an experience unique to each mother, and while we all have our own story, we can all relate in the common ground that it is momentous, unforgettable, and overwhelming. We hope that this list can help ease the stress of what-to-expect and how-to-prepare. Good luck, mama, you’ve got this!
If you have any questions about what to bring or what to expect, leave us a note below and we will get back to you shortly! XOXO- The Brother and Sissy Children's Team