When I went into labor the first time I admittedly brought along way too much stuff. Many of the items were things I had read that I “should” bring that I never used (mints? a bathrobe?). Others were items that I didn’t know the hospital provided. Most of these were provided for medical reasons and my nurses actually insisted that I shouldn’t use my own.
In my personal experience, here’s what the hospital provided for use during labor, delivery and postnatal care:
- Nursing gowns
- Heated compresses
- Slipper socks
- Sanitary napkins
- Disposable underwear
- Nursing pads (if needed)
- Lanolin and nipple cream (if needed)
- Meals, snacks and beverages
- Swaddling blankets and/or Halo Swaddlers
- Baby kimono-style shirts
- Petroleum jelly
- Alcohol wipes
- Baby wash
- Baby sponge
- Infant formula (if formula feeding)
- Pacifiers (If requested)
The nurses encouraged me to take home the toiletries and disposable items I had used, because they’d be tossed in the trash after I left, anyway. They even gave me a few diapers, sanitary napkins and underwear so I’d have a little supply at home. Of course, the baby blankets, shirts, gowns and towels stayed at the hospital!
If you’re preparing for your own labor and delivery, your hospital might provide all the items listed above, but they also might provide more or less.
If you have visions of wearing a special gown or using a special product during labor, it might be prudent to ask if the hospital will even allow you to use it. You also need to be prepared to know what to wear! A tour of the labor and delivery facilities at your hospital is a great opportunity to ask what the hospital supplies and what you’ll need to be responsible for. It will make packing and planning much easier!
Finally, some research goes a long way. Tips and ideas that are specific to your plans (like this article about what to wear for a water birth are super helpful for your preparations.
Mine provided much of the same. I also received a newborn package with some Pampers, a diaper bag (similac – I think), a sample pack of wipes. A handmade hat for baby too!
I didn’t think to ask that question on the tour because it was a bit of a whirlwind (and I wasn’t far enough along in my pregnancy to be thinking seriously about packing my bag). But after I amassed my list of what I thought I’d want (from a combination of many lists I found online), I stopped in at the labor and delivery unit one day after work with my list, and the nurses weren’t busy so they took a few minutes to go through my list with me and say “nope, we have that,” etc., which helped me pare down the list quite a bit. One thing I think everyone should have is some good chap stick (and maybe some hand lotion you like). Hospitals are so drying! I brought a bathrobe and actually loved having it, mostly to put on over the hospital gown when I had visitors so I felt slightly more “presentable”.
Marybeth Hamilton says
Stopping by the labor and delivery unit on your own time is such a good tip, Emily! And you’re totally right about lip balm. I can’t live without it under normal circumstances, and I made sure I brought more than one along to the hospital.
The one thing I brought along for baby #2 was my own roll of toilet paper from home. hospital paper is horrible, especially after having a baby. The nurse that I had thought it was a great idea. I also brought some flip flops from Old Navy instead of my slippers from home. I am weird about public floors so I was ok walking around in flip flops that I could throw away when I left the hospital
YES! Super soft toilet paper! I brought that, too and my nurses thought I was brilliant. 🙂