What You Need For Your Hospital Bag In A Pandemic

If you are reading this, then you are probably winding down your pregnancy, taking your babymoon trip, putting your finishing touches on your nursery... OH, and packing your hospital bag!
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If this is your first baby, you may have already done that.

If this is your second, or third, or fourth then you might be like I was with my second baby, and throwing things in a bag on my way TO the hospital. I do NOT advise that! DON’T be like me! My doctor sent me to the hospital from the office. I went to my house instead, and threw a bunch of stuff into a bag and THEN went back to the hospital. By the time my husband got there, I realized I didn’t have half of the things I needed, and he had to go back to our house and get them for me. SO, considering we are in the COVID19 pandemic and partners may currently be unable to leave the hospitals once they check in, this might not be an option for you! So, let’s get you prepared now!

Things you always need:

Your I.D. The hospital or birthing center wants to make sure you are who you say you are! That’s a good thing!

Your insurance card. The hospital or birthing center needs to know who is paying for this baby! <Insert laughing> But really…

Your birth plan. Some of you might ask what a birth plan is, and some of you might be dead set on what your birth plan is.  I’m going to be really honest with you, I had to read about birth plans because if you would have asked me what my birth plan was when I was pregnant, I would have said, “umm, not die and birth a healthy baby somehow”. I really did not care how it happened as long as we were healthy and living. However, this is not how some women view birthing babies. They have a plan and it is beautiful and they want to stick to it.

Birth plans include things like, being able to move freely during labor,  deciding whether or not to have an epidural, what type of fetal monitoring you want, whether or not you will allow medical professionals to break your water or not.

IV’s, catheters, medicine, water births, hypnosis, episiotomy, no episiotomy. It is Basically your decision on how much medical intervention you will allow. I should have been more informed for my own benefit. It can all go flying out the window in an emergency situation, but it is always good to be informed. This goes for events after the birth too. Nursing, skin to skin, etc… So, do some research and get yourself a birth plan together.  If for nothing more than your own information.

As far as clothing to pack, here are my suggestions.

When you are in labor, they are going to put you in a gown unless otherwise specified in your birth plan. If I were you I would definitely go with the gown. Don’t ruin your clothes. Pack comfortable clothes for after you give birth. Pack an extra outfit in case you have to have a C-section. That procedure will most likely give you an extra day in the hospital. You will want socks and slippers. I always packed flip flops for the shower as well…for fairly obvious reason. Remember to pack nursing bras or cami’s. You’re going to need these. The hospital will provide you with some super flattering post birth panties that are awesome. I always packed black boyshort panties and my own pads as well just in case. This is definitely up to you. And make sure you have an outfit to go home in that is comfortable and that you feel good in. I’m sure you will probably snap a picture or two in it.

You will want hair ties and accessories to hold your hair out of your face from time to time.

Your Toiletries should include toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, lotion, lip balm, any type of face cleanser routine that you use, shower supplies and contact solution if that is something that pertains to you. If you wear glasses, pack those! I also packed my daily medications just in case! My hospital never had my medicines right, so having them with me was a life saver. It may sound crazy, but I always packed makeup. Sometimes you can get down on yourself after what your body has gone through, plus your crashing hormones don’t help matters. It helps to put a little makeup on and feel better about yourself. AND, there will be pictures!

Which brings me to my next item! Phones! Don’t forget your phone! Your phone needs a charger too!

If I were you, I would find an extra long charger somewhere and just go ahead and throw it in your hospital bag. The ones that come with your phones are NOT going to reach from the wall to your bed. If you’re a camera kind of person, bring a tripod because remember, you’re probably not going to be allowed visitors right now. You’re going to be utilizing that timer! While you’re packing gadgets, throw the selfie stick in the bag! It might come in handy since you may not have friends and family at your disposal to take pictures for you.

If you need entertainment aside from the hospital TV or your phone, think about iPad, kindle, laptop books, magazines, games or puzzles, and throw them in the bag too!

As for your baby, you’re gonna have to pack him or her some stuff too. A lot of hospitals do NOT provide wipes. So, go ahead and throw one of those packs of wipes you got at your baby shower into your bag. You will thank me later. You may be surprised by their size, so maybe pack a couple different sizes of clothes. For my second baby I knew he was going to be small so I packed newborn size and premie size. I definitely needed the preemie clothes. Is it really going to hurt if you have a couple too many outfits with you? No! your baby is most likely going to pee on one of them anyway! Make sure you pack socks, mittens, swaddle sacks, (or swaddle blankets), a nursing pillow, pacifiers(if you are choosing to use them), and of course a weather appropriate going home outfit. Speaking of going home, did you get your carseat installed? Make sure you have that with you! The nurses will probably want to inspect it!

For your partner. Lets talk about snacks, entertainment, comfy clothes a good pillow and did I mention snacks?

 I remember laboring through the night with my second baby, and I sincerely wanted my husband to sleep. This was a game of survival at this point. If we were both up all night and had two kids, how would we ever make it? He was stretched out on a hard hospital couch with a crap hospital pillow barely sleeping and I felt baaaaaaaad for him. Listen, one of y’all needs to be rested! Two zombies does not make one clear headed parent! So pack a good pillow! Also, theres a pandemic going on.  y’all may not be able to leave the hospital. Pack a whole bunch of snacks! My second child had me in labor for 38 hours before he decided to come rushing out in one push. Its fine, Im fine. But, my point is, do you know how many snacks you can go through in 38 hours? A lot!

About a month ago I spoke to numerous hospitals about their labor and delivery, “partner restrictions”, and this is what they told me.

When I spoke to The University of TN Knoxville Medical Center and CAMC memorial in Charleston WV, they told me that they are allowing partners to leave delivery rooms to go to cafeterias, and they have designated areas within the hospitals where delivery services such as grub hub or door dash can deliver take out to the hospital for you. So that’s really good news! I also spoke to a mother here locally where I live in eastern TN. She delivered her baby a couple of weeks ago at a smaller community hospital and they did allow her husband to leave and go see their son and return to the hospital. We have not had as many COVID19 cases here locally as some of the bigger metropolitan areas but that is changing every day as I’m sure hospital rules and restrictions are. I also spoke with a labor and deliver nurse in a neighboring county to us with the very same hospital system and she told me they do not allow the partner to leave BUT, they do offer the partner meal trays. The hospital rules and regulations will probably depend on where you are and how the data is looking at the time of your delivery. You will need to check with your specific hospital when you check in.

Along with snacks and entertainment, you might want to have a bag ready for your partner with things like toiletries, shower essentials, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, cash, and a list of all of the people you want notified.

This is something that doesn’t go into a bag, but it is very important and needs to be addressed. If you have pets, put plans in place now to have them cared for when the time comes to deliver your baby. Your partner may not be able to leave and feed them, or let them out. Make sure you have someone ready to care for them before you go into labor. Go in depth with your planning too. Get your hide-a-key in place. Get someone familiar with your home security system. If your pets take medications, make sure you have dosing and specific directions typed up, and in place ready-to-go.  Have this base covered so you don’t have to worry about it! This goes for children too. Although, hopefully you have considered this already…life DOES get busy and hectic! No judgement here. Consider this your reminder! Get your babysitter lined up and on call!

Speaking of children. If this isn’t your first baby and you have other small children in the house, now is the time to make any special preparations for gifts or dedications to them.

 When I was pregnant with my second son, I told my little boy, Max, that his baby brother was going to bring him a toy when he was born. Max said he hoped it was a trash truck. OBVIOUSLY we hopped on amazon and ordered a super cool trash truck and had it waiting in the hospital room for when they got to meet each other. It was  a super cute moment. Max was thanking his baby brother. Some mothers who nurse use these new toys as something they can only play with while she is nursing the new baby. This helps with several issues that might arise. For one, it keeps them busy. It can also help with some jealousy issues.

Clearly, in this pandemic there won’t be any siblings busting through the hospital doors meeting their baby brothers or sisters…

but, if you’re buying a, “nice to meet you, you have no idea what you’re in for”, toy for your kiddos, you might want to throw this in the car with your bag and your car seat so you can bring it home with the new baby. We’re looking for authenticity here, right?!

This is the most useful info I gathered in my search to pack the best hospital bag during a pandemic

. I hope you find this helpful. Good luck mommas! Soon this hospital bag mess will be just a memory!

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