Having a baby is such a joyous occasion (as I’ve mentioned many times). You spend 9 months anticipating what life will be like and in an instant, a fraction of a second, everything you ever imagined and more comes to fruition. I have read countless books on how to prepare for my baby’s arrivals. I read books about sleep training, feeding schedules, I even read The Modern Girl’s Guide to Motherhood (I highly recommend this book). I went to South Miami Hospital and took a class on breastfeeding (I dragged Santiago with me–he was not thrilled but he came) and I also dragged him to a class about how you introduce your baby to your dog (big mistake–it’s not as cute as it sounds). Then one day, when we least expected it, we became parents. Nothing was ever the same again and I was both overly prepared and unprepared. It’s funny how you can be both of those things at the same time, but here we were, winging it.
I had a birth plan, 99% of which actually worked out and a postpartum plan which looked nothing like my reality. But I had a good support system so I survived and was happy and healthy. I was the mom of the cutest little boy. And then Joaquin came along and the same thing happened. We were both overly prepared (you know, cause we’d done it before and we were cocky like that) and totally unprepared (because having two is like having twenty). One thing didn’t change, however. I packed like a champ for the hospital. Just the right amount of clothes for me and my offspring. Just the right amount of extra stuff I may or may not need. It’s like I was born to pack and it’s my least favorite activity. There is packing for your hospital stay, and then there’s packing for your hospital stay in the times of Covid. Luckily they’re pretty much the same.
I was in the hospital a total of 3 days. The day I checked in and had my baby, the day after that and the day I was discharged.
The day you check in, depending on what time your child is born, you’re probably in your hospital gown the entire day. I had Santi in the evening, and by the time I was in my recovery room, it was already passed 1 AM. Needless to say, I didn’t change. I woke up early though, took a shower and put on a fresh PJ. Joaquin was born in the middle of the day and I was able to shower and change in the evening.
The day after you have your baby, aka day 2 is the day you’ll probably receive the most visitors and the day you get discharged I like to ban anyone that’s not necessary from coming to see me. This will make what you pack a bit easier.
I also pack 4-5 weeks in advance because you never know. I pack for the baby EVERYTHING and for myself the most I can. Obviously, I’m not putting my hairbrush and toothpaste in my suitcase weeks before, so I pack what I can and leave a note in my suitcase for what’s missing. If I go into labor randomly I open up the suitcase and see what’s missing without having to think. If I’m getting induced, same scenario.
- 3-4 PJ sets
- one is for the day the baby is born if you’re able to change
- one is for the second day you’re in the hospital
- one is for the second day you’re in the hospital but after you take a shower and want to “go to sleep”
- one is for day three after you wake up and before you get discharged
- 3-4 nursing bras
- 3 pairs of comfy socks
- glasses/contacts if needed (I always take an extra day or two of contacts because you never know)
- makeup/makeup remover
- I’m not talking about taking your entire makeup drawer. I’m talking the basics and essentials. You won’t be up for getting all ready but you’re going to be taking photos and you want to look back and smile. Pack concealer, blush, bronzer and mascara. You know, the kit to contouring.
- hair brush/hair ties/travel sized shampoo and conditioner
- I didn’t take an iron or a curling iron because it just wasn’t going to happen but you totally can. If you find the time to do it–GO YOU!
- deodorant/perfume/toothbrush and toothpaste
- shower shoes/room slippers
- I like to have one of each. I don’t like using my shower shoes to hang in the room because I like to wear my socks. It’s cold in the hospital so socks are a must and slippers are so yummy!
- 4-5 PJ sets
- one is for the day the baby is born if you’re able to change them. With Santi it was impossible because it was already the next day and I didn’t want to wake him.
- two for day 2 (one for morning visitors and one for afternoon visitors)
- two for day 3. In my case my sons got circumcised on day 3 so one before circumcision, and one is their going home outfit.
- for us Cubans, they gotta leave with something yellow. Santi left with a yellow blanket because his yellow “newborn pajama” was for a 12lb baby. Joaquin left with a beautiful yellow outfit purchased from El Rincon de Maria and baby #3 has his own special yellow PJ (spoiler–it’s adorable)
- 1 “fancy” outfit
- I did this with Santi and not at all with Joaquin. It’s a personal preference. When Santi was born, my BFF’s from work came to visit me and they helped me change Santi into a beautiful white outfit and helped me “dress his cuna”. Our first official photo as a family of three was with Santi in his outfit and it’s so cute. It’s kind of annoying to change them out of comfy, yummy pj’s and into these outfits but they look adorable.
- hats and socks
- My kids heads and hats didn’t vibe–I don’t know why, it just didn’t work. So those were a waste but I take them regardless. I also put socks on them with every outfit because I don’t want their feet to get cold.
- 4 blankets and 3 swaddles
- I use the blankets to cover the crib they give you so they’re sleeping on something from home and I use my swaddles to swaddle them (duh). The hospital gives you swaddles but I like my own.
- baby kit (if you decided to get one)
- Santiago and I went with Viacord for each child and I have 0 complaints. Very easy to work with, affordable payment plans for those who may want variations and different options in terms of what you want to store.
I also take a gift for my OBGYN (you know, cause she basically gives me a child) and for the nurse who is with me all day (cause she’s basically at my beck and call until I’m a mom). This is a personal decision. Oh, and I forgot to mention–I also had someone bring all the nurses on my floor a box of goodies the day I was in labor. They loved me.
What the hospital provides for Mom:
- these are the best, best, best undies in the entire world. I know it’s weird but when I’m down to my last pair I get sad.
- witch hazel pads (for the burning sensation)
- actual pads (for the period you haven’t gotten in 39-40 weeks)
- water bottle for your private parts (please refer to my post if you want to know what it’s for)
What the hospital provides for Baby:
- bulb syringe
Since Covid-19 is everywhere, many hospitals have updated their policies so it’s going to look very different. Previously, you could have up to three people in your delivery room with you and up to three visitors in your room (plus dad). Now, you are allowed one person. That person is with you from check in until check out. They will not be allowed to swap with someone after the birth, and they won’t be able to come in and out of the hospital. My initial plan was to have both my mom and Santiago present at the birth, and have my mom stay with me in the hospital so Santiago could spend the night with Santi and Joaquin. Once they told me I could only have one person with me for delivery, we decided Santiago would be present for that, and he’d then swap with my mom so she could stay with me. Turns out, Santiago is in the same boat as me and won’t be able to leave. So now, for the first time, he’s having to pack for the hospital too. He isn’t pleased guys, but he’s my Quarantine Partner (oh and life partner), and meeting his son when he’s 4 days old isn’t an option. Since he won’t be able to go home and shower, get all cute and LEAVE ME, I’ve since created a small list of what he’ll need as well.
- Comfy outfit to welcome baby
- Santiago is notorious for planning his “I’m meeting my baby in this outfit” outfit. You could be like him or you can be normal and practical and put on sweats and a shirt. Bring a sweater because it gets cold!
- 2 PJs
- one is for the day the baby is born (since he isn’t really doing anything and can shower/change whenever) and the second is for our second night in the hospital.
- 2 regular outfits (comfy preferably but not necessary)
- these are for day 2 and day 3. He’s not that special in this scenario, so he won’t need an outfit change.
- I can’t put a number because I don’t know what their preference is, but my suggestion is always to overpack by 2 at least. I feel like you want to make sure you always have clean underwear.
- Shower shoes/slippers
- Toothbrush/toothpaste (no he can’t share with you)
- Contacts/glasses (if this is something they need)
- Phone/phone charger
The most important thing to remember is that if you forget anything, it’s not a big deal and it’s not going to be a game changer. Having the baby is the best part of the experience so focus on that. Happy packing 🙂