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The Babies R Coming - How to Prepare For The Hospital Trip

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    Stephon Parker
animated image of a stork carrying a baby

Out of all the things that could be stressful preparing for the birth of my child, I never thought that the hospital bag would top that list. Between deciding when to have the bag ready, what to pack, how long to pack for, and what size bag to bring it was a task in itself. I'd love to share some of the lessons we learned in the hopes that it might help some others.

I want to thank my friends Faye, Leslie, and Matthew for all the lessons they shared with me. Most of this I wouldn't even have known if they didn't share before hand. Thank you all for being so amazing.

Picking A Bag

If you know anything about me, it's that I love a good premium bag. Determining what bag to pick was actually a huge task for me. First and foremost I wanted something that was extremely durable given I usually buy my bags for more than one purpose. I also wanted something that had a large capacity since I was packing for myself and my wife for what would at least 3 days. I also wanted something that would still function as a backpack since I knew a sling would be terrible for my back with everything I'd have to carry. Having room for clothes, snacks, hygiene items, toiletries, etc was no easy feat to plan for. The last criteria was that I only wanted to bring one bag. What bag could rise to such a challenge? None other than the Peak Design Duffelpack! Coming in at 65L it was able to meet all of our needs and more for the 5 days we ended up staying in the hospital.

It has lots of room that when optimized properly to carry 2 of the Peak Design Medium sized packing cubes, which is plenty of clothing. I'll get more into what to pack for each person and what made the difference for us.

Packing For The Childbearer

For the person birthing the child packing is a bit easier because most of the time you're wearing a hospital gown. On average the childbearer is going to spend at least 3 days in the hospital to ensure both they and the baby are healthy. Postpartum, most child-bears are usually moved to a different floor/part of the hospital and are able to wear their own clothing. I would suggest bringing at least 3 days worth of undergarments, tops, and socks. You'll want to have some bottoms as well for your trip home. You likely won't be using more than this unless you have an extended stay. You'll also want to bring the toiletries like your menstrual pads, nursing bra, adult diapers, and toilet paper (this makes a huge difference). You'll also want to make sure you bring some of the items you'll be using at home for the baby like the bottle or your breast pump so the hospital can support you in learning how to use them if you need it.

Packing For The Non-Childbearer

The first thing I want to point out for the non-childbearer is that unless things go very awry, you have the option to leave the hospital. I call that out because you likely won't need to pack as much if you don't want to. I spent most of my time at the hospital and only left twice to take care of some unfinished tasks at home. One think I can't stress enough is to wear clothes that you can relax in. Your additional clothing should be the same, be as comfortable as possible. Another thing, actually relax. There's going to be enough going on that you don't want to add the extra stress to yourself. One thing that helped me was I brought my Switch and a Playstation 5 controller so I could remote play from my computer. Bringing things to keep you busy is definitely a must have for the hospital given most of time is just waiting. Even after the baby is delivered the hospital staff spend a lot of time ensuring the baby and the birthing parent are healthy.

Good Tech To Bring

We would have not had the best experience if we didn't have great tech items to support us as we went through our journey. Here's a list of some awesome tech that helped us and links out to it.

  • Cables - I usually don't advocate for third party charging cables but this one defineitly saved us given how many devices we had to charge
  • Wall bricks - This is my favorite travel wall brick since it offers the options of usb c and usb a charging. 100% worth the pick up
  • Battery pack - This wireless battery pack is a great tool as it allowed us to keep our devices charged easily without always reaching for a charger given my wife had to stay in bed
  • Firestick - Soooo much waiting, but we passed the time by hooking up our travel firestick to watch all our favorite shows and movies while in the hospital
  • Power bank - Another one of those great items to have so that looking for a charger isn't as painful

Misc Items

Snoo - I swear this was the single best investment we made. It helped with sleep training so much that 6 months in rocking our child to sleep is takes us minutes

Baby Frida - Most young children don't know how to blow their nose and their ear canals are too small to take the mucus build up leading to ear infections. Clearing their nose regularly will help to ward that off

Additional Tips for The Couple

This is more of a thought dump than anything else, but here are some other things to keep in mind as you go through this process.

  1. Support and advocate for your partner. You both are in a really vulnerable state and it's easy to let some things slip. Communicate all your needs no matter how trivial they may seem. It will be btter for both of you.
  2. Take care of yourself. That sounds so obvious, but it's really easy to forget to eat, shower, etc. when you're focusing all your energy into your partner and the bundle of joy in front of you.
  3. Drink lots of water/fluids. All the adrenaline from the excitement means your body is going to consume resources faster than it usually would. Keeping hydrated will allow you to stay alert and available
  4. For the birthing parent once they cut you off from eating food ask if you can have popsicles. It's not perfect, but it allowed my wife to have something at least until after the baby arrived.
  5. Non birthing parent it's okay to leave the room. I know that sounds nuts because anything can happen, but I promise the hospital staff's main goal is a safe delivery for the child and birthing parent. If you need to take a walk or get some fresh air it's okay, really.
  6. I said this already, but I'll say it again for posterity sake...advocate for your partner. From the smallest thing to the biggest make sure to speak up.
  7. Babies especially infants are a lot. It is okay to hand them off to your partner or put them down and walk away for a moment to take a breather. Believe it or not it's best for you and them. You can reengage once you've pulled yourself together.

Final Thoughts

If you're reading this I am so excited for you no matter where you are in your journey. This is just the start of a very exciting and fulfilling journey and I can't stress enough to take each day as a learning experience. I believe that most parents are doing the best they can each day and similarly so is your little one. Be patient as you learn each other and remember that literally everything is new for them. ❤️