delivery tips
October 13, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

My wife is due to deliver our first child in 2 weeks or so. What sorts of things do we need to take to the hospital?

It's most probably going to be a cesaerian. Help me make a list of things that would be handy to have pre and post operation, and any tips you have that will make this easier. Thanks!
posted by dhruva to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

Here's some stuff to consider!

- definitely have your discharge plan figured out. Have your car-seat installed now (if applicable), have a change of clothes for yourself (if spending the night(s) with wife), wife (keep it loose fitting and comfy), and new baby. Have toothbrush and such packed as well.

- Speaking of packing, pack early both to make sure you're squared away and so you're not caught flat-footed.

- Take along portable music player. We didn't do a cesaerian, I'm not sure how soon after you get into the hospital they'd do the operation, but I expect they have ya'll in the delivery room for a while until conditions are just right. (There's a lot of waiting in birthing apparently...that was a shocker to me.( So music is good as well as something to occupy minds. Ms. Ricketts liked the sudoku.

Out of all the stuff we brought, those are the things we either neglected to think about (change of clothes for myself? well duh, how could I have forgotten that) or made things more chill and relaxed (music, sudoku).
posted by Wink Ricketts at 9:37 AM on October 13, 2010

If you're interested in a very comprehensive list of what to pack, here is one.

Congrats on your impending arrival!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:45 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

For when you get home. . .have your diapering figured out.

For all of our prep, we dropped the ball in this one, and since it was a cesarian, I was up to bat for diapering, and I had to call a friend for coaching, with poopy baby on the diaper pad.
posted by Danf at 9:45 AM on October 13, 2010

Toiletries for both of you - at least a toothbrush and toothpaste for you (my husband ended up with the most awful breath when I was in labor; thank goodness for a well-prepared doula); her standard toiletries for her. Include chap stick and, if your wife has longer hair, hair clips or ponytail bands or whatever she prefers to keep her hair back and out of her face.

Make sure your camera has fresh batteries or that the batteries are charged. Unless you have a need for it between now and then, put it in your hospital bag today.

Have a list of who you intend to call after baby is born and all is settled; make sure you have the phone numbers handy. Take a cell phone charger along.

I was really happy to have a pillow from home - everything at the hospital has awful plastic coverings under the sheets, and I couldn't get comfortable. Put a colored/patterned pillow case on the pillow, so you remember to bring it home. If she does have a c-section, it'll be a plus for her on the car ride home as well, something to hold against her incision if she needs it.

Put some towels in the car, and a trash bag, today. This is in case your wife's water breaks, which is possible even if she's having a scheduled c-section. The trash bag goes on the seat and the towels go on top of it.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:47 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't forget to pack snacks for yourself. Something for you to do while you're waiting too. I slept after my epidural and hubby was just sitting there channel surfing.

Make a list of everything you're packing. Then when you're checking out of the hospital you can refer back to the list to make sure you aren't forgetting anything. There is going to be a lot going on when you're trying to get home, things get crazy.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:55 AM on October 13, 2010

If you expect to actually get any real sleep at night, don't stay at the hospital...

Camera, cameraphone, video camera, wi-fi laptop (or other means of uploading pics to facebook or whatever), books/magazines/nintendo DS/Sony PSP/something to entertain yourself and/or mom.

I have a comfy folding camp chair that I brought a month ago when our 2nd was born. Guest chairs in hospital rooms tend to be more in line with torture devices if you're spending a lot of time in them.

Snacks for you and mom. Water bottle and/or coffee commuter mug dealie (if you like coffee or tea).

Clothes for the new baby (both for taking them home in and while they are in the hospital - sometimes babies have sensitive skin and the hospitals use harsh detergents/bleach on their stuff that can irritate baby).

Wear your most comfortable shoes - you're going to be standing a lot.

If it winds up a C-section, you're going to be working harder than mom. She'll just be drugged and laying there, and then getting more drugs for post-op pain, and round the clock professional medical care, food/drinks delivered to her (by you and/or hospital staff), everything. You get nothing. Be ready for a really, really long and tiring day(s).
posted by thatguyjeff at 9:55 AM on October 13, 2010

1) Car seat. When the day comes to leave, not having this is a Big Problem. As Wink Ricketts said, get it sorted out ahead of time.

2) I took my birth announcement cards with me to fill out. There wasn't much else I could do physically (c-section), but it was nice to be productive. Licking envelopes & attaching stamps while baby snoozed on my chest was just about right.

Also, I _shouldn't_ have to say this, but my SO didn't get the memo: Do not remove anything your SO has packed for the occasion from the bags. You will hear about it for the rest of your life.
posted by Ys at 10:00 AM on October 13, 2010

I had a c-section with my first baby, and there are a few things that my husband and I WISH we had before we got to the hospital!

1.) DVD player. The hospital had very limited channels, and when my mom brought us a little DVD player so we could watch movies, it was wonderful! Mind you, for the first little while, I was so doped up on morphine I don't remember much, but it served my husband well!

2.) Warm, fuzzy socks for your wife. Hospital things tend to be stiff and scratchy, and feet DO get cold when you're just laying there for hours and hours.

3.) Juice/jello/etc. from home. The stuff the hospital provides, at least in my case, was disgusting. When my husband went out to get me REAL cranberry juice, it was like heaven.

4.) Repeating the pillow from home...SO WONDERFUL. And yes, don't forget an obvious pillowcase.

5.) Bathrobe for your wife!!! After the surgery, she won't be able to change out of her gown right away (I wasn't), so make sure you have a bathrobe so that she can navigate the room/hallway without exposing herself too much. Darn those ugly gowns (as a bonus, your wife could pack her own gown as well, as long as it offers easy access for docs to check on her).

Best of luck to both of you! It will be a long and tiring time for you as well as mom, so don't forget to take care of yourself as well!
posted by I_love_the_rain at 10:04 AM on October 13, 2010

Congrats on your impending birth! I'm having my own in the next week or so.

One thing I'm bringing are my own bath towels. Hospital towels are tiny and scratchy and just plain suck in my experience. I'm bringing dark colored ones to hide the blood transfer that will probably occur.

If your wife plans to breast feed make sure she's got clothing to allow easy access to her breasts. Either some nursing tops, or loose fitting tank tops and a robe (because hospitals are chilly!). I got some cheap tank tops at Old Navy for this.

Warm socks and slippers will help with the cold too.
posted by chiababe at 10:07 AM on October 13, 2010

Hospital towels are tiny and scratchy and just plain suck in my experience.

They do, they really do. But, at least in the aftermath of a vaginal birth, it is VERY USEFUL to be able to put them in the hospital laundry hamper and have them whisked away and replaced ad infinitum.

Yes loose-fitting but attractive clothes to wear home, yes bathrobe, yes toiletries. Very much yes camera, and please don't forget the laptop and all the cords you need for power and uploading photos, if you are at all that kind of person. A book or two, and/or movies on the laptop, for down time before and after the birth.

Good to know ahead of time: what you are supposed to do with your car when you get to the hospital, where some good take-out food places are nearby.
posted by redfoxtail at 10:27 AM on October 13, 2010

Lots of good advice so far. I would emphasize a small CD boombox and 2-3 carefully chosen CDs to play while recovering, while having guests, etc. We did this, and the albums we chose are now incredibly dear to us, as they brings back all those feelings we had at the time.
posted by jbickers at 10:34 AM on October 13, 2010

Take a coat. The weather changed while I was in the hospital and I was discharged wearing my bathrobe over my cute "going-home" clothes. Great pictures! I could have used a coat.

Snacks for you and toiletries for you; I stocked my husband up with granola bars and whatnot so he didn't have to leave me or the baby until he was ready to. Also a change of clothes for you; you may want or need one. My husband was really glad he brought pajama pants so he had something super-soft and comfortable but that he could wander the halls in.

(Personally, we had no difficulty with the hospital linens, which were very nice; or the towels, also nice; or the food, which was for the most part DELICIOUS and they'd deliver food for my husband as well for a $5 fee per meal.)

If the hospital has wifi, a computer. My husband brought his laptop to do some work during the long slow bits, but being able to check my e-mail? AWESOME.

I was unable to focus my eyes properly on close-up things after my C-section because of all the drugs, so the books I had brought were useless. I had to watch a lot of TV. Knowing how to make the font bigger on the computer screen was key. A large-print book from the library also would have helped. A book for you. A list of every phone number of everyone on the planet who is not in your phone. Also? A PHONE CHARGER.

Cash, for vending machines and hospital cafeteria, if needed. $5s, $1s, and change.

My husband slept in the room the first night, which was good because it was strange and I didn't want to be alone and he wanted to be with me and the baby and stuff, but his back is pretty picky about its sleeping arrangements so he woke up with a sore back, and it wasn't restful for him with them coming in every couple hours to check on me and to do feedings. I felt guilty every time they came in. I made him go home the second night so at least HE would be well-rested when the baby came home. He felt bad leaving me, but I wanted him to be able to sleep and enjoy the baby and be fully rested when baby and I got home, and I felt WAY LESS GUILT without the nurse waking him up every time she came to bother me. If and when we have a second, I won't have him stay at the hospital at all, unless I am super-full of hormones and very clingy. I'm glad he stayed that first night, but now that I've done it once, I won't make him stay again.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:38 AM on October 13, 2010

I'm really glad we brought our own paper and asked the nurse to make a set of footprints on our own blank page. Where I am, they stamp the baby's footprints on a novelty faux birth certificate. We brought an artist sketch pad (nothing fancy, just better than printer paper) and it makes for a much nicer keepsake.

We took it to the hospital three times, and now have all three of our daughters' footprints on one sheet.
posted by ellenaim at 10:50 AM on October 13, 2010

All I truly, TRULY needed was lipbalm and toiletries and a bathrobe. Frankly, the bleeding after having a baby is astounding, and your wife will not want anything on her (at least for the first day or two) except hospital-supplied gowns and the sexy net undies they supply. Nursing bras/Sports bras and a boppy really help nursing, and I slept cuddled in my boppy as it seemed to support my neck much better after the caesarean.

For the love of all that is holy, do NOT forget this: a sign on the door that says "Mother resting -- please do not disturb." This will let docs and nurses and midwives in, but keep people out who just want to enroll you in birth studies or talk to you about hospital photos or generally keep your wife from sleeping.

I had terrible nightmares from the pain meds and really needed my husband around that first night. And my sister brought me a picnic basket full of prepared food. That hunger from generating milk is pretty wolfish.

Best of luck. I always love to see these questions -- I think "aww...they're just starting it all" -- you're about to enter the hardest but most amazing time of your lives.
posted by mdiskin at 10:50 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

One thing I asked to have after I got there was a little spiral notebook and a pen so that I could track feeding times and what side I fed on last. In the middle of the night, it's hard to remember if "left" was last time or the time before. I could also make lists of things I needed or wanted to ask about, reminders to myself, and so on. It's all such a blur, it was nice to have a place to collect those floating thoughts.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:51 AM on October 13, 2010

I'm going to go against the grain a little, because if you packed all the stuff everyone above is suggesting you're going to need several suitcases. Each hospital differs, but at the hospital where I delivered the towels were fine (frankly I didn't care, I was so excited to be able to have a shower!), as were the provided baby clothes. I had a C-section both times, first time was a surprise, second time was scheduled.

Something to entertain you and wife while you wait. Yes, even with a scheduled C-section there is waiting beforehand. Books or a laptop. Hope your hospital has wifi.
Charging cable etc for laptop and camera.
Slippers for her. I wasn't allowed to walk the hallways or leave the room in bare feet.
A gown for her. One she doesn't LOVE, because it may end up covered in blood.
A couple of nursing tops if she plans to breastfeed.
A pair of pyjama pants. See disclaimer on gown.
She will be wearing the hideous mesh undies for a few days, so no need for underwear.
A change of clothes for yourself.
Snacks for you - the hospital may not provide any food for you, and you won't always want to leave the room to go to the cafeteria, or maybe its closed when you get hungry at 10pm or whatever.
One going home outfit for baby. If the hospital-provided clothing upsets your baby then put the going home outfit on, and you can run out and fetch some more clothing.
Change for vending machines etc.
Toiletries - I brought travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste and my regular deodorant and toothbrush. Hair bands/clips. Minimal toiletries for yourself too.
posted by Joh at 11:21 AM on October 13, 2010

One more note about food. I don't really understand the logic involved, but after my first c-section I was only allowed liquid at first, then slowly moved onto goo or jello, soft foods and real foods about 2 days later. Second c-section they didn't seem to care. The hospital food was pretty awful no matter what its density was. So it would be nice to get friends or family to bring her and you some awesome food on day 2 or 3, but bear in mind that she might be restricted to mashed potatoes or soup or something, if the medical minds choose that route. Proper mashed potatoes would have been awesome!
posted by Joh at 11:25 AM on October 13, 2010

Giant granny underpants. The swelling for the first week after a c-section can be pretty severe and she probably won't want anything the rubs on the incision.

Wear the gowns the hospital provides for the first couple days. Birth is a fluid-intensive event in any event but c-sections and their aftermath can be pretty messy. it will also be difficult to get in and out of clothing so the no-hassle gowns that you don't have to worry about staining are really nice. The ones I had were soft and comfortable and if you wore two at once, one with the tie in back and one over that with the tie in front, like a robe, you don't have to worry about showing your butt to everyone when you get up to go to pee.

Also, make sure she gets up and walks around as soon as possible after surgery. She may protest but it's really important to ensure that blood clots don't develeop and getting your circulation going really helps with healing.

But don't bring a whole lot of stuff. You'll both be so immersed in the baby and its care and the recovery process for your wife that extraneous junk will just get in the way.

Camera, camera charger, phone, phone charger.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2010

Baby pants. Car seats do not work with swaddled babies and if you don't have the baby pants, you'll be forced to do as we did and take baby home in a pair of hobo trousers fashioned from an inverted baby shirt.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:32 AM on October 13, 2010

Oh, and steal every single receiving blanket that is not nailed down.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:33 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

But don't bring a whole lot of stuff. You'll both be so immersed in the baby and its care and the recovery process for your wife that extraneous junk will just get in the way.

Oh yes. Also, the less stuff you bring, the smaller the chance that anything will go missing.

One thing you could do is pack two bags - one with essentials (however you define this), and one with "could be nice to have" stuff. When you get to the hospital, only bring the "essentials" bag in; leave the "could be nice" bag in the car (well-concealed, of course). If it turns out you want something from the "could be nice" bag, it won't take more than half an hour to fetch it and get back to the room.
posted by shiny blue object at 11:41 AM on October 13, 2010

Standard overnight bag including toiletries.

Get some quarter rolls from the bank for the vending machines.

An extra pillow or 2 (for your wife - hospital pillows don't cut it).

Laptop, ipod, dvds, cameras and their chargers.

Slippers (for you and mommy since the floors are brrr cold).

See what places are nearby that deliver (our food was good but still...).

I also made an email distribution list prior to getting to the hospital. It made sending out the announcement that mush simpler and in turn quicker.

Make sure you get in a decent mean before heading to the hospital. There will be a time that she cannot eat and i didn't eat because I didn't want to eat in front of my wife.

Also don't feel bad if you let the nurses keep the baby overnight one night. You guys will be exhausted and getting at least 1 good nights sleep before checking out will really help.

The hospital will likely have a photographer, so bring an extra outfit for the baby if you want to go that route.

Don't forget to have your bottles ready (sterilized) at home waiting (of course not needed if breast feeding).

posted by doorsfan at 11:54 AM on October 13, 2010

If she is planning to breastfeed, get the number for (and maybe interview) a good lactation consultant. Nurses are great, and helpful, but a good lactation consultant can be invaluable if there are any issues with breastfeeding, and it can be a lot less stressful to call someone you've already had contact with than to try and sort that out on top of everything else.

Also, not really something to bring, but make arrangements with a friend/family member to come to your house and do two things right before she gets home: 1) put clean sheets on your bed; 2) clean the bathroom.

Congratulations on your baby! Standard baby advice: take at least one photo every day for the first year -- you won't regret it!
posted by anastasiav at 11:54 AM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Something I totally wish we had--someone to take some shifts besides the parents so they can sleep. We had ZERO help from anyone so it was up to me and my husband do do all shifts of a high colic baby. Husband stayed home for a week and then I was on my own. I tell you, the whole sleep when the baby sleeps doesn' work when housework, shopping, taking care of baby, cooking, and laundry needs to be done. Guess when mommy sleeps if that is your schedule? She doesn't. And it gets pretty dangerous after day 4 without zero sleep.

If you have relatives, friends, anyone who offers to take a few hours so she can get some peace and quiet, please take them on it.

If not, start looking into hiring someone. I told DH if I ever have a kid again, we are hiring someone, even if it means in the daytime, to help with the baby while I get some sleep.

A lack of sleep is the worse thing one can do to heal, bond, and cope with a new baby.

Congrats on the new one. It's a wonderful thing.
posted by stormpooper at 12:21 PM on October 13, 2010

Oh, and steal every single receiving blanket that is not nailed down.

That's the first thing I think of with this joyous occasion, planned theft. Please don't steal from the hospital. Everyone pays for theft.
posted by thatguyjeff at 12:52 PM on October 13, 2010

I agree with the suggestions re a pillow and socks and changes of clothes andgranolabars for you. Something to give you both access ton the Internet during lulls is also helpful. I do wish wed gotten printsnofnher hands and feet when firstborn, so that might be nice too. For gods sake don't do what we did and wait for the birth to really hash out the names we could agree on. That added a levelnofnatress you don't need. Agree on some before you go.

Do you have an iphone or iPod touch? Get this app: total baby. It is so helpful to have all the breastfeeding history at your fingertips.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:03 PM on October 13, 2010

Get dinner lined up for the week after you come back- you'll really want to avoid spending time cooking. Lay in a supply of paper plates and plastic utensils; you guys are going to be dog tired (and she probably won't be walking well for the first week or two after the C section), so you'll want to do what you can to keep the domestic chores as minimal as possible when you come home with the little one!
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:07 PM on October 13, 2010

Bring a nipple shield. I ended up needing one and the hospital didn't provide them.

Bring your own over-the-counter drugs - the ones you know you tend to need, that is. The long period without food gave me heartburn during labour, and it sucked having to get the nurse agree to get me antacids. It seemed to throw her off, it not being a morpine request, I guess.

Bring a water bottle.
posted by kitcat at 1:32 PM on October 13, 2010

Really nice popsicles. Trader Joe's has some great ones. The hospital will usually allow mom to have these before solid food.

For home - have a breakfast tray/bed tray ready so you can bring her meals in bed, especially if you have stairs in the house. She may be confined to the bedroom for a while.
posted by bq at 1:39 PM on October 13, 2010

If she'll be breastfeeding, definitely a tube of nipple-soothing cream. (Best brand is Lansinoh.) That was a lifesaver; the nipple pain started almost immediately for my partner even though our baby was latching correctly and all was good. And definitely the contact info of a good lactation consultant.

And in any case: more good, nutritious, non-perishable food than you think you'll need.
posted by kalapierson at 2:41 PM on October 13, 2010

Ice pack thing. If the hospital supplies it, it costs 4 times as much. Same with big winged Kotex. Even with a C-section, you ooze a lot.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2010

Laptop (if you have one) - also, call up the hospital and ask if they have wireless. yelp reviews for local fast-food places (if no wireless or laptop) - i got a seriously crappy meatball sub after delivering my son, when i could've easily gotten a great one from another sub shop had i known. old, comfy-ass PJ pants. An assortment of snacks you normally would eat. your own shampoo and conditioner, or an even nicer, luxury brand for the occasion.

a couple of outfits for going home in different sizes and for different temperatures. for you AND baby.
posted by kpht at 4:27 PM on October 13, 2010

Also, I know it's not "for the hospital", but one really primo thing my SO did while I was in the hospital was arrange to get the house *SPOTLESS* --I swear to God, the floors gleamed! It was so amazing to come back home with my new baby, exhausted & out of my mind from pain & lack of sleep, and open the door to a spotless house with the bed made up & invitingly ready to receive me. It was just such a nice way to come home from an exhausting ordeal.
posted by Ys at 5:24 PM on October 13, 2010 [5 favorites]

If you are planning to breastfeed, bring along your boppy pillow or a mybreastfriend nursing pillow. It really helps to get baby positioned more easily for feeding. Good luck!
posted by netsirk at 10:13 PM on October 13, 2010

shiny blue object: "it won't take more than half an hour to fetch it and get back to the room."

I've been a labor coach a few times, a sole coach once, and Mom may not want you to leave for 30 seconds, let alone 30 minutes. (Even if it is pre-c-section with no labor.) Seriously, if you do not have a doula but have another family member/friend who will be at the hospital while Mom is giving birth, officially assign them the task of Go-fer. Their job will be to support Dad too, and get him snacks/drinks as well as run to the nurses with "Mom needs more ice chips." Then hopefully Dad only has to leave for potty breaks.

Cannot overemphasize breath mints (for her but for you too) and toothbrush/paste for her... she may vomit from pain/anesthesia/the general hormones of birth. Peppermint is good for nausea. The hospital may give you some toiletries but ugh, their toothpaste tastes like plain baking soda!
posted by IndigoRain at 11:15 PM on October 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you all so much, I will be referring to this thread a lot.

My wife´s mother is coming to help us out, so we will have someone for general help. We are in Mexico, so many things don´t apply, for example doubt if the hospital has WiFi! I will report how things go, thanks again.
posted by dhruva at 12:48 PM on October 14, 2010

Response by poster: So the delivery went well, and I am now the proud father of a 2 week old girl, named Maya. Thanks once again for your suggestions, and among all the useful tips, the most useful one was Wink Rickett's, because my wife was admitted into hospital a bit earlier than planned or expected. It was great that we already had the hospital bag already in the car!
posted by dhruva at 5:28 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Welcome, beautiful Maya.

Now just remember: SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. :)
posted by kalapierson at 1:44 AM on November 25, 2010

Welcome Maya, it is an honor to meet you! Many wonderful days ahead for all of you.
posted by jbickers at 8:47 AM on November 25, 2010

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