By the time you’re ready to leave the hospital, you’ll probably want to grab your baby and run for the nearest shower. But aside from that newly swaddled sweet pea who’s leaving with you, there’s a whole list of things you shouldn’t leave behind on your way out. With my first baby, I was dying of embarrassment when my great-grandmother wiped not one, not two, but six baby blankets from the hospital shelves. With my second baby, I cleared out just a few baby essentials. And by the third time around, I grabbed anything and everything that I could make use of at home.
During your hospital stay, the nurses will stock your changing table with top-brand newborn diapers. You may have a long drive ahead and need a diaper change midway. Or maybe you’d rather use this small stash before breaking open your own diaper boxes. Either way, take these! You’ll be buying diapers for many years ahead, every little bit helps.
The hospital has supplied all three of my babies with the softest, most gentle baby hair brush. And I have never found a store-bought brush I liked more than these! They come in handy most when cradle cap arises. Plus, they’re a super sweet addition to your baby’s keepsake box.
Baby Blankets & Hats
I don’t care if you’re having your sweet babe in the dead of summer, take the blankets and hats. That signature blue and pink print on the hospital’s fabric is the one keepsake that all three of my babies have the same. You’ll be eager to wrap your own cottony-soft swaddle around your baby, but I’m telling you – that pink and blue hospital print pulls on my heart strings every time I see it.
I put every little piece of paper from the hospital into my babies’ photo albums. With each birth they’ve all received a footprint certificate with the details of their delivery, a certificate for their hearing test, and a certificate documenting any medication or vaccine given. And don’t forget to grab mommy’s and baby’s wristbands when the nurse snips them off! Another keepsake that gives me all the feels.
I’m a formula-feeding momma, it ain’t no secret. In fact, you can find my very rough and tough breastfeeding story here. But whether you’re cruising through your first few days of breastfeeding, or you’ve got a bottle rack ready to go at home, ask for samples! My three-week-old baby went 8 hours without a drop of food because I was too scabbed for a latch and had zero formula on hand for backup. Take the samples! It’s better to have and not need, than vise versa.
Three babies later and it is still so odd to me that hospitals don’t provide wipes – rather, they give you these dry gauze squares. But take them! Once home I definitely switched to wet wipes for a more comfortable diaper change. But I did use these squares for so many things. Leaking nipples, wiping baby’s eye gunk and spit-up, and safely drying my cesarean incision.
Maternity Squeeze Bottle
I’m three cesareans deep. But even though I’ve never delivered naturally, that oh-so famous squeeze bottle they place in your bathroom can provide serious relief at home too. They’re going to throw it away anyways!
I mean… self-explanatory. Why buy them when they’re stocked for your use? Save a buck or two, I promise you’ll spend it elsewhere.
Postpartum Belly Wrap
I’ve heard from a few fellow mommas that hospitals only provide postpartum belly wraps to cesarean patients. I’m sure it varies by location, but it never hurts to ask. With each baby I’ve ended up purchasing something a little tighter and more supportive at around six-weeks postpartum. But hospital wraps are so incredibly helpful for the first few weeks at home. They keep your core safe and tight, so you have one less thing to worry about as you care for your newborn.
Whether you deliver naturally or have a cesarean, you’re likely to leave with an open wound in one place or another. So take the surgical soap they ask you to shower with. That way you don’t have to worry if your soap is too fragranced or too harsh to care for your wounds. And you have the comfort of knowing you’re getting rid of any bacteria that you may come in contact with at home or out and about.
This is one of those keepsakes that you’re gonna be happy you have. Three babies, three keepsake boxes, three pairs of hospital socks -one from each delivery. Sometimes I even throw them on during a cool morning or a wintery night. These socks are just another little reminder of how strong you were when you wore them.
So there ya have it, rookies and veterans. There are so many great things in your hospital room, and they’re all provided to you for one great reason or another! Don’t tough it out without – those early weeks with a newborn at home are tough enough. So pack up wisely, ease your load at home, and use this lineup to further enjoy that sweet new bundle at home. The days will be long, the nights will be even longer, but those early, very amazing, weeks will fly by before you know it.