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You made it! After months of preparation, and hours or days of labor, your baby has arrived and you are both resting peacefully in your recovery room. Or perhaps not so peacefully. For most vaginal deliveries, you and baby will be at the hospital for 48 hours after delivery, and for a cesarean you can expect to spend five days. Even though it is “only” a few days, the discomforts of being away from home can sometimes be discouraging. Here are some practical tips to make your stay at the hospital a little bit more comfortable.
newborn hospital

Pack comfortable clothes. And yes, ladies, I mean maternity clothes. Sorry to say, but it takes nine months to add the baby weight to your body. Delivering an 8 pound baby won’t make it all disappear right away. Pack comfortable lounging clothes to wear in the hospital. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable in ‘real’ clothes, rather than a hospital gown that makes you feel like a sick patient. Good options may be loose-fitting yoga pants, or maternity leggings. If you plan on nursing, you may want to bring a couple of nursing bras or tanks for convenience. And don’t forget socks and slippers! The hospital gets chilly, particularly the tile floor. (Note: for your own safety, you should only walk around with non skid slippers, or slipper socks. The floors are not only cold, but very slippery if you are only wearing socks).

Bring your own pillow. Hospital beds aren’t known for their comfort, pillows included. Have your partner or another family member bring your favorite pillow from home. This will help you get better sleep (when you can), and make your temporary stay feel more like home.

Allow visitors, or not. Depending on your own personality and how you are feeling, you may or may not be up for visitors at the hospital. Personally, I was feeling pretty isolated and lonely with no one around and wished I had more visitors! Whatever your desires are, make them known to your immediate family to prevent impromptu visits if you feel like just spending some alone time.

Pack snacks. If you thought you were hungry when you were pregnant, be prepared for something altogether new as you start producing breast milk. The first six weeks postpartum my appetite was insatiable. Many local hospitals are pretty good about feeding their pregnant and newly delivered mommies well, but it doesn’t hurt to pack some healthy non perishable snacks from home. Also, no one knows your taste better than you.

Bring your own toiletries. There’s nothing like being able to take a shower or bath in your own home, but brining your own supplies from home is the next best thing. Pack your favorite shampoo and conditioner, body soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and even lotions if you like. Although the hospital will have generic items on hand if you forget, having your own may make you feel better physically and mentally.

Take care of yourself ‘down there.’ If you’ve had a vaginal delivery, odds are you are going to be sore or swollen in your perineal area. This is even more true if you’ve had an episiotomy or tearing of any kind. The hospital and nurses will provide you with large sanitary napkins and disposable undergarments for the duration of your stay. If you want to bring your own underwear from home, I would definitely recommend bringing the granny panties that you wouldn’t mind getting stained and thrown out. You’ll also be given a peri bottle that you can fill with warm water to rinse your vulva with during urination. Use this, and bring it home with you. It will feel like heaven. If you do have any stitches, make sure you know how to take care of yourself once you get home, and know any signs of infection.

Do keep in mind, also, that you have the right to check out of the hospital early if you feel that you and baby are well enough to be home without the monitoring of the medical staff. That is a decision only you and your family can make with your doctor. 

Happy birthing!

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