Updated: Apr 15, 2020
So, your baby is due and you are trying to prepare for it in the middle of a viral pandemic. No big deal, right? You may be wondering how to get ready for your hospital stay and how you can make a smooth transition home. In the midst of the daily changes to plans and policies, I wanted to share some tips and tricks to help you prepare for your hospital birth.
Getting Ready to Go
Tip 1: Pack Smart
When you are putting together a hospital bag, pack smart. When there isn't a national health emergency, it's easy to load up your husband like a pack mule with all but the kitchen sink in tow. I am always an advocate for minimal packing regardless of the circumstance, but I think its especially important when you are preparing for a 24-48 hour hospital stay.
Purchase travel sized toiletries to take with you. Throw them away at the hospital when you leave. I recommend getting Shampoo/conditioner, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, a brush/comb, and even travel sized contact solution and a case you can dispose of. All of this should be easy to find at Walmart or even Amazon.
Condense all of your belongings into one bag. Its recommended to seal your clean items in a plastic bag before packing. Bring an empty "dirty" bag with you for used belongings. Do not remove belongings from the bag to wear/use again and be sure to wash them immediately when you get back home. Pack in bags that can be thrown away or washed.
Leave the special things behind. Even though the comfort of home is important, it will be easier and safer in the long run. Leave items like your pillows, blankets (special ones for your baby included), robes, and even that diaper bag you have been excited to tote around.
Packing smart will help you minimize cross contamination and limit the amount of disinfecting and washing you will have to do when you get home. This can protect hospital staff too!
Tip 2: Learn about hospital protocol
Every hospital is different, so it can't hurt to call ahead of time to learn the protocols in place. Expect temperature checks and other symptom screenings. You may be required to stay inside your designated room(s) for the entire stay and could be denied re-entry if you leave. Most hospitals are only allowing one support person, so it's important to make sure you have everything you think you may need. Once you get inside, both you and your partner should change into clean outfits. If you have not brought your own clothing to labor in, a hospital gown will be waiting for you to put on. Make sure the clothing you wore into the hospital gets put into your dirty bag to be washed later. I know this seems excessive, but it helps keep things clean.
Tip 3: Don't forget about snack time!
You will want more than what the hospital can offer you, so plan for this ahead of time. I recommend things like Gatorade, honey sticks, and crackers. When you talk to your hospital, ask them about their food and drink guidelines so nothing will be wasted or thrown away. Pack things in disposable bags/containers.
Tip 4: Utilize your nesting instinct
If you are going to be inside with the urge to nest, you may as well utilize your energy to prepare for your homecoming. Make frozen meals, finish the nursery, and learn to properly install your car seat. Pick out clean outfits to change into once you have gotten home and showered. Once you have worn yourself out, treat yourself to a bubble bath in your clean tub while you binge some Netflix.
You deserve it.
This is such an unprecedented time. I feel for every family who has had a disruption in their birth and postpartum plans because of covid-19. I hope that together we can set you up for a peaceful experience.
In part two of this blog series, I am going to share some helpful hints that will make your transition home quick and efficient. Stay tuned!