I discussed a bit before about how there's some items that you do not need to pack in your hospital bag when it comes time to have a baby simply because those items are available at the hospital and it's pointless to bring your own.
That lead to a little discussion on my Facebook page about what items are at most hospitals and it's okay to snag them before you go.
Listen, those things are built into the cost of your stay. You are literally paying for them whether you take/use them or not so why not take them when you go?
In the spirit of helping y'all out, here's my suggestions for what to “steal” from the hospital after giving birth:
What to “Steal” From The Hospital After Giving Birth
Both for you and the baby. Yes, you WILL be wearing diapers during and after your stay. They are giant mesh panties (some feature a pillow-sized pad built in while others have you add that yourself.) and super unattractive.
But, honestly they are the shit for those first few days after giving birth so take them ALL. Even if you're like me and hate them (I prefer to wear my own panties), take them just in case.
As for the baby, you'll be supplied with anywhere from a handful to a package of diapers and you should DEFINITELY take them. Diapers are EXPENSIVE, yo. I don't care if you, like me, are planning to cloth diaper.
Take the disposable ones for those first few, hazy days. Or just use them when you leave the house and cloth diaper at home. They. are. free. so. take. them.
This is one where I'm begging you to listen to the voice of experience. I breastfed, I'm a solid supporter of breastfeeding, I am all boobs all the the time. HOWEVER, sometimes, it can take a while (or weeks) to get the hang of breastfeeding (for you and for the baby).
I had a TERRIBLE time getting my daughter to latch properly and for my milk to come out (it came in but wouldn't come out – PAINFUL). I was bound and freaking determined to NEVER feed my baby formula. So the samples at the hospital? We left them there. HUGE MISTAKE.
Fast forward to several days later, my baby is literally starving and I'm bawling the parking lot of our local supermarket at 4AM, begging them to open so I can buy formula to supplement her until my boobs saw fit to join our breastfeeding mission.
If I had just brought home the damn formula and bottles from hospital, a lot of the stress could have been alleviated. Grab them. If you don't use them, donate them or give them away.
Another thing we were offered and left behind. In our case, we were struggling hard with breastfeeding so I preferred to not have pacifiers on the table as an option for my little but I still wish we'd have snagged them.
Melanie ended up never using a pacifier but damn, we tried. We bought every single kind ever and tried them all! Those free samples from the hospital would have saved us a little time and money.
Sure, you have a drawer full of adorable and tiny clothes, blankets, and hats at home but… these are the ones that you baby probably wore in those first few days so wouldn't it be sweet to hang on to them?
I grabbed a few and keep them in a memory box for Melanie. She may not care later in life but she also may be delighted.
Nipple Cream/Nipple Guards:
There's like, an entire ARMY of sanctimommies out there who will loudly and pointedly lecture you about the evils of nipple cream and nipple guards. Frankly, these ladies can kiss the roundest part of my ass.
As a woman who struggled HARD to breastfeed, I needed all the damn help I could get and using nipple cream and a nipple guard SAVED me during those first few weeks. Melanie's latch was so bad that within 24 of her being born, I already had open and bleeding sores on my nipples.
In order to heal them, I had to use nipple cream and then nipple shields. It was literally the only way I could continue to safely breastfeed. And fuck those people who say that babies become “addicted” to nipple guards – REALLY?!?!
That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. WHO CARES IF THEY DO? You're still breastfeeding. Also, try to get two nipple guards if you can, that way, you can have one at home and one in your diaper bag.
Please see the section about diapers to truly understand this recommendation. In this day and age, very few ladies use the size and breadth of pad needed to handle post-baby bleeding. Take every single one that the hospital offers you and then supplement with the overnight style ones available to you at the store.
Also, try to snag some pre-soaked witch hazel pads, if you can. They're actually the kind used for hemorrhoids but are AWESOME when you line a few in your panties. Hello, sweet relief.
Nasal Sucker Thingy/Medical Supplies:
You know that weird looking bulbous thing with the long tube on the end for sucking the snot out of your baby's nose? STEAL IT. STEAL ALL OF THEM. I don't know why but they are the greatest things ever and the hospital-grade ones are really, really, really good.
We only had to use ours a few times during Melanie's babyhood but, every time, I was grateful to have brought it home. Also, pack up any of the baby medical/health supplies they will let you leave with. The hospital-grade ones are ALWAYS better then what you bought at a store.
These are those ugly ass socks with the grippy, sticky thingies on the bottom and they are FREAKING GOLD. I lived in mine at the hospital (I don't know what the deal is with postpartum but my feet were like ICE and my balance sucked, too.) and even hung on to the used socks when they would give me new ones (instead of tossing them in the laundry).
I ended up wearing them at night during those first sleep deprived weeks because I felt safer walking around holding the baby while I was sleep-numbed.
Yes, some hospitals give away car seats. Even if you already have one – take it. You may like it better. Or you can see about donating it to a local shelter or women's home where it will be highly appreciated.
Our hospital didn't let us have the one that Melanie used while there (which SUCKED because it was literally the only swaddle she liked and we couldn't remember the brand to try and find it again). But, some places do so take it. Most all babies love being swaddled and hospitals tend to have the crazy nice ones.
Make sure someone shows you how to use it before you go so you're not struggling in the middle of the night while sobbing because you cannot figure out the stupid thing and OMGBABYSTOPCRYINGI'MTRYINGI'MREALLYTRYING. Ahem, coughcoughMEcoughcough.