Free Stuff To Take From the Hospital Part 1: What Mom Needs After Birth
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A new baby is incredibly exciting, but it seems like the baby is always the one we’re thinking of. We don’t do nearly enough to prepare for ourselves.
As a new mom, one of the things I wish I had thought more about before I went to the hospital was what I needed to make sure to take from the hospital after delivery.
Who knew there was so much free stuff to take from the hospital after birth?
Sure, I had been told there would be hospital freebies to take from the hospital after delivery, but I had no idea that I should be stocking up.
And I was totally unpepared for what things I’d need most.
I had perfectly packed my hospital bag ahead of time, but I hadn’t made a plan for what I needed to take from the hospital when I left.
I knew I needed to keep a little bit of space in my hospital bag when I packed it, but no idea how much.
So the first tip I have for a new mom trying to figure out what to take from the hospital is this: make sure you have plenty of extra room in your bag when you’re packing your hospital bag.
Despite not having a list, here is what I wish I had taken more of when I left:
1 & 2: Mesh Underwear & Giant Pads
These two just have to be paired together in my opinion because, well, they kind of rely on one another.
The mesh underwear is essentially one-size-fits-all so it has a lot of stretch. It’s breathable, disposable, and most important, it fits the giant pads and ice packs.
After giving birth, that area of your body is just going to need you to let it do its thing. So while you’re in the hospital you’ll want to stockpile as many pairs of underwear and hoard as many pads as possible because you’ll be bleeding for weeks once you leave.
If you remember to grab these items, it will save you the disappointment of losing your favorite pair of underwear.
More than a fear of losing your favorite pair of underwear, you’ll also likely want to avoid anything that is too constrictive for a while.
You’ll be sore, swollen, and potentially very recently stitched up.
For me, I made the mistake of only grabbing a few of pairs of mesh underwear and a couple of pads.
Oops — big mistake.
But I had no idea that I would be bleeding for 6 weeks.
Nor did I have any idea how useless some of the regular store-bought pads would be.
So I really wish I had emptied the shelves in my room each night (they restocked each day) and I wish I had asked my nurse for more of these prior to being discharged.
No one ever gave me any trouble when I asked for any extra items.
Plus, I paid enough to be at the hospital. So these “hospital freebies” should be grabbed without giving it a second thought.
3. Ice Packs
I’ll be honest, before giving birth I thought this was the weirdest thing imaginable.
I could not even imagine sitting on an ice pack. It sounded terrible.
Well, I was naïve and so very wrong.
Nothing feels “comfortable” after giving birth, but an ice pack and eating a substantial meal were two of my best moments (aside from actually meeting my child) postpartum.
Technically you don’t “need” ice packs after about 24-48 hours because they’re no longer necessary to help reduce swelling, but they sure are nice to have when you’re recently torn-open lady parts need some relief.
And if you don’t use them all for their original purpose, extra ice packs for a new-to-breastfeeding mom should be a welcome backup plan.
They’re particularly useful when relieving clogged milk ducts and helping to avoid mastitis once your milk comes in.
4. Peri bottles (special water bottles)
Before giving birth I had no idea why you would want spray bottles, or peri bottles, postpartum.
Seriously. Stock Up.
If you just gave birth, you definitely need to take these hospital freebies after delivery.
I was literally terrified of wiping after using the bathroom at all, so these allow you to feel clean without feeling like you just re-injured yourself.
My recommendation? Make sure you have enough so that you can leave one on each floor of your home that you use with any regularity.
For me, that would be my main floor and the top floor of our house where our bedroom is located.
I also recommend having a travel bottle that you can keep in the diaperbag.
We went to the beach when I was 3 weeks postpartum and if I didn’t have that for random car stops, the beach house, and restaurants I would have been in tears.
It is absolutely essential when you’re grabbing those hospital freebies on your way out.
5. Nipple Cream
Your hospital may or may not have this, but you should definitely ask. Mine offered me a travel sized bottle of nipple cream, which was great.
It wasn’t one that I used with an incredible amount of regularity, but it was handy to have in the diaperbag. You know, just in case. It was definitely a handy little hospital freebie to take from the hospital after I delivered.
6. Nipple Shield
I’m not a big fan of nipple shields for every feeding, but they did help in the middle of the night when my son and I were first struggling with getting a good latch. I intentionally tried not to use it during the day so that we could work on getting the latch right with consistency.
There were, however, plenty of times when I was just too exhausted to do that kind of work.
Nipple shields are soft, flexible, plastic shields (duh) that go over your nipple (also duh). They draw your nipple into the shield when your baby sucks.
If your baby doesn’t have a great latch, this will keep your nipple from being rubbed the wrong way, which can cause cracks or blisters. Both of which can let bacteria into your breast and could cause mastitis.
So while I 100% recommend working on getting your latch right from the beginning, this was a useful thing that my hospital let me take.
It let me work on getting the latch right without feeling like I had to give up breast feeding if we couldn’t figure it out right away.
Not every hospital gives these out, but if it’s one of the free items you can take from the hospital after birth, do it. At least if you’re struggling with breastfeeding and you want to breastfeed.
And in case no one told you, getting it right is really hard and doesn’t often come as natural as many people pretend.
7. Stool softener
But you definitely don’t want to be dealing with constipation, which a lot of women are prone to postpartum.
And if you do deal with constipation, eventually you’ll really want those stool softeners to help you out.
8. Sitz Bath
Thankfully I had a heads up on this one so I was able to ask for a sitz bath during my discharge, even though I had no idea at the time what it was or how to use it.
This is one of the best hospital freebies I could have grabbed.
So trust me when I say that you’ll want to make sure you ask for this.
Aside from the ice packs, a sitz bath is the most soothing thing for your lady parts while you’re recovering from giving birth.
In the beginning using the warm water was enough, but later in my recovery there were some issues with my stitches so I began to add some Epson Salt. What. A. Lifesaver.
Not only does it provide general relief — it also helps with hemorrhoids if that is something you’re dealing with after having your baby.
9. Witch hazel pads
Witch hazel pads are wonderful because they help your body to fight bacteria.
Not to mention, they’re pretty soothing.
If you line your pad with them you can go through a package within a couple of days, so I would recommend trying to get some extras from your hospital.
If you’re giving birth in a hospital, then there is a good chance that you’re paying a lot of money. Which means these items aren’t technically ” free stuff” to take from the hospital after birth.
Whether you’re paying it through insurance or out of pocket, part of what you’re paying for are the items made available to you during the postpartum recovery process. And hospitals know that what they have are the items that work best. So they aren’t surprised when you use up the stock they provide to your room and they (likely) won’t tell you no if you ask for more.
Recovery is a process. Why not make it a little easier on yourself by making sure you have the things you need?