packing for the hospital

When you’re pregnant, you end up with multiple lists with what to pack for your stay at the hospital or birth center. All are pretty similar and just like life itself, it gets easier when you prepare as best as you can. When we found out 5 years ago that Natalie would need a series of open heart surgeries we had no idea what to bring to the hospital. Totally different situation. We weren’t prepped with what we would need at her bedside so we went through a bit of trial and error. We are very blessed to say that to date, we’ve only spent 13 days in hospitals due to Natalie’s heart condition. But during all of those 13 days these were the 12 items we couldn’t live without when our child was 5 months and 2 years old:

1.) sippy cups, familiar and favorite cups (if you have a newborn or infant don’t worry the hospital will give you baby bottles).

2.) Super comfy clothing. Think soft and clean shirts with buttons in the front so your child’s “zipper” incision isn’t irritated.

3.) Balloons. I haven’t met a child yet that doesn’t love those Mylar balloons.

4.) A good selection of your child’s favorite DVDs. I accidentally brought Snow White. I forgot how scary it was and Natalie watched it the 1st night post-op while getting her CPAP treatments. Think cheerful and comforting movies. I accidentally chose a dark and gloomy one.

5.) your child’s favorite music. Now that we have iPods and portable speakers these days, this is, thankfully, very easy.

6.) Your child’s favorite stuffed animals and/or blanket that you can wash once home to get that “hospital smell” out. Also, a favorite sheet set and pillow from home.

7.) lollipops and mints! and any other candy approved by your child’s doctor.

8.) stickers stickers stickers! You find unlimited uses for stickers during the days when looking for ways to feel entertained.

9.) splurge on a really good lip balm for your child (like Burt’s Bees).

10.) toys!! Thankfully most hospitals will help provide really great toys for your child while they recuperate. Most hospitals have a great play area for your recuperating child. But any small toy that is easily transportable from home helps to continue that feeling of familiarity and home.

11.) Crayons and washable markers and plenty of paper. It’s a great distraction for a wiggly 2 year old. Also save extra for you to journal the experience.

12.) Don’t forget the small bills and change for snacks for when the cafeteria is closed.

Is there anything I left out? What is your list? Comment and/ or link back with your list in the comments sections so this list can keep growing!

2 responses to “packing for the hospital

  1. Some things that have been helpful to us on our multiple hospitalizations:

    1) a notebook to keep track of questions for medical staff and daily diary of events
    2) we bought another notebook for visitors, staff, and us to write messages to Eli. We had so many people tell us they were wishing him well and praying for him, I decided they should tell him themselves in a way that we could keep forever. My husband and I still write in it randomly, just to update him on his progress and how proud we are of him. It’s out at every family gathering and is one of the first things we pack prior to a hospitalization.
    3) I bought two cheap photo albums and printed pictures at home. I filled the albums with pictures of family members and close friends, Eli’s therapists, our dog, favorite family outings, etc. Eli’s went to the hospital with us and was used A LOT when he was upset. It really calmed him to look at the familiar faces and we’ve used it a lot since then as he’s starting to speak and say people’s names. The other book was left with our older son who was shuffled among loving family members throughout Eli’s surgery and hospital stay. Whenever he missed us, he pulled his book out and looked at familiar pics of the four of us doing things he remembered. He makes sure we add some photos after every family event we have now!

  2. Thanks. I’ve been searching for a list of things to pack. We found out at 20 weeks our little Wyatt has VSD. And although everything I read rarely people
    Know before hand. I feel very lucky to have this information before, although still so many in answered questions. The doctors stayed possibly surgery will be day 2-12, and those are my unknown questions. Thank you for all your stories. Ring awareness forward.

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