In my last post, I talked about what you should bring with you to the hospital. Here’s a list of things you should TAKE from the hospital.
After you deliver your precious little one, it’s time to hit the postpartum suite, a strange and magical place where privacy and good lighting go to die. Here, assuming everything went OK during delivery, you’ll most likely room-in with your beautiful newborn, begin the indescribably special bonding process with this life you’ve just created, and tend to your most intimate recovery needs, while strangers walk in and out at all hours.
If you’re staying at a hospital, you’ll get a bunch of stuff. Some of it you don’t want to keep (ditch anything that smells like baby powder), but a few items are really worth taking home with you.
1. The Peri Bottle
Also known as the “Perineal Irrigation Cleansing Bottle,” the peri bottle is a handy, small plastic spray/squirt bottle that bears a passing resemblance to a mustard bottle at the concession stand. I call it the “Hipster Bidet.”
If you haven’t guessed already, the peri bottle is used for cleansing off your privates after you use the toilet. You do not want to be wiping even the softest 8-ply cashmere toilet paper down there after you give birth. Not only is that area totally raw, you’ll also be leaking a lot of fluid and indiscriminate chunks of goo, and the peri bottle is much better at cleaning off all the detritus than wiping with toilet paper.
I love the peri bottle. It’s worth asking for an extra (I did), just in case something happens to the first one. I mean, I’m not trying to be greedy, but this is like a $30,000 hospital stay? I think they can afford to give me an extra squirt bottle.
(Note: If you want to upgrade from the hospital-issued peri bottle, the Frida MomWasher looks like a pretty good investment.)
2. The Grey Plastic Tub
I’m not sure if these tubs come in any other colors, but the one I got from the hospital was grey. I think this is it. These are a bizarrely perfect size for so many things. Back home, we used this tub to soak all the baby feeding parts (nipple shields, containers, bottles). We used it many times a day for at least the first 6 months. You can also use it in your kitchen sink to sponge-bathe your newborn.
3. Blue Disposable Underpads (Chux)
They referred to these pads as “chux” at the hospital, and I have no idea why. Maybe because they’re disposable and easy to “chuck” away after they get soiled by bodily fluids? These are handy to have as you recover to avoid staining the sheets at night. They’re also good to throw on top of the bed and use as makeshift changing pads for baby (also great to have one or two in the diaper bag for changes on the go). I basically raided my room and took home all that I could find. Make sure to check all the drawers — there are usually a few piles stashed in there.
4. Extra Syringes and Vials, and Any Breastfeeding Gear
If you’re having issues with getting your baby to latch (this is VERY COMMON, especially for first-time moms), ask for a syringe and vial kit that you can use to collect colostrum. You can sometimes milk out a few drops of colostrum manually and use the syringe to collect the drops, and then use that to essentially dropper-feed the baby. If there’s anything left, use the vials to store the extra drops until the next feeding. Every drop counts in the early days.
Sterile syringes and vials are not items that most people have on-hand at home, or that they can find easily, so take advantage of the hospital supply and ask for a few to take home, just in case you’ll need them.
Related, if your hospital has a lactation resource center, ask for anything that might help you. Nipple shields, lanolin, breast pads — all this stuff gets expensive! And you don’t want to be making a Target run on your first night home trying to find items that the hospital will give you for free. (And by “free,” of course I mean, as part of your $30,000 hospital stay.)
5. Giant Sippy Cup
Hydration is essential for recovery, and even more so if you’re a breastfeeding mom. Luckily, the hospital makes it easy to get your 8-12 cups of water a day by providing you with a handy sippy cup the size of a Big Gulp. Make sure to take it home with you, and make a habit of drinking from it and refilling it multiple times throughout the day.
Optional: Maxi Pads and Underwear
The hospital stocks the craziest mesh underwear that rolls up to the size of one those disposable footie stockings you get at a department store before you try on fancy shoes. And then it EXPANDS to fit virtually any sized bottom. It’s like the Sisterhood of Traveling Underpants of underwear. They pair the mesh undies with these foot-long maxi pads that are the thickness and texture of a French baguette. If you have no other option, then by all means, stock up on them while you can.
But I much prefer the comfort and coverage of a good adult diaper (shout-out to Depends Fit Flex, my adult diaper of choice today, tomorrow and FOREVER).