May 6, 2024

Items from home are essential for both comfort and convenience.

Packing a bag for the hospital is a rite of passage for many expectant moms. However, if medical complications arise for either the mom or the newborn, that hospital stay may extend beyond the typical night or two. That’s when your hospital bag takes on even more importance and requires additional thought and preparation.

Whether you’re preparing for hospital admission prior to delivery or for a stint in the neonatal intensive care unit, convenience and comfort are key.

Getting cozy

“We want patients to feel comfortable and make the space their own, especially those who are here for more than one week,” said Dr. Andrea Johnson, an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in high-risk pregnancy at Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health.

“Outlets often aren’t close to the bed, so having long charging cords is very helpful,” Johnson said.

She added, however, that while watching movies or playing games on your devices may entertain you for a while, those with extended hospital stays should consider other ways to pass the time.

“Be sure you have items to keep you occupied, like books to read. I’ve even had patients take up hobbies like knitting and playing the ukulele,” she added.

Writing to your baby

For new parents whose baby requires time in the NICU, having a journal on hand can help you stay organized and provide a way to process your feelings.

“It can be very cathartic to journal while your baby is in the NICU,” said Dr. Uchenna E. Anani, a neonatologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, adding that journals also come in handy for jotting down questions, tracking your baby’s milestones and noting when treatments or feedings occurred.

Anani also encouraged new moms to talk to their nurses about when it’s appropriate to bring in clothes for their baby and to their lactation consultant about receiving assistance with the breast pump they will use at home.

Both Johnson and Anani emphasize the importance of making the hospital room feel as much like home as possible. This can include playing music, placing photos around the room and decorating for the holidays. “Always check with your nurse or doctor about what is safe and appropriate, but it’s nice to have those items that make the room feel more like home,” Anani said.

Expert care for you and your baby

Each pregnancy and delivery is unique and yours should be too. Learn more about how Vanderbilt Health’s obstetrics and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s Level IV NICU provide you and your baby unmatched expert care. With the highest accredited NICU in the region, you and your baby have everything you need, all in one place.

To learn more, call 615-322-0963.

Read More