Ask Design Mom: Preparing for Baby – Mom’s Needs

April 22, 2010

This is part four of a five part answer. You can find links to the other parts here.

While the bulk of my nesting attention goes to preparing for the new baby, there are also things I like to have on hand for me, the new mom. I’ll bet you have list in this category as well. I hope you’ll share your favorites.

In the Mom’s Needs Category, I like to have:

A packed hospital bag.
I don’t bring much. But here’s my list-
-an outfit for the baby to wear home and a blanket to wrap the baby in
-something for me to wear home
-pjs & undies
-phone + charger
-camera
-reading material
-toiletries & makeup

New pajamas. And sometimes a new robe.
Having a fresh, cute pair of pjs to wear after the birth makes me happy. I should also note that for me, pajamas are an indicator that I’m taking it easy and not functioning at 100%. If I get dressed and put my shoes on, there’s a really good chance I’ll head out to run errands or push myself too hard. If I stay in my pajamas, I know I’m not going anywhere. The sleepwear at Garnet Hill looks comfy.

Undies.
There’s a lot of bleeding after a baby is born. It’s nice to have a good-size stack of undies on hand so I can grab a fresh pair whenever necessary (and don’t forget the pads — it’s like a period that goes on for a few weeks…).

Nursing bras.
I bought a nursing bra with my first baby and found the traditional ones don’t really work for me. Turns out even the smallest ones absolutely drown me. So I had to figure out something else that would work instead. While nursing, I like to wear a simple white, really stretchy bra. Actually, more like a bra-lette. No clasps. No seams. Really comfy. (Not a lot of support, but I don’t need much.) Happily, this type of bra is relatively inexpensive, so I can have several on hand. Also. Don’t forget the nursing pads. I relied on them like crazy for my first 3 babies and then found I didn’t even open the box for babies 4 and 5 — no leaks. I wonder why that is?

Books.
It seems like I forget everything about babies as soon as my kids are toddlers. So I love having books around to refresh my memory. Nursing and feeding guides. Books about baby’s first year. Sleep-training books. And then, for myself, I love a stack of magazines and some happy, light novels. (I just read Katherine Center’s latest, Get Lucky. I think it would be perfect upbeat reading for right after a birth — or at the beach.)

Thank you cards.
People do such nice things after a baby is born. Phone calls, visits, food, gifts. I keep a stack of thank you cards and a good pen on hand so that I (hopefully) don’t procrastinate my gratitude.

What about you? What do you like to prepare for yourself? What do you pack for the hospital? Do you buy new pajamas too? Do you like to read after the baby arrives? Have a favorite post-baby bra? Do you wear nursing clothes? (I never have, but I know many moms depend on them.)

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alice S April 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

I have to admit that I wore mostly camisoles with a shelf bra (with breast pads) most of the time I breastfed my two kids. It was easy access and very comfortable. I don’t think I ever wore nursing clothes. Just made sure I had a separate (not one piece dress) shirt and pants/skirt etc..

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2 Mary April 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

I did wear nursing bras, after spending way too much money on ones that didn’t fit or were too uncomfortable. But nursing clothes? No. Just made sure I stuck to separates and somewhat looser tops.

Totally with you on pajamas and baby books – how easily we forget everything! And I do sometimes like having something to read during those nighttime feeding sessions.

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3 Robyn D. April 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

Hey Gabby! I can’t believe you’re so close! So exciting! I always need a good pair of socks in the delivery room. I remember with my first baby, I wore flip flops because it was summer and my feet were freezing! I made Dan give me his socks and that looked awesome :) So, pack some cute socks!

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4 Sarah April 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

Hi Gabby! You are getting me so excited about my hospital stay and I am only 10 weeks pregnant!! For me, it really is like a mini-vacation… the calm before the proverbial storm… and an excuse for people to pamper YOU for a few blessed days! Honestly- I don’t even mind the hospital food.

As for the pajamas- I do buy a new pair every time! Something loose enough to cover your still-there-belly, but not quite maternity sized. Gotta look your best for the visitors!

Good luck to you! Almost there!!!

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5 Rebecca April 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Wow – you must have been in the GOOOOOD hospital – hee hee!
I couldn’t wait to get out of there……

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6 Desiree April 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

The best nursing bras ever are Bravado but I never wore them at the hospital after giving birth. In fact I never wore a nursing bra at the hospital at all. I found it easier to just wear the hospital gowns. For sleeping at home I lived by wearing my cotton camisole tanks with built in bra-shelf for nursing. All I do is pull the strap down (be sure to buy adjustable strap tanks) to nurse. They are so comfy and you can buy them just about anywhere. Costco has great ones! Anyway, good luck with your delivery!

-Desiree

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7 Barchbo April 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

<<>>

WHAT?!! Seriously?! You should write your own book: Stuff People Never Tell You about Having a Baby Because You Would Freakout. I’ll read that book!

These lists are really good – I have shared them with a few pregnant ladies in my office, too!

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8 Barchbo April 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

I am referencing the bleeding/period that goes on for days.

Thought: Maybe you could do a post for people like me entitled, “Stuff Nobody Told You and Is Going to Freak You Out!”

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9 bdaiss April 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

Actually, it’s more like “goes on for months” in some cases. 8 weeks for me. Ick. And don’t forget “You’ll walk funny for at least a week because, dude, are you sure that wasn’t a watermelon that came out? ‘Cuz it sure feels like it!” Although in reality no one else will think you walk like a duck after about day 3. (And for the first week you’ll use the boppy to sit on rather than nurse…that hole in the middle is rather useful for soooo many things.)

TMI? : )

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10 Barchbo April 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Not TMI at all! I think these things should be more openly discussed – everyone I know always says, “I had no idea…” I want to know! Thanks!

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11 Rachael April 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

Something else I always bring to the hospital: my own snacks. I like dried fruit and nuts (or fresh fruit, but dried is easier to throw in a bag packed a month prior to my due date!). I’m always ravenous at night when there’s no food available in the hospital! Plus, something nobody told me before my first baby was born: nursing makes you SO HUNGRY! So I like to have something there at my bedside to munch on.

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12 Em April 22, 2010 at 11:13 am

I would argue that the undies are not needed – just use the mesh ones the hospital gives you – and ask the nurses for more! :)

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13 Kate April 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

I like your list b/c it is fairly minimal. I think one thing that should give first time moms reading all of this some reassurance is to remember that even if you showed up on the hospital doorstep completely empty handed, they’d provide you everything you truly need. These comforts are good things to bring along, but don’t stress about packing your hospital bag or forgetting anything. (Except the camera!) I’d also second the above commenter who mentioned SOCKS.

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14 Ms. Amy April 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

I brought cashmere socks to the hospital when I had both babies & loved having that little luxury when the rest of me felt like I’d been run over by a truck. I also brought my own refillable water bottle – easy to spot & easy to keep hydrated.

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15 Lauren April 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

I recently spent a few days in the hospital, while 6 months pregnant, dealing with the most horrible of Kidney Stone Pain. On the second day my husband returned with my IPOD and a docking station. The last 3 days were spent with relaxing music in the background – just loud enough to drown out the busy hospital noises.
I can’t wait to create a playlist for me and new baby to chill out to while we stay in the hospital.

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16 Wendy April 22, 2010 at 11:32 am

I brought my own pillow in for my hospital stay, which was awesome. My hospital’s pillows were way too thin and not comfy for anything other than support while nursing. I used the hospital-issue underwear and gowns for my entire stay; I didn’t feel “cute” really, but they were comfortable and it didn’t make me feel guilty to bleed all over them for a few days. Plus, when they’re dirty, the nurses just take them away!

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17 bdaiss April 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

I’d add your own ibuprofen. At least my hospital was pretty stingy with the stuff (although they’d give me percocet like candy…baffles.) Get the okay from you OB, but mine said up to 600mg every 4 hours was fine for the first week.

Socks or slippers are excellent. I was glad for a robe after #2 when I was stuck in the gown for 16 hours. I prefer my standard jammies that I know are uber-comfortable. And comfy pants to go home. You may want to look all cute and carefree and think a dress is a great idea, but refer back to that whole bleeding thing. Pants hold everything in place. But make sure you pick comfy (loose waisted) ones because you never know where your belly is going to end up size wise.

I hated those mesh underwear. Ditched them at the first opportunity. I brought a bunch of super cheap ones I didn’t mind pitching if I leaked all over.

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18 Krystle April 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

I agree bring socks, but if you’re like me and really don’t like socks on your feet, comfy slippers are best! I wore mine all around the hospital! Also, if you want, bring a pair of flip flops! The shower I had in my room reminded me of my dorm shower stall and I would not shower without flip flops on my feet! =)

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19 Adrienne April 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

My sister told me that the one thing she treasured most at the hospital was a fleece bath robe I bought her when I found out she was having a girl. It kept her warm and cozy as well as gave her the privacy she desperately wanted after God and all of the hospital saw her “goods.”

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20 Agatha April 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I felt the same way about nursing bras, they didn’t work for me, too much fussing with clasps. The one that best worked for me was American Apparel’s cotton spandex or interlock bra. They were so comfortable and easy.

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21 Summer April 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Ditto on the socks. And I liked the mesh underwear, but had brought my own just in case I wouldn’t. As far as things that you never expected-expect to LOVE the icepacks they give you to ease the swelling down south. Ask for them all the time. And insist that the lactaction consultant comes to see you (mine was “too busy” and ended up with some seriously cracked nipples from improper latch).

With my first, my water broke at 6 am and we pretty much went straight to the hospital after rolling out of bed and brushing our teeth. I wish I would have showered and put on makeup since I ended up being in labor for 20 hours. In all the pictures I look like I was in labor for WAY more than that. Next time I’ll do myself a small pampering favor and shower and get ready before I go to the hospital.

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22 Julie R April 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Even before or after I’ve had a baby, I’d have to say my favorite and most comfortable underwear are boyshorts – specifically the Gilligan & OMally brand from Target. They feel great after having a baby. And pads for afterwards? DON’T use a generic brand – Always pads are literally ALWAYS the best brand and will not give you a rash or yeast infection…don’t ask. Dealing with stitches, soreness, bleeding, a rash AND yeast infection…not fun.

Ditto on the makeup! I love feeling like myself again after going through labor. Also love the Babywise books to brush up on eating/sleeping habits for baby. My kids slept through the night by 6-8 wks. because of those books! Heaven!

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23 Gwen April 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I’m with Robyn D. My favorite pink socks and my lucky hair tie.

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24 betsy April 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

i just packed my bag for my 2nd and i have a little present for my first in there. i know i will want him to come meet his sibling at the hospital and i know it will be a sweet first meeting. BUT i also know that his attention span is short and this little gift will be from his sibling to him.
and this is totally vain, but i packed BLACK clothes to wear home. everyone looks better in black.

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25 Abbie April 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I wore a nursing camisole and a black stretchy skirt in the hospital-the camisole hides your poochy stomach while you nurse and the skirt was cute when I walked to the bathroom, sat on the couch, etc. but I could pull it up when I was in bed so it wouldn’t get stained (the nurses will put pads under you to catch leaks). Two pieces meant I didn’t have to show everything each time I nursed plus the hospital gown nursing slits were down around my stomach when I stood up so I was glad to have my own clothes. Also, bring a DVD-Arrested Development-is a favorite. Most rooms have DVD players and you may be too excited to sleep, but you can only stare at the sleeping little one for so long.

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26 Katie April 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm

A good nursing bra can become a girl’s best friend. After some not-so-good experiences with some other bras, I splurged and bought a Bravado bra. Best decision ever. I ended up buying another one, too. It is so comfortable! I even wanted to wear it post-nursing. Highly, highly recommended.
And as far as breast pads…geez! I never knew I’d go through so many boxes of those. I’d recommend buying one box of each kind and figuring out which one you like best. Lansinoh brand did it for me.
One last thing. Do something for yourself right before you have the baby. I got a pedicure. It was one hour to myself where I could just sit my tired (and huge!) body down and relax while someone massaged my legs and feet. It was sort of my last hurrah before baby came.

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27 Barbara Harper April 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I agree–the first few weeks I like to use a stretchy bra w/o clasps or anything. i prefer and need one w/a little more support, though. my SIL recommended the Champion sports bras that we’ve found at our respective Costco’s. They’re microfiber-ish, so they’re stretchier and they breathe, and it’s pretty impossible to stretch them out when you lift them up to nurse.

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28 Megan April 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Just a little note…I would definitely buy black panties in bulk for the first month (as well as the hospital). With my first baby I had to throw a majority of undies away from the bleeding and if you have black, they seem to last longer. You can usually find good sales like 5 for $25 at Victoria Secret and you can buy 5 different styles easily so you don’t get bored…even w/ colored appliqued lace or trim to mix it up. With my 2nd baby I didn’t feel like I was tossing so many in the bin……

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29 Design Mom April 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm

So many great comments and ideas! I’ve got a pedicure scheduled for tomorrow — I hope it will last till the baby comes. But just in case, I’ll pack some cozy socks. Maybe I’ll even splurge on some cashmere ones!

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30 Marian April 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I’m such a goof! I had #5 six months ago and it was the first time I took my own p.j.’s to the hospital! What a different feeling to be in real jammies and not a hospital gown after the birth!

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31 heatherstebbings April 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Can I just say that I absolutely love this series. I am 15 weeks along with my first baby and find these so incredibly helpful – thanks!

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32 Pamala April 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Here is what mine is going to have in it this time:

Camera
Laptop
Phone Charger
Comfortable Clothes & My pajamas
Going Home Outfit and Blanket (blanket might remain in the car with the car seat until it’s needed)
Brush
Toothbrush
Deodorant
Socks!
Undies
Magazines
A book (not sure which one)

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33 Elena April 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I’ll second the disposable undies, it is a small relief to throw them away instead of scrubbing. And bring a lot of food. For my third delivery I didn’t bring a lot of food because I knew I was right next to the cafeteria (ha ha!) but I ended up starving from 5pm to 9:30am when 2 thin dry cold toasts arrived, while being busy nursing twins. My co-workers brought me practically a grocery and I could finally eat. And I discovered after my first time that hospitals do not have soap (isn’t hygiene a good idea??) and I had soap for the 2 other times were you feel human again after a good shower.

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34 Katherine Center April 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Oh, Gabby! Thank you so much for the shout-out about Get Lucky! You were so great to read it, and I’m so happy that you liked it well enough to recommend it. What a pleasure to see it here!
And this isn’t for the hospital bag, but my number one recommendation to prepare for after the baby comes is to get a NEW showerhead! With both my two, I’ve found that showering was one of the only things I really insisted on doing for myself–once day, if humanly possible. And so a brand-new, non-gunked-up showerhead (not even fancy…) can really maximize those moments of pleasure!!!
So excited for you, beautiful mama!

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35 Kelly Ann April 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Loved wearing a black robe in a comfy modal fabric. If I wanted to take a walk, I’d slip on some yoga pants under the robe.

Ditto the snacks. Before our hospital stay, a friend gave me a little gift bag with M&Ms and some gloss that was perfect for soothing my dehydrated, chapped lips.

I liked having a notebook to record things like the names of nurses we wanted to thank or notes about how labor unfolded so I could recall that day better. Then I used the same notebook to record visitors, gifts, or whatever I needed to quickly jot down at home.

I am (sort of)

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36 Kelly Ann April 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I am (sort of) ashamed to say that I never stopped wearing Target nursing tanks between babies. Just too comfortable to give up.

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37 Sara April 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I also packed my favourite shampoo, conditioner and shower gel – all travel-sized. A very nice indulgence after the labour. I felt like a new person after showering and putting on my favourite pajamas. I highly recommend.

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38 Lisa D. April 23, 2010 at 6:56 am

I second the lip balm, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and would like to add a sweet-smelling body/hand lotion. Nice toiletries helped me to feel better after a hot shower! I had a summer baby and had brought a delicious lemon smelling creme and if I use that same lotion now, it reminds me of when the love of my life was born!

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39 Keia April 23, 2010 at 7:04 am

don’t forget a spray bottle. I never used mine but they say they are good to have…just in case.

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40 Renee April 23, 2010 at 8:02 am

Definitely my laptop! I had such a happy adrenaline rush after my daughter was born and had great fun emailing/Tweeting/FBing the world about her arrival. I also brought a stack of magazines and cut-out NYT crossword puzzles. After my epidural was in, my husband and I had a great time chillin’, working puzzles, chatting and reading. It was a very special time — our last few hours together of “just the two of us.”

I agree with what everyone said about new/cute pajamas. I didn’t buy new ones — I just brought my faves from home and was so glad I did. I’m not into emailing hospital-gown photos to the world.

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41 Angi April 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Thanks for this great series. I’m due with my first baby in just seven weeks and all of this information has been so helpful. I’m sure I’ll be reading through these posts and comments again in the weeks to come.

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42 carrie meadows April 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm

When we were still in the hospital with Hayden, I was so uncomfortable in the hospital bed (especially post c-section). The mattress was hard and hurt my tailbone, the pillows sucked. If we go for number 2, I will bring extra pillows and a heating pad (my back was killing me).

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43 tricia April 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Thank you so much! Seeing your list has saved me so much time!

Tricia
35 weeks and counting
Baby Boy

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44 Yolanda April 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I’ll add—a change of clothes for dad. Yes, he can leave any time he wants to, but modern, involved dads want to stay as much as possible and he will need something else to wear.

Because I was an unmedicated birther, I also brought my own birthing ball, ipod with iHome, pillows, sports drink, soft (dark) towels, and swimming trunks for my husband when we jumped in the shower together.

We brought everything in a laundry basket, instead of a suitcase/gym bag. This makes it so much easier to haul things to and from the car (especially since you will leave with even more things than you came in with). It also makes it easer for other people to grab things for you if you’re recovering and not very nimble hopping in and out of bed. And since my hospital stay wound up being 6 days, instead of the 1 I anticipated, this easy access came in very handy.

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45 kayce hughes April 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I would love to send you one of our mommy night gowns. What is your address? Pink, blue or green?

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46 KateD April 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I say forget underwear at all and go for Depends – at least for the hospital stay. Sooo much more comfortable than the mesh – or anything else. Super absorbent and stays in place better than any pad could.

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47 Cherie April 25, 2010 at 4:46 am

Yes, luxury toiletries – the smell of certain toiletries takes me straight back to my first child’s new born days. I also kept the shirt that my son wore the day he met his baby sister, photos are wonderful but there is something about a piece of clothing that puts a scale to the memory ;) And snacks, I was soooo hungry after having both children so a box of homemade cookies or other treats is a godsend. Magazines another great thing to have, I brought novels but somehow never settled into any of them with the excitement, visitors etc Ask friends to bring whatever they have finished reading and you’ll have steady supply. And Coloxyl. You may want to google that as it falls under the TMI category but trust me, the painkilling drugs can play havoc in that department.

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48 Amanda April 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I LOVE the idea of getting new PJs to wear after the baby comes….I am going out to get some today. I also love the comment about the boy shorts from Target, I will have to pick up some of those.

I found these really great wrap around bras from Target with my last pregnancy, really comfortable for those first few weeks, cotton and no underwire!!!

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49 debra April 27, 2010 at 7:01 am

One of the best things we had was a small, portable photo printer (and printer paper). Honestly, you can put those things in a big purse these days. It was fantastic to have photos for the family on the day, and since I had a C section and kiddies went straight to NICU (twins 6 weeks premature), those photos were the only way I got to see my babies right away. Also, my family members all had pics to take home, and it was awesome. My sister in law also brought a great fruit basket (the ones where the fruit is already cut and looks like flowers on sticks). I nibbled on that wonderful fruit throughout the night. The only other thought is lanolin cream for your breasts. Since my wee ones were in the NICU, I had to pump (they were too little to latch), and initially the pump was a complete killer. The cream helped me tremendously.

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50 Sarah October 1, 2010 at 7:01 am

Any specific recommendations on where to buy (or what brand) the non-nursing bra solution you mentioned?

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51 BuenoBaby April 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Flip flops, for going and coming to and from the bathroom. I don’t walk barefoot in hospitals-oh-ew!

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