A friend of mine wrote THIS awesome guest post about 10 things you need in your bag when you’re admitted… but what about those all day and overnight stays?
For us, we just went through a morning admission to Hasbro Children’s as Addie underwent her second ear tube placement and adenoid removal. I’d spent the wee hours of the morning working, and knew that I would need to get work done, unless there was an emergency. Being at 30 weeks, I needed comfort, too. So… my child is in surgery and I need to work, be comfortable and somehow not lose it every time she pain cries (because besides breaking my heart, I’m already lactating when I hear a child cry). How does one accomplish this in one bag? First… make the bag big. Check out these other tips:
1. Big bag with long shoulder straps
I used a beautiful silver tote we just got from a friend… it fit everything I needed PLUS the wide open top made it easy to rest my wallet just inside- this gave me access to Addie’s insurance cards, my ID, money… all the good stuff I needed to pull out a million times. The long straps means it can fit over my shoulder and the stroller handles, and it has no pockets, either. I just throw it all in and go- no searching in different compartments for what I need.
Even if you don’t use it for your child- all of your stuff will have a home-base! For me this meant a place for my bag, diaper bag and a place to throw whatever little things I needed to throw down in the basket- like flip flips, or my just-in-case sweater. Having a place where all of your stuff goes is invaluable. It may all get jumbled- but you’ll sort that out later.
3. Extra clothes/Flips flops for you and your child
I always pack a just-in-case sweater… it’s for if I get cold, need to wrap up as a pillow, to swaddle my girl in her darkest moments. It’s for just-in-case. I wear sneakers when we are at the hospital- keeps my feet warm and clean and I don’t have to worry about tripping, but I pack flip flops just in case, too. I may need to get up in the middle of the night, or shower. Whatever the case, I slide them in the bag so they’re there. I also pack clothes so that I can feel fresh- a new t-shirt and underwear can bring more comfort than one can imagine in stressful times… and for the babe, I always make sure to have an easily accessible outfit (nightgown or loose top and pants) so that she can be in her own clothes, but still work with the docs and nurses. Extra clothes also means that if your child gets sick post-surgery, you won’t end up covered in it for the rest of your stay.
4. Your own washcloth, socks, pillow
I bring extra thick socks so I don’t have to wear shoes in the hospital room- SO much more comfortable. If you’re a picky sleeper (I really need to become one), your own pillow is a must at the hospital. And towels can be really scratchy and thin. Although an overnight stay doesn’t warrant a shower in the room (at least not for me- I wait til I’m home), sometimes vomiting after a procedure happens and trying to towel off with their linens is bad enough- not to mention washing your face at night. While I don’t pack a whole towel, I bring a wash cloth (color so they don’t get confused), so I can wash my face and sponge bath Addie comfortably.
5. Snacks and cash
Packing a few favorites that are OK to have post-surgery and need no refrigeration (pudding, applesauce, toddler food pouches) is great for your child, especially when first getting them to eat. For me… some crackers with peanut butter, fruit, and something sweet (chocolate!) are musts. I am thankful we have family close so I can get something more substantial to eat, but to have a few things to nibble on when there is nothing else there is key to keeping my mind, stomach and blood sugars as even as they can be. Cash is king, too. I bring it so I can tip the coffee cart or run to the vending machine if I can’t get away to get myself real sustenance for a long time.
6. Wipes… face, hands, diaper
I love wipes. I use them to clean my face when I’m stuck under a sleeping baby, or too tired to move. Cleaning your skin at night is so important… but so are recovery snuggles. To make sure I don’t skip me while caring for her, I keep a pile of wipes next to our hospital bed. Along with those are diaper wipes, pacifier wipes (those are life savers for when the bink drops to the floor), and Mustela Wipes for Addie’s hands and face- these are gentle and smell SO good! Sometimes it is hard to get up and do- to rinse in the sink or wash hands. Wipes make it easy to stay clean and fresh without too much movement- especially important for someone coming off of heavy medication.
7. Lotion and chapstick (plus essentials)
While I pack our toothbrushes, a hair brush with an extra ponytail holder always on the handle, there are two other things I don’t enter the hospital without. Hospitals are dry. End of story. I always carry lotion of some sort in my diaper bag, but throw in hotel bottles of lotion (thanks to Dave’s business trips) to the hospital bag and keep one next to the bed. Dry hands are the worst, and sometimes Addie likes a back rub… why not give her a little spa treatment while she’s feeling so down? I feel the same way about my lips. My mouth always gets dry, so I keep a balm or stick close by so my lips don’t crack- and for Addie, too. When she’s only on IV and won’t take fluids, I like to keep her lips moisturized, too. We also bring our own…
8. Water bottle
I bring a big 24oz Tervis water bottle with me everywhere. Dave got it for me in San Diego- our one souvenir!- and it’s my favorite. It’s double-walled insulation means that it doesn’t sweat everywhere and make a mess, the lid locks closed and the space means I have more than just one sip of water at a time. Addie’s water bottle is Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie and is great because it keeps fluids chilled, it’s easy to clean no matter where we are, and the straw portion gives her easy access. Knowing that we both have water in our own containers that won’t spill or sweat everywhere is great for us. I love not having to deal with plastic cups (that Addie spills from and create lots of trash) and a plastic pitcher that sweats everywhere makes the night easier… especially with my history of open containers next to my bed.
9. A recovery bag (gift)
Addie has some awesome uncles and auntie in Philadelphia and they sent her (and me) some goodies that we received in the mail the day before surgery. I packed them all up and gave them to her post procedure (with a hospital gift shop Elmo balloon). Picking through the bag and exploring new books gave us something to pass the time and enjoy when we got home, too!
10. 3 items from home
For Addie, I made sure to pack Elmo, her blanket and her [current] favorite book. A few things from home make for comfort and a sense of calm. For Addie, her blanket and Elmo are needed for sleep (and easily washed at home), and reading is one of the things that both capture her attention and put her to sleep. We love that our hospital has lots of great movies for her, but for downtime, books and a bit of home really help us settle in. For me, I bring my phone charger, Day-Timer, and cell phone. The phone and charger are no-brainers, but the planner has numbers, names, schedules, business cards with addresses to Addie’s medical team, and photos of family. This all encompassing book is my life being dragged around and helps me plan anything that we may need to without hesitation- it’s old and ragged, but it’s been my lifeline for over 10 years and the most important thing I carry.
Though it sounds like a lot, all of this fit right into my bag!
This post is not sponsored!