What to pack:
- Picture ID (driver’s license or other ID), your insurance card and hospital paperwork.
- Your birth plan, if you have one.
- Eyeglasses, if you wear them. Even if you usually wear contact lenses, you may not want to deal with them while you are in the hospital. If you do, make sure to bring solution and a case.
- A bathrobe, a nightgown or two, slippers, and socks. Cookeville Regional Medical Center provides gowns and socks for you to use during labor and afterward, but some women prefer to wear their own. Choose a loose, comfortable gown that you do not mind getting dirty. It should be either sleeveless or have short, loose sleeves so your blood pressure can be checked easily. Slippers and a robe may come in handy if you want to walk the halls during your hospital stay.
- Whatever will help you relax. Here are some ideas: your own pillow (use a patterned or colorful pillowcase so it does not get mixed up with the hospital pillows), music and something to play it on, a picture of someone or something you love, anything else you find reassuring. If you are going to be induced, thing about bringing something to read or watch because it may be a while before labor is underway.
- Your cell phone and charger. After your baby’s born, you or your partner may want to call family and friends to let them know the good news. Bring a list of everyone you will want to contact so you do not forget someone important when you are exhausted after delivery.
- Snacks! After many hours of labor, you are likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So bring your own – crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you will enjoy.
- Toiletries: pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, shower items, lip balm, deodorant, a brush/comb, makeup and hair band/barrettes.
- Comfortable nursing bras or regular bras. Whether or not you choose to breastfeed, your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen when your milk comes in, which can happen anything during the first several days after delivery. A good bra can provide some comfort, and breast pads can be added to help absorb leaks.
- A book on newborn care. The hospital will provide you with a book, but you may prefer your own. Of course, the nurses will be there to answer questions and show you how to change, hold, nurse and bathe your newborn if you need guidance.
- Gifts for older siblings. Some parents bring gifts for the new baby to 'give’ to big brothers and sisters.
- A notepad or journal and pen or pencil. Track your baby’s feeding sessions, write down questions you have for the nurse, note what the pediatrician tells you, jot down memories of your baby’s first day and so on. Some people bring a baby book so they can record the birth details right away.
- A going home outfit. Bring something roomy and easy to get into (believe it or not, you will probably still look 5-6 months pregnant) and a pair of flat, comfortable shoes.
What to pack for your partner/labor coach
- A camera or video camera with batteries, charger, and memory card. Someone has to document the big event! Cookeville Regional Medical Center does not allow videotaping of the birth itself, but there is no rule against filming during labor or after the birth. If you plan on using your phone to take photos or videos, make sure it’s fully charged and pack your charger.
- Comfortable shoes and a few changes of comfortable clothes.
- Snacks/drinks and something to read or watch.
- Money (or a credit card) for cafeteria/gift shop/coffee shop and change for the vending machines.
Essentials to pack for your baby
- An installed car seat. You cannot drive your baby home without one! Have a rear-facing car seat the base properly installed ahead of time and know how to buckle your baby in correctly.
- A going-home outfit. Your baby will need an outfit to go home in, including socks or booties if the clothing does not have feet, and a soft cap if the air is likely to be cool.
- A receiving blanket. The hospital will provide blankets for swaddling your baby while you are here, but you will need to bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car for the ride home. Make it a heavy one if the weather is cold.
- Baby book. This is a great time to start filling the pages with your first moments of life with your new addition.
What NOT to bring to the hospital
- Lots of cash or other valuables.
- Medications, including vitamins. Talk to your provider ahead of time about anything you think you will need to take during your stay, so the hospital can provide it.
- Diapers/wipes. The hospital will provide diapers for your baby while you are here. Leave your supply at home. (The same goes for pads/panties for mom! Mesh underwear and maxi pads will be provided after delivery.).
You can expect to be discharged home 24-72 hours after delivery. To ensure a safe transition from hospital to home the following tasks must be completed prior to discharge:
- You will be given a discharge folder upon admission to the unit. Read the discharge booklet inside and ask any questions you may have. Take this booklet home for reference.
- Complete the birth certificate worksheet as soon as possible and return to your labor nurse. Once you deliver, your labor nurse will complete a separate form with information regarding your delivery information and send to our medical records department. After processing by medical records, you will be given a draft to check for errors.
- After 24 hours, your baby will have metabolic screening lab sample drawn. In order to draw this we must include your follow-up pediatrician’s contact information. If you need a list of local providers, please ask a staff member.
- Adequate feedings must be established and observed prior to discharge. Our nursing staff is trained to assist with any difficulties you may experience (formula or breast feeding).
- All babies born before 37 weeks gestation must pass a car seat challenge before being discharged. To complete this challenge, we will need to watch your baby in the nursery for at least one hour while sitting in their car seat. This can be done any time within seven days of discharge.
- If you are formula feeding your baby, please be sure you have access to clean water at home.
- All babies should have a designated safe sleep area in your home. If you need more information, please ask a staff member.
- If you need help getting supplies for your baby please notify a staff member. Our social service department can help with many resources as necessary.
- The Centers for Disease Control recommends you receive a Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks gestation with each pregnancy. If you did not receive this vaccine during that timeframe and you wish to receive prior to your discharge, please let our staff know and we will be glad to administer it for you.