Hospital Bag Checklist: What To Pack When You’re Adopting
All the things I wish I packed when Levon was born.
*Updated July 2021.
In the chaos of Levon’s unexpected birth, we forgot to pack our camera. Perhaps it’s unfair to blame the chaos since we forgot to pack our camera when we eloped, too. Not documenting milestones seems to be our tradition.
Pack your camera. And your charger. Go one step further and hire a photographer to capture your first moments with your child. I deeply regret not having a professional document my early days with Levon.
This is the camera I use (aside from my iphone, of course).
It’s rare for anyone to forget their phone these days, but we all forget our chargers. You’ll be posting so many photos and sending so many texts and making so many adoption-related phone calls that you’ll burn thru your battery in no time. Don’t forget to pack chargers. I love Mophie’s snap+ juice pack mini.
Between frequent hand washing and constant Purell use in the hospital, my hands were left feeling raw. Lotion is a new mom must-have (and a great hospital gift). Just be careful not to use lotion before touching a baby who is being treated for jaundice, as it can cause the light treatment to burn the baby’s skin.
Speaking of hospitals, you’ll be spending a lot of time in one after your baby is born. The hospital time can be sacred for birth moms, and you might find yourself sitting in the waiting room while she shares her last precious moments with her baby. It’s nice to have something to do to pass the time.
During Levon’s NICU stay, he was treated for jaundice twice. During those long days, I was only able to hold him for 30 minutes at a time, twice a day. I spent a lot of hours sitting next to his incubator reading magazines. In my experience, the hospital gift shop doesn’t have the best selection of reading material. It’s best to pack your own. Not to mention it may be the last book you read until your child starts kindergarten. I’m a non-fiction nerd and just finished this.
WEATHER APPROPRIATE CLOTHING
When I was throwing clothes into a bag the night Levon was born, it never occurred to me check my weather app. It was late October. I packed jeans, tees, and sweaters, which seemed appropriate. Little did I know it would be 90+ degrees in Phoenix.
Do yourself a favor and check the weather app of your baby’s birth city before you pack your suitcase.
Because no matter how hot it is outside, it will be cold inside the hospital. My favorite sweaters are from Malibu’s local Barefoot Dreams brand. This travel shawl is like a wearable blanket and I never board a plane without it.
At the time of Levon’s birth, I was working as a TV writer. I wore heels everyday, including the day I flew to Arizona him meet him.
Have you ever walked down a hospital corridor in heels? There is nothing more disturbing to patients and the people in the waiting room than someone clomping around the halls like a horse. Throw in some flats. These are my current favorites.
Because hospital coffee is like drinking an ashtray.
Have something to add to our list? Tell us below!
Jessica Butler is the co-founder of Raise, stepmother of two, and adoptive mother of one. Prior to Raise, she was a writer on USA’s "In Plain Sight" and TNT’s "The Last Ship." She and her husband, writer/producer Warren Bell, co-created the Nick at Nite series "Instant Mom," based on her life as a stepmother. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old son, Levon.