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What to Take Home From the Hospital

Heading home? Stock up on these free items before you leave.

While it’s probably the least sexy goody bag you’ll ever receive, the loot your hospital sends you home with will definitely come in handy. And come on, who doesn’t love freebies? Yes, even the disposable granny panties.

While every hospital is different in what they send you home with, you should come away with some combination of these items. And remember -- ask for what you want. More than you realize might be up for grabs. Don’t feel shy about taking as much as they’ll let you…and don’t turn anything down.

For mom

Peribottle You may cringe now, but after giving birth the peribottle will become your best friend. After a vaginal delivery, especially if you’ve had a tear or episiotomy, you’ll be way too tender to wipe after you go to the bathroom. And, urine can sting and burn as you pee. Fill the peribottle with warm water, and squirt it on yourself as you go to the bathroom. It’s also good for cleaning all the gunk that remains after you deliver, and relieving itchiness when you’re too tender to scratch.

Super-thick pads You’ll still have a very heavy flow after you give birth, so heavy-duty pads are a necessity. If you find the hospital-issue pads uncomfortable, normal pads for superheavy flow might also do the trick.

Disposable mesh undies About that heavy flow… it’ll almost certainly ruin whatever underwear you have on. Not such a big deal when you’re wearing disposable undies, though. They also help keep your heavy-duty pads in place. Some moms love the disposable undies for their convenience and breathability, but if you find them uncomfortable, you can also try using old maternity underwear that you don’t mind ruining. The mesh undies are just as essential for c-section moms, because they go up over the incision site, allowing it to air out without rubbing against clothing.

Skin numbing spray If you have a tear or episiotomy, this will help with the pain

Witch hazel pads Whether or not you have hemorrhoids, these will help sooth your entire tender area. Chilling them may provide even more relief.

Sitz bath This piece of plastic sits over your toilet and allows you to soak your delivery area in warm water, causing more blood to flow there and both soothe soreness and promote healing.

Donut pillow Sitting down ain’t easy in the days following delivery, but this round, open pillow will certainly help.

“Puppy pad” These waterproof pads can be placed under you while you sleep in case of an accident. (If you take them home and don’t wind up needing them, use them for baby’s diaper changes instead.)

Pain meds Particularly if you had a c-section or an otherwise complicated delivery.

Instruction booklet No matter how many parenting books you have, the hospital booklet is always good for advice about both your recovery and your newborn.

Resource lists Information about support groups and other new-mom resources might not seem important right now, but after a week or two home with baby, you’ll probably be glad you brought the numbers home.

For baby

Coupons and samples Galore!

Nasal aspirator Moms swear by the bulb syringe they take home from the hospital.

Breastfeeding supplies You might be so lucky as to leave with a hand pump of your own, as well as supplies for your own electric pump.

Diapers

Blanket

Baby wash

Baby lotion

Diaper rash cream

Baby bathtub

T-shirts

Hat

Diaper bag

-- Paula Kashtan

See More: Labor and Delivery , 3rd Trimester