If you give birth in a hospital setting then the start of your recovery will also be in the hospital, which means they’ll be providing you with basic recovery items. What you may not know is that most hospitals will send you home with a bunch of this stuff too! Now obviously giving birth in a hospital has a price tag so I won’t call these “freebies” necessarily, but rather, the items that are built into the cost of your stay so you should definitely take advantage!
If it’s not clear at your hospital if you can take things home, or if there is something you’d like more of…ASK! I’m going to share some of what my hospital provided and how it compared to some of the things I had bought myself- both for me and for the baby! I’m going to be giving you all the details so buckle up for some real life insight into recovery products.
The beginning of motherhood is a messy experience. You’re obviously going to need pads or a similar product to manage the postpartum bleeding. At most hospitals they have very large, extra absorbent pads for you to use while you’re there. I was able to take a handful of these home and honestly they probably would have given me more. But…they weren’t my favorite compared to what I bought ahead of the delivery.
I don’t know which brand the hospital used but I preferred the Always Infinity Flex Foam Overnight. They are still super absorbent but not nearly as bulky as the ones I was given- they also “stick” better. I know people that love the hospital provided pads so my advice is to buy one package of your own choosing and then see how they compare to the hospital ones before getting any more.
2. Disposable Underwear
If you’ve had a baby at a hospital you’re familiar with the lovely, oh so stylish mesh underwear they provide you with. These are super comfortable and better yet, disposable so you’re not worried about ruining your own things if there are any leaks. I definitely left with a couple pairs of these. I had also gotten the Frida Mom disposable underwear ahead of time but I wasn’t sure how those would be so it was good to have both options. Having both at home worked great!
The Frida Mom ones are much more structured so they help you feel a bit more secure but the mesh ones are so super comfy and don’t put any pressure where you don’t want it. I could see this being particularly helpful if you’d had a c-section and are avoiding putting pressure on your incision.
3. Peri bottle
If your hospital does not automatically hand you one of these be sure to ask for one. They are crucial in the bathroom those early days and also helpful in the shower! Again, I also had the Frida Mom one at home but I still took the hospital one with me as well. I loved being able to have two since I have two bathrooms I use regularly in our home. This meant I could keep one in both bathrooms and not have to head upstairs every time I needed it. So whether or not you have purchased one of these ahead of time, definitely take the hospital one with you!
I didn’t know this was a thing before childbirth. So if you don’t either let me fill you in. It’s a small basin that sits on the toilet seat that you fill with water and sit in to soak. It helps with pain, discomfort and swelling. I had no idea I’d be able to take it home with me but was told it was mine to keep! This is definitely something to ask about because it isn’t something I would have bought myself since it’s not something I’d use regularly and it takes up a little space. But it was a welcomed recovery tool. If you aren’t given one at the hospital however, you can get them on amazon as well.
5. Ice pack pads
I’m not sure if these are standard in every hospital so I don’t want to get your hopes up but my hospital actually had these ice pack pad combinations. And the crazy thing was, I almost missed out on them! They were in the bathroom on a shelf and I didn’t realize what they were or that they were free for the taking. When the nurse shift change happened in the morning, the new nurse asked me if I’d been using the ice packs and after seeing my confused face pointed them out and told me to use all I wanted! And because I was only using one every few hours, I was able to bring a couple of the leftovers home with me which was great for those first like 48-72 hours.
I feel like these premade ice pads are better than the homemade padsicles because they’re a bit sturdier and nothing melts. However, after a few days, they’re a bit too bulky to be comfortable so I only needed a few. But I would definitely take advantage if they’re available to you!
6. Bed pads / Sheet protectors
I’m not sure if that’s the proper name for these but they are basically a disposable pad that they put under you in the hospital bed to be there for any potential leaks. I ended up taking a whole pack of these home at the suggestion of my nurse and I’m so glad! I used one on the couch and in my bed when I first came home just for some piece of mind. And because I still had a couple left over, I started using them as disposable diaper changing pads for nighttime changes at the end of my bed. We’re 10 weeks in and I even bought myself a new pack to keep using them this way. So even if you don’t think you’ll want them for yourself, you may want them for a disposable and easily transportable diaper changing station.
So far all of the things I’ve shared have been items that were essentially included with the hospital stay, meaning I could take them and not see them show up on the bill later. I’m also going to mention the things I brought home that were additional charges. But I want to share my opinion on these anyways so you can decide if they’re items you’d want to ask for or pass on.
These are great to line your pad with to support healing and address possible hemorrhoids you may have. I was fortunate enough that I didn’t have to deal with that particular postpartum symptom but still used these for their cooling effect and general healing. This is an item that I was “given” for a cost. I had bought some ahead of time when making postpartum bathroom kits- same brand and everything. So with this item, if I were doing it again I would either have not bought them myself OR I would have declined them at the hospital since I already had them.
I bought a two pack ahead of my delivery for my postpartum kits and they “gave” me a can at the hospital. Honestly, I would do the same all over again- this is probably my favorite recovery item. I didn’t feel like I had too much, I used what I bought and what the hospital gave me. I was able to spread them out among the multiple postpartum kits I made and have easy access to them throughout the house. It’s also an item I wanted to have right away after birth so I was glad it was provided at the hospital. It may even be worth calling your hospital to find out if it will be provided because if not I’d recommend bringing your own!
I was “given” a small tube of lanolin to use as I started breastfeeding. This is another item I personally would have declined if I had known it would be an extra charge because I had my own nipple cream with me that I preferred so that tube wasn’t very useful to me. If you bring your own from home, be sure to just let your nurse know you don’t need any! On the other hand, if you don’t pack any then I’d definitely accept it or ask for it if it isn’t offered. Lactation consultants often recommend using it from the start rather than waiting until you’re in pain or seeing any damage.
The hospital provided wipes and diapers for the baby for us to use while in the hospital- we were able to take home all that we didn’t use which included an unopened pack of diapers! We also got a bulb syringe for the baby and I think this is pretty standard. Baby’s tend to have a lot of extra mucus that they sometimes need help getting out at the beginning. This was obviously something we could keep after it had been used.
So here’s the lesson: If there is something you’re using at the hospital that you think you’ll still want at home, ask your nurse to bring you more! If there is something in your room that you’re using during your stay, chances are you can take home whatever you don’t use. Don’t hesitate to ask and take advantage of everything the hospital can provide you with! It’s also ok to turn things down if you have a brand you prefer or if you don’t want to be charged extra for something you may not need.
Were there any freebies I missed? What all did you come home from the hospital with?