After multiple stays in the hospital, I have a few tips for things that I would recommend taking along. Several of them, I learned the “hard way.”
- Toys that can be easily sanitized if they fall on the floor.
- Stickers and/or sticker books. The hospital should have crayons & paper.
- Favorite animal, doll or “lovey.” Again, washable is best, if possible.
- Pacifier (if still using) and pacifier clip. You DON’T want it falling on the floor
- Pajamas, blanket, pillow, towels and washcloths from home are comforting.
- Extra Mic-Key button (or other specialized/prescription med supply). Hospitals don’t always have specific sizes or special order items in stock.
- Slippers, Crocs® or similar slip-on shoes for any walking around
- Portable DVD player w/favorite movies. You can also just bring movies. Hospital rooms often have ability to play movies in room.
- CD player or iPod with favorite music or familiar “white noise” for comfort and/or sleeping. Jenna listens to the sound of ocean waves all night at home. We have a CD that we take with us and play on repeat in the portable DVD player. When Jenna was in the NICU, we had an iPod hooked to speakers with repeating music. I’ve also heard of NICU parents leaving a recording of their voices reading stories for when they have to leave at night.
- Sippy cup
- Favorite snacks, especially if you have a picky eater. Hospital snacks and food are novel and fun enough for many kids
- Straws. Or simply request extra from hospital staff. These seem to mysteriously “jump” on the floor quite frequently.
- Toothbrush & necessary toiletries
- Any medicines/supplements including prescriptions
- Complete medical information. Written information (that they can copy if necessary) is great.
For You and the Room:
- Slippers, Crocs® or other slip-on shoes
- Pillow and blanket from home. The hospital has them, but they’re often not comfy. Bring your own.
- Clothing layers. Hospital rooms seem to be either too hot or too cold. It can vary day-to-day.
- A CAMERA. I have always forgotten mine and wished later that we had pics.
- A small flashlight and/or nightlight. You can insist that this be used for vitals in the middle of the night instead of room lights that rudely awaken child.
- Books and/or magazines
- Hand sanitizer. Place some at bedside and one by door or on another table in room. Use often.
- Consider a laptop to keep family & friends updated via email or hospital Care Pages. You probably shouldn’t leave it in the room if you go out, however.
- Toothbrush & necessary toiletries
- Antiseptic wipes. I frequently wipe down all surfaces, including bedrails, door knobs, tabletops and chairs, even if hospital staff just did it.
- Consider ear plugs for your sleeping comfort. I personally don’t use them, because I want to hear Jenna, but it’s a thought.
- Favorite snacks for you. Hospital food is usually NOT novel and fun for grownups. Yuck.
Finally, don’t ever be afraid to request a private/single room. Our last 4-day stay was in a shared room where a different roommate moved in each night requiring noisy cleaning and lots of talking during their admittance and getting settled. One of our roommates moaned, cried and screamed all through the night. This was NOT comforting or restful for Jenna or us. We requested our own room several times, only to be told it was absolutely not an option. The worst that can happen is that you don’t get one.
INSIST on hand-washing every time hospital staff comes in the room. Even if they tell you they just did, you can request that they wash in the room so that you can see them do it. A squirt with hand sanitizer will NOT kill C-diff. Hand-washing is best.