The Italian Experience

We’re nearing the end of pregnancy #2 and I feel like there’s more to share that I haven’t done while pregnant with Valentina. I’ve almost got my bag packed and the thought of it makes me laugh. I thought about what American women might pack in their hospital bags to have at the hospital with them.

So, I thought I’d do a little survey. I asked my friends on Facebook the following question:

Did your hospital give you a list of what to take in your bag for the BIG DAY? I’m writing a post and want to compare. Is there anything you were supposed to take and didn’t use? Or.. something you should have taken but wasn’t on the list?

I got the typical (and old school) answers:

Memory Book
Newborn mittens
Paper and pen
Address Book/Cellphone and charger
Kid’s camera

While you may think that these seem normal (and they are.. for Americans) It’s not the first thing you’d think of for an Italian birthing experience.  The What to Expect When you’re Expecting book (aka the Pregnancy bible) tells you to bring these things, they really don’t help me much here. Because.. do I really need to bring:

my What to Expect Journal and Organizer?
Multiple copies of my birthing plan? (this one will make the staff laugh at you for sure)
a watch with a second hand/ stop watch (really?)
Entertainment (yeah.. if you have an epidural and aren’t feeling your contractions)
pillow/blanket of your own to make you feel more comfortable (this one will also get you some stares)

While I understand that some things are needed regardless of where you are (like snacks for your coach) some is not even a second thought in my mind. One of my cousins took her memory book and the nurses kindly stamped the baby’s foot print in it which I love! Here in Italy, they don’t do the footprints so that not really something I would think about. Newborn mittens are not something you see unless it’s part of a bunting suit. Another friend bought her son a kids’ camera so he could take his own pictures of his baby sister.

Now I’m giving you.. the Italian Version. This is the exact list that was given to me for Valentina:

ID card
Fiscal Code
Health Booklet

Blood work in chronological order
Blood Type

List of medications you’re allergic to

Cotton night gown
Cotton Socks
Underwear or Single use netted underwear
Towels for face and bidet
Bag for dirty clothes

Clothes for entire stay
Going home outfit

Big Pads
Toilet Paper
Small basin for bidet
Shower Items
Intimate hygiene detergent
Amuchina (sterilization solution)


Do you see a difference there? There’s also a small list of things that my fellow expats wish they would have taken/told to do. While most of the items are they listed are above there were a few more:

Should have brought/done:
Hand soap
Breast pads
Breath Mints
Shave for C-section

Told to:
Have baby’s name embroidered in clothes
to have a “maglietta della fortuna” (silk shirt for baby to bring good luck)

I honestly laugh every time I have this conversation with people. While I think Breast pads are very important, I think it’s funny that the hospital omitted it from the list but yet, they want you to bring your own utensils even though they provide plastic ones for you. With Valentina, they didn’t offer Juice or Milk with breakfast so, I had to drink water because I don’t drink Coffee or Tea which is the only thing they offered.

This time around, I’m so much more prepared and I can’t wait to meet this little one…. VERY SOON!

3 thoughts on “The Italian Experience

  1. I find this particularly amusing since I just left my American hospital. I did get REAL silverware too! But all I kept thinking was how many old sick people who were probably now dead had eaten off the same spoon. Maybe I should bring my own next time?! =) GOOD LUCK! I can't wait to see her!


  2. Wow! I'm impressed by how organized you are.

    I love the name Valentina, by the way. 🙂


    Thanks for your recent comment on my blog. It's always great to hear from other bloggers! 🙂



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