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Home / NYC Pregnancy Diary / First Time Mom’s Guide to Giving Birth at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side

First Time Mom’s Guide to Giving Birth at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side

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I’m writing this guide because when I was pregnant, I tried to prepare for my labor and delivery at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side (UES) and I found surprisingly little information on the internet. I won’t cover stuff that is already on the Mt. Sinai website, like the Labor and Delivery process or the address or visiting hours – you can find that out yourself, and you can read in-depth about my birth experience here! The purpose of this post is to tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more about giving birth at Mt. Sinai UES that you can’t easily find on the interwebs. This information I’m blogging is just based on my one time experience (I gave birth in September 2018) so take it with a grain of salt!

Can you wear your own gown during labor and delivery?

So, yes and no. When I first got to my labor and delivery room, the nurse said I could wear the gown I brought. I bought this one on Amazon which has snaps in the back so they can easily put in your epidural, snaps at the shoulders for easy access for skin-to-skin with your baby, and a wrap in front for the delivery. I wore my own gown for the majority of my labor and delivery. However, towards the end, a new nurse came on shift and she told me I had to change because I wasn’t allowed to wear my own gown in case I had to get a c-section. She also mentioned the gown I brought was way more functional and better than the hospital-issued gowns! 😀 So, it sounds like the policy may be no gowns from home, but it’s really a toss-up if someone tries to enforce it for you. I would recommend just bringing your own if you want to and hoping for the best!

What do the private rooms look like at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side and how much do they cost? Is it worth the money?

In short, YES, it is worth it to splurge on a private room if you can. Mt. Sinai Upper East Side private rooms range from $595 to $1250. My insurance did NOT cover it – to my knowledge, most people’s insurance won’t pay for the private room. And unfortunately, Mt. Sinai (and other NYC hospitals) is usually so busy that you won’t get upgraded to a private room for free. In fact, they are sometimes so busy you can’t even get a private room even if you’re willing to pay out of pocket!

When I gave birth, I stayed in the $850 “medium size room with Central Park view” (#736). Was it worth an extra $75/night for the Central Park view? You tell me! Here’s what it looked like:

As you can see in the photo, there’s a bed for you and two armchairs, one of which pulls out into a bed for your spouse to sleep in at night. There’s also a rolling table that you can pull over the bed to eat at. The room is pretty small – just comfortable enough for two people. Not exactly a luxury spa experience, right? 😀 But the room was fine and served its purpose. You’re really not paying for the actual accommodations anyway – you’re paying for 1) privacy, 2) your own bathroom and shower, and 3) the privilege of your spouse being able to stay with you overnight. You can’t do any of those things in the shared rooms as far as I know!

How is the hospital food at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side? Can you get food delivered?

The food at Mt. Sinai UES isn’t going to win any Michelin stars, but it’s decent and there is enough variety to accommodate any dietary restrictions. A nurse comes around to ask you for your food order for each meal – they will rattle off a bunch of options but just know, you don’t have to pick between those options. You can ask them to bring you one of everything! You can also have Seamless delivered to the hospital – you’ll need someone to get it from the street entrance for you though as you can’t have it delivered to your room.

What do they give you for free at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side? What do you need to bring?

There are certainly things that would make you more comfortable that you could bring yourself, but even if you show up to the hospital without a single thing, you’ll be fine. Here’s what Mt. Sinai Upper East Side will provide to you during recovery:

Hospital Gown/Robe

NO, you do NOT need to bring your own robe. You will get multiple gowns in your room to wear. They’re reasonably comfortable – not super soft but not itchy or too stiff either. They have good coverage and I felt comfortable walking around the hospital in them when I had to make multiple trips daily to the NICU on the 2nd floor (my room was on the 7th floor). I also felt comfortable wearing the gowns to sleep and bleeding all over them. I brought my own super soft nightgown and robe with me and I didn’t end up wearing them at all because I was content with the ones the hospital provided. Besides, my body hurt so much after giving birth that the robe was the least of my comfort concerns. 😀

Toiletries

YES, bring your own toiletries. The hospital provides shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, and a toothbrush. However, they have a very industrial/clinical feel to them. I would recommend bringing your own stuff. I know some women don’t shower at the hospital at all but I would highly recommend doing it – I definitely felt way more human after I did, even though I was in a lot of pain.

Underwear, Pads, Adult Diapers, Socks

NO, you do NOT need to bring your own stuff. The hospital provides you with everything and your nurses will give you a ton of extra you can bring home, too. You’ll get mesh underwear, pads, ice packs, socks, hemorrhoid cream, witch hazel pads (AKA tuck pads), peri bottle (post-partum perineal irrigation bottle, AKA a squirt bottle to clean your parts with warm water). The mesh underwear was comfortable and not itchy – I had brought my own high-waisted underwear to the hospital but I ended up staying in the issued mesh ones the whole time. The only thing I will say is if you have bad hemorrhoids, you might want to bring your own cream. The active ingredient in the cream they give you is not as strong or effective as dibucaine, which you can buy on Amazon for less than $10.

Breastfeeding Supplies

NO, you do NOT need to bring your own stuff unless you really, really want to. The hospital provided a pump (Medela brand) as well as Medela brand bottles and lanolin nipple cream. They did NOT provide a nursing pillow however, so I would say bring your own. I found my nursing pillow to be a huge help while I was learning to breastfeed my baby. They also did not provide a hands-free nursing bra so my husband had to go to the gift shop and buy one for $20. Bring your own unless you want to hold bottles up to your tits with your hands the whole time.

Post-Partum Belly Band

YES, you need to bring your own post-partum belly band. The hospital does not provide them. I bought the UpSpring bamboo belly band and wore it every time I had to walk around the hospital. I really needed the support – it felt like the belly band was the only thing holding me together after birth! You never know what will happen during labor and your baby could end up in the NICU like mine did, and you’ll have to trek a bit to get there so bring a belly band even if you don’t think you’ll need one. It helps a lot!

Baby Clothes, Diapers, Receiving Blanket, Hat

NO, you do not need to bring your own baby clothes. The hospital provides a kimono-style, long-sleeved top (babies shouldn’t wear onesies that button at the crotch until after their umbilical cords fall off), a super soft hat (which our baby wore for weeks!), and a thin blanket.

What is the situation with visitors at Mt. Sinai Upper East Side?

I only wanted my husband to be at the hospital so I don’t have any experience with outside visitors of my own. However, I did see a visitor waiting room which looked pretty much like what you would expect of a hospital waiting room. There was also a room for new moms (it had a special name but I can’t remember what it was called) in case you had to stay at the hospital for a while after you were discharged and kicked out of your hospital room. It’s the same room they hold breastfeeding classes in.

One thing of note that I didn’t expect was the elevator situation! On Saturdays, one of the elevators is a dedicated Sabbath elevator, meaning it stops on every single floor. One of the nurses told me it’s so Orthodox Jews, who aren’t supposed to do work on Saturday, can use the elevator without doing the work of pressing a button. Anyway, the elevator is super slow so plan accordingly and warn your visitors. 😀

What breastfeeding services are provided at Mt. Sinai UES? What if you decide not to breastfeed?

Mt. Sinai UES is a very pro-breastfeeding hospital. I would go so far as to say I felt bullied into submission to breastfeed even though I wasn’t too keen on the idea to begin with. 😀 There’s a group breastfeeding class at Mt. Sinai UES but I totally skipped it. There’s also a lactation consultant who comes around to your room multiple times a day to help you with breastfeeding and getting your baby to latch. They are very hands-on – like, literally, their hands will be on your boobs squeezing your colostrum out if you want them to!

Do I need to show the Mt. Sinai UES hospital a car seat before they let me take my baby home?

NO, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to show a car seat Mt. Sinai UES. This makes sense because you’re in the city and you could be walking home, taking the subway, or getting a car service that comes with a car seat (note, I didn’t say getting an Uber because Uber does not provide car seats for children under 1 years old).

That being said, BUY A CAR SEAT even if you live in New York City, don’t own a car, and always use the subway. I didn’t want to buy a car seat either, especially since infant car seats only last a year or less. I thought it would be a huge waste of money. But my husband insisted that we get the Doona, a car seat and stroller all-in-one. I AM SO GLAD WE GOT ONE. My pediatrician is in walking distance of my apartment, but I could not have walked and pushed a stroller that far in my first couple weeks after giving birth – and I didn’t even have to get a c-section! And forget about baby-wearing in a sling or a baby carrier the first couple weeks. I’ll be honest, I completely underestimated how hard recovery would be after giving birth. Now, eight weeks later, it feels like nothing happened. But, that first month felt like I was hit by a bus!

Well, I hope I helped answer some of your questions. If you have other questions or advice of your own, please let me know in the comments!

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