When pregnant with my first, the hospital bag was a huge topic of interest for me. I'm very surprised that I haven't previously written about it. When it came to educating myself on the actual delivery, my efforts were mediocre. When it came to researching what items I needed with me during the delivery, my efforts were over the top. The fact that I actually researched this issue says a lot (about my sanity). It's sort of a common sense issue. But, I'm a bad packer. Really bad. Sometimes I pack too much. Sometimes I pack too little. I usually forget two essential items - like a toothbrush and underwear. I'm not kidding. So, knowing myself, I decided that I would figure out the whole breathing and pushing thing on the fly, but I needed advanced preparation in the hospital bag department.
Based on my experience and the advice given during this recent group email, here's a pretty solid list of what to include in your hospital bag:
- Clothes - Two post delivery outfits and one going home outfit. You will still be wearing maternity clothes and you won't be feeling awesome, so don't bring skinny jeans and stilettos. Think pajamas and comfies.
- Hair elastics or headbands
- Slippers and a Robe - I didn't bring slippers and suffered with hospital socks and I loved having a lightweight cotton robe for my few trips down the cold hall.
- Flip Flops - You're going to be using a hospital shower that is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. But, so was the shower in your college dorm. And, the blood...well...just consider bringing some cheap flip flops.
- Toiletries - Whatever you would bring on any weekend getaway (hair brush, toothbrush, etc.), minus the glamour stuff (curling iron, eyelash extensions, etc.).
- Pillow - I brought two. My husband and I were overwhelmingly happy to have them. Hospital pillows leave much to be desired.
- Camera - This falls into one of my regrets. I didn't bring my Nikon SLR to the hospital. Instead, I brought my barely working snap and shoot digital. The thought process was that my Nikon is big and expensive and not worth managing during the chaos. Boo. Wrong choice. Yeah, I have pics from the hospital, but I so wish I had more and better pics.
- Notepad and pen - There are things you'll want to write down. You can make note of which gift came from which visitor and the amazing piece of advice the night shift nurse gave you about breastfeeding and what you want on your sandwich now that you're allowed to eat and you're allowed to eat cold cuts.
- Outfit for the baby - Your little one will have hospital provided attire for his/her stay, but needs an outfit for the ride home. Think about the season. How many layers? Blanket? Hat?
- Baby Mittens - They start scratching right away and their nails are impossible to cut/file in the beginning, so these will come in handy immediately.
- Snacks - While you won't be allowed to eat during your delivery (probably), sometimes you're allowed "clear" candy (think: Jolly Ranchers). Also bring a piece of fruit or your favorite granola bar for afterwards. I was starving post delivery and my only food option was pizza, which wasn't a bad one, but I would have enjoyed something more wholesome.
- Phone and Camera Charger - Not an ideal time to run out of battery.
The one thing I remember bringing and not "using" was champagne. At my baby shower, I was gifted a mini bottle of champagne for the in-hospital celebration. When the time came, I had zero taste for alcohol and I was beginning my breastfeeding journey...I didn't want to start off on that foot. Another general consideration is not to bring your favorites when it comes to clothes. Things can get pretty messy and you may end up throwing out the underwear and pants that you bring.
There are no words to describe the excitement and intensity and awe of those first 48 hours. Nothing you bring (or forget to bring) will change that. So, bring a hospital bag but don't over think it.