My friend Spencer over at Spencer Unlimited is about to have a baby and asked me what I recommend she pack in her hospital bag. Her asking inspired me to write this because, quite frankly, there are a lot of crap packing lists out there and I wanted to throw my two cents in. Before I had Lil I was clueless. I had no idea what I was in for and I wanted to make sure I was prepared. So what did I do? I got on Pinterest… duh! But I packed so much stuff that I didn’t need it was ridiculous! I packed a swimsuit because someone said I’d want it for the bath tub… for real, you’re about to have a whole hospital see your lady business and you’re breathing through contractions. The last thing I was worried about was the nurse maybe seeing me naked... I was told to bring pictures, candles, oils, anything to help you relax… I’m sorry but when you’re getting through contractions before you've gotten the epidural (if you choose to get one) you’re not going to notice a damn thing around you. And once you have the epidural you’re a little too buzzed for a slideshow and aromatherapy. All I could concentrate on was my husband's hand. I was advised to bring makeup and cute clothes for visitors… HA! You will be having (or will have recently had) a baby… give yourself some leeway and accept that it’s okay to not have makeup on and to be in baggy pajamas. Another item I read to bring was speakers for music… I had so many people going in and out of my room once I was admitted that I doubt I would have been able to hear the music. Not only that, but who honestly wants to lug that around? You’re going through an experience that is whirlwind fast, even if you’re in labor forever. Time seems to move at warp speed. So while I agree that you need to pack things to make you comfortable and relaxed, take into consideration that you’re not going to want to be setting up pictures or changing outfits constantly.
So through my experience of having a baby here is what I recommend you bring in your hospital bag that you will legitimately use and be glad you brought:
Let's face it, the ladies who say they wear jeans and tight fitting shirts home from the hospital… you’re insane. When you leave the hospital you hurt, you’re exhausted and you’re going home with a new baby… OMG what do I do with this little human? I honestly cannot even tell you what I wore, I was more concerned with what Lilly was wearing and the fact that I was now a mom than what I had on. I think I left in a tank top, yoga pants and greasy hair. So bring a couple pairs of yoga pants, comfortable tank tops/t-shirts, nursing tanks if you plan to breastfeed, and a comfortable bra or sports bra.
I will preface this one with saying I’m not a robe person, but I was very happy that I had one. I went to target and bought a lightweight cotton robe that went to my knees and I wore it through my entire stay. It was nice to have on over my nursing tank. I wore this when guests came to visit and from the shower etc.
Your Own Pillow
The hospital beds are not comfortable. Truth. No matter how hard they try they really just aren’t. You may be in for a night of not sleeping like I was. So bring your own pillow! If anything it will help you relax a bit and hopefully help you sleep better. Also bring a Boppy or nursing pillow for baby if you plan to breastfeed, I forgot mine and wish I had brought it!
I’m talking shampoo, conditioner, face wash and toothpaste. If you have the motivation to take a shower and freshen up, you’ll be glad you brought your items instead of “hotel” like samples. You’ll feel much cleaner.
I took maybe three or four pictures with my real camera in the hospital. But I’m glad I brought it for the moments like the first bath, going home etc. It’s also handy to have if your phone dies or to save battery life.
Once the news gets out that baby has arrived your phone is going to be exploding with calls and texts. Not only that but you’re going to be snapping so many picture of cutie pie that your battery is bound to die and you don’t want to be caught without it.
No, not the sexy Victoria's Secret thongs. I’m talking the boy shorts or granny panties that you buy for $2 at target and don’t care about ruining. After you give birth you’re going to be swollen and bleeding… I can be brutally honest sometimes, I know. The hospital is going to give you pads that will honestly feel like you’re wearing a diaper and you need undies to hold all that in. I went to target and got the 5 pairs for $25 and am SO glad I did.
I didn’t eat much while I was in the hospital. Blame it on being sick from the epidural and general distraction of my whole new world and feelings. But I did bring snacks in my bag and my husband ate pretty much all of them. I went to the store a few days before labor and got all of his favorite snacks and candy for a “daddy goody bag” and I think he appreciated it! You also never know if you’re going to get hungry or if the hospital food will be… well… hospital food.
For Baby I again packed so much stuff for her that I really didn’t need, but there were a few items I did need and had forgotten… big mistake. Here are my recommendations:
A Swaddler! If you bring nothing else for baby you MUST bring this. Babies need and like to be swaddled when they are newborns and our first night with Lilly in the hospital was rough. We had no idea what we were doing, we didn’t bring the swaddler and I honestly think if we had this she would have been much happier and possibly even slept!
Pajamas. Bring a pair of newborn PJ’s. Babies get cold and hospitals are chilly! Not only bring pajamas but bring a blanket and a hat as well. The hospital will probably give you both of those, but better safe than sorry.
Going home outfit. This one is purely for fun and not a necessity, we all know baby won’t remember what they wore. Just remember to bring a weather appropriate ensemble!
Car seat. Kinda a given… but figured I’d say it anyway. The real recommendation I have is setting up the car seat and its holder in the car you’ll take to the hospital and learning to use it before you’re sleep deprived and excited to take your new baby home!