There is so much GARBAGE advice out on the internet about what you need to pack. But listen: I get it. That stuff is 99% written by someone who falls into one of two categories:
- Almost moms who are like 50 weeks pregnant, bored as hell, and who have packed and repacked and overthought every single thing in their hospital bag, OR
- Moms on early maternity leave who are taking advantage of their new baby’s daytime nap schedule to get onto wordpress for a hot second.
I read that I was supposed to bring everything from thank you goodie bags for the nurses to olive oil for perennial massage. Even ELI was lead to believe that he needed to pack a super carefully curated new-dad hospital bag.
Guys. It is all bologna. But my baby is asleep right now so I’m not about to pretend I’m going to squander an opportunity to write about myself.
A few things to start:
- I had a planned c-section, so I knew I wouldn’t need to kill time before Jack was born. Otherwise maybe I would’ve wanted some entertainment.
- Everyone is different – if you have items that comfort you and you’re allowed to bring them to the hospital, then do your thing and bring your stuff.
- Eli did have a separate bag, mostly because he is a fiercely independent only child but also because he packed mega snacks and for this I love him.
First, I absolutely love the bag I used. The Catalina by Lo & Sons.
There aren’t many ways to feel hip, calm and collected when you’re in def con waddle, so having a simple, chic and well-made bag made a huge difference.
Things I did not need in the hospital:
- Makeup & hair products – I usually love having at least a little makeup on but it never even occurred to me to do anything remotely stylish while I was in the hospital. Just make sure you have yourself some hair ties – there are enough wires and plugs in your life so get your hair out of your way.
- Laptops or tablets – I was too busy snuggling that baby (or being hooked up to machines) to be typing and tapping away.
- Movies, books, crosswords, sudoku, general entertainment – because of the aforementioned snuggling.
- Anything that wasn’t baggy or stretchy to wear – but duh this isn’t news to anyone.
- Birth plan – because honestly my birth plan was to get the baby out of my body safely
- A robe – For at least the first half of the hospital stay you’re in your hospital gown anyway. Plus most of the other hospital packing lists talk about your robe getting…uh…messy if you delivery vaginally.
- My own pillow – there are all the pillows at the hospital.
- Maxi pads – there are all the pads at the hospital.
- Hand sanitizer – guys. It is a hospital.
- Advil or other painkillers – seriously. You get the good stuff anyway.
- Anything for the baby other than a going home outfit – they are mostly naked and wrapped in one of the bazillion baby blankets the hospital provides. Plus there are all the diapers/wipes at the hospital.
Things I’m glad we had:
- Nursing bras – you nurse the baby often enough that if you’re like me your gown will just remain permanently undone. Plus lactation consultants and nurses will be up in your business all the time anyway so its nice to have something that just clips on/off or can be pushed to the side.
- Snacks – who knows, maybe some hospitals have awesome food but you’re so hungry even if you had a c-section and didn’t labor at all. I can only IMAGINE how famished mamas are after real labor and delivery! Cliff bars forever!
- A tooth brush – it is so refreshing, under any circumstances, to have clean teeth.
- Our own towels – hospital towels are notoriously (1) scratchy and (2) small. No matter how you deliver the last thing you want to do for that first shower or two is bend and stretch to get dry with a crappy scratchy hand towel.
- A loofah/shower pouf/washcloth – same idea with the tooth brushing – it is wonderful to feel really clean after your baby is born. Since I had a spinal and couldn’t use my legs for a few hours they strapped these SUPER WARM leg massager things on me and I was sweating my face off after my operation and smelling likewise. The scrub was wonderful.
- Phone or some kind of photography aparatus – you won’t believe how quickly the photos of a sleeping baby will accumulate.
- Music – a little speaker plus a phone (don’t forget your charger!) is all you need. Being the mega Harry Potter fan that I am, Eli made sure to play the soundtrack from the first movie for the first day straight and I had so many feelings.
- Water bottle – Yes there will be plenty of water in cups at the hospital but, particularly on that first day or two, you’re hooked up to so many machines and trying to figure out how to safely hold a baby and so much is going on that you don’t want to spill! Bring a refillable water bottle along that can fall down into your pillows but is easily accessible and won’t spill.
- Comfy clothes for you and the wee babe 🙂
Overall, what you REALLY need is your ID to get you into the hospital. And yourself. And ideally a support person but hey mama you got this far on your own now there are a bunch of kick ass nurses to help you the rest of the way, makeup and sudoku be damned.