There are literally endless examples of lists for what to pack in your hospital bag on the internet. When I was preparing for labor and delivery, I read a dozen or so myself. Some ladies bought and packed all brand new things to make the experience photo ready at each moment. Others, more like myself, just packed their favorite comforts from home along with the necessities and a few “that’s a good idea” items you read about along the way. Regardless of where you fall on the topic, I am confident we all over pack for this life event. When I packed my hospital bag for the birth of our son, I kind of likened it to packing for a combination of a college dorm and a hotel. There were things I knew I would want to have with me and others I thought I would like to have with me in the perfect scenario.
If I can give one piece of advice, here it is- Bring whatever makes you feel prepared and at ease. Don’t leave things out because you feel silly or like you’re going overboard. If you think you could use it, bring it. It’s one less thing you will have to worry about if and when you find yourself wanting it. With that being said, even the necessities I brought with me, I didn’t use half of. The hospital really provided a lot. Was I glad I had brought my own? Absolutely. A packed and ready hospital bag was a piece of mind and a confidence booster each time I saw it next to the door ready to go in the weeks leading up to the birth. I wouldn’t feel comfortable assuming the hospital would provide certain things so I am glad I prepared.
I won’t list every single item I packed in my bag because honestly, I feel like it goes without saying we all pack a toothbrush and toothpaste in an overnight bag. I will however touch on a few items that I did bring, assumed I would need, and did NOT use.
- Flip flops.
I thought this idea was genius! Who wants to shower in a gross hospital bathroom right? Or walk around on a dirty hospital room floor? I am positive there are women out there who are overjoyed by remembering to pack these but I didn’t even remember they were in my bag. Germs on the floor or in the shower never crossed my mind once. NOT ONCE. To be fair, I did pack cheap slipper socks with a grip on the bottom which I wore around the room. Perhaps because I was wearing those, I forgot about the flip-flops. Nevertheless, I am positive I wouldn’t have remembered at the time of that first blissful, most amazing shower. That first shower post birth, with my new baby sleeping in the bassinet in the doorway of the bathroom… I had never felt so refreshed in my life (and I’ve ran 6 full marathons and an ultra.) The door was wide open for anyone to walk in the room and see but I couldn’t leave that baby more than 5 feet from my side. The water wasn’t hot enough and the shower head was hand-held and tiny. I had to balance it between my chin and shoulder while lathering up. Still, it was the most glorious shower of my life.
- Coins for a vending machine.
Another genius idea I had read. However, for the duration of my hospital stay, my insurance provided three meals a day through room service and my husband had to come and go as we have animals to care for at home. He would eat when he got home and/or bring us something when he returned, so we didn’t find ourselves needing anything from a machine.
- Cheap large cotton underwear (granny panties).
Absolutely 110% necessary BUT, this too was an item the hospital provided. Their version was actually more of a stretchy mesh material and more of a boy short cut. They were soft, comfortable, stretchy, and held the super mega jumbo pads in place perfectly. Even better, I didn’t have to ruin any of my own underwear while I was there! I was able to save them for the weeks following at home.
- Super Mega Jumbo Pads.
Okay, that might not be the exact name but it definitely describes them well. Those things may as well be a diaper… and they’re amazing. The hospital provided all that I would ever need and more to take home. I wished I hadn’t opened both of the huge packs I had bought in advance because I could have returned one of them. Oh well, they’re under my sink for the next baby!
- Baby clothes
This category is personal preference and situational really. I packed multiple outfits for my son as well as a cute “going home outfit” and really none of it was necessary. The hospital provided numerous shirts and onesies that crossed in the front (avoiding too much rub on the umbilical cord) and even though they were too big and all gender neutral colors, they did just fine. Not to mention, my baby was swaddled like a little burrito most of time he wasn’t doing skin to skin. If you have family and friends coming and going, then yes, I totally understand wanting cute newborn outfits on your baby. My husband and I were not only new to the area we were living in but we were new to the state, so we did not have any visitors in the hospital. I guess for that reason, baby clothes were kind of wasted space in my bag. When we left the hospital, I put him in some cozy footed pj’s, laid a blanket over him in the car seat, and we hit the road. The pictures would have been equally adorable and memorable even if he was still wearing the over-sized hospital onesie.