The Hospital Bag: Less is More
For my first pregnancy, my bags were packed and ready to go at a moment's notice — from the beginning of the third trimester. A bit extreme, I know, but I didn't want to be scurrying around my two-story house, throwing things in a bag at the last minute.
The result of being a little too prepared was that my “bag” was really a carry-on suitcase — expanded to the max — and several extra bags (one for snacks, one for electronics, one for my husband, etc.), and they were all packed full to the brim like we were about to embark on a two-week vacation. I scoured the Internet for “hospital bag lists” and followed them to the letter, throwing everything I thought I might need into a bag.
Basically, I had no idea what I was doing.
This time around, I'm taking a less-is-more approach. I still have a suitcase (because there's no way I'm going to lug a bag with me when I can wheel something behind me), but everything I need for my husband, the new baby, and myself fits snugly inside with room to spare.
Here's what fills that perfectly packed bag.
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I basically raided the travel-sized section at Target and picked up shampoo and conditioner, a loofah, body wash, face wash, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.
Nursing Tanks (x 2)
I'm bringing two since spit up and blowouts are a drag, and I want a backup just in case I need an extra. I basically lived in these the last time. (These tanks from H&M are my favorite!)
Long-sleeved Sweater and/or Cardigan
To cover up when visitors come over and in case it's chilly in our room.
Comfy Pants (x 2)
Nursing Sleep Bras (x 2)
One to possibly wear in the pool for laboring and another clean/dry one for later. (These from Target are comfy.)
To wear while laboring or after delivering.
To wear in the shower and around the room. I'm not sure how well they clean the floors, and I don't want to walk around with bare feet.
To keep my feet warm and so I don't slip if I'm holding the wee little one.
Small Bag with the Extras
Hair brush, chapstick, mints (because sometimes you forget to brush your teeth — lesson learned from last time), nipple cream (I know they'll probably have some, but this is my favorite, so I'm taking it with me), extra hair ties, anti-bacterial sanitizer, face wipes (to wipe off the sweat — labor can be like running a marathon!).
In the Front Pocket
Birth plan, family contact info, my favorite water bottle, cell phone, a book/Kindle — just in case there's downtime (one can hope).
Can't leave out my partner in all this. For him, we're bringing:
- Electronic stuff: Laptop, phones, chargers, camera, etc.
- Set of clothes: It'll be nice for him to change clothes, too.
- Toiletries: Toothbrush, (he'll use my toothpaste), and deodorant.
- Some loose change: The hospital has on-call room service, but sometimes you just need a Snickers.
The most important part of the hospital visit is the new little one coming home with us. I'll be bringing the following for the baby:
- Coming home outfit: The same one I wore home from the hospital and the same one my daughter wore home.
- Two onesies: Not really necessary, but I can't resist teeny weensy little clothes. I'm taking a cute little number that says “Love Bug” on it and another that says “Little Sister.”
- Cute accessories: An adorable headband and an itty-bitty hat for the hospital photos.
- Car seat: This will stay in the car, but I'll put it on the list.
- Blanket: This will also stay in the car for the ride home.
That list is a vast difference from the first time around, and I feel good about it. I'm skipping the ginormous Boppy, and I'm not bringing any “care” items for myself; the hospital will have all I need until I get home (yup, huge mesh undies and all).
With the exception of some lipstick that will be in my purse, I'm skipping makeup, and I don't see a personal need for a robe or nightgown.
The only other big item we're taking is a yoga ball (our hospital doesn't provide them), but it'll stay in the car until I decide if I want to labor on it or not (last time I didn't want to even look at the thing).
What do you think about this list? Did you over-pack the first time, too? Is there anything vital I'm missing?